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 Hand Brake issue. 
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Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 1:33 pm
Posts: 535
Location: San Juan Mountains, CO
Post Hand Brake issue.
Hi everyone,

Perhaps this post should be in the "drivetrain" category but anyway...

Earlier this summer I had a guide/driver make a mistake and drive for a bit with the hand brake still slightly engaged. Of course, this caused it to become weak and ineffective.
Now, it seems to be causing more problems than just being a weak hand brake... It is now spewing fluid, heating up, and making an awful grumbling sound (similar to the normal drivetrain sounds but much worse).

My question is this: WTF is going on?! What is making the brake housing heat up and why is it causing fluid to smoke? What fluid is in the hand brake housing anyway? What's with the new loud grinding/grumbling sound?
*It's not dragging at all and the truck rolls freely.

How could a faulty hand brake be possibly taking the whole truck out of service??!!

Arrgh... Thanks!


Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:41 am
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Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:48 pm
Posts: 2446
Location: Denver, CO USA
Post Re: Hand Brake issue.
I have had my handbrake apart and to the best of my knowledge there is no fluid. The handbrake operates by a cable from the handle in the cab to the lever in the rear that pulls the disks into play. You can see the cable if you look through the grille as it passes over the pulley in the air intake.
If the HB is left slightly in position the light should be on in the cab to alert you. If not check the bulb and the switch at the rear of the vehicle, it may not be engaging properly. The switch position is adjustable.
Spewing fluid is cause for concern as this more than likely is from another place than the handbrake.

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Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:40 am
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Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:39 am
Posts: 2430
Location: Ontario, Canada
Post Re: Hand Brake issue.
Hate to say it but sounds like a rear diff issue :!:

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Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:43 am
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Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2004 7:08 am
Posts: 1694
Location: Blue Mounds, WI
Post Re: Hand Brake issue.
Agree with TechMOGy, the fluid is likely gear lube from the rear differential. So long as you maintain proper level in the diff., you may be able to live with the leak easier than fixing it.

If it's smoking, then probably something is hung up in the brake causing heat and this fluid to smoke. Check to make sure the lever at the rear of the truck is moving freely and fully when the cable is released. You might have to pull the rear cone off and look at things if you can't resolve it externally. There was a recent thread, IIRC.


Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:16 pm
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Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:48 pm
Posts: 2446
Location: Denver, CO USA
Post Re: Hand Brake issue.
I pulled the cone and examined the disks and because I noticed some glazing, I cleaned them and put it all back together. I ordered new disks but did not install them. My mechanical skills are not up to some operations on this vehicle but I was able to perform this, so it isn't all that difficult.
The cab lever does not hold well at times and a little oil on the shaft solves that issue and it now works well.

It may be that driving through water often will cause rust/corrosion and that might cause the disks to not separate properly and rust the balls that are in there. Disassembly and inspection may answer questions about smoking.

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Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him:
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Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:08 pm
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Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2004 7:08 am
Posts: 1694
Location: Blue Mounds, WI
Post Re: Hand Brake issue.
krick3tt wrote:
The cab lever does not hold well at times and a little oil on the shaft solves that issue and it now works well. .

Another possible cause of the lever not staying locked is that the cable wasn't twisted properly when things got assembled. You must twist it as per the manual.


Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:47 pm
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:46 am
Posts: 38
Location: Tasmania
Post Re: Hand Brake issue.
I had trouble with my handbrake and was surprised when I dismantled it and oil ran out! I presumed it came from the rear diff pinion oil seal in the cone housing just forward of the brake disc.
If you have oil in yours and the brake is binding, it could explain the smoke. Not sure about noise though.
I removed the cone and replaced the seal and overhauled the handbrake mechanism and its been good as gold since.


Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:19 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 1:33 pm
Posts: 535
Location: San Juan Mountains, CO
Post Re: Hand Brake issue.
Ian wrote:
I had trouble with my handbrake and was surprised when I dismantled it and oil ran out! I presumed it came from the rear diff pinion oil seal in the cone housing just forward of the brake disc.
If you have oil in yours and the brake is binding, it could explain the smoke. Not sure about noise though.
I removed the cone and replaced the seal and overhauled the handbrake mechanism and its been good as gold since.


I finally started to disassemble the handbrake mechanism. I found that it is indeed binding up and dragging which is causing the noise and the heat buildup. There is also a bit of gear oil in there from the diff seal it appears, which is what is burning/smoking.
I tried to remove the tail cone to get at the brake and overhaul it but I can't get the body mount bolt to come out. It just spins in place.
Any thoughts on how to get the body mount bolt out out now?


Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:19 am
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Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2004 7:08 am
Posts: 1694
Location: Blue Mounds, WI
Post Re: Hand Brake issue.
You talking the single top bolt? If you've spun the captive nut, the only fix I could dream up was to bore a hole in the bed of the truck. Far from ideal, but functional.


Sun Aug 23, 2015 4:05 pm
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Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:48 pm
Posts: 2446
Location: Denver, CO USA
Post Re: Hand Brake issue.
If this is the one you are talking about, I think Paul is giving you the best possible answer. I can't see any other way to get to it.

After doing my repair I had real trouble getting the body back down to install the outboard bolts and had to use a 'C' clamp to get it together.


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Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him:
better take a closer look at the American Indian.---Henry Ford
Sun Aug 23, 2015 5:27 pm
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:46 am
Posts: 38
Location: Tasmania
Post Re: Hand Brake issue.
The side bolts are captive nuts, but I'm pretty sure that the rear one you mention, up through the tail cone has a nut on top of it. Awkward to get a spanner onto, but have a feel up there with your hand first, I think you'll find a nut


Mon Aug 24, 2015 5:31 am
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Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2004 7:08 am
Posts: 1694
Location: Blue Mounds, WI
Post Re: Hand Brake issue.
Ian may be right. It's been years. I seem to recall that you could get an open end wrench up there, but I wasn't able to grip it tight enough. I couldn't fit a box end wrench in. Thus the hillbilly fix (with no offense intended to any actual hillbillies reading this).


Mon Aug 24, 2015 5:54 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 1:33 pm
Posts: 535
Location: San Juan Mountains, CO
Post Re: Hand Brake issue.
Looking at the manual, it seems that the rear-most body mount (the one over the tail cone) does indeed have a nut on top. The question is, how do I get to it?
I'd hate to have to cut a hole through the floor. ??


Mon Aug 24, 2015 7:42 am
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Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:48 pm
Posts: 2446
Location: Denver, CO USA
Post Re: Hand Brake issue.
I do recall removing the hitch first and that may be the way I got to the nut. Been about two years since I did this, memory fades.

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Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him:
better take a closer look at the American Indian.---Henry Ford


Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:01 am
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Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2004 7:08 am
Posts: 1694
Location: Blue Mounds, WI
Post Re: Hand Brake issue.
IIRC, you slide an open end wrench onto it from the front. Sorry, it's been a long time.


Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:39 am
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