Pontiac Solstice Forum banner

1 - 20 of 67 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My wife has a 2008 Pontiac Solstice with 22,000 miles. This summer I noticed that the emergency/parking brake did not hold the car, and searching here I found that's a common problem on these cars. It took 4 trips to the dealer under warranty before the brake would hold. However, I discovered this week that if the car is moving the brake does nothing. I can jerk it up as hard as I can and literally nothing happens. If the car is rolling less than 5mph you can discern a slight drag, but that's all. This also allowed my daughter, who just got her learner's permit, to drive off with the brake set and I didn't notice it until I smelled them. The dealer claims the brake was never intended to stop the car and that this is normal. He also claims all cars have always been this way, but I've never owned a car in my life that wouldn't lock the rear wheels with the e/park brake. (That's how I did all those cool bootleg turns back in high school!)

I can't believe that this is intentional. Without getting into the whole parking brake vs emergency brake controversy, it would be a liability for GM to have cars driving around with the brake set and causing brake fires and such.

My 2004 Jaguar XJR has an electric e-brake, and if you pull the switch when stopped it goes on instantly, but if you are moving it engages gradually, taking about 3 seconds to lock the wheels. This allows it to function as an emergency brake the way the owner's manual describes. I tried my sister-in-law's 2013 Lexus, and when I jerked the brake up the rear wheels locked. My friends 2011 Corvette will lock the wheels with the e-brake. Literally every car I've ever owned or ever driven does this, so I find it hard to believe that the Kappa is the ONLY car that is designed not to.

Thoughts?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
847 Posts
ive noticed if mine is on a slight hill, it wont hold as well...i have to put it in gear (like you should anyway, but it def is not near as tight of an ebrake as any other car ive had as well)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
834 Posts
Search the forum for the fix.

If the play is at the hand brake, you can easily adjust the nut that attaches the cable to the handle to take up the slack. If it's at the caliper, you'll have to remove the rear calipers, and screw the pistons back in.

These tend to fix the problem. I used to have a hand brake that would just barely hold. I took up the slack at the handle, and it's been great since. Others have had to screw in the pistons in the calipers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
The problem is not play in the cable. After the 4th visit to the dealer and replacement of the whole park brake assembly and cable, it only comes up about halfway. It's not going to the end of the travel and failing to hold - it's going halfway and that's as far I can physically pull it. Hulk Hogan might pull it another few clicks, but still not to the end of the travel.
It holds on a hill. The problem is that it does virtually nothing when the car is moving, and the dealer claims all cars are like this. I've probably owned 50 cars in my life, and driven dozens more, and NO OTHER car has ever failed to lock the rear wheels unless the brake was broken or misadjusted.
The Service Manager started giving me a lecture about the percentage of the rear brakes contribution to the total braking of the car, which was a third grade level explanation. The percentage that the rear brakes add varies with the decelerative force the front brakes are providing. I used to have an old Rabbit I used for autocross, and with upgraded brembos and slicks I could actually get the rear wheels off the ground - meaning the rear brakes were providing zero braking at that point.
The closest thing to describe it is that it's like brake fade. I have overheated the brakes on the track before and until they cool they do nothing - you can stand on them as hard as you want and the car just doesn't stop. That's what the e/park brake is doing al the time. If I'm moving it doesn't matter how hard I pull the brake, nothing happens.
I'm sure everyone has had the experience of forgetting to release the brake, backing out of a parking space without noticing because the brakes don't hold as well in reverse, then try to go forward and realize the brake is on because the car won't move. In this car, with the brake applied as hard as I can pull the handle, you can drive away and never notice. It does so little I'm amazed that it DOES hold the car on a hill, although I haven't tried it on a steep incline yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
306 Posts
Surely they're kidding. Very stupid explanation and that brake should hold. Every car I've owned had a hand braked that really held tight. Hell....some you can't drive with it on! Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
834 Posts
If you've already tried taking up the slack in the handle area, odds are you have a slightly or very stuck piston or two in your rear calipers, and they aren't fully clamping down on the rotor, more like slightly pushing from one side.

Trust me, remove the rear wheels, remove the rear caliper, screw the pistons, back, put everything back together, and it'll fix the problem. Search the forum if you don't believe me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
300 Posts
Mine went to the dealer twice to fix the parking brake, first time they just adjusted the cable. 2nd time, they put much more effort into figuring it out and did the adjustment at the caliper, screwing the piston back in as the service manual states. I can stop my car with the parking brake, it will lock up the rears now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
848 Posts
The problem is not play in the cable. After the 4th visit to the dealer and replacement of the whole park brake assembly and cable, it only comes up about halfway. It's not going to the end of the travel and failing to hold - it's going halfway and that's as far I can physically pull it. Hulk Hogan might pull it another few clicks, but still not to the end of the travel.
It holds on a hill. The problem is that it does virtually nothing when the car is moving, and the dealer claims all cars are like this. I've probably owned 50 cars in my life, and driven dozens more, and NO OTHER car has ever failed to lock the rear wheels unless the brake was broken or misadjusted.
The Service Manager started giving me a lecture about the percentage of the rear brakes contribution to the total braking of the car, which was a third grade level explanation. The percentage that the rear brakes add varies with the decelerative force the front brakes are providing. I used to have an old Rabbit I used for autocross, and with upgraded brembos and slicks I could actually get the rear wheels off the ground - meaning the rear brakes were providing zero braking at that point.
The closest thing to describe it is that it's like brake fade. I have overheated the brakes on the track before and until they cool they do nothing - you can stand on them as hard as you want and the car just doesn't stop. That's what the e/park brake is doing al the time. If I'm moving it doesn't matter how hard I pull the brake, nothing happens.
I'm sure everyone has had the experience of forgetting to release the brake, backing out of a parking space without noticing because the brakes don't hold as well in reverse, then try to go forward and realize the brake is on because the car won't move. In this car, with the brake applied as hard as I can pull the handle, you can drive away and never notice. It does so little I'm amazed that it DOES hold the car on a hill, although I haven't tried it on a steep incline yet.
Keep in mind, many vehicles on the road are still drum rear, which tends to have a very effective parking brake, they are inferior brakes overall for sure, but that's another story. Also, there are several makeups of disc ebrake rears that I am aware of. The solstice, have a caliper that has a piston that can manually engage (which I have seen at least in larger cars to be weak), and a design that involves normal caliper with e-brake inside the rotor "hat" (machined inner surface of course), rotating around like a drum brake design, example later ford explorers.

Funny you mention the Rabbit, I remember those days well. But I'd have to look at pics again to see if the Rabbits actually had disc rear back then. They were just a cheap runabout that was way fun to throw-about.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
847 Posts
its supposed to be able to lock up the rears isnt it?? ...i have a few times driven with my brake all the way up (thats how loose it is, and im sure doing this makes it loose and is very bad for it) ...obviously i catch it within a few seconds, but still ive taken off and driven in 1st for a little with it as high up as it goes pretty much...and i dont think it should be right...but im gonna try the fix here shortly
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
848 Posts
its supposed to be able to lock up the rears isnt it?? ...i have a few times driven with my brake all the way up (thats how loose it is, and im sure doing this makes it loose and is very bad for it) ...obviously i catch it within a few seconds, but still ive taken off and driven in 1st for a little with it as high up as it goes pretty much...and i dont think it should be right...but im gonna try the fix here shortly
No, why would you think that? These days a vehicle with rotors rear and an emergency brake/parking brake is likely designed, 1) to hold the vehicle on an incline while parked, this is a must, and 2) to slow a vehicle that has lost braking in an emergency, not necessarily locking up rear brakes to accomplish that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
847 Posts
No, why would you think that? These days a vehicle with rotors rear and an emergency brake/parking brake is likely designed, 1) to hold the vehicle on an incline while parked, this is a must, and 2) to slow a vehicle that has lost braking in an emergency, not necessarily locking up rear brakes to accomplish that.
i honestly was only asking...i have very minimal auto knowledge, i just knew that my previous car and every other car ive used, would easily lock the rear wheels when the ebrake was pulled...i just always figured it was supposed to be able to...but eitherway, right now with my ebrake on my sol it will not even hold the vehicle on an incline, so it needs adjusted
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,392 Posts
On both of our Kappa's, application of the hand brake will apply significant breaking power. At moderate speeds it will lock up the rear wheels.

The proper procedure for holding on a hill is to put the transmission in gear, either 1st or reverse on a manual or in park for an auto.

The hand brake is really there to make starting on a hill easier and to back up the above procedure for holding the car stationary when not running.

If I took my car to a dealer and he tried to tell me that the hand brake was not supposed to provide significant braking force then I would be investigating their level of knowledge.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,434 Posts
I'm with Rob and the others who have stated as such. True, it's a "Parking Brake" and not an "Emergency Brake" but a dealer who tells you that it's not suppose to provide braking power is basically saying they don't know and/or don't care. Everybody's gotta make money, I know, but that's a weak attempt at getting you out of their service department.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
433 Posts
My wife has a 2008 Pontiac Solstice with 22,000 miles. This summer I noticed that the emergency/parking brake did not hold the car, and searching here I found that's a common problem on these cars. It took 4 trips to the dealer under warranty before the brake would hold. However, I discovered this week that if the car is moving the brake does nothing. I can jerk it up as hard as I can and literally nothing happens. If the car is rolling less than 5mph you can discern a slight drag, but that's all. This also allowed my daughter, who just got her learner's permit, to drive off with the brake set and I didn't notice it until I smelled them. The dealer claims the brake was never intended to stop the car and that this is normal. He also claims all cars have always been this way, but I've never owned a car in my life that wouldn't lock the rear wheels with the e/park brake. (That's how I did all those cool bootleg turns back in high school!)

I can't believe that this is intentional. Without getting into the whole parking brake vs emergency brake controversy, it would be a liability for GM to have cars driving around with the brake set and causing brake fires and such.

My 2004 Jaguar XJR has an electric e-brake, and if you pull the switch when stopped it goes on instantly, but if you are moving it engages gradually, taking about 3 seconds to lock the wheels. This allows it to function as an emergency brake the way the owner's manual describes. I tried my sister-in-law's 2013 Lexus, and when I jerked the brake up the rear wheels locked. My friends 2011 Corvette will lock the wheels with the e-brake. Literally every car I've ever owned or ever driven does this, so I find it hard to believe that the Kappa is the ONLY car that is designed not to.

Thoughts?
Your concern is certainly justifiable. Please send a DM with the dealership, contact information, and situation if this isn't resolved for you. Thank you.

Matt,

GM Customer Assistance
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for ll the input. It seems that some of you can lock the rear wheels with the brake, and if so that would mean that all Kappas should be capable of doing it. This makes me wonder if the rear brakes are doing much at all during normal stopping. This weekend I think I'll pick the back of the car up, spin the wheels up to around 50mph, and put the service brakes on and see what happens. I expect that it might take a lot of force to stop the wheels, meaning the rears are doing nothing in normal driving.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
848 Posts
Thanks for ll the input. It seems that some of you can lock the rear wheels with the brake, and if so that would mean that all Kappas should be capable of doing it. This makes me wonder if the rear brakes are doing much at all during normal stopping. This weekend I think I'll pick the back of the car up, spin the wheels up to around 50mph, and put the service brakes on and see what happens. I expect that it might take a lot of force to stop the wheels, meaning the rears are doing nothing in normal driving.
I think you need to slow down here. Although I am still learning the solstice, IF this vehicle utilizes a MANUAL pull capable for the rear caliper, this is completely different than having the hydraulic fluid pushing the piston in. As I stated earlier MOST rear calipers I have dealt with that involve the manual cable are so-so at best. If they are used regularly and adjusted properly they should hold on a hill, and definitely slow a vehicle in an emergency. They will NOT provide the same braking as a hydraulic actuation. I'll have to go out and look at the rear caliper further, though I'm pretty sure it's cable actuated. A cable pull provides NO WHERE near the power to the piston and pads that the hydraulic fluid will. Also, the rear rotor and pads if you have not noticed are wimpier than the fronts, they were never meant to provide equivalent braking due to weight shifting force to the front.

Edit: and if you are just wondering if the rears are working and helping, go out and hit your brakes hard, again and again. Stop and feel for heat front and rear. You should have very significant heat at all fours. And you can upgrade those rear solid rotors to ventilated if you want better rear action (less fade from heat).

Don't be jacking the rear up, getting it up to 50 and pulling on the ebrake and see what happens. IF you do have significant stopping force it's possible you could experience driveline damage.

Interesting though, it is cable actuated, cable is up top on the cailper and it has adjustment ability and has a return spring, so typical system. What I don't see is a caliper bleeder, and the hydraulic line is on the bottom. So I'll have to research the bleeding procedure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I don't expect the handbrake to provide anywhere near the stopping power of the service brakes. That isn't the point. The funny thing is that they do hold on a hill, although I haven't found anywhere around here to try the federally mandated 20% grade. The point is they do virtually nothing if the car is moving, and I have never owned, driven, or heard of a car designed this way.

I'm not really into the "feel for heat" test. I've burned my fingers on brakes before. As for damaging the driveline, you are saying that standing on the brakes causes driveline damage? Again, that would be a first in my 40 years of driving experience.

What I plan to do (which I would have done today if it wasn't raining and another of my cars wasn't tying up my garage,) is the pick the car up, spin the rear wheels, and apply normal braking with the service brakes. As there is nothing keeping the rears spinning other than the mass of the wheel they should stop quickly. If they do not, then there is a problem with the rear brakes. If they do, then the problem must lie elsewhere.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
848 Posts
I don't expect the handbrake to provide anywhere near the stopping power of the service brakes. That isn't the point. The funny thing is that they do hold on a hill, although I haven't found anywhere around here to try the federally mandated 20% grade. The point is they do virtually nothing if the car is moving, and I have never owned, driven, or heard of a car designed this way.

I'm not really into the "feel for heat" test. I've burned my fingers on brakes before. As for damaging the driveline, you are saying that standing on the brakes causes driveline damage? Again, that would be a first in my 40 years of driving experience.

What I plan to do (which I would have done today if it wasn't raining and another of my cars wasn't tying up my garage,) is the pick the car up, spin the rear wheels, and apply normal braking with the service brakes. As there is nothing keeping the rears spinning other than the mass of the wheel they should stop quickly. If they do not, then there is a problem with the rear brakes. If they do, then the problem must lie elsewhere.
No Touch of course, feel for heat as in you should be able to get your hand close to any 4 of the wheels and feel the heat from the brakes after some driving. If your regular rear brakes are doing practically nothing you should notice VERY hot front brakes and I'd think you'd notice poor braking performance while driving.

With the whole jacking up the rear I wasn't sure what your plan was other than you were going to get the car up to 50mph and put the brakes on and see what happens. If you were planning to get it to any minimal speed, let off the gas and then touch your brakes that's fine, noting is going to happen to the driveline and it should quickly stop your rears from spinning.

The parking brake can be adjusted. Do you set it regularly? They will hold, when I apply ours the car will not move, let it go and it's easy to push. I'm not sure what the incline is on our driveway, but with the added pushing and no movement....
 
1 - 20 of 67 Posts
Top