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Ever Feel Like the Cable Guy?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008 - 00:00

While a few high-dollar models' electric parking brakes do away with conventional parking brake cables, it's going to be a long time before servicing those cables, and the mechanisms that pull them won't be standard operating procedure. So let's look at some parking brake cable-control issues.


If a customer (or 1992-'96 Toyota Camry) has moved into your snowbelt area from a warmer climate, don't be surprised if a parking-brake cable problem develops.

Toyota actually redesigned the second and third cables for these cars, allowing more space between the inner and outer cables to make sticking less likely in high-salt-usage areas. Cables used in original production had part numbers 46420-33041 and 46430-33041. The new design cables are 46420-33080 and 46430-33080.


The cables themselves aren't the issue in 1990-'95 Jeep Wranglers. Chrysler recalled the stick shift-equipped ones because the parking-brake pedal ratchets could release without warning. And because a manual transmission has no Park position, the Jeep could roll away.

R&R-ing a Wrangler parking brake pedal mechanism is relatively straightforward. And Chrysler suggested a shortcut in the recall notice that not only simplifies the job in the affected Jeeps, it could come in handy in many vehicles when you need to create slack in the front parking brake cables. Apply the pedal, then take a pair of locking pliers and clamp them on the inner cables where they first enter their housings. This will hold the cables out when you release the parking brake pedal.

Make sure you recheck adjustment when you're done.


If you find yourself pulling up more than you intended when you yank the parking brake handle in a 1998 Ford Windstar, it might be because the floor has fractured. Ford says the floorpans can break in what they refer to as "heavy use" vehicles. The problem is so sufficiently common that the manufacturer offers a floorpan repair kit.

FoMoCo Part No. YF2Z-16I11D01-AA can be used to reinforce the floor once any cracks are welded. Installation requires a MIG welder and several helpings of caution.


The price of gasoline may change this, but right now many older drivers swear by their Crown Victorias and Grand Marquis. Why not? They're comfortable and durable.

In some older ones, the parking brake may not want to apply. In 1990-'92 Vickies and Marquis with vacuum-release parking brakes, the brake won't set if there's not enough vacuum to evacuate one side of the vacuum servo that's meant to set the brake.

The fix may be to replace the servo and the hoses to improve vacuum flow rate. Ford says a rib on the upper side of the steering column can interfere with the hoses, causing partial blockage. If you see a rib causing this condition when you lower the column to replace the servo, the manufacturer says it's OK to grind it off.

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