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Auto Q&A with Tom Torbjornsen: Emergency brake cable could be seized

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Dear Tom,
I just replaced my drum brakes on an ’86 Jeep CJ-7. I have been getting a cyclical sliding noise (not squealing or grinding, but something is touching) when I drive at all speeds and the driver side drum overheats excessively to the point where I won’t drive it. I have tried adjusting the brakes to see if the shoes were too close to the drum, but that doesn’t seemed to have helped very much. Do you have any ideas as to what might be contacting and what I can do about it?
Josh from Tonawanda, N.Y.

The brake shoes on the side that gets hot are touching the drum. Check the emergency brake cable on the side that's overheating. I suspect it might be seized, causing the brake shoe to stay applied to the drum. Should the cable be OK, check for worn return springs, loose anchor springs, or a leaking or seized wheel cylinder because these things could cause the brake to hang up as well. Success to you.

Tom Torbjornsen is an automotive expert of 37 years. An automotive journalist in good standing with the IMPA (International Motor Press Association) and MPG (Motor Press Guild), Torbjornsen is the Repair and Maintenance Editor for AOL Autos, At Home Portals and many other websites. Please send your car questions to his website at