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03 Base model: changing rear shoes leads to mushy brakes and poor e-brake function

 
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Old 25 Jun 2012, 03:14 pm
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Default 03 Base model: changing rear shoes leads to mushy brakes and poor e-brake function

A few months ago I changed the rear shoes on my brother's 03 base model PT Cruiser (no turbo, no GT or touring packages, rear drums front discs). Prior to changing the shoes, the e-brake worked fine and the brake were comparable to the brakes on my sister's 03 base Cruiser. However, after changing the rear shoes on my brother's Cruiser the brakes were very mushy and the e-brake barely worked.

The e-brake can e made to at least engage the rear drums if the star wheel is adjusted once the drums are on the car, but adjusting the rear shoes out only makes the e-brake for for about a week before the e-brake no longer engages. Adjusting the star wheels in the rear brakes also firms the brakes up a bit, but nowhere near as nice as my sister's Cruiser.

After reading through the FSM, I discovered that I failed to properly prep the e-brake self-adjuster in the e-brake handle before disassembling the rear brakes. Could this have something to do with why the e-brake no longer works? My understanding is that failure to properly prep the e-brake for rear shoe removal can lead to the pre-load spring in the self-adjuster loosing tension. Is there a way to reset the tension on this spring?

Any tips would be appreciated.
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Old 28 Jun 2012, 11:24 am
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Default Re: 03 Base model: changing rear shoes leads to mushy brakes and poor e-brake functio

Anyone?
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Old 28 Jun 2012, 09:03 pm
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Default Re: 03 Base model: changing rear shoes leads to mushy brakes and poor e-brake functio

IDK.
Never messed with PT rears- Neon there was no front adjuster, very basic lever system.

You'll need to inspect this self-adjuster to see how to reset it, and post pics for the next guy.

I wonder if adjusters are fully 'adjusted', why brakes would still be mushy
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Old 29 Jun 2012, 12:48 am
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Smile Re: 03 Base model: changing rear shoes leads to mushy brakes and poor e-brake functio

Glibbis, We used to be able to arc the shoes to the drum before you installed new
ones, but because of the asbestoes, that is not allowed anymore...And so it sometimes
takes a while for the shoes to wear into the drum.. Only contacting part of the drum...
which causes the mushy brake pedal! about the e-brake. We had to make sure that the
cable was backed off before the drum could be installed again the thickness of the new
shoes would not allow the drum to go on. Don't seem to understand your problem unless you didn't get the adjuster back as it should be....Hope you have it figured out by now.
Good luck! PTpreacher
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Old 29 Jun 2012, 11:00 am
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Default Re: 03 Base model: changing rear shoes leads to mushy brakes and poor e-brake functio

Hopefully I will be able to get my hands on my brother's car next week to check out the problem, but right now it is getting some bodywork done because it was in a minor fender bender. I have replaced the shoes before on my sister's 03 PT and her service and parking brakes are perfect. I guess I will have to post what I find once I get into my brother's car.
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Old 13 Aug 2012, 07:38 pm
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Default Re: 03 Base model: changing rear shoes leads to mushy brakes and poor e-brake functio

I'm just starting to replace all the brakes on my '01 LTD....(4 wheel disks). I'm in the same boat as you..so to speak, I read something on a site that I can't remember where,but, it called out placing a "drill bit" or similar tool into the hole in back of the e-brake handle assembly to "hold" or lock that part in place..

(I remember the center console has to come off to access that part.)

To keep that return spring from loosing tension. In fact it said it was highly dangerous not to do that! As that spring tension is quite high and can easily injure someone. I was hoping to find this info here, but so far no luck...
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Old 15 Aug 2012, 06:55 pm
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Default Re: 03 Base model: changing rear shoes leads to mushy brakes and poor e-brake functio

OK, after some coffee & sleep;
I remember I read this info on a site my friend had registered on..called "All data"...I think he paid $30 for one year. He has since sold his PT & let the subscription run out.
That's where I read about "locking out" the e-brake return spring...it's mounted at the base of the e-brake handle in the consul.
I "think" it said to apply the e-brake and look for two holes that line up at the base of the handle...(center consul removed for access.) Then release the handle and there should be slack in the cables. I have not started on mine yet as I want to confirm these instructions.
So, take this as a maybe!!
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