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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've recently became the owner of a 2006 Jeep Commander. The parking brake does not lockup the Jeep, but the brake lever doesn't have excessive pLay. It cinches up 3 inches or so and seems engaged with the brake light illuminated on the cluster, but the vehicle rolls.

So to me it doesn't seem to be the intermediate cable (attached to the lever) is broken as described in other threads of this forum. Let me know if I'm wrong.

Is it possible the brake shoes are so worn that they no longer engage? Maybe the previous owner drove with the e-brake engaged?

Any opinions or ideas? Is there a way to rule out the cable?
 

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Could be the PO backed off the EB to remove the rotors and never readjusted them, Could be that that the small shoes that make up the EB are just not big enough to stop this heavy truck? I have never tried my EB to do a stop.
 

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Well, its really a parking brake that can be used to stop the vehicle if all the brakes fail. It should be able to keep a stopped vehicle from moving, even on a steep hill, it can "eventually" stop the vehicle on its own, but it will in no way come close to being able to stop the vehicle as quickly as the main service brakes. You were a little confusing in your statements, but it sounds like the parking brake won't hold the vehicle on a hill, and is even poorer than you should expect at stopping a moving vehicle.

The lever has an auto tensioner for the cable. Its a spring and sprague clutch type thing, with the handle full down the clutch releases and the spring pulls on the cable to tension it, you pull the lever up, the sprague clutch locks and pulls the cable. So the lever NOT yanking the cable as you pull up for an inch or so is normal.

In areas where they salt the roads a lot in the winter, the cable corrode and bind up, causing the parking brake problems. I've seen several posts where folks have had to replace the cables because of corrosion to get the parking brake working again.

Creek and yourself have touched on the possible problems with the shoes in the Drum-in-Hat brake.

Inspect the cable, have someone pull the handle as you watch.
Pull the rotors and inspect the shoes and brakes.
Pull the center console and inspect the auto-tensioning mechanism.
Correct what ever you find wrong.

Keep in mind, the drum-in-hat parking brake is a mini-drum brake, BUT it still is NOT a main service drum brake. You adjust the shoes differently than main service drum brakes.

Main service drum brakes ride on the drum, you should feel a little resistance from the shoes.
The Drum-in-Hat brake can't handle the shoe riding on the drum, when the rotor gets hot and expands, the shoes in the drum-in-hat brake will engage and brake the wheel.
So, when you adjust the drum-in-hat brake, adjust till the shoes touch the drum, you feel a little resistance to the wheel turning, then back off the shoes 3 teeth on the star wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I didn't mean to be confusing, let me clarify. If I engage the parking brake on a hill (in neutral) it rolls. If I engage the brake on flat ground and give a little gas, it moves without any apparent resistance. I never tried a emergency stop and didn't want to give that impression.

My comments on excessive play refers to post on the parking brake subject in this forum, regarding a member hearing a snapping noise and the break lever travel became higher then normal (as I interpreted the discussion). Part of my problem is, I have know personal notion of what is normal. I have never seen it operational. Is 3 inches the normal travel for the parking break lever? How far does the lever travel if the cable has failed or does the travel change at all due to the spring/clutch? Is there any external indication I can see if the secondary cables are being engaged (without removing anything?). You say to "have someone pull the handle as you watch". Where do I watch?

Thanks again for all the advice Mongo. Sorry for my general ignorance, the drum-in-hat parking brakes are new to me.

I'll start with an external inspection of the cable having someone pull the handle and watch, then I'll pull rotors and inspect the shoes and brakes. Then on from there.
 

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Watch the cables as someone pulls the handle, see if you see the cables more.


There is a single cable to the parking brake handle that attaches to the center of a bar under the vehicle, 2 cables attach to either side of the bar outside the center cable to parking brake handle, those two cable run to each drum-in-hat brake at each wheel.


If one brake is tighter than the other, the bar can tilt and pull one cable more than the other.


If one cable snapped, and made a popping noise, then center cable would still pull the good cable, but the bar would tilt to the extreme with no cable on the other side, you would have to pull the parking brake handle up much farther to get the same amount of pressure on the still good brake. That is likely what happened to your friend.


Range of motion on the Parking Brake Lever? Normally, you can pull it up about an inch with no resistance and you won't see the cables move. After that it should see the cable move and lever can go up another 6-9inches at least. If you pull for all you're worth, probably a good foot.


If both drum-in-hat brakes are properly adjusted and even, then the cables would have equal resistance and the bar between the 3 cables, would remain even. If one drum-in-hat brake is looser than the other, then the looser brakes cable would resist less and the bar would tilt pulling the looser cable more and tighter cable less, to average the pull for both cables, with the cable to the lever in the center of the bar.


Now, if one or more cables had corroded and swelled, they may only move so far before the swell binds on the cable jacket and stops the cable from moving. If that happened, you might be able to pull up the parking brake lever part way before it was stopped by the swelled and corroded cable, and thus the cables don't get pulled any farther and thus don't engage the parking brakes.


Or in one cable from the bar to one of the brakes snapped, you may only get partial pull on only one brake, NOT making enough force to hold the vehicle on a hill.....




Your problem may be as simple as the drum-in-hat parking brakes need adjusted. But, if you can only pull the parking brake lever up 3", and it stops, and can't get enough braking out the parking brake, that sounds like a cable problem to me, perhaps the lever and its spring/clutch at the base.
 
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