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Parking Brake Sticking Due to Freezing

Hi all - OK, I just drove from home to work. About half way, after stopping for a stop sign, I notice that the truck suddenly has a lot of resistance to forward movement. Feels like I'm riding the brakes, but I'm not touching them and the parking brake is definitely not engaged. I'm pretty close to work, so I figure I'll take it slow and drive the rest of the way - only a mile or two - since it's about 20deg outside and ice and snow everywhere.

Once I get there, go to take a look at the rear brakes. Notice a burning rubber type of smell. The right rear rotor appears to be glowing orange in the vent area. The rotor surface is looking a bit rough and unpolished. I guess it's seized up.

'94 fireball Tan Wagon


The parking brake cables are prone to getting water inside them just like on other vehicles and when it is cold enough will freeze. When you apply the park brake there is enough pull to slide the cable insert through the jacket put when you release the park brake the cable does not move with the force of the little springs, leaving the affected brake locked on.

The water sometimes gets in through a hole worn in the rubber jacket where the cable rubs on the upper A arm mounts and a wise one puts a section of rubber garden hose over this area with big nylon ties. This pretty much prevents it. Also fording deep water can allow water in the cable from the ends.

Anyway, if you run across this problem you can't drive another foot at any speed. You have to make other transportation arrangements :) unless you can get under the truck and flex and tap the cable, or put a strain on the linkage attached to the brake end of it. This will release the brake(s) affected. Until you get that cable well greased or oiled you can not use the park brake again during freezing weather unless you want to repeat the drill each time.

To drive with a dragging brake will probably mean big bucks unless you do all your own work, and even the parts will not be cheap. If you heated up the rotor red hot I would replace the differential seals on that side to be on the safe side also.

YMMV Glenn 93 M1043

Thanks Glenn, pretty much right on target.

The right rear parking brake lever stays engaged after the p-brake is disengaged. But, the p-brake cable to that caliper seems to be moving freely enough - I was able to tap the lever back to it's resting position with a small mallet. It almost seems that the little spring doesn't have enough OOMPH to return the lever and spool the cable back up. Is it the spring that returns the lever, or something internal to the caliper, and the spring just helps? The spring's a lot cheaper to replace than the whole caliper! :)

There might also be some funkiness up at the tension equilizer bar, but it all seems OK.

The pads and rotor are shot, my fault. I've been studying the service manual, and think I'll have a go at replacing them tomorrow. Anyone have any tips for capping off the hydraulic line to keep this procedure as clean as possible?

Also, when the rotor heated up, it apparently shot off a hot spark that burned a hole in the rear main CTI tube, just before the T out to each rear tire. Is this hose anything special? Where might I find a good replacement, and what to ask for?



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