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Rear rotor stuck on 2008 Tribeca

I am trying to change the rear brakes and rotors. My car is in pieces in the driveway and I can’t get the driver’s side rear rotor off. It looks like the emergency brake is keeping it on. Yes, the emergency brake is off and I have loosened it from under the dashboard as much as possible. How can I loosen the interior drum brake and get this thing off?

Have you tried a hammer?

Yes. I’m pulling the interior drum brake outward, though without it moving off of the rotor. The emergency brake shoe is stuck on it.

I’m a little confused by your terminology. These are drum brakes, right? Then you’re trying to pull the drum off the “hub”, not the “rotor.” Rotors are parts of disc brakes, not drum brakes, so your use of the word “rotor” when referring to drum brakes is confusing, unless I’m missing something.

Sorry about the confusing terminology. These are disk brakes with an interior emergency brake.

Anyway, lots of brute force did the job at the risk of destroying something inside. I couldn’t loosen the interior brake shoes because the star wheel wasn’t lined up with the hole in the rotor. For some reason, the wheel wasn’t turning. I’ll make sure the wheel turns before I start on the other wheel…

Rotors are parts of disc brakes, not drum brakes, so your use of the word "rotor" when referring to drum brakes is confusing, unless I'm missing something.

Yes you are missing something. Many new vehicles with rear disk brakes also have shoe brakes that are inside the rotor. The rotor is a combination rotor/drum. I have it on my 4runner and Highlander…and same setup on my wifes Lexus.

The design is pretty good if you ask me. Since the rear shoes are used only to HOLD the vehicle when parked…there’s virtually no wear. My 4runner has the original shoes…and the truck as over 260k miles. The rear PADS however have been replaced a few times.

Thanks, Mike. I haven’t seen the combo rotor/ drum before. What will they think of next?!

Mike is right about the design, the drum parking brake is inside the rotor “hat”. They actually can rust up inside creating a ridge that prevents the rotor from sliding over the shoe. If the rotor wiggles at all, THAT is the problem. If it doesn’t even seem loose, it is likely stuck to the hub with rust. Hammering on it can 1) crack it, 2) destroy the friction surface or 3) damage the wheel bearing.

I’d suggest a large gear puller. Try Harbor Freight, or tool rentals from Autozone or others. Push on the hub center and set the jaws on the rotor itself. Crank the center screw with collisional whacks with a hammer on the jaws or a wood block. I have this type parking brake in my truck and this is what I had to do to get the $%#& rotor off. You may need a new rotor afterwards. Good Luck!

Here’s a link in another forum on this exact combo for the 4runner.

A little ways down you’ll see a video…play the video. It shows the EASY way to remove the stuck rotor/drum (IF YOU HAVE THE BOLT HOLES). My wifes 96 Accord and my 99 Pathfinder both had just rear drum brakes…and they both had those holes…and all of our vehicles that have those holes to remove the drum (or rotor/drum combo) use the same size bolts (8mm X 1.25).

What will they think of next?!

My 1969 Corvette has that set up. Rear disk, top hat rotor with parking brake shoes inside the hat. Not exactly revolutionary in 2008… :wink:

My 1969 Corvette has that set up. Rear disk, top hat rotor with parking brake shoes inside the hat.

I wonder why it took so long to catch on. I really like the design.

@TwinTurbo and Corvette removed the drum-in-hat parking brake in 1988 because they had soooo many problems with the system. Typically the friction surface would rust so badly when the brake was applied, the shoes just touched loose rust or jammed on. The 1988 system used the disk brake pads themselves to clamp the rotors.

GM, and others went back to the drum-in-hat system because 1) all the old engineers that remember the problems with them died off OR 2) some new engineers thought this was a WAY cool way to design parking brakes that NONE of them had ever seem before! Or maybe both!


Too funny! I think either of your scenarios is possible and like you said, probably both!

I always find it surprising how early some of these inventions appeared in production cars. They say there is nothing new under the sun. Sometimes, I think they’re right!

This car had fiber optic cables in it to transmit some of the light from the exterior lighting to the center console so you could tell while driving if the lamps were lit…1969!!

That design is a salt trap and generates mucho rust around here. On newer cars we are replacing back brakes twice as often as fronts and it used to be the other way around. Wish I could buy a car with everything made out of stainless steel.

It is very important that you back the shoes off before pulling the rotor. I have the same disc/drum set up on my Sienna where the drum is used for the parking brake. The first time I did rear brakes I beat the rotor off the hub with a five pound sledge without loosening the shoes using the star wheel accessible through the front of the rotor. I ended up having to replace fifty bucks worth of shoes and hardware, not to mention the difficulty of installing said shoes and hardware.

If there is an adjuster accessible through the front or back of the rotor you want to make sure you access it and fully retract the shoes. The rotor should then slide right off or at least it should be relatively easy to bang off with a hammer and block of wood.

Rear disc brakes are just a gimmick, unneeded by 90% of car owners.

Sorry but drum brakes on the rear are a deal breaker for me. I’ll never struggle with drums again.

I think he said he already got it out. Luckily I don’t have any of that set up on my cars.

lol, @bing, I replaced my front pads a couple weeks ago, and checked my rear shoes which need changing worse than my pads did, but I ve put off changing the shoes, which I bought two weeks ago, just because they are a pain, and much more trouble to change than pads. I did clean all the old dust and crap out of the rear brake assemblies when I checked them at least. I have not even checked my parking brake yet, I m afraid it has not been used in a long time and don t want to risk it jamming up. we don t have hills around here, so parking brakes are seldom used with automatics

The last rear drums I did was on my 86 Buick Park Ave. that I special ordered. For a high priced car, seemed like a stupid place to save money. It didn’t even have an adjusting slot to either back the star wheel off or adjust them again. You were supposed to use a caliper to adjust the shoes before you put the drum back on again. Self adjusting I suppose and guess you could knock out the slot for the star wheel but that was the last time I dealt with it. Who needs the hassle when disc brakes are so easy and effective?

I’ll add the obvious: 90% of car owners don’t work on their own brakes. All my recent Hondas had rear drum brakes that were easy to work on.