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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-12-2013, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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Proper e brake adjustment

I thought I'd post this how-to since it seems like a common problem. It's not hard to do and makes the e brake perform the way it should. Hopefully it's clear, makes sense and that I didn't forget anything.

Many of us seem to have a problem with the park brake or e brake not holding the vehicle on a slope or having to push the pedal all the way to the floor to get a half decent hold. Another symptom of the brake needing adjustment is that the transmission clunks excessively when shifting from park while on a slope.

Our e brake shoes use the inside of the rear disc brake hat as the braking surface. You MUST remove both the rear discs in order to properly assess and adjust the brakes. I won't cover this here since there are other threads that already do that. Just remember to take the park brake off or you'll never get the disc off.

Inspect the inside of the hat to see if there is excessive wear and the shoes. My shoes were actually ok but the inside of the disc was pretty worn. There was a noticeable groove where the shoes meet the inside surface. I was installing new discs so this wasn't an issue. You'll need new discs if there is too much wear and/or new shoes. This write up is only relevant to the adjustment process.

There will probably be a lot of brake dust so you should use compressed air and then brake cleaner to tidy things up.

You will be adjusting one side at a time.

Steps for adjustment:

1. Make sure the e brake is off.

2. Look on the underside behind the wheel hub and you will see a small gear (red circle) that is partly obscured by the self adjustment spring. Use a flat head screw driver to turn the gear. I can't remember which way but I think you turn it towards the outside and up(does that make sense?) in any case you want to turn it in the direction that expands the thread which will move the shoes outward. In my case I turned it 2 full revolutions to start.

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Looking up from bottom of hub assembly between the wheel hub and brake shield.

3. Mount the disc back onto the hub. If the disc slides right on you may need to adjust the gear more as the shoes are not making contact with the inside hat. If the disc does not go on at all then back off the gear as the shoes are obstructing the disc. DO NOT FORCE THE DISC ON!! It should NOT be a snug fit and you may not get the disc off again if it is too snug! Make the necessary adjustment to the gear until the disc goes onto the hub easily but with little side to side movement. (I had to file down the top edges of each brake shoe (red rectangle in above picture) just a bit as it was binding at that point. You may not have this issue but keep it in mind if your having problems)

4. Now, with the disc on, press and release your park brake a 2-3 times. You do this for 2 reasons:

A. To center/align the shoes and disc.
B. To set a comfortable pedal height.

If the pedal goes down too much, you need to adjust the gear some more. Too little and you need to back the gear off. I adjusted mine until I could push the pedal about half way without much effort and the disc was held in place. Each time you make an adjustment you need to pump the pedal a few times to repeat the centering and check the pedal height.

Once you find a comfortable pedal height, remove the disc and repeat the process on the other side. You want to try to adjust the pedal height about the same for each side so that the shoes are biting equally. After both sides are adjusted re-install both discs and double check the pedal height with a few cycles one last time. That's it...you're done.

Test drive to make sure everything sounds ok and that there is no rubbing or grinding. If you installed new pads and/or discs you'll need to bed them in. I drove slowly for a couple hundred yards with the e brake on slightly, release and drive to let them cool.

Personal results:

Applying my e brake holds the truck in place without any slipping. I don't even have to do the shift N, press e brake, release brake pedal, shift to P routine anymore, although this is habit now. I do notice that I probably could apply the e brake pedal closer to the floor if I wanted to but I think by doing that it might require you to adjust it more often and in any case it's not needed, even on the steepest slopes.

I hope this helps those of you that want to try it.


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Last edited by drewcs; 03-12-2013 at 09:47 PM. Reason: Added image
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-12-2013, 06:14 PM
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Plus 1 - This is good advice.

A friend of mine, who is a very experienced and gifted mechanic, scolded me when I told him people on Club Armada were adjusting the nut behind the e-brake pedal. We pulled off the rear wheels and rear rotors, he adjusted everything in 15 minutes and the pedal feels GREAT.

I also, out of habit, still do the "neutral, apply brake, shift to park" dance , but it is not as important anymore.

Next time someone does this procedure, please take pictures and post them here.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-12-2013, 06:42 PM
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Re: Proper e brake adjustment

Cool. Thanks.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-12-2013, 07:57 PM
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Re: Proper e brake adjustment

Hey all, that "dance" you speak of. It is a good practice. You want your car to rest against the parking brake vs. the parking paw in the tranny. Even when your parking brake is properly adjusted, there is still a little forward or backward creep (depending which way your car is parked) when you set the brake. This is especially true if you are towing anything, that little bit of creep could be disastrous. You can get your car stuck in park if the load on the tranny is to much. You can see the difference in that "thunk" when you take it out of park, the greater the load on the tranny the greater the "thunk." If it's to much load, yep.., it'll get stuck in park until you can unload it somehow. Just a thought, FWIW.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-12-2013, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E&J push'n wind View Post
Hey all, that "dance" you speak of. It is a good practice. You want your car to rest against the parking brake vs. the parking paw in the tranny. Even when your parking brake is properly adjusted, there is still a little forward or backward creep (depending which way your car is parked) when you set the brake. This is especially true if you are towing anything, that little bit of creep could be disastrous. You can get your car stuck in park if the load on the tranny is to much. You can see the difference in that "thunk" when you take it out of park, the greater the load on the tranny the greater the "thunk." If it's to much load, yep.., it'll get stuck in park until you can unload it somehow. Just a thought, FWIW.

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Absolutely true. I just thought it was notable that without any significant load the truck didn't slip even a bit when put in park and no clunk or hard shift out of park. I still do "the dance" as you say, good practice for sure.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-12-2013, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beau View Post
Plus 1 - This is good advice.

A friend of mine, who is a very experienced and gifted mechanic, scolded me when I told him people on Club Armada were adjusting the nut behind the e-brake pedal. We pulled off the rear wheels and rear rotors, he adjusted everything in 15 minutes and the pedal feels GREAT.

I also, out of habit, still do the "neutral, apply brake, shift to park" dance , but it is not as important anymore.

Next time someone does this procedure, please take pictures and post them here.
It took me longer than 15 but if you've got it jacked and changing your brakes or pads anyway, then 5-10 min per side is about right. I'm sorry I endured such bad performance from my e brake for so long.


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-30-2014, 08:38 AM
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Great tip fellas. I never did the "dance" with the e brake but probably a habit I should think about doing although I don't park on slopes often.

Is the "thunk" normal when taking it out of park? I hear a "thunk" with no load and parked on flat surface.


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by regdawg View Post
Great tip fellas. I never did the "dance" with the e brake but probably a habit I should think about doing although I don't park on slopes often.

Is the "thunk" normal when taking it out of park? I hear a "thunk" with no load and parked on flat surface.
I've been "doing the dance" as it has been described on every vehicle I've owned that has/had an auto tranny. I've never encountered the thunk/clunk when I drive. I do however when my wife has driven. After you set the brake, if you don't want to encounter that, you must let the vehicle rest against the Parking brake. Otherwise any amount of creep will load the parking paw in the tranny. It's just the mechanics of it all.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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I still do the dance out of habit even though my park brake seems to be holding the odd occassion when someone else drives the Mada. I notice there's been a bit of stretch in the cable and ill be readjusting again soon.


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-19-2014, 09:22 AM
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Thanks

Drew - Old post but I did this a few weeks ago and it has worked out great. Originally I did the adjustment at the ebrake peddle so I had loosened that up and adjusted at the drums.

The truck really holds well now. It does seem to have loosened up every so slightly so I get a very small roll but nothing like before. Have you noticed this like it further adjusts after the process?

Not sure if it is worth adjusting again as I do not want to make it too tight.

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