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Parking Brake Shoe Replacement
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Pelican Technical Article:

Parking Brake Shoe Replacement


3 hours3 hrs






rubber mallet, screwdriver, small pliers

Applicable Models:

Porsche 986 Boxster (1997-04)
Porsche 986 Boxster S (2000-04)
Porsche 987 Boxster (2005-08)
Porsche 987 Boxster S (2005-08)

Parts Required:

New parking brake shoes, springs

Hot Tip:

Wear safety glasses when working around the spring-loaded mechanisms

Performance Gain:

Better parking brake performance

Complementary Modification:

Replace the brake pads, brake discs.
101 Performance Projects for Your Porsche Boxster

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your Porsche Boxster. The book contains 312 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 950+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any Boxster owner's collection. The book is currently available and in stock now. See The Official Book Website for more details.

If your parking brake is not functioning properly, then perhaps it's time that you replaced your parking brake shoes. The first step in the process is to make sure that your parking brake cables and handles are adjusted properly. Refer to Project 51 for details on this procedure.

The parking brake shoes can only be inspected after the removal of the rear brake discs. Refer to Project 55 for the procedure for this removal. After you have the brake discs off, you can visually inspect the shoes for wear. The shoes should have some brake lining along the top, and should not have any heavy grooves cut into them. Compare your brake shoes to the new shoes in the pictures in this project to determine if you need to replace yours.

After the brake disc has been removed from the brake assembly, remove the small parking brake adjuster by prying it out from between the left and right parking brake shoe. Make sure that the parking brake handle is all the way down for this procedure. Be careful while you are performing this removal, as the adjuster is spring loaded and the springs may fly out when you are prying it out.

When you have removed the adjuster, take a set of needle nose pliers and remove the long spring that that holds the left and right shoes together near where the adjuster was mounted. Again, be careful of the spring, as it may fly off unexpectedly. Make sure that you wear safety glasses during this entire procedure.

Now, remove the conical spring retaining mechanisms at the far left and right of the assembly. Press in the spring, and then rotate the spring so that you can slide it out of its slot in the back. You made need to stick your head around the backside of the axle carrier in order to see how to remove the hook on the end of the spring. Make sure that you don't lose the parts if they happen to fly out.

Now remove the long spring from the bottom of the two brake shoes. Use the needle nose pliers again, and be careful not to catch your fingers in the process.

After the springs have been removed from the parking brake assembly, both the top and the bottom shoes should simply lift off of the assembly. The new shoe should be installed in an opposite manner to the removal process. Reassemble the parking brake by attaching the lower spring first, then the two conical springs, and then the spring towards the top. It's important to note that this reassembly involves quite a bit of maneuvering with your pliers and is not an easy task: you'll probably swear at the car a couple dozen times.

When you are finished, test the assembly by operating the emergency brake handle a few times. Carefully check the springs and make sure that they are properly seated in the restraining holes in the brake shoes. Loosen up the parking brake cables before you reinstall the brake disc and make sure that you recheck and adjust the parking brake mechanism (Pelican Technical Article: Parking Brake Adjustment) before you reinstall the caliper and the brake pads.

Remove the small adjusting cog assembly by using a large screwdriver to push it out from between the two parking brake shoes.
Figure 1

Remove the small adjusting cog assembly by using a large screwdriver to push it out from between the two parking brake shoes. With some effort, the cog assembly should pop out, leaving a little bit of slack between the two parking brake shoes. Be very careful when installing the new shoe, as the retaining springs have a tendency to snap out of place and fly out. Make sure that you keep your hands out of the way, and use safety glasses when installing or removing the springs. The inset photo shows a brand new parking brake shoe. Compare your old one to this one here in the photo to see if it needs replacement.

Using a pair of pliers, grab and unhook the parking brake spring from the brake shoes (green arrow).
Figure 2

Using a pair of pliers, grab and unhook the parking brake spring from the brake shoes (green arrow). Be careful of the spring, as it is under a lot of tension at this point. Use a pair of vise grips and a pair of needle-nose pliers to twist the spring and unlatch it from the assembly. Also undo the small spring retainer (inset) that secures the brake shoes to the rear trailing arm. If your not sure if your parking brake shoes are worn, take a close look at these (red arrow). The brake lining on this particular shoe actually looks pretty good and probably wouldn't warrant replacing.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Swampy0512 Comments: I have followed your article on how to remove carrier for wheel bearing !change. But their is no mens ion of how to remove parking brake cable.rear wheel fix to carrier... ??? Help
May 21, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Once the parking brake shoes are removed, collapse the collar for the cable and slide it out of the carrier. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
NathUK Comments: I'm glad you mentioned the possibility of swearing at the car during shoe installation, I definately did.
For easier fitting of the side springs on the shoes I found that pushing them in as far as you can then trapping the hook behind with a small screw or pin which you can use to rotate the hook into place to hold the spring in saves you the job of attempting to push the spring through and rotate into place at the same time whilst wondering who designed this monstrosity.

Brilliant guide as always!
March 25, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Blake Comments: Hey I have y'all's book but there isn't any pictures are details on which way the ebrake shoes should go or how they line up on the bottom side with the long spring and the mechanism that works the ebrake. I'm sure most don't run into this problem but I just purchase a 2000 boxster S with the ebrake in a box in the trunk and I'm struggling with it. Thanks
June 2, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would grab a complete repair manual. It should show the rear parking brake assembled. Give our parts specialists a call: 1-888-280-7799 They will help you find what you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Doug Comments: I found that a paint can opener normally has a bottle top opener on the other end is great for pulling the bottom spring over for installation. The opener must be small enough to fit inside the spring. Orient it so that the little "lip" is pointed toward you and interleaved between the 3/4 or 4/5 loops of the spring. This allows you to pull the spring and pushes the end loop of the spring towards the hole in the shoe.
June 17, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Wow, that's a good tip, I'll have to try that next time. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Rush Comments: I'm anxious to purchase you 101 Projects for Boxsters. Winter is here and I'm ready to do some projects. New brakes all the way around will be first. I'm sure you new book will be a great aid, it was for my 911. Thanks - can't wait!
November 19, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I got my preview copy on Wednesday! The rest of the books are on the boat from Asia, they should be here hopefully mid-December at the latest. Thanks for your support! - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Rush Comments: It seems no dealers or shops will turn discs down to clean them up anymore, quoting fedral regs. or OEM minimums, etc. Is it, or is it not OK to turn down discs to remove grooving. Thanks.
November 19, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Great question! I'm not sure of the answer, though 100%. I do have my own opinions though. It's my thought that the cost / price of rotors have come down so much in the past (mostly on the "plain vanilla" cars - not Porsches), that it's just easier to replace the rotors rather than actually do the work to turn them down. Our society has become a "throw away" disposable society, and I think the non-turning down of rotors reflects that. Also, I think the specs have changed a bit to reflect this - I just called over to Tom at Callas Rennsport, and he commented that in the past after they had turned down rotors, they became too thin and often ended up warping after that. Who knows, it's probably a mixture of a lot of different factors. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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