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  • Writer's pictureKulAdventures

2004 Dodge Sprinter T1N Parking/Emergency Brake Replacement and Fix

As with any old vehicle it is safe to assume that the parking brake/emergency brake is rusted solid and not usable at the risk of it getting stuck on, especially those in the Midwest dealing with salt and rust. As I was replacing my rear brakes I felt this was a good time to replace my parking brake shoes and hardware as well as fix my rusted mechanisms that were preventing it from working.


-Parking brake shoes (I went with Bocsh... Not a perfect fit)

-Parking brake hardware kit

-Brake Rotor (optional)

-Grease (what I had lying around)

-PB Blaster


-Socket sets


-Angle grinder and sanding discs

-Lug wrench

-Impact gun or breaker bar

-Flat head screwdriver

This process starts the same as doing a brake job; remove rear tire:

Remove rear brake caliper:

Then remove rear drum via view hole and flat head screwdriver loosening the inner parking brake adjuster.

Once you are to that point you just have to remove the old shoes by pressing in the small spring in the middle of the shoes and rotating it 90 degrees and pulling it out through the hole on the rear of the hub (seen in picture below):

This part can get reversed. Make sure the pull pivot is on the bottom and the pivot between the two is on the top.

Next reinstall the new shoes and hardware. I found it easiest in this order:

1. install the holder springs through the shoes into the holes in the hub

2. place the shoes against the pivot piece that attaches to the cable pull

3. install the front spring between the two shoes.

4. pull the shoes apart and install the adjuster making sure the cup part is on top preventing water from getting into it (adjuster should be completely closed/tight)

5. Place the rotor/drum over the shoes

6. Using the view port and a flat head screwdriver tightened the adjuster until you can feel the shoes touching the rotor, then back it off a few turns.

7. Install the torx bolt, make sure the rotor still spins freely

8. Install new brake pads (if replacing), wear sensor and caliper

9. Install tire and torque lug bolts down.

10. Make sure tire spins freely, if it does not then remove the tire and loosed the parking shoe adjuster with a flat head screwdriver

Once reinstalled I ran into two complications:

1. Rear right shoes did not fit

2. Seized up parking brake mechanism under the van.

To fix the shoes not fitting I ended up grinding the grooves down to allow the shoes to sit flush against the pivot point. When I tried to install the passenger side shoes they did not line up and looked like the ones on the left, once fixed the were the ones on the right.

In order to fix this I simply used my angel grinder with a cut off disc to slowly grind out the grove until it fit the way I wanted to. Then I used some sandpaper to smooth it and painted it to keep it from rusting fast.

This fixed issue #1

Parking Brake Mechanism Fix

The second issue of the parking brake mechanism underneath the van was easy to fix, but took more time.

First I removed the mechanism from underneath the van. This is accomplished by the following:

1. remove the front cable

2. unbolt the four bolts holding it to the van

3. compress the lever back as far as you can and unhook the two rear cables

4. compress the rear spring, turn the disc 90 degrees and remove disc and spring

5. remove the internal movable piece

6. removing the two pull cables by compressing a small plastic tab

Then I used the angle grinder with a flap disc sander (60-200 grit) to remove all the rust. Then used the PB blaster and a hammer to break the movable parts free (front lever, rear adjuster, cable holders). Once free I moved them around and ground off as much rust as I could:

Next I primed them for painting, couple coats, then cheap black spray paint, couple coats.

Last thing to do was to grease it up. The paint will chip off with movement so I wanted to cover all those moving areas with grease and will continue to add grease throughout the year to prevent it from locking up again.

Then I simply reinstalled it under the van. Once connected I tested it out and it worked great!!! Needed a few adjustments, which were easy now that everything moved freely.

If all this seems like too much, I would remove the main housing, sand and paint it and then buy the moving parts:

Parking Brake Repair Kit ($75 from Europarts-SD)

My mechanism is moving freely, but keep in mind as I exposed bare metal it will be prone to rusting again so I plan to both grease it and spray it with this stuff throughout the year. Another thing to keep in mine is to use it from time to time. Its less prone to seize up if it is moved occasionally .

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