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Parking brake problems


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10-20-03, 05:40 PM   #1  
KurtDixon
Parking brake problems

Alright, I asked the question about the rough citation, a good tune up will fix most of it. But I was screwin' with the parking brake trying to get it unsiezed. Well I managed to unstick it (sprayed WD-40 in between the cables and pushed HARD on the pedal) It moves smoothly now. But when it is released, the pedal isn't released all the way (it is far enough off to trip the "brake" light on the dash when ignition is on "on") I moved back and forward without much trouble, so I "assume" the actual brakes are released. The shop manual we got with it from my grandpa goes through how to adjust the parking brake, is it absolutley nesessary to raise the rear of the car? We don't have anything to do it with. Also, would the parking brake be adjusted with a tune up? I really don't want to spend much more money than nesessary, so either I am adjusting the thing myself, getting it done with the tune up or leaving the blasted thing how it is (unless that is bad.) I think my questions are in there somewhere, it is kind of a mess of info

 
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10-20-03, 06:46 PM   #2  
Be careful with that parking brake. The whole problem with a sticking cable is that the return springs aren't strong enough to release it all the way. It's easy to force it down with foot pressure but if it doesn't come back all the way you'll be dragging your back brakes and you'll overheat them and wear them out FAST. A binding cable needs to be replaced. Even if you get it loose, it will only be temporary. It will also give you a low brake pedal if it is partially applied because you won't be getting a true brake adjustment.

 
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10-20-03, 08:57 PM   #3  
KurtDixon
It sounds like it needs more than adjustment, I will get them to do something about the parking brake when it goes in for the tune up. The weird thing about it is, when I pull the brake release when the parking brake is applied, it snaps back up fast and forcefully, not slow or jittery. The only thing is that the pedal does not go all the way back up. What I think happened is this, the car's parking brake is still adjusted FROM the factory in 1982, my grandma never once used the parking brake in 21 years and the pedal froze in the position it was in, the rear brake shoes have worn and now the parking brake is out of adjustment, however the actually cable is free (since the pedal snaps up so fast and hard) Like I said, I don't want to spend any more money than I have to, so I will get the brake cable and adjustment checked to prevent ruining the brakes. Thanks.

 
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10-21-03, 07:25 AM   #4  
Joe_F
Kurt:

If you're going to spend any money on this, it should be in brakes. Never gamble here. Also you may fail inspection if the parking brake doesn't work correctly.

Don't rush on this vehicle. Save up money for tools as well as parts and literature and take your time. You will need basic tools and lifting equipment to service the vehicle. They don't cost much. Look for sales in places like Sears or buy some stuff at garage and yard sales that is in good shape and save yourself some money.

I got a whole jack kit and stands from Sears for like 80 bucks on sale. Good buy.

 
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10-21-03, 06:28 PM   #5  
KurtDixon
I have all the time in the world so I won't cut corners. We tried to drive the car tonight, no luck. There is a shimmy the whole time that wasn't there before (meaning the rear brakes are dragging) we went around the block and took the other car. I just want to get the brakes unstuck so we can at least drive it to the Chevy dealership to get fixed. I tried reversing and braking hard to release them (doing that gets frozen rear brakes unstuck) but it still shimmies. I am trying to think of what is hung up. The pedal snaps up because the brake springs pull the shoes away right? Is there a spring at the pedal that snaps it up? If the pedal snaps up from the brake springs, then the cable is fine, the pedal goes down smoothly and snaps up fast. Perhaps, perhaps, only ONE side of the rear brakes is releasing, meaning the pedal snaps up from the one side releasing, but the other side is still stuck. So the pedal only goes up halfway, and the car shimmies. I noticed the shaking was coming more from the passenger side. I will get under it tomorrow and try to at least get it unstuck. I just have to look at it and think it through, I will get this simple problem resolved, I do have until february But I would rather not have to lie in snow in -30 weather in january

 
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10-21-03, 06:42 PM   #6  
Originally posted by KurtDixon
The pedal snaps up because the brake springs pull the shoes away right? Is there a spring at the pedal that snaps it up? If the pedal snaps up from the brake springs, then the cable is fine, the pedal goes down smoothly and snaps up fast.
WRONG

The parking brake pedal mechanism has it's own return spring and since the cable is a "pull only" cable, the pedal is just leaving it behind. The return springs on the brake shoes are the only thing that pulls that cable back and you can't tell from in the car. It's a more serious problem than you realize because you can't get the drum off with it applied and you can't force the cable to release without getting the drum off. Every time you step on that pedal again, you make it tighter. You may have to destroy all the brakes and hardware to get that drum off now. Not a pretty picture.

 
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10-21-03, 08:40 PM   #7  
KurtDixon
Hmm, interesting... I watched the cable inside the car go into the "sheath" half-way. The cable is not stuck, it moves in and out of the outer layer part-way. But in order to get the pedal up all the way, the cable comes loose from the pedal and the pedal only then goes up all the way. And when I take the cable off the pedal, the pedal is loose (in other words, nothing seems to want to "snap up" without the cable attached), I will see tomorrow though, I sure hope something isn't messed up too badly

 
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10-22-03, 06:18 AM   #8  
Joe_F
Kurt:

If the cables are ruined, they are fairly cheap through GM or a parts store. The brake companies offer them in their line.

 
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10-22-03, 09:19 AM   #9  
darrell McCoy
I'd crawl under neath, look for the cable that goes to each wheel. Some are exposed and go into a short housing. Like a "Y" type deal. Has rubber boots. Hit the cabels where they go into the housing with PB blaster or some kind of penetrating oil. Use gloves and work each wheel cable individually. You will be able to hear them "Squeak" If they are working. If the drums will come off "very" carefully lubricate and grease the working mechanism's inside. I cant really see why this is so complicated. However I dont see the problem being inside drum.

 
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10-22-03, 04:22 PM   #10  
KurtDixon
It isn't that it is complicated. But the thing is SO stubborn. I looked underneath today, the cable rubber outside is gone on most of it and it is rusted. Pushing the parking brake pedal pulls the inner cable into the outer part at the adjustment bar, the passenger side of it seems to move somewhat freely. The driver side WILL NOT BUDGE. I was twisting and hitting the cable the whole length of it. I pulled at the cable where it enters each side trying to get it to snap back in (I know that when the brakes release, the cable slides into the outer part, so I was kind of "pushing" the cable into the outer part.) It worked a tiny bit. The brake pedal doesn't move so much so I must have done something good. And the car moves forward and back in drive and reverse without me touching the gas pedal (like it should) I sprayed everything under it with WD-40 and will try again tomorrow to see if anything has loosened up. Once I get the dumb thing to release all the way I just won't use the parking brake.

 
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10-22-03, 04:35 PM   #11  
Joe_F
I saw one of your posts about bringing it to a Chevy dealer to repair. They will likely frown on working on something that old (many dealers do, not all) and they will charge you a mint.

Take your time, save up some money, read up and learn to do it yourself .

 
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10-22-03, 04:52 PM   #12  
KurtDixon
I am trying. I could replace the spark plugs and wires as well as the pcv valve and air filter myself (I found a long socket that I didn't know we had.) I could check the distributor and that is basically what a tune up involves right? (let me know what I am leaving out, other than an oil change, there is new oil in there)

 
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10-22-03, 05:06 PM   #13  
The pedal may be partially returning because 1 cable is free and the other is frozen. You never said if you tried to get the drum off yet. If you can get that drum off, you can pry the parking brake lever back or disconnect it. If that drum is stuck THAT is what will be so complicated. If it has to be pryed off you will tear the pins right through the backing plate to get it off. The cable is not that hard to change if you can get the drum off.

 
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10-22-03, 05:31 PM   #14  
KurtDixon
That is what i was wondering earlier. Like I said, I will spend another hour or 2 on it tomorrow

 
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10-22-03, 06:00 PM   #15  
darrell McCoy
I would keep trying to free it with PB blaster a while longer, once it is free and you continue to use it, it may be that you can eventually get the rear drums off and do a little lubricating there. Probably more cars out there than you realize with the same problem. Use the park brake often whether you need to or not.

 
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10-22-03, 06:02 PM   #16  
KurtDixon
Exactly what i was going to do, but boy if I get that cable free, I do NOT want to get it stuck again. If I do get the cable truly free (not just get the brakes released) then I will use the parking brake every week at least.

 
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10-23-03, 03:48 PM   #17  
KurtDixon
YAYYYYYYY, I got the darn thing to work. I wasn't totally right, the cables from the connector to the brake shoes were just fine. I could pull them out and they went back in fairly easily. However, where the cable enters the main part at the connector was rusted a bit (I didn't see this until I looked from the front) I sprayed it, wiped it off and pulled at it as hard as I could, CLUNK and it came out all the way It doesn't even hang up anymore Now for a tune up...

 
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10-23-03, 04:28 PM   #18  
Joe_F
Well there you have it. The Canuck gives it a CLUNK

Good job Kurt. We'll make you handy yet. LOL

 
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10-23-03, 06:11 PM   #19  
KurtDixon
"We'll make you handy yet..."
On cars that is I think I have a handle on in the home issues I don't know where I got my handiness from, my dad cannot change a lightbulb without breaking the socket. He has broken a track lighting fixture, a fixture by the door and the kitchen table light from trying to change the bulbs! He crossed the wires in the track and the kitchen light and he mutilated the socket of the other light because he was ripping at it with pliers trying to get the broken bulb out, I don't think he should be around cars

 
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10-24-03, 06:49 AM   #20  
Joe_F
Oh man. LOL. Patience is half the battle with these things, time and information probably the other.

It's like that with appliances. As you know I fix my own. If you can work on cars, many other things around the home follow suit. The appliances are pretty easy to replace things in once you know how to test for what's bad .

(Jeff is a great resource for helping here.)

 
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