Creaking noise from rear passenger side brakes

I own a Fiat Punto MKII, 1.2 ELX 5-door on a W-reg plate and I replaced my brake shoes back in April 2005 for the first time, due to wear and tear. The work was done by a mobile mechanic I used before on my
previous car, too.
The car developed a creaking noise coming from the rear passenger side as soon as the new shoes were installed and the handbrake has never been very efficient since. The mechanic told me to live with the noise until the shoes had bedded-in. However, the noise was there on and off until my patience ran out in December last year, when I called him to check the brakes again. He then blaimed Nationwide, where I took my car for a full service two weeks before he had a look at the problem, saying that somebody had messed around in there and charged me another 80 for a new set of shoes. He bought this set from the same supplier and this was exactly the same as the first one (Ferodo).
The noise dissapeared for a day or two and then came back again. Once again, he said I need to let them bed-in. On the other hand he suggested that Nationwide might have bent the shoe backplate during the full service!! Sounds like he is eager to charge me more money!
I had the car checked once again at a local garage who have been trading for over 40 years, recommended by one of my mates, who used to take his Merc A-Class there. They initially blamed the mobile mechanic for having installed the wrong retaining clips and charged me 82. But the noise was still there the following morning!
Then, they made several attempts to eliminate the noise and they were successful twice by taking all the shoes off the car and then putting them back on with brake grease etc. Everytime the noise disappeared for a day or so and then came back.
I picked the car up today from them once again and they are now telling me that it must be the brake shoe lining material which is causing the hugely creaking noise when the foot brake is applied and that this will disappear after the car had done around 4000 to 5000 miles since installation back in December '05. Apparently this is a normal noise!!!
Strange thing is that when moving along at 20 mph or so and I pull the handbrake up half way and apply the foot brake at the same time in order to stop, the noise is not there! The owner of the garage told me that by doing that I am taking the pressure off the shoes and thereby eliminating the creaking noise. He's telling me that I have to live with this until they bed-in, but I've had other cars before and I know this noise is not normal and it shouldnt' be there, it's driving me up the wall!!!
If anyone has any ideas as to what to look for, or what to try next, please help... I have already spent around 250 and been through months of aggrevation for something that seems to be so simple, replacing brake shoes and nobody can do anything to fix it! I would like to avoid taking it to the dealer as they will charge a lot of money and there is no guarantee they will be able to fix it.
Many thanks in advance...
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On 11-Feb-2006, snipped-for-privacy@minos.plus.com wrote:

I tend to avoid Ferodo, and OEM Fiat, although they give dealers a good buying in discount. Preferring Mintex, which can be a bit dearer. But they should not, and are unlikely to, cause a creaking noise. Occasionally you might get brake squeal with poor shoes. What I'd check is the hand brake lever to which the hand brake cable is attached by a clevis pin. Generally, with Fiats, it's a hinged T-piece, and the riveted joint can freeze solid, needing some force and lubrication, to free it. There are also, hinged pulleys at the rear end where the handbrake cable path divides to each side. These should turn and move freely, both pulley and pivot. Other than that it's a question of correct re-assembly. Putting the right pins, springs, clips etc in the right places. Rear suspension bushes are a known cause of creaking. Sure there is no creaking when the car is energetically bounced on it's suspension, or that the shock absorbers aren't causing the noise? Braking causes rear end movement, so it may not be the brakes. Next time it is apart check for wheel cylinder leakage. There was no point in fitting a second set of the same brand shoes, when the first set were hardly used, unless the first set were brake fluid contaminated. Need to be run in, not in my experience, otherwise every new car would creak for the first 4000 to 5000 miles, and they manifestly don't. More like he want's to fob you off, and after that mileage disclaim any warranty or obligation to you.
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Rear brakes do not need to bed in - to say they do is complete nonsense. I have used all types of make of shoe and never had any problem. Go to a local motor factor and pick up a set for about 15 and they will be every bit as good as the OEM in my experience. At the end of the day, it is a low performance vehicle and not much braking effort is needed. It it was, then dicsc would be installed instead.
The bedding in process they refer to in when ridges occur on the inside of the drum and the shoes wear in to accommodate this shape. To do the job properly, you should also instal new drums, but this is a bit extreme.
The cable and pully system was used on the Uno, but the punto uses a handbrake cable direct to the shoes, like about 90% of every other car on the road.
You need to be more specific about what creaking sounds like. The previous post describes very well what could be causing the problem and i suspect that it is either a suspension problem or handbrake cable sticking. Try jacking each rear end up and spining the wheel. With h/b off, it should spin freely and apply the h/b until it stops - should be 3-4 notches. It should be locked solid. Repeat on other wheel - the preformance should be identical. The suggestion about rear shock bouncing is also a good one. At the end of the day, replacing rear shoes is about one of the simplest and fool proof jobs - it is very difficult to get it wrong.
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Thanks for your reply Paul. I totally agree with you about replacing rear shoes. How could this guy get it wrong? However, the problem is that the creaking noise is there and there is no way I am gonna be able to live with it when I know there is something wrong. I've owned cars in the past and never had experienced anything like this. I've had shoes replaced in the past and yes I agree with you the wheels should be locked solid when the handbrake is applied. Having said that, mine doesn't lock my wheels solid.I was in a multi-storey car park the other day and I had to stop on the slope for sometime as it was busy coming down and I applied the handbrake. The car though started moving downwards and I nearly hit the car in front. I quickly applied the foot brake and the front discs saved me.
Now, I cannot believe the car passed its MOT on the brake rollers in this condition, when the handbrake is not efficient enough to stop the car from rolling down in a typical car park slope when I pulled it up as far as possible. It was up by 5 or 6 notches to be honest. On the other hand, when I am moving along at around 10mph and I pull the handbrake, the car is still moving instead of locking the rear wheels solid. It doesn't even lock them when I suddenly turn the wheel to right or left on a gravel surface!
As I replied to ato_zee, the creaking noise is actually 'felt' on my right foot through the pedal in a kind of 'stepping' movement. It is not smooth like it used to be with the original shoes.
I will try to check the other items ato_zee suggested, however, I am still suspecting the shoes either being of really low quality or not been assembled correctly, even if it seems very unlikely as two different people have taken them off the car and re-assembled them several times now.
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If you suspect the adjuster one one side (rear passenger) then its effectiveness must be much less than the other.
There is a very simple test. Allow the car to roll back at walking pace and fire the h/b on hard. If one side of the car goes up, you have inequality - it is usually very noticeable. A defective cable on one side of the car will also cause this effect. If both brakes are working equally, the rear end goes up equally.
When the adjusters are turning just after shoe assembly, they click softly. There is no way would would hear this if the car was moving - it is not loud enough.
The only way you could feel a steping at the pedal is some movement at the wheel cylinder - in other words, the shoes are loose and are banging into it. The only way the shoes could be loose is if the two transverse springs (upper and lower) are on wrong. I often note the position of springs before i change shoes - if they are on incorrectly, I will repeat the mistake. So - if the first mechanic made a mistake, so too will any other. The only way to do it right is use a picture in a manual. I know from experience that there are often several holes to chose from on the shoe and if the wrong one is used to locate the spring end - then sloppy movement. FIAT could help you - ask if they will print off a page showing the spring layout - or perhaps somebody can post a photo.
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If you suspect the adjuster one one side (rear passenger) then its effectiveness must be much less than the other.
There is a very simple test. Allow the car to roll back at walking pace and fire the h/b on hard. If one side of the car goes up, you have inequality - it is usually very noticeable. A defective cable on one side of the car will also cause this effect. If both brakes are working equally, the rear end goes up equally.
When the adjusters are turning just after shoe assembly, they click softly. There is no way would would hear this if the car was moving - it is not loud enough.
The only way you could feel a steping at the pedal is some movement at the wheel cylinder - in other words, the shoes are loose and are banging into it. The only way the shoes could be loose is if the two transverse springs (upper and lower) are on wrong. I often note the position of springs before i change shoes - if they are on incorrectly, I will repeat the mistake. So - if the first mechanic made a mistake, so too will any other. The only way to do it right is use a picture in a manual. I know from experience that there are often several holes to chose from on the shoe and if the wrong one is used to locate the spring end - then sloppy movement. FIAT could help you - ask if they will print off a page showing the spring layout - or perhaps somebody can post a photo.
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You are right Paul, it may be something to do with the handbrake because it doesn't seem very effective to me. I will try what you suggested about rolling back at walking pace and will pay the FIAT dealer a visit and ask them for a proper diagram.
Thanks for your help. I'll let you know how I get on.
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Thanks for your reply ato_zee. You are right the creaking could be coming from the suspension, however, it only happens everytime I apply the foot pedal and I can literally feel a kind of 'stepping' in the pedal, it is not smooth like it used to be with the original set of shoes and not like it should be on most of cars, anyway.
I agree with you about not having changed the first Ferodos but he did it anyway and then I was expecting him to go but then turned around and said that somebody had messed around in the rear brakes during the service and charged me again. I paid him hoping the problem was not gonna be there anymore, having suspected a faulty self-adjuster mechanism which is part of the heading shoe on either side of the car.
Actually, the mobile mechanic manged to re-create the exact creaking noise when he was holding one of his original Ferodos in his hand after he took them off the car by literally pushing the self-adjuster arms backwards and forwards with his fingers. This is a normal creaking noise that should only happen when the shoes are first assembled on the car and you press the foot pedal a couple of times, in order for them to self-adjust the gap between the shoes and the drum. After the first couple of applications on the foot pedal this noise should not be there anymore. It sounds like the n/s/r shoes are trying to adjust themselves everytime I apply the foot pedal. Something is definetely seriously wrong in there...
I will have a check on the other items you suggested and will let you know of the outcome. Thanks for the advice.
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On 13-Feb-2006, snipped-for-privacy@minos.plus.com wrote:

Did once have an instance where the subframe wasn't securely attached. During drive the subframe moved in one direction and during braking the other. So as you pull on the handbrake something may be moving.
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Sounds a bit scary that! I will have to try the test Paul suggested and then pay FIAT a visit for a proper diagram on the rear braking system. I have to admit the creaking noise seems to have sort of died down a little bit last night, but then again it has been like this before and it came back even louder. I'll have to check the location of the springs and if the subframe is securely attached or not at a garage when I get the chance to drop my car off.
Thanks for your help. I'll let you know how I get on with this nightmare of mine...
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