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parking brake lever does literally nothing - replace cables?

yubh8tn

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 21, 2019
Messages
149
Location
coeur d alene, idaho
My parking brake doesn't do anything, really. It hasn't worked since I got the car. It jiggles up and down but no mechanisms actually engage, and I'm scared to force it up higher. Do I just need to replace my cables to get my parking brake to work? Other threads I've read are pointing me towards replacing the cables, but I don't understand the mechanism and the FSM doesn't really help.
 
Last edited:

gvr4ever

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 6, 2002
Messages
6,026
Location
central Indiana
My cable broke at the back brake. I guess you could check that. The center console just lifts up, and you can see the whole e-brake cable and adjustment. It's also possible, you just need to tighten it, if the cables aren't broken.
 

turbofonz

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Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
461
Location
Granby, MA
Check the rear calipers, they have a big spring on them - have someone pull the ebrake handle and see if the lever those attach to move at all - likely seized up by the sounds of it
 

yubh8tn

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 21, 2019
Messages
149
Location
coeur d alene, idaho
Fonz, what's seized up? Those springs?

for more information, when I move my lever, it is completely loose and floppy until 2 clicks in the ratcheting mechanism, then it gets extremely hard to pull any further. Those springs on the calipers might be stuck, causing this?
 
Last edited:

mooserage

Staff member
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May 17, 2004
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1,270
Location
Seattle, WA
If you are pulling it up and there is no resistance and then suddenly a lot of resistance, its likely the rear caliper mechanism is frozen. When working correctly you can move the little e-brake arm with your hand. It has resistance from a spring which often seizes with corrosion, but the interior mechanism of the brake piston also often freezes. Search for the guide on rebuilding rear brake calipers on dsmtuners and you'll see a good explanation and pictures of the mechanism.

That said I had both a rear caliper freeze and 2 frozen cables at different times, so it could be a few things.

I'd still check under the console. You can actually access it but opening the console lid and gently lifting out the inside felt interior of the console. Underneath you can see the cable and adjust for the e brake. See if it's pulling the cables, if one is moving and not the other, could be only one side is the issue.
 

turbofonz

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Sep 27, 2006
Messages
461
Location
Granby, MA
Quoting yubh8tn:
Fonz, what's seized up? Those springs?

for more information, when I move my lever, it is completely loose and floppy until 2 clicks in the ratcheting mechanism, then it gets extremely hard to pull any further. Those springs on the calipers might be stuck, causing this?



I didn't specific , but also didnt think it over completely. If the cables are free and springs aren't, you should see the cable move a smidge before the spring prevents it from moving. IF the cables are seized, you likely wont see anything moving. A good working system you should see the cables pull the lever and the lever move, which causes the caliper piston to come out.


Also, put the rear tires in the air and pull the ebrake and verify that both sides are doing something, or nothing at all. Try spinning the wheels by hand with the ebrake up. I've seen many times where one side (cable or caliper) is seized, so there is more slack in the lever because only 1 side is taking up all the slack. It's all just checking the it verifying
 

iceman69510

Turn Right Racing
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Mar 5, 2001
Messages
10,886
Location
Michigan
Second or third the comments made already. Verify function of the rear calipers, those rotating levers tend to seize the pistons if not used regularly. If they are good, pull out the center console inner and adjust the cables. Most cars need a bit of this every twenty (or thirty) years. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

yubh8tn

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Aug 21, 2019
Messages
149
Location
coeur d alene, idaho
When I pull the cables, the springed levers don't move at all, but I can move them a bit by hand, so that means cables.

Is there a way to free the cables without replacing them? Or is that my only choice?
 

iceman69510

Turn Right Racing
Staff member
Joined
Mar 5, 2001
Messages
10,886
Location
Michigan
Tough to say. You can try penetrant, but if they are rusted in the sheath, it may be impossible. Likely you have to take them off the car and use gravity assist to get the penetrant in there.
 

yubh8tn

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 21, 2019
Messages
149
Location
coeur d alene, idaho
Alright, thanks everybody who helped. Rockauto has new cables for us, $25 a side, so I'll do that when I rebuild the rear hubs and calipers. Hopefully I can soak the cables enough in the meantime to break them free...
 

boostme

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Joined
Oct 3, 2013
Messages
76
Location
Crete, IL
The cables are currently unavailable and I'm not sure if they are discontinued. Been needing some myself.
 

raptorWagon

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2007
Messages
2,806
Location
Oak Harbor, WA
Quoting yubh8tn:
Alright, thanks everybody who helped. Rockauto has new cables for us, $25 a side, so I'll do that when I rebuild the rear hubs and calipers. Hopefully I can soak the cables enough in the meantime to break them free...



its actually misleading on Rockauto, as when you try to add the cables to the cart, it will alert you that they are unavailable.
 

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