2000 Dodge Van 3500 Parking Brake Won't Hold

xcentrickxcentrick Member Posts: 16
edited June 2014 in Dodge

After just installing new rear shoes on my 2000 Dodge Van 3500, the emergency brake won’t hold securely. Several brake shops have inspected my installation. They confirmed everything was installed correctly.
The tensioner cable bracket is tightened to spec. However, when the emergency brake is on and I grab and pull on the cable in front of the bracket, there is still some play (slack) in it.
We have verified the primary (smaller) shoe is facing the front of the vehicle and the secondary (larger) shoe is facing the rear. Brakes fluid was completed purged, refilled and air bled out. Master cylinders and all lines are dry. Pedal is excellent with no drop off. Vehicle stops very evenly and timely.
The brakes have been adjusted against the drums so there is a slight drag. I have also done a series of forward and reverse motions with the van to allow the adjuster screw to do it work.
I have done many brake jobs but never experienced this problem before.
So…are the cable(s) stretched? Or… is the brake lever camber worn?, or what? I would appreciate your RSVP, especially if you have experienced this on your van.


  • brian125brian125 Member Posts: 5,244



    The usual cause of this symptom is improper rear brake adjustment. Many vehicles utilize a self adjusting rear brake system. This system maintains adequate brake tension on the rear brakes so that when the parking brake is engaged, the rear brakes hold the vehicle in place.

    The self adjusters re-tension the rear brakes each time the parking brake is engaged or the vehicle is driven in reverse and the brakes are applied. This system needs to be used frequently to maintain the proper rear brake tension. Often, the parking brake is used infrequently, especially on vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission. Due to this, the rear brakes wear and will result in excessive distance between the rear friction material and the rotor or drum. When the parking brake is applied, this excessive distance prevents the friction material from completely and tightly contacting the rotor or drum. This will prevent the parking brake from holding the vehicle.

    You should apply and release the parking brake several times to activate the self adjusters. This may take as many as 10 to 15 times to bring the rear brakes into adjustment. If this is not effective, apply the brakes abruptly while traveling in reverse at low speed. If the parking brake still will not hold, the rear brakes will have to be inspected and adjusted manually. Once the brakes are in proper adjustment, you should utilize the parking brake on a frequent basis to ensure they remain properly adjusted.

    good luck

    23 Telluride SX-P X-Line, 23 Camry XSE

  • xcentrickxcentrick Member Posts: 16


    Thank your for your reply. I had not heard nor known the parking brake also activated the adjusters. As I mentioned I did go thru a series of forward/and reversal stops per the shop manual. Per your direction, I will certainly go thru 10-15 sets and releases of the parking brake as well. I'm hopeful that will be the solution. I'll report results back..

    My Best Regards,

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