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Old 01-19-2013, 11:55 PM   #1
radi8
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Parking brake...what's the worst that can happen?

Moving along with my wintertime under-the-vette project list,
I repaired the parking brake assembly. (1979)
Having been non-functional, I've never used it. Now that it should be functional I don't want to pull the lever because Lord knows how long it's been and I don't want to freeze up the brakes.

What's the worst case scenario if I pull the lever and the brakes don't release? How difficult is it to get in there and free things up? Or inspect them beforehand? Am I worrying about nothing?
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:34 AM   #2
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It's not difficult to pull the rear rotors off and operate the parking brake to see if it is functional. If it doesn't release then it's out in the open to work on
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:38 AM   #3
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Quote:
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...It's not difficult to pull the rear rotors off and operate the parking brake to see if it is functional....
Yes and No. It's a minor PITA to remove the rotors if they have been off the car at some point in the past. It's a major PITA if they are still riveted to the hubs.

You mention having worked on the system but also ask how to inspect the system. I'm guessing you have not had the rotors off to repair/replace the shoes, springs, adjusters, etc.

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Old 01-20-2013, 06:55 AM   #4
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On my 77' I sprayed the entire parking brake system, with PB Blaster. It did loosen everything up after several spays, and worked for a while. Eventually the cable snapped in half. I ended up changing out everything.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:59 AM   #5
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Stock PB hardware is steel, most of the originals are rust seized, have broken springs and shoes. It is not uncommon to find the inner rotor "drum" grooved from shoes that were dragging.
When the lever is seized at the pivot point it will not expand the shoes, pulling on the cable will stretch it.
The way to correct this is to replace the parts with SS and install new cables.
NOTE: most of the new SS kits are imported and the parts require fitment otherwise your new shoes will loosen and jam up or drag from the start. I have not had a new set of SS hardware in years that I could use as-is out of the bag.
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6880 Mike View Post
You mention having worked on the system but also ask how to inspect the system. I'm guessing you have not had the rotors off to repair/replace the shoes, springs, adjusters, etc.

It had come apart towards the front where the cable adjustment is. There was a cobble job involving a turnbuckle and rope clips in place of the threaded adjustment rod, I put the factory style parts back.
I've replaced the calipers on the back, but never pulled the rotors thus have no clue what condition the innards are in.
I didn't think to check whether they were still riveted.

From what I've read today after searching, the parking brake is of marginal usefulness at best? Probably not effective enough to consider useful if the service brakes fail?
If that's the case I may leave well enough alone until I have reason to pull the rear rotors or until trailing arm rebuild time comes.
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