E brake pedal questions and problem

Discussion in 'Chevy Silverado Forum (GMC Sierra)' started by stringpickin, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. stringpickin

    stringpickin Member 100 Posts

    Hello and good day.. Before a 2000 mile round trip which I just returned from I replaced the E-brake pads and adjusters. Hat drum surface fine, adjusted up good.. E brakes worked great until two days ago I inadvertently left the e-brake lightly engaged and noticed it after a few miles driving. I did not smell any burnt brake. However when I released the foot brake lever and reapplied it, the pedal went entirely to the floor just as it had before I replaced the e-brake pads.. (the previous owner had actually removed the e-brake pads and adjusters all together explaining why my pedal went to the floor before I repaired/replaced them).

    I find it hard to believe that the e-brake pads are completely burnt out from one accidental engagement.

    I read in one place someone said,, pump the e-brake pedal repeatedly. I have not tried this yet as I have not been out to the vehicle after a 15 hour strait drive and recoupe time..

    Can anyone tell me about this pumping "thing".. I have never heard of such a thing for a cable operated e-brake system.

    Also, do our e-brake pedals "not" have a click stop feature. My pedal has absolutley zero clicking sound when it engages. Without click stops my E-brake worked fine until I inadvertently left it partially on while driving..

    Any pointers and help is greatly appreciated.. Thank you

    2003 gmc sierra 1500, 4x...
  2. j cat

    j cat Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    not sure on your vehicle but on my 2000 1500 4X4 the parking brake is with park brake shoes not pads. these are not E brakes, these are not to be applied at any time with the vehicle moving or to hold the vehicle on a steep grade with the automatic shifter in any position other than the park selection.

    the park brake pedal is a somewhat self adjusting for cable slack but not much.

    the park brake shoes if worn down and the dog ears out 3/4 of the max travel and you did the adjusting of the star wheel for the shoes then you will need to replace the rotor as the inner park brake drum is too big and the shoes only make contact at the top so not much friction to hold vehicle.

    with my vehicle GM made these defective park brakes. the park brake shoe hold down clip is defective so what happens is the shoes flop inside the drum and wear out as you drive along. I figured this out 12 years ago GM refused to repair it and admit it was a defective design since the word defective is not allowed by GM... I made my own clip and then a few years later the new clip was made to address this issue...

    GM was sued and lost on this defect.. I did all this myself so I did not bother to join in on the lawsuit. it did take 10 years though !

    with no drag on the cable the park pedal when depressing may not click..

    this pedal to the floor is exactly what happened to me @20K miles vehicle 2 years old I never used this park brake so when I inspected I could not believe the shoes had worn ... GM sucks with defects its always your fault ..
  3. stringpickin

    stringpickin Member 100 Posts

    Thank you J Cat.. corrected.. yes,, no e-brake,, miserable parking brake that it is.. what a piece of work huh? Makes me regret somewhat being a chevy/gm truck guy for 50 years.. What a real piece of garbage..

    Mine has the improved retainer clip being I bought a new kit as there was absoblutly no hardware or brake shoes on my truck when I took it apart.. So the rattling back and forth wear issue is moot..

    So, does your pedal click at all when you depress it? Mine absolutley does "not" click whatsoever however it does stay depressed.

    I tried the "pumping" the parking brake pedal to no avail.

    Maybe the wear from being accidently engaged "lightly" is what has caused this problem.. I just find it hard to believe that one accidental engagement is going to wear the brand new shoes down so much that the p-brake, short for puke brake, that it will not engage.. When I installed them I had them adjusted so nice that they just barely cleared the drum inside.

    Anymore input from anyone is appreciated.. Maybe I can adjust the cable up enough to get them to work again without having to take the rotors apart.. I guess one advantage to buying autozone brake shoes.. lifetime replacement for original buyer/owner.. too bad it isn't a 10 minute replacement job..

    all the best.. thanks
  4. stringpickin

    stringpickin Member 100 Posts

    Apparently this is a widely known problem and issue and is why chevy/gmc went back to drum brakes on all half tons in 2005.. What a lousy excuse for a parking brake.. Now I am pretty sure I know why they were completely missing from my truck when I bought it.. The guy got tired of messing with them and said the heck with it.. unbelievable that they(gm) cannot offer a fix on how many hundreds of thousands of these systems on silverados, tahoes, sierras.. I hate the fact that I can't call myself a chevy man anymore and be somewhat proud of it.. what a pile of garbage in so many ways.. rust issues, plastic breaking parts, miserable parking brakes, radios aren't worth the plastic they are made of... anyway,, I guess I buy toyota next time.. at least they are partly made in the u.s. and are a quality made vehicle. Pay a bit more but you do get what you pay for.. sad sad.. way this country and so many of its big corporations.. rape the people of their money, so they at the top can get rich, and destroy an entire reputation of an amercican company.. of course gm/chevy I speak of,, does not only have problems with the sierra and silverado.. over a 50 cent upgrade they let people die over an ignition switch.. if people knowingly and purposely overlooked this because it would cost too much money or headache, I hope they are held accountable for the murders they are responsible for.. end of rant..
  5. j cat

    j cat Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I mentioned the shoes if worn at the top mean that the drum of the park brake is too big that means you need a new rotor. cable dog ear at the back of the rear brake dust shield at 3/4 position with the pedal depressed should hold vehicle if it does not the get new rotors.

    my pedal makes a slight click but not like the 1990s type...
  6. stringpickin

    stringpickin Member 100 Posts

    Hey JCat.. Thank you,, when I took it apart the first time and found "zero" components in there for the p-brake... I inspected the rotor then with the new brake shoes.. the hat drum if ever used did not show any signs of wear.. The brake shoes were a nice fit and could be seen with a slight spread they would clamp on the inside of the drum just fine.. so the rotors are good.. Beginning to wonder if I have cable stretch, defective pedal(as I have "no" click sound at all).. Will have to make an afternoon of it again and see what I can find.. Was thinking of possibly replacing some of the cable with solid steel rod, will have to look at the situation to see if it looks feasible... investigation next.. fix it and watch it break in a few months again if not less probably..lol.. seems to be the main consensus of all the owners I have read on the many forums... thanks for the help and input..
  7. j cat

    j cat Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    you stated that the park brake was on for a time as you where driving around ... it does not take long for these to wear. as I stated before if the shoes are only worn at the top the rotors are no good as the drum is now too big...

    when you remove this type rotor on these defective park brakes the inner drum should be all rusted no smooth metal if clean and smooth then the shoes are draging on the drum ALL the time.. you do not adjust the cable on these .. the cable adjuster stud under the driver side frame rail should have about 1 inch or so of thread showing. the cable should be slack when park brake is OFF..

    when the park brakes are fully on those dog ears on the back of the rear heat shield should be @3/4 up ...then if you have no holding of the park brakes the rotor / shoes are bad...

    use chalk on the drum and on the shoes and see if you get good contact on the shoes to drum ..if not then rotors need replacing.

    once you get this working correctly the shoes will last the life of the vehicle ..
  8. stringpickin

    stringpickin Member 100 Posts

    If the rotors show absolutely no sign of wear differential from the furthermost inside part of the hat drum then the rotors should be fine correct? if the hat/drum area was actually worn away there would be a step where the drum had been grooved out because of metal on metal contact or excessive brake usage(which would take years of brake pad pushing against the drum to actually wear in a groove, so would seem it would have to be metal to metal to cause detrimental wear) I would think... I will have to take visual note of the "dog ear/3/4) issue when I check them out. I guess it is possible that one 10 minute trip wore the shoes out so badly that I cannot get any brake action.. In my years of messing with autos and trucks I would find this phenomonally amazing. I could see where it might cause me to have to push the pedal a little further down.. But if it actually wore the brake shoe so bad that there is not enough actuating room to engage the break, than it seems I would be down to metal on the pads.. In any case the dealer told me that my pedal sounds defective as I should hear some ratcheting, and that on some of the later model 2003's they used an adjustable pedal module, which he said sounds like it is probably broken.. Comes down to having to get in to it to find out what the issue is... I hope you are right that once it is set up correctly it will last the life of the vehicle.. A quick search in google about parking brake issues with the sierra/silverado's litterally comes up with hundreds of complaints about the system.... so far not unfounded, but havn't given up yet.. I will apply your advice and see how it goes.. thank you much..
  9. j cat

    j cat Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    my park brake drum looked good and I did not see any grooves .. when I installed the new rotors the park brakes grabbed real good because the 95% of the park brake shoe made contact with the inner drum surface..so this is what you must check ...even if you adjust the shoes as tight as you can the inner shoe radius will not match the outer rotor park drum radius..this is the problem with drum brakes ..... with rotor brakes no problem as the rotor wears the brake pedal gets spongy...new rotors and pads the pedal is hard / high / light force to stop...vehicle..

    after the rotor replacing the park brakes worked like day one... pedal down about 1/4 way to floor AND the vehicle held from moving forward in drive ...

    just remember do not apply the park brake when moving that is the problem with these.. my old vehicle that this replaced had the original emergency brake and it worked for 17 yrs/ 380K miles never a problem 20 K on this 2000 silverado and no park brakes ...if this was under warranty the dealership sevice manager would say that you abused the vehicle..
  10. stringpickin

    stringpickin Member 100 Posts

    This is one place where I would accept and possibly love a little beeper that tells you when you forget to release the emergency release.. A lot of newer vehicles have this now.. On my 70 chevy it was never an issue because if I tried to move with the E brake on,, I couldn't.. Same with my solara... you put the e brake on and it actually works.. as a parking brake and an emergency brake..

    thanks for the tips.. I know my rotors are in fine shape, as I had explained previously the new shoes just fit inside without being spread, so at least I don't have to replace those.. I just ordered off of amazon an open package New.. parking brake module for 19 bucks instead of 50.. worth a 20 dollar bill just to put it on there.. will update you after I get it fixed. be a few days waiting for the goodies to arrrive. I am replacing the backing plates and figured I will do an oil change in the rear end. can't hurt.. thanks Jcat

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