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Parking brake adjusting
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Parking brake adjusting

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hours1 hrs

Tab:

$50

Talent:

***

Tools:

Long thin head flathead screwdriver, jack, 17mm socket, plastic prying tool

Applicable Models:

BMW X3 Sport Utility (2004-10)

Parts Required:

No parts required

Hot Tip:

Inspect cable for easy movement

Performance Gain:

Proper parking brake function

Complementary Modification:

Replace parking brake cables

BMW X3 models are equipped with a mechanical parking brake. This parking brake is used to hold the vehicle stationary when not in use. The parking brake is operated via a handle in the vehicle cabin, it actuates cables that engage the parking brake shoes. It is a shoe and drum style brake.

The system is compact and integrated into the rear brake rotor system. The rear rotor hub flange acts as the drum and the brake shoes are mounted to the backing plate. 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. Keep in mind, the parking brake is not strong enough to brake the vehicle when driven or when being moved by the engine.

Remember your car may have been serviced before and parts 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 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. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Working in the vehicle interior, lever the bottom (red arrow) of the parking brake lever boot out using a plastic prying tool.
Figure 1

Working in the vehicle interior, lever the bottom (red arrow) of the parking brake lever boot out using a plastic prying tool.

Alternatively, pinch the bottom of the boot and pull it straight out.
Figure 2

Alternatively, pinch the bottom of the boot and pull it straight out.

Then pull out the parking brake lever boot down to detach the top clip (red arrow).
Figure 3

Then pull out the parking brake lever boot down to detach the top clip (red arrow).

Once the trim pieces are removed, look below the parking brake handle pivot (yellow arrow).
Figure 4

Once the trim pieces are removed, look below the parking brake handle pivot (yellow arrow). Locate the parking brake cable service lock (red arrow).

Remove one wheelbolt per rear wheel while the vehicle is on the ground.
Figure 5

Remove one wheelbolt per rear wheel while the vehicle is on the ground. Lift and support the rear of the vehicle. See our tech article on jacking your vehicle. Rotate the rear wheel until the removed stud bore is at an angle pointing toward the rear bumper (red arrow). You should be able to see the parking brake adjuster (blue arrow) when looking through the hole of the removed wheel stud.

Using a long, thin flathead screwdriver, rotate the adjuster down to back the parking brake shoes off.
Figure 6

Using a long, thin flathead screwdriver, rotate the adjuster down to back the parking brake shoes off. Do this about 8 turns. For the driver side wheel, lever the adjuster down to expand the brake shoes. For the passenger side wheel, lever adjuster up to expand the brake shoes. This photo shows the passenger side, levering up the adjuster up (red arrow) retracts the adjuster, levering the adjuster down (blue arrow) expands the adjuster. Screwdriver handle moves in opposite direction of adjuster.

Check that the parking brake lever is in the released position (yellow arrow).
Figure 7

Check that the parking brake lever is in the released position (yellow arrow). Release the cable tension by engaging the service lock. Press the spring (purple arrow) with a flathead screwdriver (red arrow) until the hook locks the spring in a compressed position (green arrow). If the parking brake lever is not fully released, you will not be able to engage the service lock. The yellow arrow shows the service lock from above

Using a long, thin flathead screwdriver, rotate the adjuster to expand the parking brake shoes until the wheel cannot be turned and then back the adjustment off 8 notches.
Figure 8

Using a long, thin flathead screwdriver, rotate the adjuster to expand the parking brake shoes until the wheel cannot be turned and then back the adjustment off 8 notches. For the driver side wheel, lever the adjuster down to expand the brake shoes. For the passenger side wheel, lever adjuster up to expand the brake shoes. This photo shows the passenger side, levering the adjuster up (red arrow) retracts the adjuster, levering the adjuster down (blue arrow) expands the adjuster. Screwdriver handle moves in opposite direction of adjuster.

Once you adjust both rear parking brake shoe adjuster, release the service lock by pressing it using your flathead screwdriver (red arrow) and unhooking it from the hook (purple arrow).
Figure 9

Once you adjust both rear parking brake shoe adjuster, release the service lock by pressing it using your flathead screwdriver (red arrow) and unhooking it from the hook (purple arrow). Working in the vehicle interior, pull the parking brake lever multiple times. Release the lever and confirm that the wheels rotate freely. Release the lever and then pull up 3 notches. Check that the rear wheels do not rotate and the parking brake warning light is ON. When done, install the parking brake lever boot and rear wheel bolts. When checking, be sure the hook (green arrow) is not engaged. The yellow arrow points to the service lock, viewed from above.




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Comments and Suggestions:
Ldee247 Comments: Hi, thank you very much for taking your time in sharing a very detailed useful tutorial to the point on how to fix the hand brake lever problem on BMW X3 e83 2.5i.

I took my car for MOT yesterday and it failed due to no reserve travel. I just stumbled and wasn't sure how best to resolve this problem. Reading through some previous posts on the internet none of them could help because of misleading or confusing explanations. I had tried to follow to the point but still none could resolve my initial problem.

Anyway today I had a search on internet again until I came across this useful post here which solved my problem.

Instead I was doing things the opposite way that's why none of it could work. At first when I opened the handbrake leather cover the release tensioner spring was in a locked position already which is why I had no reserve travel and having more than 10 clicks when handbrake lever was applied and my MOT failed.

Following the previous wrong instructions, I released the tensioner adjusted the wheels until about just tight and near loose and tensioning the tensioner again the wrong way and still the handbrake would not function correctly. I just gave up and thought I was going take the car to the garage to sort it out.

Waking up today I looked up on the internet again and I saw this helpful post followed everything to the point and yeeepiee got it to function correctly. Now my handbrake is working ok I have only 4 -5 clicks when I pull up the lever, hardly get 5 clicks😄. I've taken my car for re - MOT it's passed I'm so happy and thanks to the uploader of this wonderful tutorial.

I hope it's going help many people in my situation, for me definitely it's saved me an arm and a leg probably would have spend more £600-700 to fix this problem I know how garages operate.

Anyway thanks a million I really appreciate keep up the good work... Cheers!!!!! 😄
October 20, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for sharing your repair process and experience. These type of comments add so much to the Pelican tech community.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Eruffin Comments: 2005 BMW X3 rear parking brake
August 23, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Got it. thx. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Eruffin Comments: The cable on the driver side is to long for me to install the parking brakes. How can I reel it in
August 23, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The cable is likely stretched. I would replace it. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Sun 11/19/2017 03:10:23 AM