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I have a 1999 Odyssey with 193,000 miles (I bought it at 107,000, so I don't know if services mentioned in TSBs on this forum were performed). After having front brakes replaced and rear brakes cleaned and adjusted, I started getting this periodic crazy loud squealing, metal on metal, from the right rear brake. It has been described in this forum as sounding like a school bus, but my daughter says her school bus doesn’t do that! The sound happens at the end of stopping, or especially when stepping hard on the brake, like when a stoplight turns yellow. I can avoid it by stopping slowly over a long distance.

I have taken the car in to my mechanic at least 4 times for this, and they are understandably getting tired of me. They say there is really nothing wrong with the brakes that they can see. When I did get the noise to happen when I had a mechanic in the car with me, he had me apply the parking brake and press on the gas, and it made the exact same noise. He then adjusted the parking brake and it was fine for about 2000 miles, when it started again. I took it in, and the shop owner looked at it and said the brakes were fine, but there was a lot of brake dust (from 3000 miles? And it was 3000 miles of mostly highway driving on a cross-country trip). He said there’s nothing else they can do, except replace the shoes and resurface the drums. He said one place on the shoes is down to 3/32. This seems a little strange since the mechanic from the same shop who adjusted the parking brake 3000 miles earlier said the shoes were really in good shape with a lot of life on them (don’t know the number).

I called Honda to see if they had any insight on the problem and of course they can’t tell me anything without looking at it. But they said worst case scenario is that they would replace the shoes and the drums – they won’t resurface drums because if it’s done incorrectly that can cause the noise.

So, my questions:

1. Could the problem be the parking brake? I read that the parking brake is self adjusting, and you can do it by applying the parking brake several times and then stepping hard on the brake pedal. Could it be self-adjusting too tight and causing this problem? I do use the parking brake often, since my driveway has an incline, and the problem is worst when you step hard on the brake pedal. If this could be the problem, what do I tell my mechanic to look for?

2. If the problem is the drums, can the drums be resurfaced, as my regular mechanic suggests, or is it better to get new drums, as Honda suggests?

I am willing to get new drums if that will truly solve the problem, but I don’t want to find out later it was something else, and I’ve seen in this forum that the noise comes back even after replacing the drums.

Thanks for reading this long post and for any info you can give me!
 

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Did you find the problem? I have EXACTLY the same symptoms as you describe, but haven't had time to figure it out. In my case it started happening after parking the van for a few weeks outside in the spring rain, and the right rear drum seized. I popped off the drum and everything freed up, and the pads looked low, but still useable. Then the noise started and its been getting gradually louder. I am going to replace the rear shoes and possibly the drums today. I think it may have to do with the sides of the backing plate coming in contact with corrosion on the inside of the drum.
 

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Mine squealed so loud it would make other drivers look. :(
Replaced the shoes with OEM and machined drums, so far so good after 5000km. The shoes still had a bit of lining, but were badly cooked and glazed.
 

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I replaced with OEM Honda drums years ago and it solved the squealing noise. There is a TSB on the original drums being incompatible with the shoes and hence Honda replaced them for free under warranty. I will use OEM Honda shoes when the time comes as well.
 

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I ended up replacing the drums, and that has solved the problem. I was hoping there would be a cheaper fix, but in the end it was worth it to stop thinking about the brakes!
 

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This sounds crazy, but I have the same problem w/ my 2001 Honda Odyssey. When the back brakes start making noise, I pull the drums off and blow out the brake dust that builds up from use/wear. It stops the noise every time. Of course, this assumes that brake shoes and rotors pass inspection.
 

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+1 on 2001 ody. This happened twice last month. My front and back brakes were replaced about 3 months back. The rear master cylinder and pads are new. All of a sudden loud squeal started now and then. Have not opened to look yet. Will get them cleaned and checked so I do not have to do it twice. Thanks for the tip. Hope they do not need replacement.
 
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