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Old 02-13-2013, 10:24 PM   #1
jkbowen
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Default Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

I was driving the other day and went to go in reverse. After about 5 feet or so, my car skidded to a halt. i was on a hill and could not turn around, so i pulled forward about 3 feet, and went in reverse again, this time apparantly skidding the whole way up. I checked, and there was nothing stuck or jammed in my wheel well. After i got off the hill, i put it in drive, and took off just fine. Went home, and parked it by pulling up and backing down a hill in neutral into my driveway.

The next day, i drove not very far. maybe a couple miles, and didnt go in reverse at all. came home with a passenger and pulled up the hill, letting them out so i could back in in neutral. Well, as i rolled back, they walked where i was rolling, so i applied the brake to slow down as i rolled in neutral. When i did that, the right rear tire locked up again and skidded down the hill. I then pulled back up the hill, put it back in neutral, and tried rolling down again. This time, it didnt go back at all, even in neutral. i went around the block and just as i was coming back upon my driveway, my tire AGAIn locked up and i ended up draggin that beast into my driveway. Now, it is locked both ways. im in alaska, in a small village, so i have to order the parts and such and fix it myself.

I am mechanically inclined, I'm just having a hard time getting my rear passenger drum brake assembly taken apart because it appears the e-brake is stuck on only the passenger side. i didnt do anything to the e-brake to cause this, i never use it. All of the sudden though, it seems like the right ebrake link near the rear tire is super tight, and the one on the driver side is normal. i jacked the car up and the left side will spin but the right (passenger side) will not. How do i get the drum off if the e-brake is stuck? i assume i have to remove the drum to fix it....... Its a 2001 Saturn L200 automatic 4door..

Thanks!

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Old 02-13-2013, 11:05 PM   #2
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

Sent you a pm, check it.

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Old 02-14-2013, 11:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

Well I have personally never dealt with drum brakes, but I CAN tell you from experience on a Ford Focus that you must use your e-brake/parking brake at least once a week or so to move it in the sleeve it sits in, otherwise it will rust and seize up. Additionally, there are parking brake return springs that are a beach to get on the brakes, and these must be replaced every 2 years from rusting out. Use it, even if you don't need it on occasion and you should be good next time.

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Old 02-16-2013, 12:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

In the UK our highway code says this: The parking brake should be used when the car is parked. It's really simple, I don't know why so many North Americans don't use this one weird trick?

Mostly here people set 'er in 'PARK' or leave the car in gear. I don't because;

* Auto trans parking pawl is a crappy bent over piece of steel and I wouldn't trust it alone. It can also be hard to get the car out of park if it's on an angle or up a steep hill. Parking brake and then into 'PARK' sorts that issue out mostly.

* Parking a manual car in gear shifts the strain from a $35 parking brake to a $3500 transmission, clutch and engine. It also increases the chances of starting the car in gear and making a mess, even with the clutch interlock system cars use here.

So yeah, I agree; using the brake is essential to keep it in shape. They do test it in most inspections so keeping it working is in our interests!

Chris...

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Old 02-17-2013, 01:24 AM   #5
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

You most likely sheered of a brake shoe or possibly a spring and it has wedged itself in the drum area.

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Old 04-14-2014, 09:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

I just had something similar happened to me on my 2000 Saturn LS1. While backup out of my driveway, I suddenly had a clunk as If I had backed over something noisy, and the I found that it seemed my rear brakes were on. Can't tell yet if it s one side or both, but I do see that my emergency brake seems to be on. I tried to operate th emergency brake but it seems it is locked on…it is had to pull up at all.

Any suggestions on what is wrong and where I might start to look for the problem?

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Old 04-14-2014, 10:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

Do you use the parking brake? When was the last time rear brakes were serviced? Nothing can be determined with so little information.

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Old 04-14-2014, 10:25 AM   #8
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

Thanks for the reply. My entire brake system was serviced last Fall. I had new from rotors and pads put on, but the rear stuff was apparently all OK. I recently did some repairs on my car (replaced the starter motor) and had to use the parking brake then to secure the car. No problems noted them. And that was exactly 8 days ago.

I'm just puzzled how the rear breaks can suddenly come on. Is this a symptom of a broken spring inside the rear brakes? Am I going to have a huge problem getting the rear drum off if indeed the brake has seized on. Since the brake cable appears to be under tension now even in the "released" position, should I release the brake cable at hand brake end?

Any help is noting where to start would be helpful.

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Old 04-14-2014, 10:41 AM   #9
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

In your region with heavy salting (?), corrosion may have done its work unless preventative measures were taken to control corrosion. Unfortunately, releasing the parking brake must be done before rear drum brakes are removed. Whether or not drums come off depends on the inside lip that remains when drums wear - brake shoes pressed into the drums won't retract, making drum removal difficult. If a service port is available in the brake backing plate, the star wheel is accessible to retract the shoes to allow drum removal. If not, drum removal is either with a large 3-jaw puller or forcing the drum off with a large hammer and piece of 2x4. The butt end of wood is pressed onto the drum lip and hammered repeatedly around the drum until it comes off the wheel hub.

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Old 04-14-2014, 11:05 AM   #10
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

You are right about heavy salting…especially this year. Because of the starter motor problems and the difficulty of working on the car in my driveway during the winter months the way the car was dropped off by the two truck, the car sat unused for since the started problem hit in January. I resumed driving one week ago and all seemed fine until this problem.

I'm trying to make the car last until my new car I've ordered arrives sometime in June, at which time I want to drive this one to the wreckers. Its served me well. I just don't want to spend any significant money on it now…and don't mind doing my own tinkering now.

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Old 04-14-2014, 12:28 PM   #11
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

Although most cars are trouble free with periodic maintenance needed to maintain long term reliability, nowhere is it ever mentioned that environmental factors can aggravate and contribute to wear and tear. Road salting, as you are well aware of, does heavy damage to metal and requires additional consideration with cars. While not required, a yearly pre-winter inspection and preparation can help ward off the effects of road salting. Spraying lubricant wherever bushings provide vibration isolation, lubing exposed bare metal like brake cables/clamps/linkages/whatever, can help by coating them in a film. Tire rotation presents a quick view of brakes and corrosion in summer to view parts that may need corrosion prevention products. No maintenance schedule exists for this so it's an individual action to anticipate winter wear and tear. Being proactive sometimes helps if there's stuff on shelves to use - lube in spray form, grease, etc..

A sitting car allows corrosion to work its magic especially if salt collected on the undercarriage. Normal weathering just let's mother nature work. Even new cars will begin to corrode of not treated before winter. That shiny plating on steel parts simply goes away as soon as salt wets it. Oxidation starts and corrosion begins.....

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Old 04-14-2014, 09:04 PM   #12
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

If you don't regularly use your parking brake, there are some bad things that happen with drum brakes. The parking/emergency brake on these cars activates a pawl that moves the brake adjuster star wheel. No adjustment, and the shoes become loose with wear. The parking brake will also stop providing any torque because the adjuster is loose. I think your problem may be that the adjuster strut has slipped down out if its notch in the shoe, jamming it. It is time to service these brakes. At least new shoes, clean up the drums, and free up the adjusters and parking brakes. There may be some parts that need replacement. The bleed screws on the cylinders will be immovably frozen. I suggest these may need to be done.

If you think all the above make disc brakes look good, not necessarily. I have had more trouble over the years from poorly designed rear disc setups. The guts of the drum brake are enclosed inside the drum. The disc brake has lots of exposed parts.

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Old 04-15-2014, 06:07 AM   #13
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

With that said though, the L series rear disk brake setup is 100 times better than the 'designed by Fred Flintstone, drunk' garbage drums.

I wouldn't even bother looking at fixing the rear drums, just go straight to a disk setup and put the drums where they belong: in the bin.

Chris...

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Old 04-16-2014, 07:06 PM   #14
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

I just took the tires off the car and started to look at the problem. What I found was that both my wheels were frozen, the drivers side wheel completely so. Also, all the emergency brake lines were under tension both at the drum brake end and the handbrake end. Its as if the cable lengths had shortened. I am absolutely baffled how this could be so, but I loosened the adjusting screw to slacken the cables and this allowed the passenger side wheel to loosen and the rotor was easily removed with no parent problems in the drum. Thedriver's side line was still very taut so clearly the cable was seized. I resorted to cutting the cable before the clip and this released the wheel. Hurray! (except that I have only have a e-brake system).

But when I removed the drum to see inside, I discovered that one shoe had delaminated. No damage to anything, just the glue holding the pad on had come undone. The pad was completely intact and undamaged.

So I am guessing this delamination is what started the problem, though how it went on to create the seizure of the e-brake cable in the pulled state is beyond me still.

The obvious thing to do now is to install new shoes, but that is a cost I want to avoid since the car goes to the wrecker in a couple months regardless. I'm wondering if anyone knows what sort of glue is used to put on the pads and if it is feasible for a short term fix to glue back the pad in a reliable fashion. I would contemplate such a solution normally, but for just a couple months, and with the front disc brakes redone not that long ago…

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Old 04-16-2014, 07:19 PM   #15
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

You're mistaken presuming the delaminated brake shoe caused e-brake seizure. Its the other way around - the seized e-brake caused the rear brakes to lock in the engaged position; this means the parking brakes were ON all the time. The car being driven this way simply cooks the brakes until something gives up. Brake linings are glued with a high temperature glue and hardly ever reach temperatures high enough to cause brake linings to fall off. A tremendous amount of heat was generated all the time the car was being driven. Its doesn't take much imagination if you did the equivalent - stand on the brake pedal while driving.................

Its not safe by any imagination to re-glue these cooked shoes.

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Old 04-16-2014, 07:39 PM   #16
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

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Originally Posted by galko View Post
But when I removed the drum to see inside, I discovered that one shoe had delaminated. No damage to anything, just the glue holding the pad on had come undone. The pad was completely intact and undamaged.

So I am guessing this delamination is what started the problem, though how it went on to create the seizure of the e-brake cable in the pulled state is beyond me still.

The obvious thing to do now is to install new shoes, but that is a cost I want to avoid since the car goes to the wrecker in a couple months regardless. I'm wondering if anyone knows what sort of glue is used to put on the pads and if it is feasible for a short term fix to glue back the pad in a reliable fashion. I would contemplate such a solution normally, but for just a couple months, and with the front disc brakes redone not that long ago…
Wow, what happened to your drum brake is an extremely rare occurrence! I suppose that you could contact the tech departments at companies like Wagner or Bendix to find out what type of bonding product they use to secure the lining to the brake shoe.

FWIW, I'd be doubtful that they'd want to share such information. I'd expect them to take the position relining a brake shoe using only a bonding agent is not a job to be done by any individual. Giving you the information could be viewed as a legally dangerous thing to do. There was a time in the 20th century where, with proper equipment, shoes could be relined at an auto parts store which would rivet them in place. Not so with bonded linings on brake shoes.

I understand the desire not to spend money unnecessarily, but if this car is to be driven amongst the general population then one must also consider the safety of other drivers on the road. We each have a responsibility to maintain our vehicles' fundamental safety. Otherwise, it seems the other responsible course of action is to take the vehicle out of service altogether.

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Old 04-16-2014, 07:55 PM   #17
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

Well I imagine you are right, but the parking brake did not appear seized from the hand brake end until this issue arose. The brake would have had to be only very slightly engaged as there was nothing obvious in the previous week of driving to suggest anything. The car coasted normally.

When the brakes seized, the hand brake could be moved very little up and seemed taught as if something was pulling from drum end. If the line had been seized with a pulled condition, the hand brake end should be loose until the top of the pull. Once the cable was cut, there was a half inch gap between the cable ends.

I guess it will be one of the mysteries of life…

BTW The way the glue appears on the pad suggests it was only glued in spots suggesting perhaps a manufacturing defect.

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Old 04-16-2014, 08:12 PM   #18
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

Its easy to judge in hindsight but do you really know the circumstances that caused brake shoe delamination? Speculation is great for discussion but if you were to look at the overall brake shoe/pad industry, what percentage of these parts fail? And how do they fail? While armchair guessing on my part is just that and your thoughts also another consideration, who knows? The only way to prevent or minimize any reason for brakes to fail is to perform the recommended brake service at recommended intervals according to owner's and service manuals. At one time, brake shoes were riveted until this fell by the wayside for glue. The same I think for brake pads. Know anyone that lost their brake pads and lived to tell? I don't even want to imagine what F1 cars suffer when their brakes are described as glowing a dull red when heated up to 'operating temperature'.........

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Old 04-19-2014, 08:30 AM   #19
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

I have replaced the rear brake shoes, but in the process a little bit of brake fluid leaked on my driver side. My brakes are a bit mushy, so I suspect that I introduced air in the system there and need to bleed the brake line on the rear drivers side. The problem is that when I looked behind the brace cylinder where I though there should be a bleed valve with a nipple on it, I can see none. The brake line comes in, there is a single bolt that seems to be the brake cylinder mounting bolt (below and to the left of the brake line looking at the back of the wheel) and that is it.

Where is the bleed valve on these rear wheels?

Incidentally, the parking brake line now is very loose, and retracts easily, so it would appear it was never seized. The origin of the tension on both sides is thus a mystery.

Thanks for the help.

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Old 04-19-2014, 08:43 AM   #20
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Default Re: Rear passenger e-brake stuck after not even using it on 2001 Saturn L200

Just to add to my post…I found a picture of the brake cylinder part and see there should be a bleed valve directly above the brake line, but sadly in my case there is none. I can't imagine how that can be. I've had the brake fluid flushed from the system several times and that should have required the bleed valve.

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