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Parking Brake Adjusting
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Parking Brake Adjusting

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$0

Talent:

***

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver, jack, 17mm socket, plastic prying tool

Applicable Models:

BMW Z3 (1996-02)

Parts Required:

No parts required

Hot Tip:

Double check adjustment before finishing up

Performance Gain:

Proper parking brake function

Complementary Modification:

Replace parking brake cables

The parking brake is a drum system that is integrated into the rear brakes. The rear rotor hub flange acts as the drum and the brake shoes are mounted to the backing plate. A pair of cables attached to the parking brake handle activate the parking brake shoes. You can adjust your parking brake with the wheels raised off the ground. You do not have to remove the wheels. A quick check of the parking brake is to pull up the parking brake lever and listen to the number of clicks it makes until stopping. If your parking brake lever makes 10 clicks or more, it needs to be adjusted.

Avoid marring the paint and trim. Work with a plastic prying tool or wrap a screwdriver tip with masking tape before prying out body or interior items.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Remove one wheel bolt per rear wheel while the vehicle is on ground. 

Lift and support rear of vehicle. See our tech article on jacking your vehicle. 

Working in the vehicle interior, pull the rear of the parking brake handle trim cover off.
Figure 1

Working in the vehicle interior, pull the rear of the parking brake handle trim cover off. Then pull it up and away from center console to expose the parking brake lever.

Then loosen the two 9mm nuts (green arrows) on the cable adjusters.
Figure 2

Then loosen the two 9mm nuts (green arrows) on the cable adjusters. If needed, counter-hold the 12mm hex behind them. Loosen them until they are at the end of the stud.

Rotate rear wheel until you can see parking brake adjuster when looking through hole of removed wheel stud.
Figure 3

Rotate rear wheel until you can see parking brake adjuster when looking through hole of removed wheel stud. (green arrow) It is in the area that I have my screwdriver. Use a small flashlight to illuminate the wheel stud hole.

Using a flathead screwdriver, rotate adjuster to expand parking brake shoes until wheel cannot be turned, then back adjust off specified 18 notches.
Figure 4

Using a flathead screwdriver, rotate adjuster to expand parking brake shoes until wheel cannot be turned, then back adjust off specified 18 notches. For the driver side wheel, lever adjuster in direction of green arrow. For the passenger side wheel, lever adjuster in direction of yellow arrow.

Once you adjust both rear parking brake shoe adjusters, tighten the cable ends nuts.
Figure 5

Once you adjust both rear parking brake shoe adjusters, tighten the cable ends nuts. Lift the lever a few times to seat the cable, then release the parking brake handle. Then pull the parking brake handle up six notches. Tighten the cable nuts until the rear wheel can no longer be turned. Release the parking brake handle and confirm the wheels rotate freely. Once complete, lift parking brake handle, then check that parking brake warning light is ON. Remember to install parking brake lever boot and rear wheels studs.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Screw II Comments: My original problem - before setting out on this joust - was that the parking brake ratchet stopped ratcheting. In this case, there is actually little need to adjust anything at the rear brakes. I actually had a broken spring in the hand brake lever that was causing the ratchet gear to not catch. And by-the-way, you can do almost all the adjustment you need to the handbrakes by simply tightening the bolts under the hand brake lever rather than messing with the rear wheels.
June 5, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That is not how BMW wants the adjustment made, in order to maintain the correct engagement. The nuts are for cable slack when installing new cables. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Screw-up Comments: Watch out! Figure 4 - where you are looking for an adjuster - it is a star wheel that turns perpendicular to you when looking through the hole. I was looking for a screw head which was incorrect. As a result, I turned one of the spring clips that holds the parking brake pads against the rotor housing. This caused the clip to become detached and then it dropped down into the inside of the brake disk. Then I had to remove the entire caliper and brake disk in order to retrieve and reattach the spring clip. An extra picture here to show what the star wheel looks like would boost confidence a great deal.
June 5, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Correct, it is an adjuster, not a screw. That is why you are directed to lever and not to unscrew. See this article for photos of the part: http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/techarticles/BMW-Z3/10-BRAKES-Parking_Brake_Shoes_Replacement/10-BRAKES-Parking_Brake_Shoes_Replacement.htm

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Confused I suppose. No just thick. Comments: I've just woken up ! The rear disc includes a drum for the handbrake ! Just the same as my Jaguar Xk 8 which I've worked on for 12 years. I'll go get a coffee !
April 24, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: HA! Yes. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Confused I suppose. Comments: My Jane 2000 Z3 has discs at the rear.
April 24, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, the drum brakes for the parking brake are inside the rear disc brakes. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Fri 6/23/2017 02:07:17 AM