Owners of 2002-08 B-series pickups may come into your store with a complaint that the rear brakes grab or lock up. Mazda says the condition usually occurs during the first few pedal applications following a prolonged soak and is most likely due to moisture intruding into the rear brake linings. Replacing the brake shoes and sealing off the backside of the brake backing plates with silicone sealant at the axle flange, hold-down pins, wheel cylinders and parking brake cables should eliminate further trouble.
Some 2005-09 Chevy Cobalt and 2007-09 Pontiac G5 models may emit a squeak or squawk from the rear suspension. According to GM, the noise is most prevalent when the vehicle is driven over bumps at slow speeds, and is likely due to prematurely worn rear control arm bushings. Upgraded bushings are now available to address the problem. Order part No. 22696480 for vehicles with FE1 suspensions; part No. 22729411 for vehicles with FE3 or FE5 suspensions.
Chrysler says that 2003-04 Sebring, Stratus and PT Cruiser models, along with Town & Country, Caravan and Voyager minivans (all with 2.4-liter naturally aspirated engines), are susceptible to spark plug fouling during cold engine operation. Two new-design replacement plugs (Champion part No. 05149002AA, NGK part No. 05149003AA) are now available to eliminate the condition.
Before installing the new plugs, gap them to .040-inch. Chrysler recommends installing new ignition wires with the updated plugs to prevent secondary ignition voltage flashover at the cable boots.
"Factory Fixes" is written by Jim DePalma, a 30-year veteran of the auto repair business who has served stints as a service manager, parts manager and ASE-certified technician. His column provides vehicle manufacturers' authentic factory technical service bulletins (TSBs) that have been condensed for easier reading. Mr. DePalma advises that techs always check with a dealer or repair information system for the latest revisions before starting to work on a vehicle. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]