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Old 01-19-2014, 09:24 PM   #1
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How strong should E-350 parking brake be?

Before I try to fix the problem, I'd like to know if 2001 E-350 parking brakes ever hold strong. Since I bought the van almost 10 years ago, the parking brakes have been much much weaker than in any vehicle I've owned. They are essentially useless.

The rear disc/drums were replaced as part of a rear brake job, and the parking brakes also a while later. I've adjusted them, and had them adjusted by shop also. Results are always the same -- practically useless.

I did not buy the van new so I don't have a good point of reference as to how strong they should hold. Any feedback on what is possible when operating correctly is greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:59 PM   #2
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Re: How strong should E-350 parking brake be?

No answer but funny you should post this - I was just wondering about this last week on our '06 E350. We were parked on a moderate slope at Montana de Oro, with nothing but cliff separating the SMB from ocean. I had visions of people looking and pointing at the vehicle bobbing in the break, but luckily it was still there when we got back from our hike. Did get me wondering about the parking break though...
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:47 PM   #3
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Re: How strong should E-350 parking brake be?

I've driven hundreds of Ford vans and have owned 4. All of them have had strong parking brakes. I've never not trusted one parking on a hill, although some do require a firm push as far to the floor as you can.
Something sounds wrong with yours.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:51 PM   #4
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Re: How strong should E-350 parking brake be?

A while back my next door neighbor had his e brake fail. His drive way sloped down to the street. I heard a bang and then a crunch. His car rolled down the hill across the street and into a brick wall of a building. Luckily no one was hurt and the car still ran. He parked on the street after that.

If the e brake is working properly you should be able to park it on a hill and have the van stay in place. If I remember correctly Another way to test it is to set it and then try to back up. It should be be very hard.
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:06 PM   #5
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Re: How strong should E-350 parking brake be?

Properly adjusted it will hold the van even on the steepest slopes. If you cannot push it all the way to the floor, than it's properly adjusted.

If the axle seals are leaking, gear oil can contaminate the parking brake shoes and make them useless.
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Old 01-20-2014, 07:16 AM   #6
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Re: How strong should E-350 parking brake be?

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Originally Posted by carringb
Properly adjusted it will hold the van even on the steepest slopes. If you cannot push it all the way to the floor, than it's properly adjusted.

If the axle seals are leaking, gear oil can contaminate the parking brake shoes and make them useless.
I had the seals replaced along with shoes at same time. They supposedly removed all remaining oil from drum/disc before reassembly. After they got done and adjusted it it was not much better at all. I can set the brake as hard as I want (pedal doesn't bottom out) and it still won't keep my van from rolling down my driveway which is only about 10 percent slope. If I put the van in drive the engine can move it forward on level ground just off idle.

From what you guys are confirming it sounds like brakes should hold a lot better. Something must be wrong with mine beyond the obvious replacement and or adjustment.
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Old 01-20-2014, 08:37 AM   #7
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Re: How strong should E-350 parking brake be?

My e brake is mediocre at best. I've adjusted, had it adjusted, checked the ebrake shoes, still not great. The worst is when I'm launching the boat and if you put it in park on the ramp and the ebrake doesn't hold solid, the clunk it makes while going into drive makes the hair on my neck stand up.

Anyhow, I've found that it works best to set brake before you go into park, and mash the pedal as far as you can.
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Old 01-20-2014, 09:28 AM   #8
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Re: How strong should E-350 parking brake be?

We have a 2001 E-350 also and have also had weak parking brakes. I'm sure that they worked fine when the van was new but, over time, they just got "weaker and weaker"...there have been a number of times when I was driving and suddenly notice that the parking brake was still on (the red light is hidden by the Scan Gauge).

A couple of years ago, a Ford technician noticed it and was able to adjust them so that they worked as designed. They are out of adjustment again and it is on my list to have them taken care of during my next service visit...
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Old 01-20-2014, 10:05 AM   #9
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Re: How strong should E-350 parking brake be?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ct77
My e brake is mediocre at best. I've adjusted, had it adjusted, checked the ebrake shoes, still not great. The worst is when I'm launching the boat and if you put it in park on the ramp and the ebrake doesn't hold solid, the clunk it makes while going into drive makes the hair on my neck stand up.

Anyhow, I've found that it works best to set brake before you go into park, and mash the pedal as far as you can.
Doing it in this order (E brake before shifting to park on a hill) does not FEEL natural but it is the best way to do it to save your tranny. I've heard mechanics say that 'clunk' is very bad for them. The only thing worse is backing up and shifting to drive before coming to a complete stop (or vice versa).
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Old 01-20-2014, 11:05 AM   #10
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Re: How strong should E-350 parking brake be?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ct77
My e brake is mediocre at best. I've adjusted, had it adjusted, checked the ebrake shoes, still not great. The worst is when I'm launching the boat and if you put it in park on the ramp and the ebrake doesn't hold solid, the clunk it makes while going into drive makes the hair on my neck stand up.

Anyhow, I've found that it works best to set brake before you go into park, and mash the pedal as far as you can.
Absolutely. I park in my inclined driveway. Pedal to the metal and I'm often still doubtful. Yes, ALWAYS brake first and then put it in park. The P brake is one of the weak links in the design of these vehicles. Too bad, for it is so important.
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