rear passenger brakes locked up


Asked by Dec 08, 2015 at 07:42 PM about the 2003 Chevrolet Venture LS

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

About a week ago our alternator went out and the van died on the side of the road. The E brake was engaged at one point while we were trying to get it back to where we could work on it and it locked up and would not disengage. After a while we were able to get the E brake to loosen up enough to roll the vehicle. We changed the alternator, which was a pain in the a** due to the location, the next day and drove it 45 mins back home that same night.
The next morning we went to start the car and go to the store to make sure everything was working properly. We made it about 20 feet and the rear passenger wheel locked up completely. If you stop for a second and roll forward again you can get another foot or two before it locks up again. It will go reverse all day (at least 100 feet or so) and will then go forward almost exactly as far as you go backwards.
Based on this im assuming something is broken or lodged either in the E brake or the drum brake system. So i took the wheel off and attempted to remove the brake drum but everything is locked up and i cant get the drum to budge. Im hoping if im able to get the drum off ill find whats broken but i cant rotate it to get to the tensioner and hitting it with a hammer doesnt seem to loosen anything up. My last ditch effort would be to drill and tap a couple holes in the drum to push it off with a couple bolts, but i dont want to accidentally f*** something up. So if anyone has any better ideas or suggestion it would be greatly appreciated.

12 Answers


E-break systems rust up if not used regularly. You either you use them or you don't. Penetrating oil on the cables and around center of drum that slides onto the axle, and the recommendation for getting a drum off is to hit it with a BFH on the face of the drum between the lugs. Apply pressure with a big flat blade screwdriver behind the drum and backing plate while smacking the face of the drum. But depending on how rusted the E-break lines are you may have to cut them behind the backing plate to release.

2 people found this helpful.

Well, for what it's worth, this is 1997- 2005 Venture. Click for full screen. I wish I had a better answer, just be sure to wear safety glasses when you finally do get the drum off. I know a gut lost an eye when a brake spring flew out. It does appear it has the same old fashion 'gear wheel' adjuster you may be able to back off the show pressure.

2 people found this helpful.

You need to dissemble the e-brake and inspect them and probably replace the shoes and maybe other parts as well. Lubricate the cable or if it is bad, replace it.

1 people found this helpful.

We were posting at the same time. But that is way good information from Rowefast and FoR

1 people found this helpful.

I live in rust country and have removed many of the most difficult rusted up drums. Smacking it on the face of the drum works, that recommendation comes from Ford...

1 people found this helpful.

You got your post in before mine and I like the diagram you found.

1 people found this helpful.

Guy not gut

1 people found this helpful.

Yeah, it looks like drum brake designs have not changed much over the years, eh?

1 people found this helpful.

i thought about just cutting the line for the E brake right behind the drum but i didnt want to make anything worse. So as long as thats ok im gonna do that and see if that loosens anything up.

1 people found this helpful.

and ill also get a bigger hammer just in case

1 people found this helpful.

Not going to be a problem, will not affect the rear break workings, tho you may find that you will have to get a kit and replace all the springs and workings. Spray penetrating oil into the cable after you cut it.

1 people found this helpful.

Brake drums can be a b^*#@*!!

1 people found this helpful.

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