DIY: 1998 BMW 528i, PARKING Brake Overhaul
The E39 Parking Brake is notorious for failing after 5-6 years and 60K, so here is the DIY.
Mine was basically useless at 12 years and 105K miles.
I bought the parts from autohausaz.com, however, you can get these parts from other online vendors as well.
- REAR Brake Rotors.....34211164840.....Balo.....$42/each.......Qty = 2/car
- REAR Brake Shoe Set.....34416761292.....Pagid.....$41/set (total 4 shoes/set).....Qty = 1 set/car
- REAR Brake Hardware Set.....34419064019.....TRW-Lucas-Girling.....$16/set.....Qty = 1 set/car
- Optional: Brake Rotor Bolts.....34211161806.....$1.69/each.....Qty = 1 bolt/rotor
TOTAL COST = $140.
- OEM Brake Shoes are made by "Jurid", I use "Pagid", result is nice and solid Parking braking effect.
- Budget 1h/side
- At 12 years, 105K miles, the REAR Rotors were warped, the inner drum part has rusted, the brake shoes material has partially fallen off, no wonder I had trouble with the PARKING Brake, which was basically useless. If your REAR rotors are more than 8 years, 80K miles, consider new REAR rotors because resurfacing the drum part (where the brake shoes come in contact with) is difficult and it may cost $15-20 to do it and it does not make sense to re-surface it while a new rotor (BALO brand) is only $42.
- Do this a level driveway, don't even dream about doing this on a sloped driveway! Once the REAR is raised, there is nothing to prevent the car from rolling, other than the chocks on the FRONT wheel!
1. Chock BOTH the Front and Rear parts of the FRONT Wheels!!!
2. Loosen wheel bolts a bit, but do not remove the bolts yet!
3. Jack one side at a time, place Jackstand under subframe.
4. Remove Rear wheel.
5. From the cabin, set car to Neutral and Release Parking Brake Handle.
6. Pull the UPPER part of the Leather Cover (held by 2 plastic slips) to expose the Brake Cable adjusting nuts.
Mine was never touched before by the previous owners, so I left Brake Cable adjusting nuts alone.
If you need to adjust the cable, do a search! The bottom line is when properly adjusted, there is a VERY SLIGHT slack on the cable, i.e., as soon as you pull 1-2 clicks the other end in the Brake Drum should start moving (you need an assistant to help with this). Anyway, look it up.
7. Remove Brake Caliper 16-mm bolts. I use Rubber Hammer helps with the 16-mm wrench to remove these bolts. You may need to use a screwdriver to pry the caliper out of the rotors (pry between the ventilated part of the rotor and the metal part of the caliper).
Then hang the caliper to the Suspension Spring using electrical wire to prevent straining the brake hose!
8. During re-installation of Brake Caliper. I also use Rubber Hammer on the wrench because it is impossible to get a torque wrench in there.
9. Use a 6-mm Allen wrench to remove the bolt holding the rotor. Adjust the Star Wheel to release the shoes. So read this carefully:
* RIGHT Side: Move Star Wheel DOWN to EXPAND the Brake Shoes.
* LEFT Side: Move Star Wheel UPWARD to EXPAND the Brake Shoes.
Then pull old rotor out.
10. Now pause and observe the existing layout! This is crucial for re-assembly.
- Use a 5-mm Allen Key to twist the pin holding the shoes. The pin uses 90 degrees turn to lock and unlock.
- I use a pair of vice-grip to remove/install the spring (wear eye protection!), basically biting on the straight part of the hook and pull it in or out. You can also use the "special brake spring tool" ($10-15 at local auto parts store).
- BIG Spring goes on TOP and SMALL Spring at Bottom
- Adjusting Star Wheel faces REARWARD.
11. I greased the Brake Cable end with wheel bearing grease using a BBQ skewer:
12. Also clean the Adjusting Star Wheel interior and apply small amount of grease.
13. During re-installation, follow this sequence (I learned it the hard way, so don't ask…..hehe!):
14. To adjust the Parking Brake (This is very standard in virtually all cars, so you can also use this idea on a Volvo, Toyota etc.):
- Make sure car is in Neutral and the Parking Brake Handle in the cabin is released. Spin the rotor a bit to be sure it spins freely.
- Re-install the Wheel with only 4 bolts and hand-tighten the bolts snug.
- Move the Wheel Empty Hole so it lines upat approx. 6 o'clock position.
- Use a flash light to shine inside to see the Adjusting Star Wheel.
- Using a small flat screwdriver, TIGHTEN the Star Wheel until the Wheel stops moving.
- Now back off about 5 clicks on the Star Wheel: now you should be able to spin the wheel.
You will hear a slight dragging noise, this is normal, so don't worry about this slight dragging noise!
- Go to the cabin and pull the Parking Brake, it should stops at about 5-6 clicks or so.
15. Remove Jackstand and lower car. Don't forget to torque the Wheel Bolts properly!
16. To seat the shoes, find a quiet street and apply the Hand Brake a few times. I used this Nissan procedure for break-in. It works for virtually any car:
17. Make it a habit using the Parking Brake every time you park the car.
18. Once a month, apply hand brake while driving at 15 mph for about 200 feet (10-15 seconds or so) to prevent rust inside the drum. Anyway, this is what I have been doing for 20 years, right or wrong I don't know, but it works....
Enjoy your brand new Parking Brake!
Last edited by cnn; 01-18-2010 at 12:15 PM.
Excellent write-up, planning to do mine next week. Also, I believe the part numbers and procedure should be the same for all E39s (except M5?).
One question thou, did you put new brake pads? I see you replaced the rotors, but didn't see brake pads being mentioned
Good tips about how to maintain parking brake, I sometimes use mine to piss off tailgaters, I guess it's good for something else too.
Mods should move it to DIY section!
My brake pads had alot of material remaining (8-9 mm) so I re-used the brake pads.
+1, Mods should move it to DIY section![/QUOTE]
Excellent write up. I have saved it on my computer files for future reference. Thanks a million.
Good stuff from cnn again. Thanks!
Over the last few days, I have done the break-in procedure for the Brake Shoes and the Parking Brake holds the car nicely on a slope with car in Neutral.
However if you park the car, use BOTH the Parking Brake and 1st Gear for Man Trans cars.
I really like this Pagid Brake Shoes. FYI, OEM is Jurid.
I have been using Pagid brand in all of my Volvo for 20 years, I love it.
Highly recommend Pagid.
Last edited by cnn; 01-18-2010 at 12:07 PM.
1) before replacing did the parking brake work better when holding the car from rolling backwards vs. parking nose-down on a slope? (mind did)
2) will the new pads lock the rear wheels while the car is in motion? My old E39 is now a dual-duty street/drift car; and, inquiring mids are curious.
1. Before this job, my P Brake was basically useless, whether it is forward or backward motion of the car.
2. Yes, this new Pagid Brake Shoes WILL lock the REAR wheels (tire screeching) IF I pull the Brake Handle hard enough.
oddly, or maybe not so oddly - I haven't pulled the drum apart yet - my brake locks fantastically with the car's impending motion in the reverse direction and terribly in the forward direction.
also, I HATE working on drum brakes. I always managed to slip on one of those springs and have it stab me or some other clumsy mishap.
Thank You! I wanted to do this for so long!
2. Buy the Drum Brake Spring Plier for $10 at local auto parts store.
Last edited by cnn; 01-18-2010 at 03:35 PM.
fantastic write up, as always!
After not having played with any drum brakes for a handful of years even someone familiar with how they work can appreciate a refresher course.
Interestingly, I did a DIY for the Parking Brake for my 2001 Honda Odyssey Van sometime ago:
See attached Pic.
Last edited by cnn; 01-18-2010 at 08:00 PM.
again, cnn you never cease to amaze me..
wish i waz still in omaha so we can hook up my canyonrot!
1. How hard was it to do? Looks simple enough, but I know better by now...
2. When you say your PB was useless...did the handle pull straight up w/o resistance?
I'm looking to do this one weeked soon, but will probably fork over my arm and leg to just let a shop do it. I have a short temper, bad back and knack for effing ish up on my Bimmers. Never had so much trouble on any other car I've worked on. I think I just have a Bimmer curse...
'99 ///M3: I.LOVE.THIS.CAR. - SOLD
2002 325xi Wagon - The new daily
PM me for Detailing in San Diego!
Last edited by jamesdc4; 01-19-2010 at 10:57 AM.
Before this job, I pulled the P Brake about 10 clicks (handle almost vertical), and it barely had any effect, so basically useless.
James, even you drive an Auto Trans, the pros still recommend a good working P Brake for 2 reasons:
1. It is the last line of defence when God Forbid your main hydraulic brake fails.
2. When parking a car with Auto Trans, a P Brake should be used in case someone bumps your car at a shopping mall parking lot, it can damaged the AT's Parking Gear (which is a round gear with slots inside the Auto Trans casing).
I forgot to mention the proper use of the Brake Plier. It is mentioned at time marking of 0:40 in this clip found on youtube, basically the pliers squeeze between the shoe and the spring to hook it in place:
Last edited by cnn; 01-19-2010 at 04:59 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
'99 ///M3: I.LOVE.THIS.CAR. - SOLD
2002 325xi Wagon - The new daily
PM me for Detailing in San Diego!
sorry to threadjack, but I just sold my E39 540i and have new Pagid brake shoes and all four brake hoses. Was wondering if anyone was interested before I send it back. PM me for more info. thanks
Lazy Saturday drive in my E34: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnzvZgPnOos
Just to add this to cnn's diy. Where it mentions greasing anything, make sure you use BRAKE GREASE. No petroleum type grease/lube should ever go near brakes.
Understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of the car and oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of the car.
Horsepower is how fast you hit the wall, torque is how far you take the wall with you.
I bought this junk at Harbor Freifgt --non of it was of any use. I at one time used this stuff on big car brakes but on the baby size parking brake I could see no use for it. Perhaps I forgot how to use the spring stretcher. But it sure didn't want to fit the springs on the BMW parking brake.
>'97 528i, 200000 miles, Hella Xenons, 17" Stilauto wheels, Vogtland Drop Springs, Dynomax Race Muffler, Homelink, 540 brake upgrade, 15mm spacers >'65 & '74 MG Midgets BFC OT Lego Club #48 Manual conversion in process!!!