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Discussion Starter #1
I have yet another problem. I suppose the van is getting a little long in the tooth and is showing it's age (beyond the rust that is).

In the last week the parking brake pedal has become too stiff to engage. Just can't push it in. What is that all about?

I've always had problems with the parking brake since new. Some many visits to the dealership that I gave up trying to have it fixed for real.

The parking brake would either not really engage (with the pedal fully pushed down) or when it rained the parking brake wouldn't disengage (almost as though things were seized). I would snap free with a bang when I drove forward a few inches.

But now I can't even push the pedal down. Any thoughts?

Thanks

Alain
 

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Sounds like the cables have finally rusted solid. It is time for new ones. Using the new ones regularly will keep them working longer.
 

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The cables usually hold up well on these, but anything is possible. You first need to locate what is frozen. Disc or drum in the rear? Both use drum-style shoes for parking brakes.
The pivots and linkage for the shoes could rust up with no use inside the drum or 'drum-in-hat' rotor. Once applied, they may not release.
It is always good practice to use the p/brake occasionally or not at all. I would do a 4 wheel brake inspection. The adjusters may need to be backed off in order to remove the drum or rotor and adjusted back up to a slight drag when completing the service.
Do one side at a time so you can look to the other side if you have questions on how it goes back together. High-temperature brake lube should keep the pivots free after servicing them. Use a fresh brake hardware kit (springs, pins, adjuster, etc) if things are badly rusted. A good service manual may help with pictures and procedures.
 

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My first Daytona did this. The cables were inside armored jacket and then coated with a rubber sleeve, where they went through the trailing arms to the rear drums. The trailing arms pinched the armored jacket, clamping the cables (plus rust) so that stepping on the pedal only stretched the cable between the pedal and the pinch point, and the brakes would not apply. Had to buy a new rear parking brake cable assy.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I had the cable replaced 2 years ago because the original snapped (again - it was hard to push down the pedal - but not this hard).

I used the parking brake all the time, or at least until I couldn't push down the pedal.

My main concern at this point is that maybe the rear brakes (drums) are no longer engaging at all during driving use. Which means the front rotors are doing ALL the work. I got 100k out of my last rotor and pads and they still had some life in them when they were replaced. I want to get the same again.

Thanks for the advice. I will bring the van to someone and have them check the brakes. I was hoping there was something simple that I could do but I don't have enough experience or confidence to pull the brakes apart myself.

Alain
 

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Just because the emergency brake doesn't engage does not mean the rear drums won't work when you step on the pedal. They are independent systems - one is cable-controlled, one is hydraulic.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you, that is good to know. The fact that I don't know that already is the reason why I won't attempt my own brake job/service. Too dangerous if something isn't put together correctly.

They haven't been serviced in about 30k miles or so. . . although they have been looked at by a professional.
 

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What was the professional's opinion on the next recommended course of action?
I would get them serviced with a fresh hardware kit. If the p/brake mechanism is rusted solid, then the shoe self-adjuster is probably also. This will make the front brakes work harder, creating uneven frt/rear braking, excessive wear and possible rotor warping.

Frozen rear parking brake linkage could snap a cable if you really stood on the pedal.
 

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Best to replace ALL of the rear brake hardware - wheel cylinders, drums, springs, hold-down hardware, adjuster, shoes, cables.
 
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