Pwl 2010-08-16 16:08:02
I have a 200 venture short wheelbase. The brakes work, but have a very low
pedal, and have had this since it was new. It now has 46k on it. I went to
replace the brakes a few weeks ago, and found the front pads very worn, and
the rear shoes had more pad on them than the new ones I was going to
install. The rear drums came right off without coaxing. I un glazed the
shoes, and reinstalled the drums. I adjusted the shoes for very very slight
drag. I now find that I have low pedal again. I don’t think the rear self
adjusters are working, yet with the drum off, all appears well. I have a
set of shop manuals for it, but I so no means of testing the self adjusting
mechanism. All it says is that the self adjuster is actuated by applying
the Emergency brake. Does anyone have any ideas what might be causing this.
On the surface, it looks like the rear brakes are just not engaging very
well. When I test the brakes with the car on a lift, the rear brakes apply
Thanks for any help you may be able to provide…
Richard 2010-08-16 16:08:06
I dont know how low is your pedal, but mine is kind of low too, and so since
I bought the van new, 1 year ago. Seems to be how the van is designed I
Shiden_kai 2010-08-16 16:08:12
You may be trying to fix a problem that isn’t really a problem. A lot
of the newer GM vehicles have a lower brake pedal then the older
vehicles. Your manual is incorrect about the auto adjusting of the
rear drums. These auto adjust everytime you step on the brake pedal,
not the park brake. They will adjust when needed. In my experience,
these vehicles don’t have too many problems with the rear brakes
not self adjusting properly.
Billw 2010-08-16 16:08:14
I have a 1999 Venture and it is a little low also. I replaced the front
brakes and disks yesterday at 36000 miles. They weren’t shot but close
enough for me. If you are talking about the new back pads having less
material than the old ones I would return to the store and verify you have
the right pads. Have you been watching your antifreeze level? If you don’t
know about the lower intake manifold gasket problems do some research on it
on the internet. It appears most 3.4 engines developed it and the end result
if not caught is a blown engine……….
Pwl 2010-08-17 00:32:27
Thanks for the response. My pedal is low (I suspect, like your is) I could
acceept the “they’re all made that way” answer, which by the way is GM’s
party line) but I still have to wonder why under load (heavy braking) the
van still feels like it is only using the front brakes. I know that the
front brakes take 70+ percent of the braking load. But my curiosity is
REALLY piqued by the fact that the rear pads are barely worn. They do work
(actuate) because I have had the van up in the air and spun the wheels. The
brakes WILL stop the wheels, but I wonder how WELL they are working.
Oh well. Thanks
Pwl 2010-08-17 00:32:29
Thanks for the reply. If I felt the rear brakes were working to their
potential, I could let the low pedal thing go. I am not convinced. The van
really feels like the rears are not “pulling their weight” no pun intended.
This van appears to have a type of mechanism that I have not seen before.
Among other differences, it uses a large “master spring” to return the shoes
to the neutral position. Also, according to the manual which is the GM shop
manual, not an aftermarket one, there are 3 types of rear brakes that these
vehicles can be equipped with. Disc (with a small integrated drum for the
parking brake), Drum (export) and drum domestic. I of course have the
domestic which does in fact use the parking brake and only the parking brake
for the self adjusting mechanism. The only thing I can think of is that the
brakes are not self adjusting properly. I think what I will do is
disassemble the entire brake/wheel assy and be sure that everything is lubed
up working properly with no binding. Unfortunately, there is no way to test
the workings of the self adjuster with the drum off. Thanks for the reply.
Pwl 2010-08-17 00:32:42
Thanks for the reply. The shoes WERE the correct ones. I had them double check. I even tried a different manufacturer. They had less material than the ones on the car after 46k miles.
However, now you’ve really got me concerned about the intake gasket. I checked my coolant and you guessid it, I am low by about a quart. I added some and went on a 500 mile trip. All is well, level is fine, but I noticed that after running at highway speeds and then hitting slower (20 mph) traffic) the temp gauge starts to creep up over the 12:00 mark and approaches (2:00). It is still far from the red zone and the idiot light never comes on. As soon as I start moving again it goes down to normal (10:00) or so. I have no visible signs of a leak, I have no sludge in the valve cover or oil, and I have no abnormal sounds from the engine.
The manual details how to do a complete drain and fill (there is a procedure that uses two vent screws, one on the thermostat housing and one on the pump) but it does not say whether to do this when ADDING fluid. The sticker under the hood says that there IS a specific procedure for ADDING fluid and refers you to the manual. Oh well.
Shiden_kai 2010-08-17 00:32:48
They don’t pull their weight, which is why they rarely wear out. I work
on these vans day in and day out, and you can see vans that have
over 100K miles on them with over 50% lining on the rear left.
Yep, this type of rear drum brake system has been around for a while.
The master spring is designed to simplify the components…it holds
the shoes to the backing plate and also returns the shoes.
There is only one type of drum brakes that I’ve ever seen on these.
The same one that you are describing. Plus, if you look in the manual
for a description of the rear drum brakes, you will only see one
description. The disc brake setup is for the AWD versions of the
van. At least, those are the only vans I’ve seen that have the rear
disc setup on a U-van.
That doesn’t appear to be what the manual says. I’m referring to
the si2000 manual that we use in our shop, and which also can
be accessed on-line. I use the online version when at home, but
it’s identical to the one in the shop. From personal experience
with these brakes, it’s rare that the self adjusting feature on this
style of drum brakes doesn’t work properly. I put this down to
the fact that GM finally designed some drum brakes that adjust
whenever the rear brakes are applied, not when the park brake
is pushed, or when the vehicle is driven in reverse with a brake application.
Before you disassemble the entire thing, why don’t you just “manually”
adjust the rear shoes to the rear drums and see if you: a) actually are
that far out of adjustment, and/or b) if you are way out of adjustment,
see if that cures your low pedal, and then work on figuring out why
it’s not self adjusting.
Fordtbirdturbo 2010-08-17 00:33:12
I did my family members venture. I never done those single spring
They were a pain doing it without a manual.
Lisle sells a tool, which i bought, to do it next time. It’s suppose
that spring out of the way.
I also have the same coolant leak.
I think it comes from the intake area, and it is more of a very very
You cant really tell, because the engine temps evaporates it. But
Another problem that i found, is that dexcool is all sludged up. I
be flushing it out and putting new dexcool in. But i was wondering
if anyone else has this with the venture.
You need to inspect the coolant. If the coolant is low, the temp
sensor wont read if theres no coolant to read from. And when you
accelerate, it pumps the coolant more, and it gets onto the sensor and
you can see the gauge move.
Otherwise the venture is a pretty good vehicle, besides the rear
brakes being noisy on occasion but it clears up, coolant leak, and
tight area. I like to jamb 4X8 of plywood.:)