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Old 08-11-2018, 12:15 PM
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andrewwynn andrewwynn is offline
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Racine, WI
Posts: 4,101
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When i replaced my rear rotors (both cars), I had to back off the park brake adjust just to be able to remove them, when i put on the new ones, with the brake handle down I turned the adjuster until it was 'snug' and i would have to use force to turn the rotor, then i backed it off until I couldn't hear the scraping and it turned freely; it was NOT ten clicks maybe 5-7. I then went for a drive and used only the P brake to stop for at least 5-7 stops over the course of about 1 mile circuit back home.

When my rear brake line sprung a leak a while ago, i used just the P brake to stop a couple times on my 3 hour drive home, so i could conserve fluid in case i needed to stop quickly. braking power with just P brake feels more like a suggestion than brakes, but recently doing a few coast to slow tests (100kph to 30), P brake is about 1000x more effective than coasting! geez it took forever and a small hill to coast down from about 100 to 30 km/h (60 to 20mph).

My p brake shoes looked 16 years old (because they were); i cleaned off all the glazing with a bench sander (belt type) and to burnish them in, the 1 mile circuit with 5-7 stops using only p brake.

If you aren't able to get your P brake to work as described above (stop from 30mph within 200 ft or so), I'm quite sure you have a problem with the cable/actuation system not the pads; I'm not sure how much work involved to remove the cable but i'm betting rust has set up on the inside and causing a great increase in the friction; if my brakes worked (didn't work) as you describe I would remove the cable, see if i can get some lubricant down through the middle all the way until it comes out the other side, and work the cable until it operates smoothy.

If not the cable, the handle to cable mechanism; something is gumming up the works. FYI; when using P brake to stop my 3T of moving mass, i could do it with two fingers it's not a difficult operation, it's such a minor 'suggestion' to slow the car, it only makes 20% difference if i pull 4x as hard, so i don't bother, i just pull up maybe 50% of the range of motion; once the car seems like it's coasting on low psi tires, i just hold it there until it stops rolling.

I thought the P brake was so ineffective because it was so slow to stop until i did the coast testing recently and holy crap brakes really are an amazing tool! It took the better part of a mile (1.6 km) to coast from 100 to 30 kph 60 to 20 mph! When I stopped from highway speeds w/o hydraulic brakes, I used down-shifting to get down to 30-40 mph before using the P brake and I could probably stop in 600-700ft (a little more than a long city block).
E53 / M54 2001 3.0i gas LHD (pair of them: his & her)
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