74 Swinger brake CLUNK!

Flat Rate

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My 1974 Swinger has front discs and rear drums. There is a distinguishable “clunk” on the driver side rear drum (or so it seems) as soon as I start to roll forward after putting the car in drive. You can hear it and feel it. It feels like the drum engages and remains that way until I park and shut off the car. I can literally watch the gas gauge move as I drive so something has to be making that drum clamp down. Help please!
 

H22A4

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Have you jacked the rear end up, put the car in neutral and turned the wheel? How easily does it turn? What about the other side, does it turn freely?
 

Flat Rate

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The wheel spins freely. If the car is parked and I start it, but go right to neutral, it will roll if on an incline. When I shift it into gear, as soon as I start to go forward, you get the “clunk” and it is almost as if I am pressing the brake pedal.
 

junkyardhero

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have you crawled under it to have a look at anything?
(u-joints, transmission mount, rear end)
have you pulled the wheel and brake drum off to have a look?
 

Flat Rate

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I have taken the wheel off and also looked underneath when it was on a lift. Two diff shops have had it up on their lifts. Just replaced the rear drums tho and it still does it. Just feels like something is dragging on that drum. Dragging is probably not the best word choice.
 

junkyardhero

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two diff as in different shops or as in differential shops?
what'd they say or what job they try and sell you?
 

Flat Rate

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Two different shops have had it on the rack. One shop pulled the wheels, inspected, installed the new drums… but neither shop identified the problem.
 

Bewy

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Did they adjust the brake shoes???
If not adjusted, brakes applied, the shoes get dragged around by the contact with the drum until they hit the stop. When the car changes direction [ eg, R to Fwd ], the shoes reverse direction & hit [ clunk ] the other side of the stop.
 

Flat Rate

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That makes sense and almost sounds like what might b happening. No clunking when in reverse tho, only after put in drive and only the first time. It just seems the brake/drum stays engaged after the initial clunk.
 

RustyRatRod

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Can you get a good picture or two with the drum off on that side?
 

junkyardhero

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you say it rolls fine in neutral, and everything spins fine off the ground, and two different shops checked it and one did brakes.

I'm guessing you've got a problem in the rear end.

does it make any noise when you're driving-- especially when cornering.
 

Flat Rate

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No noise when cornering. It sat and didn’t run for 5 years before I got it and it was pretty hard to roll. That is y I let a shop deal w the brakes. I only recently had the vacuum booster rebuilt and put the new drums on. It only makes the initial clunk but sounds and feels like it is dragging after the clunk. Terrible gas mileage too.
 

junkyardhero

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a whole bunch to unpack here...

first question: what's your level of mechanical ability? are you able to ascertain when something is borked by looking at it, or putting your hands on it? can you read and interpret a FSM? do you have tools and a place to wrench?

I ask this because I want to know if are you attempting to do this work yourself or are you taking our suggestions to a shop and feeding them 3rd hand information?

anyway, without your hands on the car or pictures or a detailed correct description of the problem, everything is kind of conjecture.

best I can say is jack it up, drop it in gear and see what's cracking.

also, your fuel consumption is unlikely to be correlated to the problem you're having. if the drum was dragging badly enough to make the fuel gauge move it would be making one hell of a racket and you'd smell the cooked friction material. it would also be blazing hot.
 

Flat Rate

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Probably average to below average on the mechanical skills-o-meter if compared to experts. I am certain something is clamping down on the back driver side drum when the car is shifted into drive and begins to roll forward.

The first time the car went to the shop was due to my lack of adequate tooling, and know-how, since the brakes were so locked up. It barely rolled when 5 of us tried to push it after it was off-loaded from transport carrier to street to driveway. I don’t think the shop did much to the rear drums and since I did not know of this problem at that point and didn’t say anything about it.

I returned to the shop shortly thereafter and told them what I was experiencing. They said to get the vacuum booster fixed first. Finally did that. Took the car back to shop. They said drums needed to be replaced. Drums were replaced. Problem continues. They said to bring it back after Thanksgiving. This entire thread has taken place since that time and there has been no further communication with the shop.

I will be unable to do anything until after Dec 6, but can certainly jack up the car, pull the wheel, shift in and out of gear and see if I can find something on my own, and even take pics. Regardless, something has to making that wheel lock down tho.
 
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