[Vwdiesel] Brake Job?

Craig Osborn cosborn at epix.net
Tue Jul 1 20:50:20 PDT 2008

A few days ago, I heard a thumping noise coming from the rear passenger side
wheel of my '81 pickup.  Never having messed around with drum brakes, I went
to a franchise muffler/brake shop to have the noise investigated.  I was
informed that my brake shoe had broken into pieces.  I authorized a repair
that included brake shoe replacement on both sides, and a new wheel cylinder
on the passenger side (because the bleeder screw was broken off).  I
additionally requested a brake system flush (power bleed) since I have only
owned this vehicle for around 10,000 miles of it's total 200,000 miles and I
was not sure how old was the brake fluid.

I paid the bill and proceeded to drive the 50 mile commute to work the next
day and immediately  noticed a drag that felt like the brakes were on all of
the time.  I also felt a vibration and heard a faint whining noise.  Upon
arriving at work, I felt the wheel and noticed that the wheel was very hot
on the driver's side rear, but not on the passenger side rear.  It didn't
seem so bad as to prohibit driving, so I elected to drive the 50 miles home.
When I arrived at home, I noticed smoke coming from the "hot" wheel, that I
assumed was bearing grease burning off or brake shoes smoking.  I
immediately took the car back to the shop.  They put it on the lift and
announced that the bearing was "fried", but that there was nothing wrong
with the brake job that they had done.  He said that the mechanic may have
over-tightened the wheel bearing and caused the problem so he agreed to
replace the outer bearing.  He said the inner bearing/race was OK. He also
said he "backed off" the nut so as to loosen the pressure on both back
wheels so the problem wouldn't reoccur.  I drove about two miles home and
felt the same drag and noticed the wheel smoking again.  I took it back to
the shop and they said they will look at it tomorrow.  

I never had any feelings of "drag" or any overheating or whining from the
rear wheels prior to this repair.

Any experts reading this -

Does this sound like a bad brake job that caused the overheating, and
subsequently caused the bearing problem?  OR was the bearing problem
coincidental.  If this were your car, what would you say in order to point
the repair mechanic in the proper direction?   




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