Rear Brake Disaster

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Thread: Rear Brake Disaster

  1. #1
    Walking
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    Rear Brake Disaster

    I have a 2000 GMC Sierra with rear disc brakes. I replaced the rear pads, not realizing that both rear calipers were stuck (I could push the pistons in with a C clamp, but with difficulty.) I drove it that way, and was a few miles from home before I realized the brakes were dragging badly and smoking and burning, and the further I drove the tighter they got. They were dragging so badly that the truck had difficulty getting up to highway speeds.

    I made it home, figured out what was going on, and replaced both rear calipers and the burned up pads. The brakes are fine now, but I caused another problem. Now there is a roaring/rumbling noise like a worn bearing coming from from under the truck. It sounds similar to knobby tires or a rough road surface, and it gets louder with speed.

    My question is, what was most likely to wear out from the rear brakes dragging badly and getting very hot at highway speeds? Something in the rear differential? A rear wheel bearing? The transmission fluid does not smell burnt.

    Thank you very much for any and all advice!

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  3. #2
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    Red face Rear Brake Disaster

    (I posted this to "Truck Talk", but thought this might be a more appropriate place for it.)

    I have a 2000 GMC Sierra with rear disc brakes. I replaced the rear pads, not realizing that both rear calipers were stuck (I could push the pistons in with a C clamp, but with difficulty.) I drove it that way, and was a few miles from home before I realized the brakes were dragging badly and smoking and burning, and the further I drove the tighter they got. They were dragging so badly that the truck had difficulty getting up to highway speeds.

    I made it home, figured out what was going on, and replaced both rear calipers and the burned up pads. The brakes are fine now, but I caused another problem. Now there is a roaring/rumbling noise like a worn bearing coming from from under the truck. It sounds similar to knobby tires or a rough road surface, and it gets louder with speed.

    My question is, what was most likely to wear out from the rear brakes dragging badly and getting very hot at highway speeds? Something in the rear differential? A rear wheel bearing? The transmission fluid does not smell burnt.

    Thank you very much for any and all advice!

  4. #3
    Walking
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    Re: Rear Brake Disaster

    Is it possible while your rear breaks were locking up that you developed some flat spots on your rear tires? Would make them sound like knobby or chopped tires.

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    Re: Rear Brake Disaster

    If the brakes got that hot I would almost bet you fried the wheel bearings (burned the greese out of them) and warped the rotors from the noise your saying.
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    Re: Rear Brake Disaster

    If the brakes got that hot I would almost bet you fried the wheel bearings (burned the greese out of them) and warped the rotors from the noise your saying.
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    Re: Rear Brake Disaster

    I'd check out the rear tires before replacing anything, as stated by Jonk72

    I've dragged trucks back to our shop at my job-site when they've had locked wheels from failures, and that put flat spots on the tires enough to cause problems.
    Last edited by tanked_darren; 03-27-2010 at 10:03 PM.

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    R2-D2 Astromech Droid Smaart Aas Saabr's Avatar
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    Re: Rear Brake Disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by tanked_darren View Post
    I'd check out the rear tires before replacing anything, as stated by Jonk72

    I've dragged trucks back to our shop at my job-site when they've had locked wheels from failures, and that put flat spots on the tires enough to cause problems.
    But it sounds like he drove the truck, methinks if the rear tires locked up during that adventure he would have noticed

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    Re: Rear Brake Disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by Smaart Aas Saabr View Post
    But it sounds like he drove the truck, methinks if the rear tires locked up during that adventure he would have noticed
    True. Although the calipers were sticking, the rear wheels never locked up completely. Wouldn't have made it home if they did!

  10. #9
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    Re: Rear Brake Disaster

    Rear disc brakes have always been a big problem on all GM vehicles and probably other makes as well. That is why GM has gone back to drum brakes on the rear for most of it's light duty pickups.

    Rain and slush spray from the front wheels coats the disc brake componants on the rear and causes severe corrosion. What makes it worse on GM vehicles is they use inferior and easily corrodable parts instead of paying a few more dollars per vehicle to get the more durrable ones. Their brake part suppliers have been telling GM that for years but GM just wont listen. I'm quite sure if GM customers knew just how bad the problem really is, they would gladly pay a few more dollars when purchasing their vehicles as it would save them big bucks later on.

    I live in Southern Ontario where winter salt spray is a fact of life and most dealers here recommend what they call a "Brake Service". They actualy recommend having it done every tire rotation but once annualy or so should be sufficient. This "Brake Service" usualy consists of dismantling the front and rear brakes as if for a normal brake job, inspecting the brake parts, cleaning the brake parts, relubricating the slide pin bolts and such and a roadtest after everything has been reassembled.

    All this sounds a bit excessive but it works. How I know is I was offered this service on my 2003 silverado 1500 EC Z-71 which I bought new and I always refused. Sure enough, I had a rear calliper seize up on me at about 50,000 kilometers/30,000 miles. As it turned out, the cost of repairs was about the same as those "Brake Services" I neglected to have done. But it cost me in the end by ruining a perfectly good brake rotor. Also, I consider myself fortunate in I didn't cook my bearings and seals as it appears you might have done.

    I hope this information helps others to be smarter and less stingy than I was.

    Cheers, lvlagnum.

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    Re: Rear Brake Disaster

    Axle bearings would have overheated, I would replace them, small pain in the butt but not very expensive.
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    Re: Rear Brake Disaster

    I saw a report on GM W-body rear disk brake problems years ago, many inboard calipers were so rusted after years of service that they could not be removed by any means. Sounds like it might be a similar problem with your truck. Looks like you have a few good suggestions here, hope you're able to get it easily fixed!
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    Re: Rear Brake Disaster

    I had rear disc brakes on my 6000 STE. They were a nightmare, because they were not self-adjusting and I drove that car in the winter. Both my Impala SS and DTS have rear discs but are never winter driven.

    The noise you describe sounds like the diff to me. The load on the diff with seized brakes would be incredible and the heat way beyond the capacity of the lube. You don't mention how many miles are on that rear lube, but if I were you I'd drain the diff and refill it with Mobil 1 synthetic gear lube. I've used it in all my RWD vehicles for the past 15 years without a single problem.
    Last edited by Tomko; 03-28-2010 at 01:20 PM.
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