Emergency brake won’t hold vehicle!

Discussion in 'KJ General Discussion' started by Canuck, May 24, 2020.

  1. Canuck

    Canuck New Member

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    I have a 2006 Liberty and the emergency brake doesn’t feel firm, it feels springy (for lack of a better term). I’ve replaced every piece and it’s no different. I’m actually wondering if the activating lever for the brakes is installed incorrectly. The L and R were on the wrong side based on the markings. I put them back in that way, as that’s the way they seem to fit. I also looked at online pictures and they look correct. Any ideas?
     

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  2. LibertyTC

    LibertyTC Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    I would not be calling it an E-brake, you don't want to count on it in an emergency. It's really just a parking brake.
    While backing up slowly, try pulling up on brake handle, with button held in, and see it that adjusts the adjusting screw/ the spinners.
    If that doesn't work, you can manually adjust the spinners by removing the rubber grommet on inside rear back braking plate, & manually adjust the spinners on both sides.
    Move star wheel/spinner up or clockwise to tighten.
    This parking brake leaves many KJ owners scratching their heads. Leave it to jeep to come up with this marvelous totally outdated design.
    If the cable has a lot of slack still, I use the screwdriver trick. See both post 1 and 2 for some ideas.
    https://www.jeepkj.com/threads/fix-for-the-notorious-kj-handbrake-lever-problem.63894/
     
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  3. Billwill

    Billwill Full Access Member

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    This is a known problem with the "park" brake...definitely not an "emergency" brake.

    The link Liberty TC posted above fixes this problem nicely whereby you need to fit a spring or two at the lever to pull the cables forward!;)
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
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  4. Canuck

    Canuck New Member

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    I appreciate the replies.

    I adjusted the star wheels on the shoes until the shoes were in contact with the drum and then backed them off slightly.

    I checked my parking brake handle and it’s not slipping or popping like in the post. I’ll double check it and make sure that it’s consistently moving the levers at the drum.

    My parking brake engages but has very little holding power and doesn’t have a firm feel to it. I can pull hard and get it to hold somewhat but it feels springy when I pull on it.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
  5. Canuck

    Canuck New Member

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    To sum it up it looks like my expectations were just too high. If I pull on the brake REALLY hard it will hold the vehicle, this brake is awful. I did check the brake lever and mine seems to be working properly. Thanks for the input.
     
  6. 65Corvair

    65Corvair New Member

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    I replaced all the hardware last year hoping it will improve the parking brake, but it did not. I will try adding a spring to as shown in the links/video to see if that improves the brake.
     
  7. Billwill

    Billwill Full Access Member

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    Adding that spring...I used two smaller springs...should definitely help but I find that I still need to pull up the handle a massive amount!

    But my rear brakes...drums....are way overdue for re-furbishment….should work better after that.o_O
     
  8. 65Corvair

    65Corvair New Member

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    I added 2 small springs today, I don't get exactly the same effect as shown in the video, but it does help.
    I am able to raise my brake handle and get the tension of the cables to stop the lever instead of the end stop on the lever.
     
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  9. 65Corvair

    65Corvair New Member

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    The set up I used, was some heavy gauge wire and 2 of the springs.
    I bent two "S" shaped hooks and they hook on to the front edge of the parking brake lever base.


    Springs Used
    [​IMG]

    Rear Side
    [​IMG]

    Front Side
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. LibertyTC

    LibertyTC Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    Very good & how does it hold the jeep now?
    It sure looks like it takes up the slack pretty well.
     
  11. profdlp

    profdlp On The Ledge

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    I really need to get mine working. I did my brakes four years ago and was feeling good about redoing the parking brake stuff at the time. Never made a bit of difference. I basically may as well not even have it on there.
     
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  12. 65Corvair

    65Corvair New Member

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    Took the jeep for a test drive, the cables do get tension, but very poorly hold the vehicle on a hill. I adjusted the "star" adjusters so they were just skimming the inside of the drum. I may try an turn them out a few notches to see if that helps without causing unnecessary drag and heat.
     
  13. Billwill

    Billwill Full Access Member

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    Always has been a natural instinct for me with my Jeep to leave it in gear when I turn it off....even on level ground.

    If parking on an incline I also make sure the steering is turned so as to make the Jeep stop at the edge of the sidewalk.

    Just as my Jeep came out of warranty I complained about the Park brake....they fitted a new one...gave me the old one and charged me for it all...made no difference.!o_O

    I would love to have the designer of this system post a video to explain his theory of why this was going to be a good system!;)

    What system does the KK use?
     
  14. lfhoward

    lfhoward Full Access Member

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    Hello all. Since I have a KK with parking brake issues I can chime in.

    The KK's parking brake lever/drum is different than the one in the KJ. It doesn't have a ratcheting mechanism to keep tension, and nothing that can be reset. There was a recall done on the parking brake drum/lever more than 10 years ago and it only applied to the 08 KK's with manual transmissions, which I guess were more likely to roll away if a parking brake failed. The issue was the drum the cable winds around crushed over time, leaving the cable looser. I guess the company thought it wasn't a big deal unless you had a manual because automatic transmissions in park have the pawl in the transmission. I think this was a mistake-- it's the same exact part. My parking brake is pretty useless and has been for years. (I have an automatic.) I may need to buy a new drum/lever assembly to get mine working properly, but even if I replace it it will eventually wear out again.

    Before I do that, I need to try and take up some cable slack using the star wheels on the rear brake drums (inside the "hat" of the rear rotors). I know the star wheels on my Jeep are messed up because the two cables leading to the parking brake shoes are at different lengths. I found this out when I had the center console off as part of a heater core replacement I did last year (the rear of the Jeep is up in the photo):

    [​IMG]

    The drivers side (right side of the photo) definitely has less slack than the passengers side.

    Going back to the star wheels, the KK's access hole for the star wheels is located behind the brake calipers. This makes it impossible to adjust the tension with the brake calipers on, which means you can't spin a wheel to gauge the friction like you should. The KJ's don't have this problem because their access hole is at the bottom.

    [​IMG]

    The easiest way to adjust the star wheels is to remove the wheel and caliper, and even the rotor itself. Then turn the star wheel, put the rotor back on (if the brake shoe clearance you set allows it), and see if you got it tight enough. This method is terrible and doesn't work very well. The star wheel is the yellow arrow and the hole to access it is the red arrow. (This is the passengers side and so the front of the Jeep is to the right.)

    [​IMG]

    I think I will use this method to get it close, then put the rotor back on and attempt to tighten the star wheel from the back side. I will do all this with the center console off to try and even up the two parking brake cables, so that when I pull the lever both sides get equal force. Without the console removed, I won't be able to see if I get the cables even.

    If after doing all of the above the tension isn't sufficient to hold the Jeep on a hill, I guess it's time for a new drum/lever assembly.

    Now, one important caveat before taking the center console off: be sure your battery is disconnected. If you accidentally knock something into that rectangular black plastic airbag module and give it a good bump, you could set off all your airbags. This happened to a member on here from Costa Rica, and he had to have all new air bags shipped down there to replace the blown ones. This is an expensive mistake, but we can all learn from it. BE SURE that the airbags are powered down before removing your center console and messing with the parking brake assembly.

    There are a couple other parking brake hacks out there from LostJeeps. These threads are worth a read and Diggerfreek even went so far as to bend a tab on his parking brake drum/lever assembly to get more tension. I am not sure I want to do that, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

    Parking Brake adjustment - Diggerfreek - http://www.lostjeeps.com/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=104&t=51247
    Parking Brake lever adjustment mod - Diggerfreek & Scar0 - http://www.lostjeeps.com/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=88&t=66764

    For now, fixing my parking brake is on my to-do list, but not at the top. Somehow the Jeep passed inspection this year without fixing that, so I have another year to figure it out. However, it does make me a little nervous knowing that I don't have the parking brake to fall back on in the unlikely event of brake failure... Maybe this needs to move up on my to do list!
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2020
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  15. lfhoward

    lfhoward Full Access Member

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    A relevant thread by Fourspeedman just appeared on JF about replacing the KK parking brake shoes and what a PITB it is. Worn down or broken brake shoes is another reason a parking brake may not hold correctly.

    https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f292/#/topics/4398889
     
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  16. LibertyTC

    LibertyTC Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    Jeep parking brakes sure could use a re-design. The KK's sound like a real nightmare.
    My KJ's pads were starting to crack & the edge wear was not good either.
    I used the Napa spring kit and pads for the parking brake, so far so good.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. JeepJeepster

    JeepJeepster Full Access Member

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    Years ago I used a small piece of rope to keep the useless clutch tight in the parking brake handle. 2-3 clicks and shes tight. Could probably use a big zip tie too.
     
  18. lfhoward

    lfhoward Full Access Member

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  19. LibertyTC

    LibertyTC Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    That recall is Interesting and a good find for sure.
    It is only for manual transmissions? Why?? Could it be because they are relying upon the auto transmission pawl to hold the Jeep, even in the case of a slack parking brake?
    In the meantime auto transmission KK's are left with without the recall..hmm.