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121 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1997 k1500 Suburban, brake style JB6:
installing new rear brake cables which measured per specification: driver rear 86 inch, passenger rear 95 inch.

After the new driver side rear cable was joined to the original driver side front cable (which comes from the driver handbrake) via a new steel connector , I slid the uniquely shaped adjuster piece over the steel fat head end of the cable that comes from the rear driver side, and proceed to slide the adjuster all the way back to the stopper section which has the expandable finger like side wings .
For reference, the rear driver side cable is the one that does not contain the threaded rod end. Only the passenger side rear cable has the threaded rod end.

First issue:
the rear driver side cable was choked within the narrow adjuster piece. It appears to be too fat to slip through the hole in the adjuster end.
Consequently, I have an apparent loss of approximately one inch of cable at that spot. New adjuster piece. new cable.

Second issue:
when I attempt to screw the threaded brake cable rod that comes from the passenger side into the adjuster piece, I am several inches short of making a threaded connection.

What is happening here?
The routing of all cables was done by matching while removing original cables.
The routing of all cables appears to be fairly easy to figure out even if I did not follow a matching replacement sequence. I am confident that the routing is correct.

Am I required to play with the rear drum brake snugness to gain more cable length?
I set the brake shoes to just barely touch the drums and then backed off a click or two on each star wheel.

Am I required to pull with all my strength to get every centimeter of cable length?
I tried that and failed to get the length.

I am leaning toward adding a length of threaded rod and a double female connector to the rod that comes from the rear driver side cable.
Approx 3 inches is needed, I believe.
Would that mess-up the rear passenger park brake functionality?

I find it incredible that new cables and a new adjuster would not be easy to install w/o issues.


· Registered
1,395 Posts
Wait, your other post said it was way too long, now its way too short? If all the cables were the same length, there is something simple you are overlooking. My first thought would be to make sure the parking brake lever is in the completely released position. If that is applied, it will easily take up a couple inches.

· Registered
121 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Add'l data:
Before I did the install of the driver side cable, I measured the overall cable length. it matched specs at approx 86 inch.
I just measured the old cable's exposed wire that extends beyond the sheath to the front connector : 31 inch. This 31 inch length positions the fat finger-like wing tabs that get imbedded into the adjuster.
Next , I measured the same on the new Advance Auto driver side rear brake length. Answer : only 24 inches.
The fat finger-like area positions the adjuster and has a direct bearing on the spot where the rod can join the adjuster.
So. though the overall length is the same 86 inch, the spots where the fat fixtures/ fat joints/ fat finger tabs are located appears to be different to me.
I do not know which is the correct OEM.

I would draw a comparison to making a car trip of 100 miles.
In 100 mile trip of version A, a gas station is at mile marker 40.
In 100 mile trip of version B, a gas station is at mile marker 90.
The trip length would be the same, yet in version B, you fail due to run out of gas.

Any comments?

· Registered
1,395 Posts
If I'm following all that right, there is a 7" difference in length. You bought the wrong cable. Stick with version A, the gas station is in the right place.

· Registered
121 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, there is a 7 inch difference in the location of where the adjuster can get positioned on the specified 86 inch cable.
86 inches seems to be the original rear driver cable length. Lots of vendors sell it. It seems to be available from Advance Auto, Rock Auto, etc.
But, is it equal in all aspects to the original?
My experience says : no.

The reason that I am swapping out the cables is that when I got the vehicle , the parking brake had several inches of slack. I do not know the history. I attempted to take up the slack via creating a longer path for the front cable: I wrapped it around a bolt with fender washers and a hex nut compressing the coiled winding. This removed some slack but not nearly enough . Two coils consumed too much slack and I could not make the connection to the adjuster.
I resolved to purchase all 3 new park brake cables .

I installed both rear cables and now find that the new cables will not allow the adjuster to get within 4 inches of the threaded rod.
I thought that a metric coupler nut size 8mm x 1.25 with a four inch threaded stud will resolve the issue.
Went to 5 hardware and auto parts stores. No one carried metric. Bought a 4 inch stainless steel threaded rod . Need the metric coupler.
That is only a work around and does not address what went awry.

· Registered
121 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Resolved issue.
As you know, my experience was that the threaded rod would not meet the hex nut in the adjuster ( missed by several inches).
Even though I tugged with all my might to pull the cables together, I could not .

I figured that I would add a 4 inch bridge of some sort to the driver's front cable to span the gap.
That would allow the front driver cable to touch the rear passenger cable.

I accomplished this task by adding several links of chain between two steel collar connectors.
Then, I started tightening in the hex nut onto the threaded rod.
After many turns, I noticed that I was pulling/moving/exposing the cable from the rear passenger side out of the conduit.
That was good.
The more I tightened, the more cable was exposed --> until another 7 inches was exposed.
I suddenly gained the length that was needed/specified.
Then, I removed the chain link bridge and hooked up the cables as they usually are connected.

I could not have done that installation without the mechanical advantage of the chain link bridge coupled with the wrenching on the adjuster nut. Arm strength alone did not budge it.

I plan to contact the Advance Auto expert guy ( Justin of Roanoke , Va I believe) who spent an hour to assist me to report my experience. He provided me with his personal cell number which was beyond the call of duty. Hats off to you, Justin . Thank you.
Very happy here.

Now , to figure out why the hand brake pedal keeps falling back one half inch from its maximum relaxed position and consequently triggers the red BRAKE warning light. That is for another day, another post perhaps.

Thank you gentlemen for your suggestions. All the input was appreciated.
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