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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 04-09-2012, 03:04 AM
JayMac JayMac is offline
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E brake work

Since I had to take off the e brakes to replace the bearings I thought I would share some thoughts and photos of the project. Here is a shot of the adjuster that you would access through your lug hole. It is standard thread so pushing the teeth on the bottom open it up to push the pads closer to the drum which is located inside your rear disc. If you are just adjusting you brake I would do the following. Verify it need adjustment. Set and get a few buddies to try and push the car. As added security you can leave your car in gear with a manual, reverse if your really anal. If you are going to be bold and try this through the lug hole I would only move the adjuster one tooth at a time.





This is the expander. It is connected to your e brake cable and when you pull on the lever this little guy forces the shoes outward to hold your car. The springs are not on in this shot. If you don't need to remove this, leave it alone.



Here is what the whole set up looks like off the car.

This is tucked in behing the wheel hubs so I thought this would give you a better look at it. The spring on the right is actually upside down. If you flip it is clears the hub better when you go to put it back on. If not, you are fighting like crazy to get this back together. Ask me how I know this?

You need to remove the adjuster first. You can go at this a few ways but I collapsed it fully to take some of the pressure off it. Some guys go right for the springs but in either event collapse this so you are fighting less pressure. A few note to remind you how many turns you took helps when you put back together.


If you have the hub of you can do this simply by using a screwdriver or a chisel or something that give you leverage and simply pry up the top shoe. You can see in the shot that the bottom edge is almost clear of the shoe.



Another option and one that I used is to take a chisel or a socket extension and catch one end on the edge of the top shoe and the other on your floor jack. You slowly pump up the jack and pull this adjuster out from behind. Here are some shots with the hub in and the jack set up as well as the pry method. Not such a big deal taking it apart but when you put things back together you run out of hands. I put the springs on first and then installed the adjuster.




If you choose to go for the spring first a spring puller is nice but if you do not have one take a screw driver and slide it in behind the top of the spring. Slowly rotate it up and out from the shoe and the spring will come out. SAFETY GLASSES HERE


So you should have the spring out and the the adjuster out. You can disconnect the pads from the dust shields with an Allen key. 5mm. The top one has been removed. You can access this through the stud hole if the hub is on. Push in and turn, spring loaded. Once they are both off slowly work the shoes over the hub. This takes a little patience because the expander is still in contact and you are fighting the spring. SAFETY GLASSES HERE


Here is the expander and the orientation to how it fits with the shoes. Notches fit together. If the expander falls off, do not loose that little roll pin. This is what holds the expander to the cable. The cable end has an eye in it you line that up with the hole and slide the pin in. Closing the expander is what hold the pin in place. Sounds complicated but you will figure it out. Spring is upside down. If you flip it you have more clearance for the spring to go around the hub.



Here is a close up of the adjuster. Clean this up, no lube is needed.


Install new shoes and put back together. I found that the spring on the expander side does fit better in a specific orientation so take a few shots of your own and pay attention when taking this apart. If you do have the hub off for any reason I found this method to be the easiest. I put the shoes and springs together with the adjuster and rolled it up over the hub. Secure the bottom shoe with the pin first.

A little hard to see but here is the spring on the left side installed correctly.

Any questions just ask.
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  #2  
Old 04-09-2012, 09:59 AM
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r33p04s r33p04s is offline
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Thanks... mine needs adjusting
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  #3  
Old 04-09-2012, 10:03 AM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Nicely done! Thank you! To me, fiddling with that infernal E-brake is worse than changing the rear wheel bearing.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:26 AM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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Thanks again for posting this. When I had my RR wheel bearing replaced, the shop didn't adjust the e-brake perfectly upon reassembly, so I'd like to tweak it a bit. This helps me visualize exactly what I need to do.

By the way, why does one need to "be bold" to perform the adjustment through the lug hole?
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Last edited by ZeGerman; 04-09-2012 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:37 AM
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I've found that removing the wheel allows for easier access to the adjuster mechanism.
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:55 PM
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wag-zhp wag-zhp is offline
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Great photos. These should be very helpful for anyone that isn't familiar with the e-brake system.
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:41 PM
norcal_baller norcal_baller is offline
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can someone make this a sticky?
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  #8  
Old 04-09-2012, 07:21 PM
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DinanM3e36 DinanM3e36 is offline
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If your ebrake is just soft you can adjust at the ebrake handle. Just lift the boot and tighten the wire/nuts...Just an FYI
Edit: when I say "loose" I mean that when you yank the ebrake it barely locks the the brake ie semi worn ebrakes can be tighten just by lifting the boot and tighting the wire

Last edited by DinanM3e36; 04-09-2012 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:31 PM
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jayjaya29 jayjaya29 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DinanM3e36 View Post
If your ebrake is just soft you can adjust at the ebrake handle. Just lift the boot and tighten the wire/nuts...Just an FYI
Edit: when I say "loose" I mean that when you yank the ebrake it barely locks the the brake ie semi worn ebrakes can be tighten just by lifting the boot and tighting the wire
Adjusting the cables at the handle and adjusting them at the brake assembly itself are two different things. Sure it will make it engage quicker but you will run out of threads on the cables sooner or later. It also may drag the shoes on the brakes causing excess wear. Read the Bently for proper adjustment procedure.
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Old 04-10-2012, 06:57 AM
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SlimKlim SlimKlim is offline
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Just fought this fight on a co-worker's X5. Those things are designed by satan himself, its the only explanation. The first one took me an hour to figure it out, the second took me 10 minutes.
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  #11  
Old 04-15-2012, 02:16 PM
JayMac JayMac is offline
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Slim if you can add anything please post.

Ze German, my comment was directed at the ability to get to the teeth and actually feel confident that you are in fact making the adjustment.

Dinan, +1 to what jayjaya posted. You have two adjustments correct but I think adjusting the cable is to deal with the stretch that occurs with wire. The expander can only go so far due to the hole in the hub.
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Old 04-15-2012, 02:25 PM
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SlimKlim SlimKlim is offline
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You pretty much sum it up. The chisel+floor jack method is pretty genius. The way I was finally able to figure out reinstalling them was to put everything on except the front spring, then use a small pair of visegrips to give me a good hold on the spring so I could get it hooked on.
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