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3rd & 4th Generation (19921996 & 19972001) Toyota Camry Discussion for years: 1992-1996 & 1997-2001 Topics of discussion range from fuel economy, safety, modifications, performance all involving America's favorite family car, the Toyota Camry.

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Old 05-15-2006, 12:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Mysterious Brake Problem (2000 Camry)

We have a 2000 Camry LE that has front disc and rear drum brakes without ABS. The problem started one day a few months ago when the brake pedal would not apply the brakes until it got close to the floor. So we had the brakes inspected and the rear brakes adjusted up and everything looked ok except the problem was not fixed so the only logical thing to do was to have the master cylinder changed. So we had two different master cylinders put on including an over priced $200 Master Cylinder straight from Toyota installed with no fix to the problem. After that we had a proportion valve installed but the problem still persists!

Other notes: (1) I have noticed that the car will come to a very hard stop but the pedal does not engage until way too close to the floor unlike in the past when the brakes were very touchy. (2) There are zero fluid leaks..fluid stays full. (3) There are 6 master cylinders for this model car and the master cylinder on it from Toyota was bought to match this cars Vin #. (4) The rear brakes could not be changed by us because they are torqued on too tight!

Does anyone have a clue what the problem could be? Could the rear brakes just need to be changed? A caliper sticking or something?
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Old 05-16-2006, 12:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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When you say rear brakes are torqued on too tight; what does this mean... Does this mean you cant get the drum off? I think the drums have to come off because this sounds like where your problem is. I think theres a good chance the rear shoes are stuck/seized and not free to move and this is what is causing your braking problem.

To get stuck drums off, the first way is to go inside the little oval brake adjustment hole on the back, shove in a screwdriver and loosen the self adjuster star gear. Then the drum should slide off. If you cant get the drum off this way, use a big 3 jawed puller. Dont worry too much about damaging the drum - if it comes off this hard, it probably has a deep ridge on the outer edge and is junk anyway.

My guess is you will find the rear brake shoes are sticking. The problem can be caused by worn out wheel cylinders, dirty brakes, weak brake spring, sticking self adjusters, or maybe even dirty fluid.

So you may need to replace the wheel cylinders, and maybe the brake spring too. (This model Camry uses a single large U-shaped spring instead of the multi spring arrangement used on other cars.) But start by removing the drum, any way you can! Then disassemble the brakes and clean them really well by soaking them with canned brake cleaner. (BTW take apart ONLY the brakes on one side at a time, because you might need the other side as a reassembly model.)
Now check the wheel cylinder. Pry up a seal on the wheel cylinder, if only a couple drops come out, theyre probably ok (but i would still take them apart to check them and clean them since the rear brakes may be bad). If more than that (pours) out, change the wheel cylinders.
And disassemble the self adjuster mechanism and clean it well with brake cleaner, and lube it with brake grease.
Then apply a smear of brake grease to the shoe contact points on tthe backing plate (they're easy to find cause theyll be the only parts worn bare metal on the plate).
Then reassemble them brakes, replace the (new or turned) drum and adjust the brakes. And i think this may fix your problem.
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Old 05-16-2006, 12:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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if all your front brake compenents including pads are checked out to be ok then i will have to agree with what marc has said.
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Old 05-16-2006, 06:08 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Be sure to flush your brake fluid out also.

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Old 05-16-2006, 12:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marc780
When you say rear brakes are torqued on too tight; what does this mean... Does this mean you cant get the drum off? I think the drums have to come off because this sounds like where your problem is. I think theres a good chance the rear shoes are stuck/seized and not free to move and this is what is causing your braking problem.

To get stuck drums off, the first way is to go inside the little oval brake adjustment hole on the back, shove in a screwdriver and loosen the self adjuster star gear. Then the drum should slide off. If you cant get the drum off this way, use a big 3 jawed puller. Dont worry too much about damaging the drum - if it comes off this hard, it probably has a deep ridge on the outer edge and is junk anyway.

My guess is you will find the rear brake shoes are sticking. The problem can be caused by worn out wheel cylinders, dirty brakes, weak brake spring, sticking self adjusters, or maybe even dirty fluid.

So you may need to replace the wheel cylinders, and maybe the brake spring too. (This model Camry uses a single large U-shaped spring instead of the multi spring arrangement used on other cars.) But start by removing the drum, any way you can! Then disassemble the brakes and clean them really well by soaking them with canned brake cleaner. (BTW take apart ONLY the brakes on one side at a time, because you might need the other side as a reassembly model.)
Now check the wheel cylinder. Pry up a seal on the wheel cylinder, if only a couple drops come out, theyre probably ok (but i would still take them apart to check them and clean them since the rear brakes may be bad). If more than that (pours) out, change the wheel cylinders.
And disassemble the self adjuster mechanism and clean it well with brake cleaner, and lube it with brake grease.
Then apply a smear of brake grease to the shoe contact points on tthe backing plate (they're easy to find cause theyll be the only parts worn bare metal on the plate).
Then reassemble them brakes, replace the (new or turned) drum and adjust the brakes. And i think this may fix your problem.

According to my girlfriend her father (descent mechanic but lacks power tools at home) who worked on the rear brakes (her car by the way) was able to pull the drums and turn them but was unable to pull the shoes because of something that was torqued to tight, what I don't know.

Believe it or not the rear brakes is what had sounded fishy to me also but every mechanic has closed their mind to the idea the rear brakes couldn't cause this problem. Sears did adjust the rear brakes up all the way but when she asked them to change the rear brakes they just said they were within spec and didn't need to be changed. What's even worse is that I should have learned when they told me my rear brakes didn't need to be changed when I was hearing a roaring sound coming from them and I told them to do it anyway and the noise went away.
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Old 05-16-2006, 04:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The rear shoes are ok if they have AT LEAST 1/8 inch on them, more is better of course. But also the self adjusters could be dirty, dry and sticking and not self adjusting. On modern cars you should really never have to adjust the drum brakes by hand (i've never had to do it; the times i tried it, the problem always turned out to be something else).
The self-adjusters should work until the shoes are changed again at which time they might need to be adjusted once.

If the rear brakes are determined to be working fine, jack the wheels up and spin them. The pad or shoes will always make a light grinding noise, in spots, but maybe one is sticking and this wheel would spin for too short a time.
Im thinking that there's a chance a caliper piston on either of the fronts could be sticking. This would probably be obvious because the pads on one side will be worn more.
Another possibility is that your brake hoses need to be changed, because maybe one is worn out and swelling when you apply the brakes. Which could be causing your problem. So i would examine the brake hoses and have someone apply pressure to the pedal while i inspect them.
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Old 06-05-2006, 11:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Problem Fixed

She took the car to a place called Pro Tech that does Toyota and Honda only. The guys said there wasn't a brake problem he couldn't have diagnosed in an hour. Whether he diagnosed it in an hour or not he found the problem.

The problem was a stuck caliper pin in one of the front brakes. What I found about this diagnosis/fix is that before when I drove the car I would slam on the brakes pretty good on a gravel road it really only pulled slightly harder to the left but not badly enough I was sure the problem was in the front brakes or rear.

Anyway I'm glad the problem was fixed with new brakes and the unsticking of the caliper pin
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Old 07-27-2006, 10:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Stang,

Thnx for posting the fix.....I wish everyone did that!
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