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Ok, we all hate the drum brakes and they suck compared to discs, but do they really suck that bad when used as a parking brake. Our Windstar has rear drums and they suck when I park on a sorta steep incline/driveway and set the handbrake. Well, they hold the van, but whenever we load stuff into it or when people get in and out while the parking brake is set, it makes a groaning sound. Like the brakes are gonna give any second. And I have to yank the handbrake up like all the way up until I can't pull it anymore in order to set it and it still makes this stupid groaning noises. I can even feel it move some! I tried the self-adjusting mechanism for the brakes and it stops way better in normal driving now, but it still sucks when it's used as a parking brake. Is this normal?
 

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The difference between drum brakes and disc brakes on our tauruses is pretty much aesthetic only; the disc brakes are small, non vented, and the drums are quite large for the application, and plus, the rear brakes hardly get used (I replaced my rear discs and pads at 118k, no problems before that.) (I'm not dissing the discs, though; I mean, they are superior to drums, and my car does stop on a dime with them, but my dad's taurus and my aunt's taurus, both with rear drums, also have quite good braking.)

Both of them are equal in their use as parking brakes, too; it sounds more like your cable is loose. The next time you don't have the parking brake on, check the cable underneath the car. It shouldn't be really tight, but it shouldn't be flapping around. It's relatively easy to tighten, too; there's a small joint that you can screw to make it tighter or looser.
 

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Make sure your cable is tight, they say my grand am se has self-adjusting brakes. But that don't work. But it healps a little. To tighting them up you are supose to has it in drive and be costing , and pull up on the brakes. Do that 3 times.
But ever ime i go to the brake shop they fix em back tight for me.
 

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Originally posted by RocketFast321@Apr 22 2004, 11:30 PM
Make sure your cable is tight, they say my grand am se has self-adjusting brakes. But that don't work. But it healps a little. To tighting them up you are supose to has it in drive and be costing , and pull up on the brakes. Do that 3 times.
But ever ime i go to the brake shop they fix em back tight for me.
Actually the self adjusting method for drum brakes is to drive in reverse and then slam on the brakes. There's a little wheel that gets moved if there's slack between the drum and the pad. Doing that three times is supposed to tighten them up a bit, but if there's a lot of slack, it doesn't hurt to do it more often as once they're tight, it just won't move anymore. It tightens by shifting the entire pad assembly from one side to the other til there's no slack. That's the driving forward and reverse several times. It's either that or you get under the back of the wheels and use a brake spoon to spin the self adjuster til things are tight, then back off a few turns.

Nice part about discs is you don't have to any of this.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I did go in reverse and slam the brake pedal. It does stop better driving forward, but it sucks when holding it up on an incline. Should I go in reverse and yank the handbrake?
 

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the Drums have a self adjusting feature?! Cool, I'll have to try that tomorrow morning
. Also another advantage to rear rotors are they are easier to service. Not by much, but still...
 
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How fast in reverse? I have a 99 windstar with the same problem. My mom gets pissed if I pull the brake too hard, then she can't release it.
 

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Your problem is the parking brake cable. Over time they strecth. There is an adujster underneath the drivers side. It requires two wrenches. Tighthen the cable up, but leave enough slack so the brake is not always engaged. Next time you use the parking brake it will only go about halfway down.

On the groaning brakes.... Yeah, they groan, but the brakes are not going to let go. Besides, the car is an automatic, and when the car is in Park, it's not going to roll away.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok, I'll try that. I don't have use the parking brakes on level ground, but I do if it's at a slight slope, like towards those drains in parking lots. That's not a big problem, but I get the groaning and stuff when I park in my relative's driveways which are pretty steep and I'm afraid if the brakes do give, it'll rip the tranny out.

You don't have to reverse too fast. Just reverse w/o using the regular pedal (about the same speed as a person who's walking) and then slam the pedal. It should stop better in drive. The difference is really noticable.
 
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