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BMW Parking Brake Shoe Replacement

Pelican Technical Article:

BMW Parking Brake Shoe Replacement


2 - 3 hours






5mm Allen key, 6mm Allen key, 7mm socket, 16mm socket, driver, needle nose pliers, vise-grips, wire brush, large flatblade screwdriver, floor jack and two jack stands, rubber mallet, brake cleaner, anti-seize compound

Applicable Models:

BMW E30 318i Coupe/Conv (1984-92)
BMW E30 318i Sedan (1984-92)
BMW E30 318is Coupe (1984-92)
BMW E30 325 Coupe (1986-88)
BMW E30 325 Sedan (1986-88)
BMW E30 325e/es/is/iX Coupe (1984-93)
BMW E30 325e/i/iX Sedan (1984-93)
BMW E30 325i Coupe/Conv (1984-93)
BMW E36 318i Convertible (1992-99)
BMW E36 318i Sedan (1992-99)
BMW E36 318is Coupe (1992-99)
BMW E36 318ti Hatchback (1992-99)
BMW E36 323i Convertible (1998-99)
BMW E36 323is Coupe (1998-99)
BMW E36 325i Convertible (1992-95)
BMW E36 325i Sedan (1992-95)
BMW E36 325is Coupe (1992-95)
BMW E36 328i Convertible (1996-99)
BMW E36 328i Sedan (1996-99)
BMW E36 328is Coupe (1996-99)

Parts Required:

Parking brake shoes

Performance Gain:

An emergency brake that will once again help hold your car on a hill

Complementary Modification:

Replace the rear brake disc pads
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If your parking brake is not functioning properly, perhaps it's time you replaced the parking brake shoes. First, make sure the parking brake cables and handles are adjusted properly (see Project 53 in the book).

The parking brake shoes can only be inspected after removing the rear brake discs (see Project 57). With the brake discs off, you can visually inspect the shoes for wear. They should have some brake lining along the top but should not have any heavy grooves cut into them. Compare your brake shoes to the new shoes in these pictures 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 upper and lower parking brake shoes. Make sure that the parking brake handle is all the way down for this procedure. Be very careful during this removal, as the adjuster is spring loaded and the springs may fly out when you remove it.

When you have removed the adjuster, take a set of needle-nose pliers and remove the long spring that holds the upper and lower shoes together near where the adjuster was mounted. Again, be mindful of the spring, as it may fly off unexpectedly. Wear safety glasses during this entire procedure.

Now, remove the washer and conical spring-retaining mechanism at the top of the assembly. Press in the spring, then rotate the special spring washer so you can slide it out of its retainer. Make sure you don't lose the parts if they happen to fly out.

Move to the front of the brake assembly (toward the front of the car), and remove the long spring from the two brake shoes. Use the needle-nose pliers again, and be careful not to catch your fingers in the process.

After the three springs have been removed from the parking brake assembly, both the top and bottom shoes should lift off the assembly.

Install the new shoe in the opposite manner as the removal process. Reassemble the parking brake by attaching the long spring toward the front of the car first, then the upper conical spring, and finally the spring toward the rear.

When you are finished, test the assembly by operating the emergency brake handle a few times. Carefully check that the springs are properly seated in the restraining holes in the brake shoes.

Reinstall the brake disc, and then recheck and adjust the parking brake mechanism (Project 53 in the book) before you reinstall the caliper and brake pads.

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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 bit of slack between the two parking brake shoes. Be very careful when installing the new shoe, as the retaining springs may snap out of place and fly out. Keep your hands out of the way, and wear safety glasses when installing or removing the springs. The inset photo shows a brand-new parking brake shoe. Compare your old one to this to see if you need to replace it.

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 you don't think the parking brake shoes are worn, take a close look at these (red arrows). The brake lining has completely broken off, probably due to the previous owner driving too many miles with the parking brake on.

Comments and Suggestions:
SHY Comments: Does a E46 BMW 2003 have brake shoes for the hand brake?
November 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes. See this tech article: - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bigboy Comments: Hi Is The brake pads only on one side of the vechicle or on both rear wheels
February 24, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Both sides of the vehicle. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
TunaStryker Comments: I just replaced rotors and pads on all four. Like so many others, the rear e-brake fell off when I pulled the rear rotors off. I put everything back on and ordered a kit and pads for e-brake. The holes in the plate where the 1/4 turn spring loaded pin lives was failing. I would have ordered a new back plate, but the two bolts holding it in place looked very weak from rust corrosion. I tried to add a liquid metal filler, but it failed. Subsequently, I drenched the two bolts with WD40 and proceeded to snap them one by one.. Looks like drill and tap time then install a new plate. Anyway, I suggest you keep the difficulty level at two and those of you who've gotten lucky, zip it or next time you may be bit. Ty and appreciate your thread
August 7, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like a lot of work, thanks for the feedback
- Nick at Pelican Parts
pip Comments: i found this article after i finished the job but it was handy as a quick reference which saved taking the disk off again,
November 4, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
idanity Comments: i just completed this task and it was easier than i ever imagined.

the springs around the bolt are just a push-unlock, just twist 45 degrees and they pop out.
the long springs are easy with a zip tie around one end...just pull apart with one hand and use a plier to remove or replace the tip you just pulled free

with a wire brush, everything is back in and i would even suggest to reduce the difficulty rating as its easier than the disc pads imho

thanks for the write up.

in photo, the zip tie is black, and i never had to actually zip it...and i am wearing black nitrile/cotton gloves strongly recommended
April 7, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
HMK Comments: Dear Sirs:

I need to know if the emergency brake on a 525i 2006 is applied should the brakes lock or is it a parking brake to ensure you do not roll down a hill as an example.

Do you have a parking brake cable for this model car and at what price with any accessories it requieres for installation
September 6, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: At speed the parking brake might have a tough time locking the wheels up, it is a parking brake that is supposed to hold the car on a hill. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts

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Page last updated: Mon 1/22/2018 02:05:01 AM