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There's a really good DIY writeup on replacing rotors and pads, so I'm not going to cover any of that. Good job on that DIY with all the pictures.

I replaced all the pads and front rotors only. Since I was reusing the rear rotors, but with new shoes, I figured it would be a good time to adjust the parking brake. My wife complained a few times about the pedal going down but not holding, then when I drove it I mashed the pedal down really hard, and she wasn't strong enough to get the pedal to release.

I wanted to elaborate on adjusting the parking brake system since it's not covered in the owner's manual, the service manual is a little vague, and the one and only picture in the service manual isn't very clear.

Do we have an E-brake, parking brake, or "spin-out" pedal?

First I want to clear up some common confusion: Some people call this the e-brake but it's not designed for emergencies (that's what parachutes are for). In all seriousness if you did stomp on that pedal at freeway speeds you won't actually get that much stopping power because the shoes are small and do NOT dissipate heat well, and you'd have to press the pedal again to make it let go. Not the safest thing if you're really in an emergency situation.

I've also heard of kids mistakenly think if they press on the pedal it's easier to do a donut or spin out, but that's a fallacy since the parking brake activates both sides of the rear brakes. There were some older cars where the parking brake activated one rear wheel and the opposite front wheel. You DO NOT want to do spin outs on our AWD FXs. That's torture for the transfer case.

Yeah,but that's not what the dealer told me...

I heard a dealer tell a customer he was going to adjust the rear disks, but that's not really accurate. You're not adjusting the rear rotors (they don't "adjust"), or the rear pads (they're hydraulic, so they don't adjust either), as those components are part of the regular braking system, not the parking brake system. There are some modern cars that use the parking brake pedal or handle to activate the rear calipers via a cable. In this case there are no shoes to activate.

So what do we have?

For our FXs (and many other newer vehicles) there are brake shoes that live inside the rear rotors. These shoes are thin and move outward to hold the vehicle in place when parked. If these shoes are out of adjustment they won't hold, no matter how hard you press the pedal. The danger in that is you'll creep downhill if you park on an incline. Now since all of our FXs are automatic transmissions they'll creep until there is tension on the drivetrain, then when you start up to go and you put the transmission in reverse you'll hear and feel a harsh "thunk". That thunk is weight of the vehicle resting on the transmission and drivetrain. That thunking isn't bad for anything, but it is unpleasant to hear and feel, and it's a pet peeve of mine.

How to adjust parking brake shoes and pedal-

Think of the parking brake as two separate adjustments, first the shoes, then the pedal. These directions are based on the directions from the service manual.

1. Start with the FX rear wheels lifted and tires off. Safety first, so use wheel chocks on the front tires and jack stands. I guess you don't NEED to use jack stands if the jack is holding only the rear axle up. If you get crushed or lose a leg don't say I didn't warn you.

2. Locate the pedal adjustment screw. It's hidden directly above the parking brake pedal, and you can't get to it unless you crouch down and bend backward and upside down. The screw and nut are brass colored, and they point up at an odd angle. To make the access a little easier I depressed the pedal for ONE click. You'll need a 10mm deep socket to lossen it all the way. Don't take it off! You can verify the nut is loose by using two fingers to pull the cable behind the screw to make sure theere is slack.

3. Go to the first side of the rear wheel and take the little rubber plug on the rotor out. Be careful to not push it inside the rotor. A flathead screwdriver to pull up a little and needlenose pliers work best. Align the hole toward the top of the rotor, about the 11 o'clock. You can use a flashlight to see inside looking for a little gear wheel. This adjuster moves the shoes out or in. The gear wheels move past a spring. It's that spring that generates the clicking noises you're about to listen for.

4. Use a medium sized flat head to make the adjustment. Some parts stores sell "spoons", but we don't need 'em. The direction you need need to move the little gear wheel can vary side to side. The best thing to do is move a few clicks in one direction and then LOOK through the hole to see if the adjuster is going wider or narrower. You want adjust as wide as possible until you can't adjust any further. At this point you will not be able to turn the rotor at all.

5. Once you've gone as wide as possible go in, or narrower, by 5-6 clicks. You should still be able to turn rotor without much drag. You might be able to HEAR the drag, but you shouldn't feel it very much, if at all. Put the little rubber plug back, again, being careful to to push it all the way into the rotor.

6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 on the other side. Keep in mind the other side MIGHT have up and down reversed for in and out. Confusing as ****, so take your time and LOOK to see you're going in the proper direction.

7. Now that the parking brake shoes are adjusted properly you need to adjust the parking brake pedal. You'll need to use your deep socket and tighten the nut. Depress the pedal one click so it's easier to access. It took me about 18 quarter-cranks to go from full loose to snug. You can use two fingers to tug on the cable behind the assembly to feel for a snug cable.

8. Test the pedal several times. Service manual says you're looking for 5-6 "clicks". If you tighten too much you'll create drag on the rotors. Too loose and pedal will travel too far, or it won't have the travel to apply full pressure to the shoes.

Congrats! Now you have a firm brake pedal and the parking brake doesn't budge when you're parked flat or on an incline.

Pictures don't really help in this case. Just go slow and be patient!
 

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nice write up.
 

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Very well written, very accurate. Thanks for taking the time to write all of this.
I will add something on rotors: I always check the runout (runout is the wobble in the rotor, measured in thousandths of an inch with a dial indicator as the rotor is turned full circle) of my existing rotors before I take them off for refinishing or replacement. My right front was right at the tolerance of .0016.
My left front had so little runout that I wasn't sure that my dial indicator was actually touching the rotor! (it actually had a runout of about .0002, or 2 ten thousandths of an inch) One of the replacement rotors had a runout of .006, which is almost 4 times the allowable tolerance, so I took it back and had my original rotors turned. The thickness variation is even more critical---it is only .0006 inches. When this spec is exceeded by very much, it is what causes pulsing in the brake pedal.
 

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Good write-up! Don't think I've seen this one yet (been gone for a while!) and I'll definitely hafta do it in the spring. I have to mash my pedal and then it works. Would prefer not having to mash it so far...
 

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To add to this story, if you are replacing parking brake shoes, beware that there is two different size shoes 6.75” and 7.46” Order both sizes and simply return the one that doesn’t match. You can’t determine which size you have until the rear rotor is off, so it’s not like your vin or a magic number on the rotor itself tells you what size you have. I had take an Uber to the parts store $67?? and have my car car sit on the rack that I was renting which cost $45 for the hour I was chasing down correct size ???? so let my pain be your lucky day.
 
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