Yesterday it was time for new tires and alignment and so I took the 'burb over to the Chrysler stealership (yeah, I know, as they say on facebook, "It's complicated") for a set of Michelin LTX Winters and a new spare tire. Cost more than the asking price for most Ford Escorts on craigslist but what do you do. Anyway they offered a free 14-point inspection and I like free. They found that the rear brakes were shot. One of the pads was dragging and everything else pretty much went to hell from there. They quoted me $350 for pads and rotors. Now, truck clubbers, I hope you all do your own brake work. Brake work is some of the most profitable work that comes in the door of your typical repair shop, be it an independent or the stealership. They get to mark up the parts, charge their standard shop rate for labor, and have the almost-new mechanic do it, you know, the one who's just smart enough and experienced enough to move out of the oil change bay. But the real problem is that no shop likes to raise their estimate once they start on a repair. They know it pisses off the customer, and it also means that they've got the truck up on the hoist while they're fiddling around getting your authorization and waiting for the parts runner to show up, so they won't do it if they can help it. So if you really need calipers and hoses, or parking brake parts, they will never tell you, unless you have an exceptional shop and have built a relationship of trust with them. So if you work on your truck at all, do brake work. Anyway we'll start with some identification. These photos are representative of the 2001-2006 burbs and pickups that have either the 8.1 or (for pickups) the diesel. The General decided you need the Dana full-floating rear axle if you have either of these powerplants, and The General gave you a GM rear axle otherwise. The General knows best. I guess. Seeing as how this is the full floating rear, the axle tube extends out past the wheel, and there are bearings between that and the hub, and then the drive flange for the half shaft outboard of all that: So there's something inside the plasticky center cap, unlike most pickups where it's just there for looks. - - - Updated - - - You can see the filiform corrosion on the wheel. This is Minnesota, we have road salt, and those are my winter rims. Here we have the brake and hub assembly with the wheel removed: Then I removed the caliper and pad assembly. It comes off with two bolts. Now, it's hard to tell for sure why the pad was dragging, but in my experience chances are pretty good, in Minnesota (we have road salt, remember), that a caliper that's been on the car for 5+ years is going to stick and wreck another set of pads even if you clean it up and put some silicone grease on it and everything. It usually takes 6 months but we want the brakes to last longer than that. I'm getting all my brake parts at the local NAPA because they have most of them in stock, and with the core charge on the calipers and everything Rock Auto isn't any cheaper. Rock Auto has some fantastic deals but on the other hand fast-moving parts like these, that are heavy enough for the shipping to add up, are sometimes cheaper overall at the local parts place. I figure hoses have a 10-year useful life and since this is an 8-year old truck it's time for them to be replaced too as long as we have the system open. Then the drum/rotor pulls off. I used an air hammer to knock the rotor loose -- it's the easiest way and least likely to damage the bearings. Now here's the skinny on the parking brake. The front half of the lining is gone (we're on the right side of the truck): The screwdriver in the photo is engaged with the star adjuster for the parking brake. These are manually adjusting brakes and so there's just the spring friction to keep the adjuster from turning. Access is poor through the backing plate and axle casting but of course it's easy enough to get to once you have the rotor/drum off. Here's another view: The drum shows uneven wear although the rotor portion would probably be salvageable if I wanted to have it turned: A couple of times I've had rear rotor/drums like these turned and it's expensive if they do both the rotor and the drum, so ordinarily it works out best to just get new ones. I'm off to the NAPA for parts now.