Parking Brake Mechanism
Replacement 1994+ Ram
| At a campground one weekend, I stomped the parking brake before
exiting my truck, and it felt as if it had stuck. Worse, it would not release
and the brake light remained solidly lit. I got out and checked the tension
on the emergency brake cables - they were slack. One of the fingers (1/8"
thick steel!) had stuck in the wrong position and my size 11 foot thoroughly
bent it along with another lever inside the mechanism. They were hopelessly
jammed but, it could have been worse; the brake would not engage, but it
was not stuck on.
|The bent lever that jammed
||How it should look (ignore rust on used part!)
|I made sure the parking (emergency) brake was released completely, unplugged
the brake light switch wire, and drove home without using the parking brake
After removing and inspecting the
mechanism, I called the dealer to see about a replacement. The parts man
told me they had not sold any, did not keep them in stock, but they could
have a new one in a week (I didn't ask about the cost). I thanked him, said
I would call around the junkyards, and told him I would get back to him
if if I could not find one. It took several calls to locate a used replacement;
one place did for $35. It was rusty, but it was fully functional and would
be hidden under the dashboard where we would not have to look at it, so
I took it home.
Parking Brake Pedal Assembly Removal
- Phillips screwdriver
- 1/4" straight screwdriver
- 3/8" Ratchet wrench
- 3" extension
- combination of extensions to reach 14+"
- 13mm Deep socket
- long nose pliers
- nail or 1/8" pin
|To get the mechanism out of a 1994 truck:
|1. Park the truck on a level site, block
the wheels, and set the transmission in 1st or R (man) or P (auto).
|2. Remove the knee bolster under the steering
wheel. (3 to 5 phillips screws - depending on the model year)
|3. Remove the plastic side side kick plate/rocker
panel cover. (Phillips screws)
|4. Peel back the carpet and padding to expose the parking
|5. Service manual says: Loosen cable tensioner
nut (13mm) at equalizer to create slack in park brake cable. Riiiiight!!
After 7 years, that nut was rusted solid. If you have several days, spray
the nut with penetrating oil every day and let the oil go to work for you.
If you don't have time to play around, skip this step - it's unnecessary
in most cases.
|6. Disconnect the brake lamp wire from the
switch. It is a spade connector and pulls off the switch easily.
|7. Remove the Phillips screw holding the
release handle to the dashboard strut.
|8. Remove the Phillips screw holding the parking brake
cable camp to the floor.
|9. Remove the bolt and two nuts holding the mechanism
in place. All require a 13mm (or 1/2") socket. The top nut is easiest
to reach with a 14" extension and a deepwell socket. The other nut
can be reached from under the dashboard with a deepwell socket. The bolt
is easy to reach with a socket and 3" extension.
|10. With the brake cable still attached, finesse the
entire mechanism out from under the dashboard. This is tricky, but can be
done if the carpet is out of the way.
|11. With the mechanism free of the dashboard, pull against
the tension spring and use a nail to pin the mechanism in the fully released
|12. Use a straight screwdriver to pry the cable pin
loose from the actuator.
|13. Use a screwdriver to squeeze the rearmost cable
shroud lock pin, then tilt the shroud to get the back pin through the hole.
Use a pair of needle nose pliers to squeeze the two front lock pins, and
pull the cable assembly free from the pedal mechanism.
Now you are ready to reassemble. With the replacement unit in hand:
|1. Pull the brake release, hold the backplate
with one hand, pull the cable mechanism to the fully released position,
then (with your third hand) insert a nail through mechanism to hold everything
in the released position. A new mechanism will already have a pin in place.
|2. Insert the cable through the mounting
hole until all three lock fingers snap into position.
|3. Use pliers to pull the brake cable and start the
cable pin into into its hole in the actuator lever. Hold the pin in place
with your finger and use a screwdriver to pry the cable into position, then
push the cable pin all the way into the lever.
|Be patient, this may take a few tries. This would be much
easier if the parking brake adjuster under the truck was loosened. The cable
will look like the photo when it is installed correctly. Note: This
is much easier to do before bolting the mechanism up inside the dashboard.
|4. Remove the nail that was holding the
|5. Work the pedal mechanism back up into
position under the dashboard. Be patient, it will go back in. Flex the parking
brake cable sideways under the brake pedal to get enough slack.
|6. Loop the brake release cable behind the mechanism
back plate and clip the release handle into the dashboard. Install the handle
|7. Make sure the mechanism is seated onto
both studs at the firewall, then install the front mounting bolt.
|8. Install the two retaining nuts on the
firewall studs. Note: My nuts were flanged and had self tapping threads
that wanted to cross thread onto the studs. I replaced the nuts with standard
8x1.25mm nuts and used 5/16" washers behind them.
|9. Test the mechanism; if OK, tighten the
mounting bolt and nuts.
|10. Connect wire to brake light switch.
|11. Install brake cable strap screw on floor.
|12. Replace carpet and padding.
|13. Replace the kick panel/rocker panel cover.
|14. Replace the knee bolster.
|Important: Test the Mechanism again before relying
Last Update: March 25, 2000