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Why would a Ford Ranger rear brakes lock up under normal braking?


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2015-07-14 15:06:58
2015-07-14 15:06:58

The question is: "Why would a Ford Ranger's brakes lock up under normal braking conditions?"

Not wanting to be too general but at least trying to help I would suggest looking under the back end, and specifically at the rear backing plates and to the insides of the rear wheels, to see if you notice any fluids dripping. If these are drum brakes, then you could very well have either a wheel cylinder leaking brake fluid, causing the brake shoe linings to swell up, or it could be a leaking axle seal, allowing differential gear lube out, which will also cause the linings to swell, and minor braking will cause that particular side to lock up.

If this vehicle has rear disk brakes, or was just recently changed from rear drum brakes to rear disk brakes, it is possible that the proportioning valve in the brake line was not changed to match with the disk setup.

Drum brakes operate at approximately ten pounds per square inch pressure (10 PSI) whereas disk units operate at a lower pressure of about 2 PSI.

Just some things to look at. Some brake fluids have no smell, others are very distinctive in odor, and differential gear lube has a very distinct odor...not hard to miss once you've smelled it.


It can also be caused if you use the parking brake rarely - Sometimes the cables and springs involved with this mechanism will rust and cause the brakes to stay partially engaged, causing the rear brakes to apply before the front brakes. The best way to check this - remove the rear wheels and drums, and follow the path where the parking brake cable enters the brake. This goes to a lever with a spring return mechanism - if the spring is stretched, the brake is at least partially on - use gentle taps with a hammer to force it to release. Also check the other side.

A suggestion:

A suggestion is to checking and bleeding both sides of the front brakes. The rear

lockup of the brake pads of my ranger with 30K miles made me think the ABS was bad, but when I changed out the brake fluid with NAPA dot 3, I found my Front discs, which had never been open to air since new, had a lot of air. Just a thought that the braking system made the rear brakes jump harder into the drums, when the system sensed that the front brakes where needing help.


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Wornb brake pads. You are hearing the warning device that is telling you to replace the pads.

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Through the rubber plug on the back straight under the axle.

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