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How to Replace the Parking Brake in a Ford Explorer

by Sebastian Malysa

A parking brake is a simple mechanism designed for use when the primary braking system fails. The parking brake on a Ford Explorer is cable-actuated and requires no hydraulics. A simple pulley system engages when the parking brake is depressed, causing a tight, even clamp on the rotor to stop the car from moving. Parking brakes usually fail because the parking brake cable has rusted, stretched or snapped. Replacing a parking brake requires replacing the parking brake cable, a straightforward process any amateur mechanic will be able to handle with ease.

Park your Ford Explorer on a level surface and jack up the rear end until the wheels are off the ground. Secure the car, as you will be working beneath it, on jack stands.

Loosen and remove the lug nuts holding the wheels in place using a lug wrench or tire iron. Firmly grip the wheel with both hands and pull it away from the wheel mount to expose the braking system; repeat on the opposite back wheel.

Loosen and remove the two bolts holding the wheel drum in place using an 11 mm socket and socket wrench. Firmly grip the wheel drum and pull it away from the axle plate. If it's very stubborn and difficult to remove, strike it with a rubber mallet to help it along. Repeat on the opposite rear wheel.

Unfasten the parking brake shoe bolts using an appropriate socket and socket wrench. Loosen the emergency brake cable adjusting screw located on the brake shoe using a Philips screwdriver and pull the shoe away from the axle plate and cable.

Remove the emergency brake cable retaining clip using a flat screwdriver. If the retaining clip is exceptionally stubborn, strike the back of the flat screwdriver with a rubber mallet to help push the retaining clip off the brake cable.

Turn the emergency brake linkage spring clockwise and wiggle the brake cable free from its harnessing components. Repeat steps 4 through 6 on the opposite back wheel.

Follow the brake cable to the equalizing bar located beneath the middle of your car and disconnect the cable by unscrewing the nut holding the cable in place with an adjustable wrench. Detach the cable from the equalizing bar and pull it away from the underside of your car.

Attach a new emergency brake cable to the equalizing bar in the same way you removed it. Reassemble the new brake cable and new brake shoes in reverse order of how you detached them. Replace the wheel drums and wheels and lower the car to the ground.

Test the emergency brake by engaging it, putting your car in neutral and attempting to push it from the outside.

Items you will need

About the Author

Based in Victoria, British Columbia, Sebastian Malysa began his writing career in 2010. His work focuses on the general arts and appears on Answerbag and eHow. He has won a number of academic awards, most notably the CTV Award for best proposed documentary film. He holds a Master of Arts in contemporary disability theater from the University of Victoria.

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