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Dangerous Wheel lockup, no forward drive :(

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Old 02-21-2013, 10:55 PM   #1
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Default Dangerous Wheel lockup, no forward drive :(

Hey guys, new to the forum! Long time XJ lover! maybe someone can point me in the right direction with this problem..

My mom drove our 89 automatic XJ off the lot brand new a year before I was born. I had it all through high school, and now I'm using it in college. Great little jeep.

Tonight I got done with an exam, went out to the parking lot to head home, and as soon as I braked (lightly) for the first time there was a hard dropping boom sound, followed by (what sounded like) rear tire lockup. After that point I couldn't drive forward; the jeep tried but it was almost like some sort of brake was holding it back. I put it in reverse and backed up just fine, and then could drive forward again just fine until I braked, follwed by the same dropping lockup thing.

Backed up again, tried putting it in 4 wheel drive but could not get transfer case to engage past 4H. Physically couldn't pull it hard enough to put it in neutral even and didnt want to break it.

Finally got it rolling and slowly headed home, but randomly at like 20mph with no braking tires locked up again and i started fish tailing.

Some sweet girl behind me asked if I needed help pushing, which i declined. Then some a**hole honked obnoxiously at me as he passed because i was in the middle of the road and couldnt move. gosh i wanted to shoot that guy!

Anyways, i believe its a Tcase problem, but i can't figure out why it would work fine in reverse but not in drive. Thoughts? Appreciate any advice!!!
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:14 PM   #2
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I would pull the rear brakes apart and make sure one of the shoes didn't fall apart. I remember my buds old S10 had a similar issue, could only go backwards. Ebrake cable was jammed.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:21 PM   #3
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i second the taking off wheels and drums to see whats going on there. if the springs. clips etc are old most likely they quit their job .
good luck!
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Old 02-22-2013, 02:18 AM   #4
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Thanks guys, I will lift her up tomorrow and see whats going on. It would be nice if it was just a drum brake problem, i would hate to have to drop the transfer case in the middle of winter with no garage...
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:53 PM   #5
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After some more testing I confirmed that the rear passenger tire is the only one locking up, and that it is a common problem with drum brakes. I have never had any issues with my XJ but others have.

Well I finally got around to braving the snow. I lifted the rear end up and gave the rear tires a spin.

The passenger side sounds really grindy, like something is hanging up in there, but after taking the tire and drum cover off everything looks normal. I suppose I really have no idea what to look for.

Any ideas? SOme suggest spraying everything down with brake cleaner. Or adjusting the star wheel. Do those brakes every need to just be strait up replaced?
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:00 PM   #6
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How rusty/bad is the hardware (Springs, clips, etc)? If it looks rusty go ahead and replace it, a hardware kit's like $30.

If that doesn't help anything, it may be something with the axle/differential.
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:30 PM   #7
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take a picture of the whole assembly, including the shoes. Yes they need replaced occasionally, both sides will need to be done at the same time.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:06 PM   #8
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I was just thinking. Allot of shops offer a free brake inspection. Do you have AAA or free towing? Drive it one block then have it towed and inspected free? Getting back home might be a problem though.

X2, like Coach said, a pic might help. I'd also look at the cables to the E-Brake.

Neat story! (My Honda is a 75, same year I got my Motorcycle License).
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:00 PM   #9
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Sorry its taken me so long to get back to this!

Yesterday I learned how drum brakes work... The first side took me about 3 hours and the second side about 25 minutes. I replaced shoes and brake cylinders, and bled the lines.

On the passenger side the shoes were so warn that the ceramic section had literally fallen off the metal shoe, and metal on metal was causing the tires to lock up (my guess). Also, my cylinder on that side was so decomposed from age that I dont believe it has been working properly for some time.

Everything is changed and my jeep stops great, for an '89 at least. I'll bleed the lines again in a few days but if anybody is having this lockup problem its definitely the drum brakes.

Thanks so much for everybodys input!!!
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:22 PM   #10
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Cool! A last tip. The free-play in your pedal is directly linked to that adjuster wheel. I might repeatedly tighten it, hitting the brake, engine on a bit till it's locked solid, , then back it of until the wheel spins almost freely, (with new shoes). (backing it off, you might need to poke something in, to release the auto adjuster)

Everybody hear this. The "auto adjusters" don't seem to work well, BUT!
IF YOU HOLD THE PEDAL DOWN AND ROCK FROM FORWARD TO REVERSE, THAT MIGHT MAKE THE LEVER TURN THE WHEEL

Feel free to PM me if you think that helped.
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