Q: Pulling Problem
f I am driving at a reasonable rate of speed, say around 60 or so, and suddenly have to brake, my car will pull to either one side or the other or fishtail to both sides. It’s really scary. I have replaced every conceivable brake part as well as the lower ball joints and idler arm. After several hundred dollars and several different mechanics I still have the same problem. Any help/suggestions/clues would be greatly appreciated!
A: That’s a tuff one. If you have the front drum brakes, they can be very difficult to get set up right and are not very forgiving. Find an old veteran mechanic that understands how to make them work right. One trick I’ve done to narrow down brake problems is to get on a disserted street or big parking lot and just stomp on the breaks and let the steering wheel go to see which wheel is locking up or which way it pulls. You can also press down on the parking brake peddle while pulling up the release handle. (Don’t forget the release handle part because it make for a real wild ride if you forget) If the car stops reasonably straight with the parking break on you can at least eliminate the rear brakes from being out of adjustment. Have you tried pumping the brake peddled before applying a lot of pressure to see if it stops straighter? This would indicate air in the system.
An old mechanic that I use to know after rebuilding front drum breaks would drive the car while applying the brakes hard and almost continuously until he thought they were seated in. This seemed to work, and his cars always stopped straight.
A: 1967-69 Firebird drum brake equipped cars have to be manually adjusted, particularily on the front; the rears are supposed to be self adjusting, but I always check them anyways.
Another thing to check is the tapers in the spindles that receive the balljoints, I once had a set wear out of round.
A worn out upper control arm bushing will also cause erratic steering as well.
Take the car to a good alignment shop and have a 4 wheel alignment performed. If you haven’t found the problem at this point, they should be able to find it for you. Good luck!
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Content last modified: January 23, 2014 at 9:48 pm