When I first got my jeep about 6 months ago, my E-break worked, but not very well. It has just gotten worse over time till the point it is useless. I took my rear wheels off and looked at the break shoes, they arent very worn at all. They still have alot of miles left in them. I have tightened the e-break line as tight as it goes. The e-break still doesn't work... any ideas on whats wrong with it? Thanks.
Did you adjust your rear brake shoes? There is the little rubber access hole in the backing plate where you can slide a flat tool in and manually turn the adjuster one direction (I can never remember which, up or down). You should move the shoes out until they just start to drag as you turn the wheel (jacked up of course).
You don't adjust the parking brake (not "break") with the parking brake cables, you use the little adjustment star wheel inside the brake assembly that can be accessed from the outside rear of the brake assembly.
This photo shows it from the inside, there's a little push-in rubber cover you remove from the back side to get to it without removing the tire and wheel.
You can adjust it with a big flat-bladed screwdriver or a brake adjustment tool that is cheap to buy.
Yes, there should be a lever that ratchets across the star wheel and prevents the pads from retracting. When you are adjusting the starwheel you should only be able to turn it one direction - the other direction is stopped by the lever. If yours isn't engaging that is probably why they are backing off and the ebrake isn't working.
It's been a long time since I messed with drum brakes, but, the picture that Jerry posted above doesn't show the piece that would stop the star wheel from going either way I've seen both ways, but mostly with the one way stop. Either way, the brakes shouldn't back off. I would guess that your brake shoes are in such good shape because they aren't helping you stop either. If you can lift both rear wheels off the ground, you can spin the tires by hand as you tighten the adjustment. When you start to hear the shoes rubbing you have gone far enough.
2007 Patriot Limited
2006 Unlimited Rubicon
2000 TJ Sport
My previous Jeeps
1992 Wrangler S (Ole Yeller)
1985 Cherokee Pioneer
1989 Cherokee Laredo
1995 Cherokee Country
1996 Cherokee Country
1996 Grand Cherokee Laredo
Modern drum brakes have self adjusters in them. (that picture that Jerry posted looks like a trailer brake setup) Everytime you apply the brakes the adjusters work to turn the adjuster wheel, moving your shoes outward. If you find a big parking lot with no one around, back up and apply the brakes...easy does it. Do this a few times and your brakes should be adjusted correctly, along with your parking brake.