How To: Adjust the Parking Brake - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-11-2010, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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How To: Adjust the Parking Brake

This is an easy one.

You will need: A flat head screwdriver.
That's all.

Subaru's with disc brakes in the rear use a separate mini drum brake for the parking (emergency) brake. It sometimes needs adjusting for best effect. During the life of the car the shoes could need replacing, but probably not unless something catastrophic happens. *cough* There is a star shaped wheel inside the rear parking brake drum that can be adjusted from the outside of the car. With the car in park (and the e-brake off) crawl under and look at the back of the brake. At the bottom there is a small rubber cover. Take it off and stick your flat head screwdriver in.

Rotate the drawbridge wheel upwards to tighten the brake. Or rotate it down to loosen it. It usually goes one click at a time, and you can feel it happen with the screwdriver. That's it! I've included a picture. In the picture I have the car in the air with the wheel off, but this shouldn't be necessary.

I've also included a picture of what the inside of the brake drum looks like, if you need a visual aid.

Pro tip: If you loan your car to a buddy, make sure he turns the e-brake off before driving 100+ miles with it.
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-11-2010, 04:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brucey View Post
This is an easy one.

You will need: A flat head screwdriver.
That's all.

Subaru's with disc brakes in the rear use a separate mini drum brake for the parking (emergency) brake. It sometimes needs adjusting for best effect. During the life of the car the shoes could need replacing, but probably not unless something catastrophic happens. *cough* There is a star shaped wheel inside the rear parking brake drum that can be adjusted from the outside of the car. With the car in parking (and the e-brake off) crawl under and look at the back of the brake. At the bottom there is a small rubber cover. Take it off and stick your flat head screwdriver in.

Rotate the drawbridge wheel upwards to tighten the brake. Or rotate it down to loosen it. It usually goes one click at a time, and you can feel it happen with the screwdriver. That's it! I've included a picture. In the picture I have the car in the air with the wheel off, but this shouldn't be necessary.

Pro tip: If you loan your car to a buddy, make sure he turns the e-brake on before driving 100+ miles with it.
don't you mean off?
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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-11-2010, 04:38 AM Thread Starter
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Fixed and thanks. (:
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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-11-2010, 04:42 AM
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haha yeahhh...it doesn't take 100 miles. My gf did the same thing in my last car for maybe a mile or two and I never did bother readjusting my e-brake-I just pulled it up farther.
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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-12-2010, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, this was originally going to be a write up on replacing the parking shoes entirely. But once I got in there I realized they just needed adjustment as mentioned above. I had already adjusted them so that the lever pulls them all the way up. I'd say even after that, the pads still have about half a life left in them.
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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 03:18 PM
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Hey there Brucey... so if the parking/E-brake lever between the front seats feels a bit looser than it should, as in too easy to pull up, and easily pulls up all the way, and has little stopping power, this is a procedure I should try? I have a 2001 Outback Ltd H4, auto.

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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Yup! This is what fixed it for mine. There is also an adjustment knob inside the car underneath the console for fine tuning, but this is a much easier and much stronger fix than tearing apart the center console honestly. I plan to get a picture and show the procedure whenever I need to take apart that console again.

If you have an raised area you can park on, you don't even have to jack the car up to do this! It can be done in less than 10 minutes.
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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 03:36 PM
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Can't wait to try this... long overdue. I'll just jack up that wheel to get under there. I'm a little unclear on the adjustment procedure though... all I have to do is insert the flathead screwdriver as indicated, but then I move the whole screwdriver up one click at a time which in turn moves the drawbridge wheel (then keep checking the tension on the pull-lever in the car) or do I rotate the screwdriver head as if turning a screw?

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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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The first one. You're just rotating that wheel with the screwdriver, there is no actual 'screwdriving' process. It could be accomplished with any similar tool.
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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-02-2010, 06:40 PM
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Just tried this myself

maybe 15 minutes for me, but i am slow. Definitely seems way faster then pulling apart the center consul to get to the adjustment nut at the hand lever (the only method offered in Haynes, btw). The only other tool I needed for this job was a drop light, since there is a lot of space in the slot where you can miss the star wheel completely. It helped a lot to be able to see when I was positively hitting the star wheel with my adjuster tool.

A jack and jack stands sure make this more fun.

Also i *tried* to keep count of the total rotations I turned the star wheels on each brake, so hopefully braking pressure will be allied relatively evenly. So far, so Good…

Thanks Brucey!

-w
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