Shuttering and burning smell with smoke from behind left front tire

I have a 1994 Mazda B2300 Pickup (midsized)

A few days ago I noticed that the Emergency brake pedal was “bottoming out” and seemingly not engaging when I would push it to the floor. At first I thought no big deal, it’s the e-brake, I have time to fix it later. Today how ever, I released the e-brake and at first it felt like it wasn’t fully released, it shuttered and pulled to the right (as it does when you accidentally leave the e-brake on and try to drive…which I have done twice in the few years I have owned it. DOH!)I checked the dash to see if the e-brake light was on, and it wasn’t, but I stopped the car, reengaged the e-brake and released it again (just incase, the light wasn’t working). It seemed to drive fine for a an hour or so. Then it started pulling to the right and shuttering again, followed by a burning rubber smell and smoke from behind the drivers side front tire only. I limped it home and popped the hood. The smoke was indeed only comming from behind the left front tire and not both sides, or any other engine component.

Is it possible that my e-brake is stuck down and not tripping the dash light, and I am simply burning the pad, or could this be my main brake elements, or god forbid, something more serious? The truck is to hot to pull the tire off and get a good look right now, but I know for dcertain that I can not afford a costly repair (having just paid out a boat load to replace the clutch and fly wheel last month. How can I be certain that this is the brakes and not the transmission or something else that I am over looking, without having to take it in to have some greese moneky charge me and arm and a leg to “take a look at 'er”. I’m a bit familiar with auto repair, but by no means a professional.

Please help.


Parking brakes make use of the rear brake system.I dont see a link to the front left.Get the car up and supported safely,before you take the tie off “rock” the tire wheel assembley (bearing check) then tire off make a inspection. Look for damaged pads,damaged rotor.I’am just sitting behind a computer but most likely you will need pads,rotors(2) caliper(s) and rubber brake hoses plus brake fluid.Hopefully this condition is not the result of wheel bearing failure.I forgot bearing seals and some wheel bearing grease for a repack.



I’m thinking you might have a front brake caliper partially locked up. This will partially apply the brakes to one side all the time. Usually when you hit the brake pedal, the car will veer to the opposite side from the locked up caliper. These can get VERY hot and will quickly warp a rotor, wear down your brake pads on the affected side, can result in loss of braking, and even set the car on fire! (I actually knew a guy that lost a P.O.S. ancient Grand Prix to this problem) I had a car do this before and you could see the rotor glowing orange-hot through the mag wheel when I parked—a little scary. Have it checked out soon.

It sounds like you have a brake caliper that is not releasing. You should not continue to drive the truck until it is repaired because this can become a fire hazard.

Jack the front end up and spin the tires by hand. If the left front does not rotate freely, or at all with your hand, then you have a caliper problem. Also look at the surface of the brake rotor to see if it’s burnt.

When repaired the brake fluid should be thoroughly bled.