Dodge Challenger emergency/parking brake

dodge
challenger

#1

All, I have a 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T, around 109K miles, 5.7L V8, automatic transmission.

Recently I’ve been concerned with the parking brake. Specifically… it wasn’t holding the car on either level or sloped surfaces. I’m concerned with both safety and minimizing the strain on my transmission.

I took it to my regular mechanic. He said the rear brake shoes were fine (thickness, etc.) and was able to adjust the parking brake, and indeed the car will hold firmly on a level surface. However, I noticed when parked on a hill (my driveway, in particular), there’s an obviously rubbing/friction noise/vibration coming from the rear brakes. Meaning, the parking brake was holding some, but not on its own.

So for a second opinion, I took the car to a Dodge dealer. The service advisor told me the parking brake was actually “supplemental” to the transmission when parking on a hill, but they would still check it for me. $150 later… they cleaned and adjusted the parking brake and assured me it worked. The parking brake pedal is indeed significantly firmer to push down, and it does hold very well on flat surfaces. However, again… it doesn’t seem to hold on slopes (same friction/rubbing/vibration noise from the rear).

First, have any of you ever heard of the parking brake being a “supplement” to the transmission on Dodges? This was news to me, but this is admittedly my first Dodge.

Secondly, am I just expecting too much here? Or, put another way… am I wasting time and money getting “regular behavior” diagnoses?

Thanks all.


#2

I don’t think you’re expecting too much. The parking brake should be able to hold the car on a hill when the transmission is in neutral.


#3

That’s a picture of how “park” works on your transmission. That pawl slots into the output shaft ring and physically prevents it from turning, which in turn physically prevents the wheels from turning.

So that might be what the guy meant by the brake being supplemental - assuming the park function is working properly, the brake will not make any difference as to whether or not the car rolls, and in fact the transmission is more likely to keep the wheels from rolling than the brake is.

All that said, the whole point of the parking brake is to provide a backup if something goes wrong - if you shift it into park and for whatever reason the pawl does not engage, then the brake is supposed to keep the car from rolling, so @lion9car is also correct - that brake should hold the car on a hill all by itself.

Regarding the noise, does it keep making the noise, or does it just rub a little right at first when you take your foot off the brake? If it’s the latter, that’s normal.


#4

Honestly, I’ve only tried it once on a hill this morning right after getting the car out of the shop.

I’ll give it a try at home tonight and report back. Thanks for the response and explanation.


#5

On a slope, set the parking brake before you shift into Park because it helps relieve tension on the parking pawl… I was a driving instructor for many years.Since this Dodge is such a heavy car,I would go back to the mechanic and have them adjust it properly.


#6

I absolutely agree, and believe that its use to relieve said tension is one of its intended functions. Parking pawls not assisted by parking brakes on hills can become stuck and require a tow truck (or a strong friend :grin:) to be released.

It’s always hard when someone has gone to two allegedly qualified shops, one being the dealer, and it still won’t hold the vehicle. All I can suggest is to try another shop… but I can understand a person’s reluctance to do so. Perhaps if you simply insist that they replace the parking brake shoes and the rotors (the drums for the parking brakes are cast into the rotors).


#7

By government standard for light vehicle brakes (FMVSS 135), an automatic transmission AND the parking brake, combined, can be used to hold the car on a 30 percent grade for 5 minutes. So yes, the parking brake is supplemental to the automatic transmission’s parking pawl (see the beautiful set of pictures supplied by @shadowfax)

Manual transmission must hold that same 30% grade with the transmission in neutral. WAY harder to do!


#8

If you live in the salt belt what you probably needed to have the rear parking brake assembly taken apart and the drum surfaces and shoes as well as the surfaces on the backing plate where the sides of the shoes touch the backing plate. Lightly lube the touch points on the backing plate and re-assemble and adjust. If you then regularly use your parking brake and once a week apply it just before you stop, it should not rust up again.

I know the old style drum brake, parking brakes worked stronger going forward than in reverse but I don’t know if that is true for the rear disc setup. I do know the shoes inside the hat of the disc are pretty puny.


#9

Update on this.
Much to my surprise, the car does hold in neutral with the parking brake on my sloped driveway. So I’m relived for now, but will keep an eye on things.
Thanks again for all the responses.

“You just gotta keep livin, man.”

the_same_mountainbik
August 21 |

rascal243:
On a slope, set the parking brake before you shift into Park because it helps relieve tension on the parking pawl

I absolutely agree, and believe that its use to relieve said tension is one of its intended functions. Parking pawls not assisted by parking brakes on hills can become stuck and require a tow truck (or a strong friend ) to be released.

It’s always hard when someone has gone to two allegedly qualified shops, one being the dealer, and it still won’t hold the vehicle. All I can suggest is to try another shop… but I can understand a person’s reluctance to do so. Perhaps if you simply insist that they replace the parking brake shoes and the rotors (the drums for the parking brakes are cast into the rotors).

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In Reply To

rascal243
August 21 |

On a slope, set the parking brake before you shift into Park because it helps relieve tension on the parking pawl… I was a driving instructor for many years.Since this Dodge is such a heavy car,I would go back to the mechanic and have them adjust it properly.
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