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So I was pulling my Jeep back into my workshop and realized that I had accidentally left the handbrake engaged, but it barely felt like it was doing anything. I heard squeaking, so it WAS doing something, but barely; and I'm pretty sure the car shouldn't be able to move with it engaged (and yes it was pulled all the way up)

It's a '99 Jeep Wrangler TJ that was abandoned and sitting for 6 years, in a friend's backyard. bought It for $2k and have got it running.

now I am gonna end up replacing the brake pads, calipers, and drum anyways, but if I'm not mistaken the e-brake doesn't use the pads. I think it needs to be tightened but I'm not sure how that's done. can someone explain to me how i can do this?

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Your Wrangler has drum brakes in the rear which are used for the parking brake, at least I'm not seeing anything else in the parts which are showing something else.

Since you heard some squealing with it engaged, we'll have to assume the cables are in good shape, so I'm discounting those.

More than likely, the rear brakes are either completely worn out or would just need adjusted so they start working correctly. The rear brakes do only a fraction of the braking on a vehicle. If they are no longer viable, but the front ones are, you may not even know about it if you aren't paying close attention.

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  • so how would i adjust them? Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 17:30
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    There's a star wheel inside which most often accessed through the backing plate (usually at the bottom). You use a screwdriver and turn it. You'll hear a clicking noise as it adjusts. When you take it apart to change the brakes, you'll see what I mean more readily and can then adjust once it's back together. Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 18:27
  • @Paulster2 like under the e-brake handle above the driveshaft? there's a bracket that connects to the cable from the e-brake, and to the 2 cables that go to each wheel. that one? Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 19:03
  • Drum emergency brakes are not nearly as affective as discs if you are comparing them. And what is really poor is the drum emergency brake on the drive shaft that was used by the Chrysler family. Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 23:28
  • @ZacharyCross - Not sure what you're talking about here? The star wheel I'm talking about is inside the drum area. You'll see it when you take the brake drum off. It spaces the brake shoes correctly inside of the drum. Unless the e-brake cable is stretched, you really shouldn't have to adjust it. If it does require adjusting, it should be adjusted where the single cable from the front mates with the two cables going to the rear drums. This should be fairly easily found if you trace the cable forward from the drum. Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 23:40

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