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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 09-30-2012, 06:28 PM   #1
Steve855
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 66
My Ride: 325xiT
Parking brake tune-up

My parking brake was becoming ineffective, even after adjustment. So I pulled the rotors to have a look.
As i suspected, the friction surface on the drum (which is part of the rotor) was corroded and very rough. The shoes had plenty of friction material left, but they couldn't work properly due to the rough drum surface and all the loose dirt in there. The rotors and pads are still in very good condition, and i don't get any pulling to one side or pulsing pedal, so I didn't want to spend money on new rotors just to fix the parking brake if I didn't have to.
I'm fortunate to have a small lathe in my workshop, so I decided to resurface the drums.
I mounted one on the three-jaw chuck, holding it on the ID which registers on the hub when it's on the car. I figured this is what locates the rotor to the hub, so if I machine the drum concentric to this, it should be ok.
I indicated them with a dial indicator on the disc (not drum) friction surface just as a check. It was easy to get them less than .005" runout. I figured this was more than adequate for a parking brake.

Then I started cutting. I used a carbide insert boring bar, somewhere around 300rpm maybe. I'm guessing the rotor is cast iron or cast steel by the way it cut. No oil required. I think it took .030 or so to clean it back up to a reasonable surface.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:32 PM   #2
cityjohn
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Thanks for a detailed Part I. But did it fix the problem?
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:45 PM   #3
Steve855
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Once I had both rotors resurfaced, I reassembled everything and adjusted per the procedure in the Bentley manual. Now my parking brake works as it should.
Obviously this DIY requires access to a lathe, which may present a problem for a lot of people. Also, if you own a lathe, you can probably figure this procedure out on your own. But even if you don't own a lathe, you might know someone who does, and then you're all set. Now that I think about it, you should probably just buy a lathe. It'll come in handy, trust me.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:50 PM   #4
Steve855
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Cityjohn- yeah, sorry, I'm a slow typist. Now 3-4 clicks on the lever will hold the car on a pretty decent hill, so I would say it worked.
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