You have tried everything. You have replaced the drum, the slack adjuster, the s-cam, etc. and still the driver complains that the truck pulls to the right or left when braking.
When I receive these calls, I can feel the frustration coming from the person on the other end who has seemingly done everything right – and is still having issues with the brakes on one position.
I’m fond of the statement: “You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken.” Meaning, if you can’t see the problem, you probably aren’t going to repair the problem.
So, here is a tip you can use when you have tried everything else or, ideally, before you have tried everything else: Purchase a self-leveling cross-line laser to identify those brake issues you can’t typically see with the naked eye. These lasers aren’t expensive and can be purchased at places like Home Depot or Harbor Freight for less than $50.
Most technicians think they can visually check for a bent spider. Often, you cannot. And at the end of the day, if you’ve tried everything else, a bent spider is most likely your issue.
Look at the picture above and ask yourself if you honestly could have spotted the alignment issue without the benefit of the laser. On the right side, a zip tie is used to extend the visual out past the center of the s-cam head. Note that the laser does not extend through the zip tie. When the laser was set up on the opposite side, the beam continued through the center of the s-cam and through the zip tie. Now consider the fact that, prior to using this laser, the owner had spent a year and a fortune taking this vehicle to shops and specialist without solving the issue.
Brian Beathard is a Wheel End Specialist with RevHD, LLC. He can be reached at (844) REV-SEAL.