Any way to tighten the parking brake? - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 05-15-2007
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Any way to tighten the parking brake?

My Ranger's parking brake is not working too well these days. If I set it on even the most minor of hills the truck starts to roll back. I basically have to jamb the pedal down to the floor in order for it to work. These days I leave it in gear to avoid any rolling, but I'd like to find a way to tighten the brake so that I don't have to do it anymore. Can anybody help here?
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Old 05-15-2007
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hmmmm......this will be interesting to find out, mine is the same way...
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Old 05-15-2007
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Mine too, and mine is a stick, so I need it to work....
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Old 05-15-2007
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The manual states that the system is "self adjusting", which means Ford was too cheap to add a simple cable adjuster to the system. Looks like you have to replace the cable or try to figure out if something is binding in the system. The steel pipes along the cable are only couplers, and cannot be used to adjust tension.
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Old 05-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverTank
The manual states that the system is "self adjusting", which means Ford was too cheap to add a simple cable adjuster to the system. Looks like you have to replace the cable or try to figure out if something is binding in the system. The steel pipes along the cable are only couplers, and cannot be used to adjust tension.
bastards!
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Old 05-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverTank
The manual states that the system is "self adjusting", which means Ford was too cheap to add a simple cable adjuster to the system. Looks like you have to replace the cable or try to figure out if something is binding in the system. The steel pipes along the cable are only couplers, and cannot be used to adjust tension.
Damnit that sucks... thanks George.
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  #7  
Old 05-15-2007
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Try this.

Set your parking brake (while you are rolling, say 25 mph) until you feel it starting to drag lightly.

Then depress the regular brake and note the pedal height under normal braking pressure.

Repeat with parking brake not set at all. Note pedal height.

If setting the parking brake on slightly raises your normal brake pedal height, YOUR REAR BRAKES NEED ADJUSTED. If your self-adjusters are still working, you can brake vigorously in reverse a bunch of times to tighten them up. It's "supposed" to incrementally click one increment of the adjuster wheel each time you press the brake hard enough when reversing (if the adjustment is too loose).

You may need to remove, clean and regrease your self-adjuster wheel or just replace it if it is too far gone. They are notorious for failing to self-adjust, causing the symptoms you described.

You can also note a drop in brake fluid level, if they are very far out of adjustment. Depletion of brake fluid is also an indicator of brake lining thickness, if you pay close attention to it. As the lining wears, it takes more fluid to push it into contact.

You may simply need new rear shoes.
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Old 05-15-2007
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hmmmm thanks Earl.......
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  #9  
Old 05-15-2007
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Good info Earl. I didn't realize you could force the rear brakes to self-adjust. Usually I pull the drums and check their innerds.
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Old 05-15-2007
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The parking brakes use the shoes of the service brakes, so good p-brake operation depends on the service brake system working properly. It is usually more difficult to notice deterioration in braking power at the rear axle than the front and this is especially true with the lightly loaded rear axle of an empty pickup.

The service brakes should self adjust during moderate-to-heavy braking in reverse. This, of course, depends on the condition of the self adjusters. The weakest link is the starwheel assembly between the shoes at the bottom which can seize due to water/mud. ***cough*** WHARTON ***cough*** Exposure to road salt can cause it to seize as well.

Often, simply removing the drums and cleaning/lubing the starwheel adjuster will make a major improvement in the p-brake operation.

EDIT: Earl beat me to it. As usual, I type too slow plus I'm eating my cereal and running spyware/antivirus software.
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Old 05-15-2007
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That granola will get you every time, Bob.
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Old 05-15-2007
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Thanks for the advice guys.

"***cough*** WHARTON ***cough***"

Thanks for the laugh Bob.
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Old 05-15-2007
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Doesn't anybody know about the shoe adjuster integrated into the bottom of the parking brake? You can access it through the rubber stopper on the backing plate of the drums, or by simply pulling the drums off. It's a ratcheting mechanism that spreads the shoes apart more or less.

I used to spread my shoes apart as far as possible without any rubbing on the drums before re-assembling them.

Also, if you continue rolling backwards while shifting from reverse to drive without coming to a COMPLETE STOP, the self-adjusters will be too loose, and the p-brake won't operate properly.
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Old 05-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Needforspeed3685
Doesn't anybody know about the shoe adjuster integrated into the bottom of the parking brake? You can access it through the rubber stopper on the backing plate of the drums, or by simply pulling the drums off. It's a ratcheting mechanism that spreads the shoes apart more or less.
That's the starwheel adjuster mentioned above. It can seize, especially off road or in areas where road salt is used. Cleaning and lubing it can get it working again.
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Old 05-15-2007
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Bob does it again with the technical terms! Thanks! I now know what to call it!

Am I correct in assuming this is a brake shoe adjuster for this purpose?
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Old 05-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Needforspeed3685
Bob does it again with the technical terms! Thanks! I now know what to call it!

Am I correct in assuming this is a brake shoe adjuster for this purpose?
I don't know if "starwheel" is the correct terminology or not, actually.

Yes, it is part of the self adjusting mechanism that works when braking in reverse. It can be used as a rough manual adjuster when assembling the brakes and then it will self adjust to the optimal position in use (if it is correctly assembled and not seized, of course).
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  #17  
Old 05-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwenzing
I don't know if "starwheel" is the correct terminology or not, actually.

.
Ford likes to call it the "brake shoe adjusting screw nut", but it's better known as "Rusty" to those that drive in water a lot.

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Old 05-15-2007
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Every time I go out mudding I need to take off the back wheels and drums. Clean it all out. Put it back together then manually adjust it. Mine don't self adjust any more. I tried doing the reverse trick one night in a parking lot until I got sick and got a second taste of my dinner.
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  #19  
Old 05-15-2007
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my 1986 has a cable adjustor on the left hand side near the frame rail. You hold a nut in place while to tighten a bolt.
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Old 05-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwenzing
I don't know if "starwheel" is the correct terminology or not, actually.
Starwheel adjuster is the correct terminology for it.


Reading this thread makes me REALLY want to get my rear disks on sooner
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  #21  
Old 05-15-2007
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mine were almost seized when i did my rear shoes a month back but theres also a cable and sorta clip which as mentioned above tightents the shoes when going in reverse( well its supposted to) anyways my cable was snapped so it all got replaced and greased up the new adjuster pins to hopefully help a lil bit
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Old 05-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01xltranger4x4
Reading this thread makes me REALLY want to get my rear disks on sooner
True. I haven't a bit of trouble with my starwheel adjusters since converting to 4W discs....
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Old 05-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwenzing
True. I haven't a bit of trouble with my starwheel adjusters since converting to 4W discs....
lol, yeah cause you dont even have them anymore

Mine is a 31 spline with disks
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  #24  
Old 05-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01xltranger4x4
Mine is a 31 spline with disks
so is his, but his has a torsion l/s.
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  #25  
Old 05-15-2007
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parking brake? whats that?
oh wait, my truck has one but the cables are fuxed.
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