2nd Gen Ram Tech1994-2001 Rams: This section is for TECHNICAL discussions only, that involve the 1994 through 2001 Rams. For any non-tech discussions, please direct your attention to the "General discussion/NON-tech" sub sections.
THE REAR BRAKES ARE NOT ADJUSTING AS THEY SHOULD. I HAVE 46000 MILES ON THIS TRUCK AND THIS IS THE SECOND TIME I HAVE HAD TO MANUALLY ADJUST THE REAR BRAKES MYSELF. WHAT IS CAUSING THIS PROBLEM? I KNOW WHEN BACKING UP ITS SUPPOSED TO ADJUST THE DRUMS, AND USUALLY THE ONLY REVERSE THIS TRUCK DOES IS OUT OF THE GARAGE.
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As with most vehicles with drum brakes, they need you to move in reverse on occassion for the adjustment actuator to work. Since you don't do a lot of backing up, I'd recommend you pump the brakes when in moving in reverse. Each pump of the brakes will move the actuator and adjust the brakes.
Just thought I'd pass this on for what it's worth.
I ran into a funny deal today with my truck. A 2001 Dodge, 1500, 2-wheel drive V8 with 117,600 miles. Since I have changed the front brake pads four times during this ten year period, I assumed it was time to replace the rear brake shoes and possibly the drums if they were worn. I purchased all the necessary replacement parts and then proceeded to remove the brake shoes, etc. Upon inspection, I found that the shoes had very little if any wear and the drums were somewhat rusted on the braking surface rather than being shiny from use. The other components of the braking system were clean with no rust and no sign of fluid leakage of any kind although I have added some fluid during the past years.
With a set of calipers, I measured the new and then the old brake shoes. They were the same thickness. In other words, the brake shoes that were installed at the factory in 2001 were just as new as they were when installed even though the truck now has over 117,600 miles on the odometer.
Being surprised at my findings, I called Central Dodge, Springfield, Mo. where I had purchased the truck new in 2001. The service manager told me that these brakes are not “self-adjusting” even though they are supposed to be and that they must be adjusted manually. That was certainly news to me as it was to other Dodge truck owners that I have told about this finding.
This thread is quite old (from 2008!), and not too many people will read it, so if you want to get more people's opinions about the matter, you can create a brand new post in this 2nd gen ram section.
By the way, I wouldn't trust a service manager's word for anything... EVER. Especially at a Dodge/Chrysler dealership. He's partially correct, but these rear axles ARE "self-adjusting"... they just don't do it very well.
Most guys recommend to manually adjust them anyway.
I've been working on vehicles all my life 50 some years and I haven't come accross an automatic adjuster yet that I actually works like it was intended.
The best way to adjust brakes is crawling under the vehicle and doing it manually.........then you know what you have and that both sides are EQUALLY adjusted!
I think the manufacturers just like to throw something out there for advertisment purposes that can justify them adding a couple more thousand to the selling price! Or actually, the dealer adding a couple more since these vehicles are coming out of the factories at around $8000 a piece! The dealer adds the 320% mark-up and makes up that "sticker" you see on the window!