88 ranger rear drum issue - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Drivetrain Tech General discussion of drivetrain for the Ford Ranger.

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Old 05-08-2012
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88 ranger rear drum issue

First time posting, hope someone can offer an answer.

My 88 Ranger will adjust the rear drums to the point of nearly locking, just by pushing down on the brake pedal. Its almost comical. I can be sitting at a traffic light on a hill, with my foot on the brake, let off the brakes and the truck will just stay there. So I have to give a good bit of the throttle to get her moving again and for the next .5 mile I can feel the brakes dragging. So it seems the brakes are auto adjusting too tightly.

Any one know the reason? I've taken the drums off and haven't found anything obviously wrong.

Thanks for the answers!
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Old 05-08-2012
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The locking mechanism (anti-rotational device) on the auto adjusters may not be fully engaging allowing the adjuster to rotate under pressure.
The wheel cylinders may have a wear point that holds the rear brakes on.
Brake Shoes maybe worn to a point that the wheel cylinder is over extended.

How long since a brake job ?

How thick are the shoes ?

Did you do a brake job recently ?
If you did, did you replace the wheel cylinders, any of the hardware, did you use a small amount of grease on the wear points of the backing plate ?

How are your brake lines, old/rusted, if so how bad or are they new ?

A lot of things can go wrong but all simple to fix.
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Old 05-08-2012
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Icon7

The shoes are worn, but still have just shy of 1/8" of pad, maybe thats too worn. Brake lines are good. I'll go through the rest of your suggestions sometime this week. Thanks for the information!
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Old 05-08-2012
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When and if you do a brake job, do it all, shoes, wheel cylinders and all of the hardware; even take a minute and check the wheel bearing by attempting to move the axle around.
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Old 05-09-2012
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Somewhat ironic that you are having these problems, as I am dealing with the exact same thing on a 2005 Ranger. I replaced the shoes, cylinders, and all the hardware about a month ago and was cruisin down the road when the back end started to vibrate real bad. I pulled off the road and recognized the smell immediately as burning brakes--my back left wheel had seized completely (the right was fine). After finally getting the wheel apart, the pad on the rear shoe had broken off and was jammed among all the hardware, causing the brakes to stick in the on position. I incorrectly assumed that the problem was with the shoes themselves and exchanged them for a new set, redid the whole brake job, and now its at it again.

If I go in and rotate the star wheel I can temporarily relieve the symptoms long enough to drive it, but it quickly ratchets itself too tight again. The right side still works fine.

Could something like the wheel bearings be the hidden cause? I don't have any other symptoms than the sticking brake... When I jack the back end and wiggle the tire there is no play, but then again I've never diagnosed wheel bearings before. Could it be the drum itself?

Good luck getting yours fixed patrik260z, let me know what the solution is.
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Old 05-09-2012
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Are all the pieces in place, the Anti-rotator, the part that lays against the adjuster, is it there ?
What about the cable that lifts the anti-rotator is it there and is the cable connected on the other end ?

Make sure to replace all of the springs.

Last edited by Scrambler82; 05-09-2012 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 05-09-2012
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Yep, all that is there. I followed this guys tutorial: https://www.ranger-forums.com/engine-drivetrain-122/how-servicing-rear-drum-brakes-81906/

And also took the advice of doing one side at a time to mirror it. Just out of curiosity, because I am sure someone on here knows, when you use the parking brake, does it expand the brakes evenly or more at the top? When I took the broken brake shoes out, the damaged area was at the top by the wheel cylinder (which is brand new).
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Old 05-12-2012
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Wow, you won’t believe this, I posted here about brake jobs and Wham Bam I get the same thing.
My left rear had a brake shoe liner break apart.
Pull it all down, cleaned it up and replaced everything, shoes, wheel cylinders, all mechanicals including springs, cables, clips but cleaned and greased the adjusters.

Still need to bleed the brake this AM and will see how things go.

I noticed after reading this thread and took a ride that when I pulled out from a stop something was holding back.
Seemed to return to normal but I was thinking on it.
Next day did a hard stop and couldn’t move, backed up ok then pulled forward ok, let it go, nothing to worry about.
Later that day coming off the highway laid on the brakes and the rear end started chattering, bouncing and something was stopping me… backed up, release everything and drove it home took it apart and got it fixed.

$225 for all of the parts, saved on labor but could have been a $350 + rear only brake job.
Prices are going threw the roof on this stuff, maybe I should start fixing vehicles again.

The only thing I didn’t do and wished I did is turn the drums, not sure where this will lead but I am hoping the shoes will hold out long enough until I fit the axle under there.

Last edited by Scrambler82; 05-12-2012 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 05-12-2012
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As I said, “Do everything while it is apart”.
Went out this AM to bleed the brakes and thought twice about the drums, went down to the auto parts store and bought new drums, now everything is replaced.


patrick260z,
How did you make out ?
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Old 05-14-2012
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In case someone else has this problem, I'd thought I'd share what the deal was. It finally clicked when I had my wife step on the e-brake pedal with the wheel apart, and when she released it nothing happened. The short cable that runs to the back left wheel has partially seized. When you are using the foot pedal you have enough leverage to tighten the brake, but when you release it you can pull as hard as you want and cannot get the thing to slacken. It was so bad, that I couldn't get the drum back on at all, even with the star wheel shortened as much as possible. My solution was to just remove all of the parking brake stuff. The two levers, the cross bar and anti-rattle spring, and the cable. I'm sure somebody on here will have something to say about not have a parking brake on the wheel, but I figured having the right wheel still work was better than not using the e-brake at all. Eventually I'll order the cable and replace it. Probably about the same time I have to get another state inspection...
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