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post #1 of 42 Old 06-15-2020, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Parking brake not working

So my parking brake hasn't been working well, I can tell it grabs a little bit when the lever is fully pulled but you can barely feel the drag and can drive with it on. I pulled my rotors tonight and took some pics of what the shoes and the tensioner look like. I didn't see any signs of uneven wear and have not done any drum brake work before, so i'm not familiar with what else to look for.

Any suggestions on what I could do to get the parking brake working better? I was thinking of starting by adjusting the tensioner equal amounts on both sides to bring the shoes closer to the rotor, would that make sense to start with? If I did that, I would have to put everything back on to test drive and it would be a pita to have to pull it all off again but maybe thats inevitable.

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post #2 of 42 Old 06-15-2020, 10:06 PM
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It looks to me with that wetness around your parking brake shoes/area and the backing plate that you have a rear wheel bearing seal leaking. If the shoe material is soaked in gear lube they aren't going to hold anything.

Look on the inside of the rear tire and see if there's a gear oil sling pattern going out from the center. Also check the gear oil in the rear differential to see if it's low and it should be level with the bottom of the oil fill hole. Make sure if you have vari-lok axles there's friction modifier in the gear oil or add some to any gear oil you add. You're leak doesn't look real bad but it will have to be eventually fixed. Just don't plan on installing new parking brake shoes or having them work until the leak is fixed. Plus don't let your rear differential get low on gear oil.

Sometimes a rear wheel bearing seal may start leaking prior to the wheel bearing going out. Do some figure eights slow while driving and listen for any grumbling type noises or grinding.

Unfortunately the axle shaft needs pulled to replace the seal and it's best to replace the bearing while at it. We can give you some more info on this if need be and good luck.
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post #3 of 42 Old 06-15-2020, 10:13 PM
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Your problem is most likely the shoes have worn down and will need to be replaced. Much less likely is that the drum surface has been machined wrong or that the cables have failed.

Are you sure you want to tackle this? IMO, parking brakes are a ***** requiring special tools and somebody who does it all the time.
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post #4 of 42 Old 06-15-2020, 10:59 PM
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It looks like there's still enough shoe material on those shoes but it's a moot point; the shoes need replaced since they're soaked in gear oil.

Look at the upside-down middle photo along with the last one and you can see the gear oil where it's coated everything. And parking brake shoes don't cost much at all.

Granted it's no fun replacing brake shoes but the only tools I've used is a small pair of needle-nose vise-grip pliers to use on the springs and clips. Plus just the usual hand tools.

There's plenty of videos online and threads around here for diy parking brake shoe replacement along with pulling the axles to replace the seals/bearings. Just my take...
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post #5 of 42 Old 06-16-2020, 07:55 AM
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X2 Uniblurb. Those shoes are wasted, and you have more than just a parking brake issue going on here. Need to get that axle seal and bearing swapped asap, or you will waste your time and money on a new set of park brake shoes that get ruined from the gear oil....
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post #6 of 42 Old 06-16-2020, 08:19 AM
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Yup, looks like gear oil to me as well. My parking brake barely works too since my axle seals gave out. I even replaced my shoes and cleaned the drums as well as I could. Thinking about new rotors to try to fix this.
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ok mostly just repairs, but we are closing in on a lift
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post #7 of 42 Old 06-16-2020, 08:31 AM
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Yep, gear oil is nasty stuff, it will make anything it touches slippery.
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post #8 of 42 Old 06-16-2020, 09:43 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uniblurb View Post
It looks to me with that wetness around your parking brake shoes/area and the backing plate that you have a rear wheel bearing seal leaking. If the shoe material is soaked in gear lube they aren't going to hold anything.

Look on the inside of the rear tire and see if there's a gear oil sling pattern going out from the center. Also check the gear oil in the rear differential to see if it's low and it should be level with the bottom of the oil fill hole. Make sure if you have vari-lok axles there's friction modifier in the gear oil or add some to any gear oil you add. You're leak doesn't look real bad but it will have to be eventually fixed. Just don't plan on installing new parking brake shoes or having them work until the leak is fixed. Plus don't let your rear differential get low on gear oil.

Sometimes a rear wheel bearing seal may start leaking prior to the wheel bearing going out. Do some figure eights slow while driving and listen for any grumbling type noises or grinding.

Unfortunately the axle shaft needs pulled to replace the seal and it's best to replace the bearing while at it. We can give you some more info on this if need be and good luck.
That's a good observation and I agree. I actually had a pretty bad groan from the rear diff. when I bought the WJ from a guy 6 months ago, he didn't know what was causing it. It ended up being lack of friction modifier, which I added and the groan went away almost immediately. I don't think its a huge leak because the oil level in the rear diff. is still reasonable, but either way its contributing to these shoes being soaked reducing the friction.

Is replacing the seal or wheel bearings a tough job in the rear?

I recently did the CV axles and wheel bearings in the front and it wasn't too bad but my seals were still good at the front diff.

Also, if I spray this whole drum brake down with brake cleaner will it harm anything? If I can get this oil cleaned up and monitor how much is coming out it may help to determine how bad the leak is.
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post #9 of 42 Old 06-16-2020, 09:56 AM
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Problem with leaks, even when you clean up the area around them, they ain't exactly noted for fixing themselves and only get worse. I think your best bet is to dive in there and get on with it. The parking brake is a PITA, but you're going to have to do it at some point, and it will never work if contaminated with oil. You know you wanna do it really..............................
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post #10 of 42 Old 06-16-2020, 11:08 AM
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Replacing the rear axle seals requires bearing replacement. You will need a couple of special tools and the willingness to take a particularly scary risk (if you are not comfortable with this) cutting off the old bearings. Alternative option is to remove the axles and take them to a shop and ask them if they will use their press to remove the old bearings and put the new ones on, then you bring them home and put them back in. Some shops might do this for cheap. Mark the axles so you know which is which. My thread about this:
https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f310...l#post40267201


There are other ways to install axle bearings. The old school way is to use a heating plate to get the bearing and retainer nice and hot so it expands, then slide it on the axle and use a suitable size pipe to bang it home. Never done it myself but they tell me it works. Of course you will need a heating plate and some pipes to make this work ...
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ok mostly just repairs, but we are closing in on a lift
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post #11 of 42 Old 06-16-2020, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by NWDC View Post
That's a good observation and I agree. I actually had a pretty bad groan from the rear diff. when I bought the WJ from a guy 6 months ago, he didn't know what was causing it. It ended up being lack of friction modifier, which I added and the groan went away almost immediately. I don't think its a huge leak because the oil level in the rear diff. is still reasonable, but either way its contributing to these shoes being soaked reducing the friction.

Is replacing the seal or wheel bearings a tough job in the rear?

I recently did the CV axles and wheel bearings in the front and it wasn't too bad but my seals were still good at the front diff.

Also, if I spray this whole drum brake down with brake cleaner will it harm anything? If I can get this oil cleaned up and monitor how much is coming out it may help to determine how bad the leak is.
Some real good input from others. And not to bypass Gman with a real good write-up on replacing the rear bearings/seals!

If you can replace your front axle shafts surely you can pull the rear axles to replace the bearings/seals. And that brake cleaner isn't going to harm anything but try to keep it off of your body paint.

Investing in a Dremel or a rotary tool is one of the best investments I ever made. While I've used mine for cutting off door hinge pins it also worked great for cutting off the bearing locking collar and bearing itself on the 44a axle shaft.

While long below is a pretty good video I watched before replacing my rear 44a axle bearings, seals, parking brake shoes, etc.. I also replaced the 'axle shaft seal retainer' but mine was a whole lot more rusted than your parts look.


I used my Dremel with 1-1/4" metal cutting blade for cutting that locking collar and did not drill it like the guy at 10 min into the video.

It's a whole lot easier to remove and replace the parking brake shoes/parts with the axle hub out of the way.

If your rotor is still in good shape use some med-course every cloth on the inner drum and the parking brake shoes will grab a whole lot better. And you can't really adjust the shoes where they need to be w/o using a small stubby screwdriver to adjust them out little-by-little through the back of the backing plate. The "brake spoon" tool I have wouldn't even work back there since not enough room.

Luckily there's no c-clip on these 44a axle shaft ends where the rear differential cover needs to come off. But the fact you may not know when the gear oil was changed last, and you had to add some extra friction modifier, you may want to change it out.

I didn't have a press so while I cut off the old locking collar and wheel bearing off I had a shop press all the new stuff on. Granted they charged me too much but did a real good job.

Below are the new parts with labels on my 04 rear 44a axle shafts. And parts should be the same as yours in looking at Rockauto. Also if you change out your gear oil I used a Lubelocker differentail cover gasket from Summit Racing and won't be using RTV on it anymore.

Good luck and below are a couple photos.
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post #12 of 42 Old 06-16-2020, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Uniblurb View Post
Some real good input from others. And not to bypass Gman with a real good write-up on replacing the rear bearings/seals!

If you can replace your front axle shafts surely you can pull the rear axles to replace the bearings/seals. And that brake cleaner isn't going to harm anything but try to keep it off of your body paint.

Investing in a Dremel or a rotary tool is one of the best investments I ever made. While I've used mine for cutting off door hinge pins it also worked great for cutting off the bearing locking collar and bearing itself on the 44a axle shaft.

While long below is a pretty good video I watched before replacing my rear 44a axle bearings, seals, parking brake shoes, etc.. I also replaced the 'axle shaft seal retainer' but mine was a whole lot more rusted than your parts look.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BMs...ature=youtu.be

I used my Dremel with 1-1/4" metal cutting blade for cutting that locking collar and did not drill it like the guy at 10 min into the video.

It's a whole lot easier to remove and replace the parking brake shoes/parts with the axle hub out of the way.

If your rotor is still in good shape use some med-course every cloth on the inner drum and the parking brake shoes will grab a whole lot better. And you can't really adjust the shoes where they need to be w/o using a small stubby screwdriver to adjust them out little-by-little through the back of the backing plate. The "brake spoon" tool I have wouldn't even work back there since not enough room.

Luckily there's no c-clip on these 44a axle shaft ends where the rear differential cover needs to come off. But the fact you may not know when the gear oil was changed last, and you had to add some extra friction modifier, you may want to change it out.

I didn't have a press so while I cut off the old locking collar and wheel bearing off I had a shop press all the new stuff on. Granted they charged me too much but did a real good job.

Below are the new parts with labels on my 04 rear 44a axle shafts. And parts should be the same as yours in looking at Rockauto. Also if you change out your gear oil I used a Lubelocker differentail cover gasket from Summit Racing and won't be using RTV on it anymore.

Good luck and below are a couple photos.
This is real good info from you and Gman, I appreciate it. At this point I think i'll proceed to pull the axle shafts and get started on cutting through that bearing locking collar. I actually was planning to trim the front bumper to remove the fog lights so this will give me another use for buying a dremel or rotary disc. I don't have a setup to press the new bearing on at my place but i'll either take it to the machine shop (at the foundry) I work at or somewhere else that can do a decent job pressing those on.

I've had good experiences with Rockauto, they seem to get stuff shipped out right away with no drop shipping bs. How much did it run you for all the replacement parts for the bearing job? Also, do you have any recommendations for parking brake shoes? I've read that there are some good and some bad ones out there.
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post #13 of 42 Old 06-16-2020, 10:18 PM
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This is real good info from you and Gman, I appreciate it. At this point I think i'll proceed to pull the axle shafts and get started on cutting through that bearing locking collar. I actually was planning to trim the front bumper to remove the fog lights so this will give me another use for buying a dremel or rotary disc. I don't have a setup to press the new bearing on at my place but i'll either take it to the machine shop (at the foundry) I work at or somewhere else that can do a decent job pressing those on.

I've had good experiences with Rockauto, they seem to get stuff shipped out right away with no drop shipping bs. How much did it run you for all the replacement parts for the bearing job? Also, do you have any recommendations for parking brake shoes? I've read that there are some good and some bad ones out there.
I spent about $150 in parts but I also bought 2 of the new Mopar seal retainers at $25/each which you shouldn't have to do.

Current parts/prices in doing both sides per Rockauto.

Timken SET31 rear wheel bearing with locking collar. $20.79 x 2 = $41.58
https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo...sn=413&jsn=413

Timken 2146 wheel seal, $6.39 x 2 = $12.78
https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo...381418&jsn=422

Centric 11858002 drum brake hwd kit w/adjusters. Includes both sides. $16.08
https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo...381418&jsn=443

Wagner PAB807 ThermoQuiet parking brake shoes for both sides. $27.79 (1 day delay)
https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo...sn=439&jsn=439

Above total is $98.23 plus any taxes and shipping.

I don't buy anything from Rockauto w/o plugging one of the top of page below discount codes in the RA "How did you hear about us box?" at checkout. 5% off isn't much but helps pay for shipping.

https://www.retailmenot.com/view/rockauto.com

You can buy cheaper parking brake shoes but I've had pretty good luck with Wagner thermoquiet brake pads/shoes. I only bought that spring kit for new adjusters plus in case I broke a spring, lost a clip, etc.. Sometimes new springs are even shorter/tighter than your old ones so use the old ones if they're still ok, at least on the top spring.

Now I did cheat a little I got so frustrated with those spring-clips which hold the shoes on the pins. The bottom flat part was longer than the top with the hole/slot in it. When I tried turning the clip it was hitting one of those protrusions on the metal shoe. You can see this in one of your photos with clip against the metal shoe crimp sticking out. I took my clips and just used my bench grinder to make the bottom part a hair shorter, even with the top of the clip, while also rounded the corners. Made it a whole lot easier to turn those clips when locking them onto the pins. Kind of crazy you have to hold those pins with your finger tip stuck in a hole on the back of the backing plate but that's parking brakes for you!

Hope this helps and good luck.

PS. I did have a problem recently with Rockauto where they shipped me the wrong hose and it was their fault by pulling the wrong number hose. But unfortunately they don't have any phone customer service anymore and I had to eat the shipping for getting the correct hose. This doesn't happen very often but just thought I'd mention it.
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post #14 of 42 Old 06-17-2020, 08:39 AM
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Good part about taking the axle shafts out, is that the parking brake shoes will be way easier before you put them back in. The big issue is trying to work around that axle flange. I was tempted to remove my axles when i was redoing my park brake.....
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post #15 of 42 Old 06-17-2020, 09:01 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uniblurb View Post
I spent about $150 in parts but I also bought 2 of the new Mopar seal retainers at $25/each which you shouldn't have to do.

Current parts/prices in doing both sides per Rockauto.

Timken SET31 rear wheel bearing with locking collar. $20.79 x 2 = $41.58
https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo...sn=413&jsn=413

Timken 2146 wheel seal, $6.39 x 2 = $12.78
https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo...381418&jsn=422

Centric 11858002 drum brake hwd kit w/adjusters. Includes both sides. $16.08
https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo...381418&jsn=443

Wagner PAB807 ThermoQuiet parking brake shoes for both sides. $27.79 (1 day delay)
https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo...sn=439&jsn=439

Above total is $98.23 plus any taxes and shipping.

I don't buy anything from Rockauto w/o plugging one of the top of page below discount codes in the RA "How did you hear about us box?" at checkout. 5% off isn't much but helps pay for shipping.

https://www.retailmenot.com/view/rockauto.com

You can buy cheaper parking brake shoes but I've had pretty good luck with Wagner thermoquiet brake pads/shoes. I only bought that spring kit for new adjusters plus in case I broke a spring, lost a clip, etc.. Sometimes new springs are even shorter/tighter than your old ones so use the old ones if they're still ok, at least on the top spring.

Now I did cheat a little I got so frustrated with those spring-clips which hold the shoes on the pins. The bottom flat part was longer than the top with the hole/slot in it. When I tried turning the clip it was hitting one of those protrusions on the metal shoe. You can see this in one of your photos with clip against the metal shoe crimp sticking out. I took my clips and just used my bench grinder to make the bottom part a hair shorter, even with the top of the clip, while also rounded the corners. Made it a whole lot easier to turn those clips when locking them onto the pins. Kind of crazy you have to hold those pins with your finger tip stuck in a hole on the back of the backing plate but that's parking brakes for you!

Hope this helps and good luck.

PS. I did have a problem recently with Rockauto where they shipped me the wrong hose and it was their fault by pulling the wrong number hose. But unfortunately they don't have any phone customer service anymore and I had to eat the shipping for getting the correct hose. This doesn't happen very often but just thought I'd mention it.
Good deal, thanks for the info. Do I need to dump the differential fluid before pulling the axle shafts or are they high enough where not much fluid comes out?
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