1995 Mazda B2300 (Ford Ranger) parking brake adjustment

My parking brake pedal goes almost to the floor. The cable system has one cable that goes from the pedal to mid-truck. At that point it connects to two separate cables (one to each wheel). I expected to see an equalizer/adjuster where the three cables meet, but there is none.

The actual brake shoes have a star-wheel self-adjustment system, which I think is typical. I believe the primary purpose of this system is to keep the shoes close to the drum, so that only a small amount of travel is needed to actuate the brakes. (by either the brake pedal or the parking brake pedal). Some of the YouTube videos are calling this the adjuster for the parking brake, but I believe the correct adjustment is independent of the parking brake.
With that intro is my problem. What if one of the rear cables has stretched. There seems to be no way to compensate, since there is no equalizer. Do I need to buy a matched set of cables? (I don’t think there is such thing.) It seems that all three cables need to be matched and new for the correct pedal adjustment. Am I missing something?

Your foot pedal may have an adjustment that takes up slack. Possibly lifting the pedal, then pushing, will do the trick. Look at the hinge point of the pedal to see if there’s a ratchet mechanism there.

It has a self-adjusting parking brake.


Tester: Those instructions will set the shoes appropriately close to the drums, so that when the hydraulics are actuated, only a little travel is needed for the pistons.
In Ford theory, then only a little travel is needed for the parking brake cable on each side. BUT, what if one of those cables were too long. One cable would tighten the shoe before the other side had achieved full tension. There is no equalizer for the tension.
Shanonia: I think my immediate problem is a rear cable, so that only one side is fully actuating. So I am looking for a way to adjust one rear cable. It is silly that there is no equalizer mechanism.

If a parking brake cable is stretched. then has to be replaced.

As there’s no adjustment.


I think that is what I am slowly deciding. I believe a shrinking sheath could give the same symptom. The sheath would be under compression.

All the cars out there in the world with a simple little equalizer bar (cost of $1.00) to keep this from happening. Don’t those engineers think of everything!

A common problem on the Rangers is the equalizer slips down the sheath, causing the same problem you’re having.

On my older ford truck drums all around when that occurs it has always been the shoes are not adjusted correctly. Check that first esp if pressing on yhe brake pedal seems to have too much play. Also verify the parking brake actuator and the entire cable system is lubed as spec d br ford. I had a parking brake problem that turned out to be sticky pedal and cables.

I am getting good suggestions. I don’t think it is the sheath problem, but I will take a second look. I also plan to pull the offending wheel again to see if something is out of order. This will give me a closer look at the adjusting mechanism.

Well, I am back, this time to eat some crow. It turns out the whole problem was operator error. While I knew in theory about how the self-adjusting mechanism worked, it turns out that I was a little slow to put that into practice.
When I re-assembled the brakes, I carefully adjusted the shoes for slight drag when I put the drums on, carefully noting which way the adjusters worked, since I was going to do the final adjustment after a little driving. “Make the teeth go up” I said to myself, and clearly the self adjusting mechanism did just that.
Quiz: can you see what I did wrong? When I under the car on the opposite side of the adjustment screw, I needed to make the teeth go down. Duh! Can you tell that this is the first time I have replaced drum brakes? BTW: the parking brake works fine.