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Busting the Second Gen Tundra Parking Brake Myths: How to achieve a great parking brake

This is a discussion on Busting the Second Gen Tundra Parking Brake Myths: How to achieve a great parking brake within the Wheels, Tires and Brakes forums, Tweet It has taken many hours of my time to get to the bottom of the lame parking brake problem ...

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    DanaTundra is offline New Breed
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    Busting the Second Gen Tundra Parking Brake Myths: How to achieve a great parking brake



    It has taken many hours of my time to get to the bottom of the lame parking brake problem on second generation (2nd gen) Tundras. There is a lot of misinformation out there. These mis-info sources include this forum, Toyota Service Departments and even service manuals like Haynes.

    So let me explode some myth's right here at the start and then later tell ya how to make your parking brake work well.

    MYTH BUSTING 1:
    TUNDRA SECOND GENERATION PARKING BRAKES ARE SELF ADJUSTING...NOT!

    The proof is in the pudding. Take the rear disk off. Inside the inner hub are the parking brake shoes. (perhaps I should post a picture?). The star adjuster wheel has no actuator to advance it. None. Anyone who says that a 2nd gen parking brake can be tightened up by using it in reverse or stepping on the brake in reverse or what ever is misguided.

    Note that 2nd gen Tundras have rear disc brakes with a small parking brake in the inner hub. This is unlike earlier Tundra's and Tacomas. There are 2 brake shoes in each inner drum part of the rotor/drum but there are no hydraulics and no mechanism/lever or wire that will adjust the parking brakes.

    Note that my Haynes manual states otherwise regarding the auto adjust but that is bogus info based on the earlier pure-rear-drum-brake design of older Tundras. Another ax to grind with them.

    MYTH BUSTING 2:
    TUNDRA SECOND GENERATION PARKING BRAKES DON'T NEED TO SELF ADJUST BECAUSE THEY WEAR REALLY SLOWLY...NOT!

    Ask any Tundra owner if they have ever driven with the parking brake on, or if some other friend or family member has, then they will likely report yes. The motor is so powerful and the parking brakes so whimpy its easy to do. On my truck, it only beeps once if you drive with the parking brake on. The friend I lent the truck to drove the truck for an hour with the parking brake on. Nothing worse for the wear except the parking brake shoes.

    When that happens the parking shoes wear considerably and you will need to adjust the parking brake but NOT with the cable.

    MYTH BUSTING 3:
    TUNDRA SECOND GENERATION PARKING BRAKES CAN BE ADJUSTED FOR SHOE WEAR BY ADJUSTING THE CABLE (EITHER UNDER CAB OR IN THE CAB)...NOT!

    You can only adjust for shoe wear by pulling the wheel off, pulling the rubber plug and using a screw driver to manually advance the star wheel. See the section below on adjustment.

    While cable stretching can be offset or compensated with the cable length bolts, it is impossible to know if the culprit is the cable or simply the parking shoes wearing, unless you pull the rear rotor and have a look see.

    MYTH BUSTING 4:
    ADJUSTING TUNDRA SECOND GENERATION PARKING BRAKES MANUALLY IS EASY...NOT!
    In my opinion, having to take the wheel off to adjust the brake is inconvenient. In fact next time I have to do an adjustment I will probably drill a hole thru the back side and put a rubber grommet in it. Then I can adjust it by just getting under the truck and clicking the star wheel once or twice.

    MYTH BUSTING 5:
    ADJUSTING THE CABLE TO FIRM THE PEDAL (i.e. 8 CLICKS) DOES NOT HURT ANYTHING......NOT!

    There is very little resistance offered by the return springs in the parking brake system and when you adjust the cable you can easily end up getting the system really out of wack. Then later you have to undo it.

    MYTH BUSTING 6:
    BUT WHEN I ADJUST THE CABLE I GET A FIRM PEDAL AGAIN. THAT'S GOOD RIGHT?.....NOT!

    If everything is optimally adjusted then the most shoe expansion you will get when you depress the parking brake is 1/4". And you need that 1/4 expansion to brake the car. But if you adjust ONLY the cable to get the brake firm then you will get less than 1/4". Like maybe only 1/8 inch or less. This is evidenced by old tundras that have a firm pedal but almost no parking brake holding ability.

    When the cable at the shoe drum is pulled by the pedal, it actuates a lever in the drum that has a maximum movement; a hard stop if you will. When you adjust that cable you just hit the hard stop sooner but you don't change the actual expansion of the parking brake shoes which holds the truck. The pedal gets firm because the lever it is pulling is bottoming out inside the rear rotor.

    So, if like me in the beginning, you mistakenly adjust the cable, get the firm pedal and nothing happens and then put in new pads and still no holding power THEN you will still have that limited cable pull that will prematurely hit the cable stop. And thus even with new shoes you won't have a good parking brake.

    SO STOP ADJUSTING THE CABLE!
    If you have then go undo what you did.

    HERE IS A COMPLETE PARKING BRAKE ADJUSTMENT WITH THE UNDO THE CABLE STEPS. If you have not dorked with the cable then you can possibly skip a few steps.
    00)
    Buy a repair manual. Worth its weight in gold....occational erros and all. Amazon.com has them. The pictures and torque spec's make it worth the money.
    0)
    Block the truck so it can't move, put in neutral, jack up the drivers side real axle AND RELEASE THE PARKING BRAKE.
    1)
    Pull the driver rear wheel and caliper and rotor off.
    Hang the caliper by a wire. There are 4 bolts and so remove the correct 2: the outer 2
    1A)
    If the shoes are worn much then you should save yourself hassle and just buy new shoes. Most auto parts stores should stock them: Tundra parking brake shoes. Replacing the shoes is not a big deal: just a little wrestling with springs. Buy a repair manual if you have never done it before.
    2)
    With the parking brake off, loosen the cable adjustment under the cab and get it loose.
    3)
    Make sure the shoes at the top have almost no gap with the upper mechanism. Push them together
    4)
    Adjust the star bolt with you fingers until it expands the shoes at the bottom to the point where you can barely fit the drum back on.
    4A)
    Mark the location of the star wheel on the backing plate
    5)
    Before you put the drum on, then go back to the cable. Tighten the cable under the cab until the shoes at the top just start to get a gap i.e. they are not totally pushed against the stops at the top. What you want is a small visible gap; like 1/32 or less. That is the right cable setting.
    6)
    Put the rotor on. Hold it tight with a single lug nut and a washer.
    7)
    Pull the little rubber plug in the inner part of the rotor and tighten the star wheel adjuster thru the rotor hole (where the rubber plug was) with a screw driver. Down on the screw driver handle (towards the pavement) is tighter.
    NOTE: THE STAR WHEEL IS NOT AT 6:00 STRAIGHT DOWN ON 2ND GEN. TUNDRAS.
    Its more like 5:00 or 7:00 based on your point of reference. If you did not mark it as in 4A above, look at where the cable enters the back of the housing and its 180 degrees from there.
    8)
    Tighten the adjuster until you cannot turn the rotor by hand. Important: Put the transmission in neutral if you have not already in step 0. Note that to get it into neutral you need to touch lightly on the regular brake pedal. But if you press too much right now then you will over-expand the caliper you took off in step 1: not good. Go light.

    Anyway grab the lug studs and try to rotate with all your might. If you can rotate then tighten another click. My manual says "until its locked against the drum". Then back off 6 to 8 clicks. Backing-off i.e. loosening, is when the screw driver handle goes up. I do it 6 up clicks (backing off) and have little if any shoe dragging and get a great parking brake. The manual says to back off 8 clicks.
    9)
    If you want to be thorough then pull the rotor off again and make sure you have only a tiny little gap at the top i.e. the cable is adjusted properly under the cab.
    10)
    Put the caliper back on and torque to spec (step 00: get a repair manual!)
    11)
    Put in the rubber plug
    12)
    Put the wheel back on

    The passenger rear adjustment is much easier because now the cable is correctly adjusted.
    THIS IS THE ADJUSTMENT PROCEDURE FOR EITHER SIDE IF THE CABLE IS GOOD:
    13)
    Again make sure the truck is blocked, in neutral, parking brake is off, and then pull the other rear wheel off.
    Note: you can jack up with the factory jack and do one side at a time,
    14)
    Pull the rubber plug.
    15)
    Locate the star wheel: 180 degrees from where the cable enters
    16)
    Tighten (screwdriver clicks the star wheel down: screwdriver handle goes down towards pavement to tighten) until you cannot turn the rotor by hand.
    Grab the lug studs and try to rotate. It should not budge.
    17)
    Back off 6-8 clicks (I do 6).
    Backing off is screwdriver handle going up while clicking the star wheel
    18)
    Put the plug and wheel back on

    19)
    Test: The parking brake should hold good now and the rear rotors should not get much hotter than the fronts when driven for like 10 miles. If the rear rotors are really hot then the parking shoes are dragging and you need to loosen (pull wheel and click up). If its just a wee bit hotter than the front then you are dragging them a little: this particular issue will self correct after a few dozen more miles!

    If you did it right you will have a parking brake that works on hills and will even hold against the motor put in drive on flat ground. I can put it in drive, go about 5 miles an hour, put the parking brake on and it hauls the truck to a stop.

    Finally, I think the Tundra parking brake is poorly designed and ripe for a lawsuit. I think Toyota should do a recall. If you know anyone who has been harmed by an ineffectual parking brake then have them post to
    https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov

    Thanks for reading
    Dana Keen
    Last edited by DanaTundra; 09-20-2013 at 11:11 AM.


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    Cchioles's Avatar
    Cchioles is offline New Breed
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    Great Write Up.. My 2007 Parking Break Was Worthless After It Was Driven With It Engaged A Few Times.. Ask A Shop To Fix It So It Would Pass Inspection And Instead They Left It And Passed It Anyways.. Trucks Gone Now, But Thats Proof To Back Your Statement That It's Not An Easy Adjustment...


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    RONE is offline SuperCharged DVM
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    Thanks for posting that info. Very useful.


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    TCB DE's Avatar
    TCB DE is offline Tundra Master
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    This is info any Tundra owner should know about. Thanks!
    How to post a picture that appears full size and not a thumbnail
    2011 Tundra 4x2 DC 5.7 SR5 TRD

    Silver Black & Chrome
    4.30 Tow package, Cold Weather Package, SS Step Boards, Backup Cam, Power Rear Window, DTRL, Spray in Liner, 35% Tint, Heated mirrors, Bluetooth with XM, steering wheel controls, Partial Debadged, WeatherTech Digital Fit mats, WeatherTech in channel vent visors, Rugged Tonneau trifold soft cover, Limited model chrome grille, door handles, mirror caps, underseat storage, engine block heater & TRD Shift Knob from Sparks Toyota, Engraved Phenolic Legend Plates for underhood: Synthetic Oil Only, AMI chrome locking fuel door, SS Exhaust Tip from exracer250, Programmable Mods by Dealer, From Crutchfield - Polk Audio db 651s 6-1/2" Slim 2-way Speakers front and rear - my #1 best mod should have done first instead of last! Seat Heater Addition to 2011 SR5. Latest mod is the TRD Sway Bar
    Or - we could get a Sienna minivan



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    kitundra is offline New Breed
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    Hi Dana-

    I tried following your steps but along the way I noticed that the cable at the bracket has a lot of 'play' in it. Meaning I can pull the threaded rod back and forth through the bracket w/o any resistance. I bought this truck used and saw in the service records that a dealership, who probably didnt know what they were doing and in their attempt to fix the emer brake "loosened the pivot". Not sure what that means but guessing it has something to do with the extra play in the cable.

    Any idea why or how I can get the cable back to normal? The securing nut on the threaded rod looks like its in its original position ie they didnt tighten it down. When I got to the step to tighten it is when I noticed the play.


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