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Jim Grant Tech Tips Jim Grant Tech Tips
A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us.



Lincoln - Mercury
  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

97 Toyota Corolla, Phantom Brake Grind

Q: I have a '97 Toyota Corolla. In the past three months I have noticed when I brake I hear a grinding noise. I have taken it to my mechanic and he changed the back brakes and the front brakes are in good condition. No sooner left the garage it did it again. So a couple days later he took the car in and put on a new drum and to this day it's still doing it. I stopped at another garage and one of the mechanics heard it and said that it possibly could be a bushing. My mechanic just can't seem to diagnose what is causing this to happen. Hopefully you will have some answers to my problem.

A: Does the grinding noise occur when the brakes are applied? Or is it a random grinding noise, maybe when turning? Because you say that the rear brakes and one rear brake drum was replaced then, is the noise from the rear of the vehicle? Was one brake drum replaced because the noise was from that side of the vehicle? Can you make the noise occur if you lightly apply the emergency brake? Or does it cause the grinding noise to stop? I know it's a lot of questions but it does create a path to aid in solving the problem. About every shop has run into problems like this and when the answer is found it has always seemed to be a simple fix. Be sure to check the routing (inside the brake drum) and adjustment of the emergency brake. There is a return spring on the cable inside the brake drum. Sometimes there will be enough bend/bow in the cable that the spring contacts the inside of the brake drum. All it takes is a light touch to make a big noise. The touch of the cable can be so light that it will hardly leave a rub mark on the brake drum. If the brake drum is new and clean it will be even harder to see. That's just one thought. I tend to doubt that the brakes (shoes or drum) are the cause for the noise. It's going to be some little piece that is rubbing just right that is causing this noise to irritate you, and form stomach acid for you technician.

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