DodgeTalk Forum banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The driver's side drum brake somehow got very tight making the 2004 Caravan impossible to drive. Of course the drum wouldn't come off. The emergency brake cable was not tight, though the foot pedal for it is not working. I searched the web for information on how to back off the adjuster but nothing worked for me. I used a snake camera in the little access hole behind the drum to see the adjusting wheel with its gear teeth but no sign of the ratchet that has to be disengaged to enable turning the wheel. Using two 30 mm M8 bolts in the drum holes pushed it an inch out so I could actually see the wheel and should have been able to back it off but was getting too frustrated. I managed to buy an M8 threaded rod so I could make two long bolts (with two nuts tightened together on a piece of rod) and force the drum off. Then I could see how it worked and how to adjust the wheel.


Notice the gear wheel half visible above the hub and the arm extending from the left to catch the wheel at the top. Behind the wheel and the long spring holding the two shoes together there is a the emergency brake cable with the appearance of a tightly coiled spring, which blocks the view through the adjusting access hole behind. The technique that works is to insert a small screwdriver or stiff coat hanger wire right beside either side of the gear wheel and push that arm outward (toward the camera).

A little springiness is felt. My mistake was thinking something had to be levered upward - and I got only that darn springy cable. There is no hole in the lever to catch as some instructions say. The gear wheel is easy to turn when the lever catch is pushed out of the way. On the driver's side turn it upward (as not seen from the back) to back off the shoes. The gear wheel is like a nut on the threaded rod heading off to the right shoe, and must be turned further onto the rod to shorten the distance between the shoes. Which I think means it would have to turn the other way on the passenger side. The ratchet rod allows adjusting tighter, which is supposed to happen automatically whe braking in reverse, so probably our attempts to back it off without knowing which way to turn caused the shoes to get even tighter.

My brute force (it didn't feel like much force on the bolts with a small wrench) removal of the stuck drum slightly bent the top and bottom of the shoes and the flat forked ends of the adjustable rod and its lower counterpart. This was easily rectified with vice and hammer. The shoes and drums are scarcely worn and in excellent condition so I didn't replace anything. It all works perfectly except the emergency/parking brake foot pedal doesn't work at all. I see there is a Utube video on how to fix that by removing the fuse panel to gain access to the foot pedal assembly that gets stuck.

It is a catch 22 situation- you can't learn how to adjust the shoes until you can practise with the drum off and when over tightened you can't get the drum off until you adjust to back them off. Maybe be best to remove the drums now and be ready for trouble if it comes. It is very easy to remove a drum with the two M8 bolts (30 mm long should be enough) when the shoes are not stuck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Have to make 5 posts before I can post a picture. Please delete these extra 4 posts.

I lost my password, reset didn't work so I got a new account (Delphi52 instead of Delphi51), waited a week to get approved. Dumb mistake.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Even after seeing the inside of the drum brake setup on the driver's side, I still had trouble getting the right side drum loose enough to remove. It wasn't tight; the wheel still turned freely, I broke the corrosion "welding" the drum to the hub with two bolts and some hammering. I correctly figured I had to turn the adjusting wheel downward as not seen through the access opening behind the hub and managed to give it about one turn. Then I gripped the drum with both hands and shook it a little in and out - and it came off!

It is difficult to hold a screwdriver to release the "catch" enabling the adjusting wheel to be turned to make the shoes less tight, and a mirror tool so you can see the wheel, and use a second screwdriver to turn the wheel. You can see the threads well enough in the photo to see that, on this passenger side, the adjusting wheel must be turned downward (as seen from the back through the adjusting hole) in order to shorten the distance between shoes. Note my "nail tool" in the photo, holding the catch lever away from the adjusting wheel. It fits nicely over the unthreaded adjustable arm holding the shoes apart, so that in stays in place by itself.

Just one bend on a nail to make yourself a hand-saving tool:

The ticks forming a centimeter scale should help you get the right bend to fit.

I took a different vehicle to a garage to have the drum brakes "fixed" because the job looked complicated. Turned out there was just a lot of dust and dirt inside the drum and the charge was only $100 for an hour of labour, no parts. If you take a drum off to practise and clean, be careful about that dust - likely contains asbestos.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top