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E-brake won't hold in reverse

I have owned a 1988 Dakota for 15mo. now, and it has always had the same problem: the parking brake would hold fine forwards, but poorly in reverse (to the point that just over idle power would “break free.”)

I did a drum job on it 2 mo. ago (my first drum job), and put everything back the way I found it. I took it to a shop to diagnose the e-brake problem, and they said “you have a siezed cable to one side.” So, I let them fix that for me.

The “not holding in reverse” problem has persisted, with a new wrinkle (or at least, me noticing something new): when backing up immediately before applying the brake, it seems adjusted “too lose,” both in terms of effort and holding power.

So: is it possible the adjusters arte installed backwards? I tried to put everything back the way I found it, but it’s not beyond me to foul this up. Additionally, it seems they could have been on backwards to begin with, and I accurately replaced them in the same condition.

I have always found that with the E=brake being in the rear drum brakes, they never hold in reverse.

While it’s possible the self-adjusters are installed backwards, I can’t really hazard a guess, as I can’t see them. The best thing for you to do is to get a maintenance manual, and verify the installation.

For me, I’ve owned quite a few cars over the years (like lots of people), and by far the vast majority had manual transmissions (lived the majority of my life in Europe). E-brakes are for far more than just “E’s”, like parking everywhere you go, every day in a manual.

Whenever I had one that didn’t work correctly (like what you decribe), I could always find something wrong. Either with the installation, shoes or drum itself. Something’s up, and you should fix it, or get it fixed.

Good luck,


It’s always possible that the adjusters are on the wrong side of the car. You can check them. They get longer when the tab pushes the star wheel downward.

did you take emery cloth to the drums when you had them off. It sounds like they might be glazed a little. The self adjusters should be installed so the teath are accessible through the brake adj. window on the inboard side of the backing plate.

There are many ways to screw up a brake job…With drum brakes, this usually a leading and trialing shoe, one a little longer (the lining material) than the other. The LONG shoe ALWAYS goes towards the rear of the car, the short shoe towards the front…The self-adjusting hardware is installed on the larger, rearward, shoe…