What's going on with the sticky rear brakes?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 1993

Dear Tom and Ray:

I just purchased a 1986 Dodge Ram Van. When I drive over 20 mph then apply the brakes, the rear brakes stick. If I back up, the sound is even worse. You can actually hear them binding. I put on new shoes and turned the drums, and the problem is still there. Any suggestions?

RAY: My guess is that your wheel cylinders are sticking.

TOM: Try an experiment. Next time the brakes lock up, climb under the van and open both rear bleeders. If that unlocks the brakes, then my brother is wrong. That means you have a problem further up in the system, like in the proportioning valve or the master cylinder.

RAY: But my guess is that opening the bleeders won't do anything. And that means I'm probably right, and what you need are new wheel cylinders

TOM: By the way, David, my brother used to drive a Dodge just like this, but he kept running into problems with people following the instructions on the back of the vehicle.

RAY: Yeah. People would drive up and see the sign on the back that says "Ram Van," and then smash into me.

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