Jim Grant's Tech Tips
‘97 Dodge Stratus, Smoking Brake
I own a '97 Dodge Stratus with ABS. I've replaced right rear drum, brakes and accessories three times. The same brake continues to drag to the point it burns up. I've checked lines for kinks, replaced all the parts. Dodge has "never heard of this problem" any suggestions.
- Fred Schumacher
Is the parking/emergency brake adjusted correctly? I'm sure that has been checked but I have to ask. If that has been checked, the next question is, has the rubber/flexible brake hose to that brake been replaced? If it hasn't been replaced, replace it! What you're telling me is that your right rear brake is staying on, not a lot, but on. If the mechanical causes have been eliminated/checked, then it is likely that you have too great of a residual pressure in the hydraulic brake system to that wheel. The most common cause for that type of problem is due to a blockage or restriction in the brake hose. If the brake hose has been replaced, then the problem may be more involved, but still due to too great of residual pressure in the system. There is a device called a proportioning valve. The proportioning valve controls the fluid pressure to the rear brakes and you should know that there is a valve for each rear brake. If the valve is failing, it can easily hold back enough pressure in the system to cause the brake to drag. On ABS equipped vehicles these valves are mounted on the outlet of the ABS hydraulic control unit. You really don't want to be going to a shop that says they never heard of such a problem. A well-equipped repair facility will have a set of pressure gauges that are designed for diagnosing problems such as yours. They will have the training and system understanding to provide you with the correct diagnosis and repair.