Saturday, April 6, 2013

2004 Ford Parking Brake Problems

I had an easy fix on a 2004 Ford F-150 today. The owner said the right parking brake cable was disconnected for some reason and wasn't sure if it was broken or if the parking brakes needed new shoes. I pulled it in and checked it out. The parking brake on these trucks have shoes that are basically a drum brake inside the rotor. So, it is disc brakes on the rear with little drums also on both sides of the axle. I started by removing the tire and checking things out.
 Here is the setup. To get to the parking brakes you need to remove the caliper and the rotor. You can just hang the caliper on the leaf spring so you don't have to disconnect the brake line. The rotor on this truck was a bear to get off. I tapped it with a big hammer, sprayed some kroil on it, tapped it some more and then ended up getting my rivet gun out. The rivet gun did the trick and I got the rotor off.
 Here is the rotor. The drum shoes for the parking brake just expand out inside it.
 To take off the shoes, remove the lower spring and then take out the star adjuster. You can then pull them off from the top. Here they are removed. I didn't know how everything worked exactly but they aren't super complicated. I found that the cable just basically came off the hook in the back because the hook/pivot point for the brakes had frozen up with rust.
This is the pivot that I am referring to. It is suppose to move freely and this one is frozen up good. I have sprayed it with kroil and then let it sit for awhile.
This is the top of the backing plate. The slot is where the pivot goes through. It just sits in the slot and is held in by the brake shoes and spring.
I decided to throw the pivot in my vise and coerce them into moving with a pair of vise grips. Once I got them moving I was able to get them apart.
 Success! The pivot is actually 2 pieces. I cleaned them up real good with some scotchbrite so they move nicely. Time to put everything back together.
 I lubed up the pivot and the 6 areas on the backing plate that the brake shoes ride on with some brake grease. It made everything smooth as butter.
Here is the pivot installed through the boot into the slot. Like I said before it ends up getting held in with the shoes.
Make sure you hook the cable up on the back side of the backing plate before you start putting the shoes on. It makes it a lot easier.
You can see how the shoes and spring connect and hold the pivot in. This is the top of the axle.
 Put the brake shoe post and retainers on now at this point. That is the clip things in the middle of the shoes. After they are installed you can then install the star adjuster and last but not least the lower spring.
It's all downhill from here. Install the rotor, caliper, test the parking brake and if everything is good install the wheel and torque it. I have read that these trucks have some problems with their parking brakes sticking. This is most likely the culprit if that is happening to you. If they are stuck and rubbing it can heat up your axles and/or cause vibrations when driving. It is a good idea to set and release your parking brake now and then so you keep everything moving and it will keep rust from seizing stuff up. This is especially important if you launch a boat regularly because of the water the hubs get in. It is an easy fix and doesn't cost anything which is nice so if your brakes are sticking give this a shot. I am slowly finishing the projects in the shop. I still have the Saturn engine that I am building up and then I can focus on my bug and Dixie's van. Stay tuned and see if anything gets done.

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