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  #1  
Old 08-10-2018, 05:08 AM
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Parking Brake Efficiency

I'm trying to adjust my parking brake (x5 e53 2006 3.0i) now since a long time, and I can barely bring it to the point where it holds the car in "N" on a light slope of let's say 10-15°. Sure...I can pull like a hulk on the lever but not my wife.



I obviously tried several adjustments, even tried to follow the manual (lock the wheel with the adjuster, then turn back 10 clicks....).


Braking shoes have been replaced 1 year ago, yesterday I replaced the rotors as they were due.... thought new rotors would maybe fix it but...no.


The car has always been that way, since I got it in 2008...


Maybe there is nothing to fix and this is just how the parking brake of the X5 is ment to work. But I hate it when you park on a slope and only the parking pawl does the final job.



Would apreciate some feedback from other users to maybe get some peace of mind on this issue.
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  #2  
Old 08-10-2018, 05:22 AM
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The park brake can be made to work correctly but it does take a bit of fiddling. I replaced my PB shoes recently and it was a lot of tweaking to get them working well.

As you say, there is a process for adjusting them. Slacken off the cable at the park brake lever (remove the leather boot for better access), then wind up rear wheel adjusters until they touch the rotors hard enough to not be able to rotate the rotors by hand. Then back them off 10 clicks, then return up front and adjust cables at park brake lever until it only pulls up two or three clicks.

I didn't get it right first time - more like the third or fourth.

Here in New Zealand all vehicles undergo a comprehensive safety check (annually on vehicles over 5 years old) that includes a test of the park brake effectiveness. This is usually done on a "rolling road" type brake tester and I watched my X5 being tested. My park brakes gave a very high braking force readings and they matched very well (left to right).

They still don't seem to hold the car as well as I would expect but they do hold it OK on steep streets etc.
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:31 AM
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Well...means I have to play with it again. Thanks for the quick reply!!
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Old 08-10-2018, 10:19 AM
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Burnish them. I drove around and stopped only with P brake about six times from City speeds. I had sanded off the nearly two decades of crust when I replaced the rotors and wanted to seat them to the rotors.

I was able to successfully use them as emergency brake and stop from any speed using only engine braking and the parking brake after but never tried a steep road so now I'm curious.
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:50 PM
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I tried again this afternoon... no success. Stopping with the parking brake @city speeds is impossible. Other scenario: I pull the p brake as hulk and 2 times out of 3 the car moves forward in D without any throttle...

Burnish the brake shoes would be a option to try... but I‘m so sick of trying solutions that I will just stick with another set of new shoes and see if it gets better.

Thinking of it, it cant be that the parking brake efficiency of the e53 is like standard like mine. What if the car would be a manual transmission = no parking pawl. You couldn‘t park the car on the slightest slope...
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Old 08-10-2018, 07:59 PM
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In a manual car you would leave the tranny in first or reverse, depending on which way you are facing (first if facing up-hill and reverse if facing down hill) - it won't go anywhere.... but be ready with the brakes if you put your foot on the clutch!
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Old 08-11-2018, 12:15 PM
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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).
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