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Somehow my parking brakes passed state inspection when I was given this 99 Corolla last winter. Parking brake was working left hand side but I knew it was not working right hand side.

I bought a $25 parking brake cable from Amazon and decided to do the work yesterday afternoon.

First, I didn't know exactly where the problem was. But I knew I had to get to the back of the car so I put the back of the car up on jackstands.

I started by pulling the exhaust shield just rear of the parking brake lever to get my eyes on the problem. But to get to the exhaust shield nuts and bolts I had to get the exhaust out of the way. It turns out I did not have to drop the whole exhaust system. All I had to do was undo two rubber hangers and the exhaust pipe could be pulled down a few inches or slid an inch to the side one way or the other.

OK, now I had access to the shield hardware. I can to take out one screw holding on the shield on the side, no problem. But there were two exposed rusty studs with nuts that required removal, and those were a PITA. Massive quantities of PB Blaster got and careful working off the nut got them loose but in retrospect it could've been easier to just snap off the stud and replace with clip nut.

Now I can slide the shield over a little bit and see the "T" where the brake handle cable splits into two cables. All looks OK. Got out from under the car and released the parking brake. Go back underneath. Ah, ok, the right side cable is frozen and didn't move at all when I released the brake handle.

To get the parking brake cable out of the drum means pulling the two quarter-turn spring-covers, undoing the adjuster spring at the top, and letting it all flop out. Well, it doesn't flop out far, because the cable is frozen solid and holding that side of the brake drum hardware quite firmly in place. With some skinny pliers I was able to get that out. Now I can loosen the two bolts holding the old brake cable assembly to the backing plate.

OK, now, because I'm doing the right side rear brake, I need to get access to all the clips holding the parking brake cable in place, and those are all under ANOTHER exhaust shield. Getting this exhaust shield out wasn't bad at all. 3 bolts, no problem.

There's 3 more bolts to pull to release all the clips holding the brake cable in place. The third is a kind of funny clip. It's more of a 3-D wedge than a clip.

OK, getting the cable out of the "T" is also an interesting 3-D puzzle. I cannot quite describe in words. There's some youtube videos you might look at for this particular arrangement. You have to get slack in the cable, rotate it 90 degrees, pop it out, then slide it out.

Reinstalling everything is the reverse. It is probably best to start at the "T" splitter and work your way towards the brakes than the other way around, because getting the new cable into the "T" splitter is easier with some slack.

Everything back together, wow, the parking brake feels more right than before! Convinced myself that the adjuster was not too far off. Spent some time going up and down the driveway doing E-brake applications.

Total time was about 3 hours. I'm sure a guy with a lift could've done it faster than me. But still there's a lot of potentially rusty exhaust shield bolts to take out as well as some 3-D stuff to puzzle out.

Overall while I was down there, I was impressed with how little rust there was on the bottom of the car. My wife's Camry is 7 years newer and has a lot more miscellaneous rust on the bottom that I've put rust converter on recently. I knew this Corolla was in decent shape when I got it and it seems like I'll be able to get several more years out of it!
 
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