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Discussion Starter #1
Saturday I swapped back my OEM rotors and pads I had taken off and replaced with a different set of OEM rotor and race pads for this past season's DEs at the Glen. That set work great with no unexpected noises and there we no problems with the original set that only had 3K on them before removal.

So I reinstalled them as per instruction in the TIS, using ample brake lube on the backs or the pads and slide points.

Took the car for a prolonged drive Sunday morning to re-bed the pads. After about 100 miles or so I started noticing a scrapping or grinding noise but could not tell which wheel it was coming from or if from more than one. The noise would start when coming from a stop just after releasing pressure on the brakes and also when starting off it would make noise up till about 40MPH and then fade away. My first thought was that the calipers were too tight and maybe I need to remove a touch of break fluid so that the positions could retract easier. So I used a baster to lower the brake fluid a ¼ inch below the Max fill line. This made no difference. I had a friend walk around my car while I drove slowly and he indicated with certainty that the noise was coming from my left rear wheel. So I went to the store, got some of the GUNK spray and applied that to all rotors and took another drive around. No help there. But I did make a new observation. I decided to pull up on the hand brake to clean off any rust that might have built up while in storage and I noticed that I had to same grinding noise, and this without squeezing the brake calipers. So I play with the hand brake some more, and the harder I pull it, the louder to noise.

Now, I believe my parking brake needs adjustment anyhow, as I don’t get wheel lock up unless I pull up so high and hard as to require flipping up the center arm rest first.
And on this drive, with the road getting a bit wet with a fall drizzle, once I do lock up the rear wheels using the hand brake, the car will start to fish tail, kicking its ass out to the right angling to car toward the left. Locking up with the foot brake, and the car stops in a straight line, least so long as the road is level. This makes me believe that the left rear parking break shoe is activating harder and/or earlier than the one on the right.

So with all this, I am leaning towards this theory: The right rear parking break is making contact with the inside of the rotor hub, even when the hand break is fully disengaged and thus is the cause of the noise.

To resolve this, I should readjust the PB shoe at both hubs and then adjust the cable tension at the hand leaver.


I’ve read other posts suggesting to check for stones and bent dust covers, and of course, I will check for that too when I get under the car again, but Id love to know if what I’m think makes sense and is likely. I also have one other concern that I think is unlikely, but I guess worth a mention. When I when to push the left rear piston back in, I used a tool I got from sears that has a brace plate and a large tread plunger screw. With a pad over the piston, you torque the plunger with a ratchet to drive it back. Well, the piston was basically already all the way in and I torqued fairly hard with hand ratchet before I realized I was an idiot. So I’m concerned that I might have bent the caliper housing just a slight amount and perhaps that is causing the pad to not seat correctly and shudder about. Just seems like the forces which that caliper is built to deal with are like far greater than what I can create with that tool and a 10in ratchet. But then could I have damaged the piston itself in driving it in to hard. But all in all, I’m leaning toward not having hurt a thing and this being all due to the parking break.

Also, I’m not sure exactly how the parking brake adjustment is made at the wheel. The TIS says to rotate the wheel with one of the lugs removed until you see the adjustment screw and to use a screwdriver. Not much more. I don’t recall seeing any sort of screwable adjustment back in there one time I had looked for it. I only recall seeing the sprocket looking thing in between the springs that looks like you could rotate it on way or the other, but not likely without removing the wheel. Can anyone with experience adjusting the handbrake on late model E46’s give me the skinny on how this works. It may be I just need to get my eyes checked and look again, but some foreknowledge of what to look for would be grand.


I thank you all for any help and comments you can offer here.
 

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The E-brake could be "stuck"or maybe the lever is broken?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Dust Cover..... was rubbing ever so slightly. Pushing it back with a flat of a screwdriver along the perimeter did the trick.

However, I still needed to adjust the parking break and found it almost impossible to get that sprocket to move when the rotor hat is in place. Spinning it clockwise ( up and to the right ) is required to tighten the shoes to the hat before backing off a click or 2 and what should be done on both side to ensure equal gapping before adjusting the cables. I did slacken the cables before attempting any adjustment to the shoe height. I was using a simple flat headed screwdriver, but found that once the rotor hat was in place, I simply just did not have enough leverage to move the sprocket one way or another. I was able to get my parking break adjusted via the cables, however they are not tensioned evenly and I’m sure that is due to not have an equal starting gap.

Does anyone know a trick or a better tool for making the adjustment to the parking brake gap when to rotor and the tire for that mater are inplace?
 
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