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Geo Tracker and Suzuki Sidekick Rear Brake Service

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It so happens my passenger rear brake cylinder is leaking - so I'll have to pretty much do exactly what you're asking, and I'd be happy to shoot some pics.

I'm not sure what your timeline is, but I should be pulling it apart this week - or the weekend, at the very latest.

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  • 1 month later...

 Life got in the way last week, however - while finishing up my interior refurb project yesterday, also completed replacing the rear brake shoes, both wheel cylinders, and all rear brake hardware, including flushing all brake fluid from the three bleed valves (the rear passenger wheel is the only one without a bleed valve - you bleed that circuit from the rear drivers wheel).

Back to the OP's question, the emergency brake adjust is a single 10 mm bolt adjuster right behind the rear e-brake lever:


You can see here that the cables are uneven - hopefully yours are even.  The upper cable in the photo leads to the rear drivers wheel, and barely engages when the lever is pulled, but the lower cable in the pic (rear pass) engages fine and locks it up VERY tight.  I haven't gone any further to diag why my cable is frozen yet, but it's not a big deal (to me) at the moment.

You just have to remove whatever is covering your e-brake lever.  My Tracker had a simple cover over it when I got it, but I later ordered a different cover that includes cup holders, so your Tracker might be different again.  It was easy to access in any event, however - two screws and two body pins, and the cover sort of slides & twists off the lever, exposing what you see in the pic.

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Now, for rear drum removal and pad inspection, it's quite easy.

Remove the rear wheel(s).  You will see four axle studs/nuts (17 mm I think?) with lock washers.  Remove these nuts, and; if the drum is tight, just find your best beatin' iron & smack it in between the wheels studs, and it should begin to work its way off - at some point you'll be able to wiggle, jiggle and pull it off completely.

Here is a pic of the drum and the holes where the axle studs push through:



I thought I was going to need a puller of some sort to get the drums off, but, again (with hearing / eye protection!!), just whack these areas and it should begin to work itself off:



And here is what the axle studs look like with the drum removed:


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To adjust the rear brakes, you don't have to; it's automatic.  As with most vehicles, drive backwards a few times and firmly brake to a quick stop - that should set them.  If you're installing new brakes, there is a mechanism you'll want to be sure to release or otherwise relax - the drum won't fit until you do.

The self adjust mechanism is here - it's a spring-loaded ratcheting mechanism - I was able to release mine with a small screwdriver - gently pry the two ratchet pieces apart, away from each other horizontally, and when the teeth disengage the spring should return it to a favourable position (you'll know when you get it right - it'll just 'pop' into place), and the drum should slide on easily.



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  • 1 year later...

I have a 2000 tracker 4x4 four door with 2.0 LT engine. Need to replace rear brake shoes. Purchased new (738) from local parts store. Tried installing them and now can’t get drum on. Found that the shoes I took off have smaller core?  Identical profile but smaller. Parts store can’t find any other part for it? Any one seen this before? Tried searching many other vehicles but all the same shoes? 

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Ross...You did retract the self-adjuster mechanisms and seat the brake shoes before attempting to slide on the drums?  If so, and if the drums still do not fit onto the shoes, carefully measure the inside diameter of the drum and the outside spread/width of the shoes at their widest point. 

I use a gauge for this that is a rough and quick estimate for setting up new brakes.  You can see that this can quickly compare the I.D. of the drum (at the narrowest point) to the widest point of the seated brake shoes spread:


I looked up your "738" part number.  The part number shows up under AutoZone's Duralast line for both the 2WD and 4WD 2000 model year Tracker 2.0L.  The footnotes for this rear brake shoe set show the drum inside diameter and shoe width as 8.66" x 1.63" (approximately 220mm x 41.4 mm).  You can check the spread of the shoe linings and I.D. of the drums.  I dug deeper on this "738" and compared the Duralast sizing to TRW's ZD738 shoes.  TRW shows the drum size as 8-21/32" diameter with a 1-45/64" shoe width.  This is the same sizing as the Duralast dimensions from AutoZone.

Did you back off the parking brake cable adjustment to allow the plate to retract the brake shoes completely?  The vehicle's  parking brake might have been spooled up to compensate for the worn brake lining.

When you share that the original shoes were "smaller", are you laying one shoe on top of the other?  That's the best way to compare the diameter/radius of the shoes.  If the shoe back (metal) is a radius match for each new shoe, then the thickness difference would be the new lining versus the old lining. 

Consider whether the parking brake is adjusted too tightly for the new shoes.  If so, slacken the cable adjustment.  Install the new shoes and measure the spread/diameter at the centerline of the shoes (maximum width of linings).  Compare this to the drum's inside diameter.  The shoe spread/width must be narrower than the inside diameter of the drum—as you already know. 

There are unusual conditions where the shoe lining is too thick, but that's unlikely with mass production shoes.  Cam arc'ing shoe linings to match drum size is no longer a common practice.  (Brake specialty shops and suppliers still do this.)  Out of the box, most shoes are arc'd for a standard diameter to 0.060" oversized ("turned") drum.  Of course this is less accurate, and it takes a while for new lining to seat (contour) against the drum surface.  Earlier practice in my era was to match (cam arc grind) new shoe linings to fit freshly turned drums.

After backing off the parking brake adjustment, retracting the adjusters and tapping the shoes toward each other with the heels of your palms should seat the shoes—unless the wheel cylinder pistons are frozen and will not retract properly. 

Sometimes, if the brake shoes were badly worn, you may need to crack open the bleeder valves to relieve fluid pressure and allow the pistons to retract.  (Keep dirt and debris away from the bleeders.)  Make sure that the master cylinder reservoir is not too full.  This can prevent the wheel cylinder pistons from retracting.

Try this and comment back...We'd like to see you complete a safe brake job.


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  • Moses Ludel changed the title to Geo Tracker and Suzuki Sidekick Rear Brake Service

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