I ran over a semi tire or something about a year ago on the highway which kinked my parking brake cable. It seemed to still work until about 3 months ago. I released the brake and pulled away, but I could tell it was dragging. I forced it loose at the rear brake, then didn't use it until now. Now that winter's about over, I finally got around replacing the cable.
The other reason you may need to replace the cable is just plain old corrosion causing the cable to stick.
Parts needed (for 2007 5-door, other years may vary):
-Parking brake cable Mazda p/n BS3E-44-200G, $138+tax (this is the whole cable assembly, front cable and two rear cables, the only way to buy it from Mazda)
-(2) M6-1.00 nuts (I prefer whiz nuts)
new cable, note the clips are a little different and the extra shielding on the cable jacket are a little different from my 2007 from the factory, but everything fits and works perfect
new cable p/n
new cable out of bag
-Jack and jack stands
-tools to remove and torque rear wheels
-10mm deep socket
-Flat blade screwdriver
-Pliers don't hurt
Armed with a little knowledge from this thread
and this manual page
, I set about to replace my parking brake cable. This method doesn't require removing the exhaust, just loosening the heat shields and bending them out of the way. Excuse the salty crustiness, I live in michigan and we just had snow yesterday.
Step 1: Elevate car and remove the rear wheels. I only have two jack stands, so I put the front of the car up on ramps and jacked up the rear. If you use ramps, make sure your MT car is in gear or your AT car is in park, and make sure that the car is secure on the jack stands before proceeding.
Step 2: Pop the part of the center console off that covers the parking brake cover. Open the center console, then lift at the front. The cover will pop off, you'll have to pull the parking brake lever up to get the cover out of the way. Remove the nut that holds the front cable in with the 10mm deep socket.
Grab here, then pull up
Here's what's under the console cover
Remove this nut
Step 3: Remove the other end of the brake cables from the spring return mechanism on the rear brakes (both sides).
Step 4: If you don't have safety glasses on yet, put them on now or a bunch of crap will fall in your eyes (ask me how I know). Remove the cross brace with the 12mm socket and 4 screws with the 10mm socket that hold the center heat shield (in line with the parking brake handle). The cross brace screws may be a little rusted so spray your favorite penetrant on before trying to remove these. Remove the front screws on the next heat shield back (one with the 10mm socket and two plastic nuts that can be spun off by hand).
Red-cross brace-12mm socket, Yellow-Heat shield-10mm socket, Blue-rear heat shield-10mm/by hand
Step 5: Loosen all the clips. With the center heat shield loose, you can bend it a little without damaging it to pull the slot shaped grommet through the body. Next are the clips that hold the front end of the cable jacket for the two rear cables; these clips were the hardest to get loose. I yanked on one and was able to break it to get it loose, the other took some fumbling to squeeze the tabs and get it through the hole. Working towards the back of the car, the next two clips can be popped off the studs with a flat blade screwdriver. Don't worry about breaking these since they are included with the new cable. The last clip can be seen from the wheel well and requires an 8mm socket to remove the screws.
Grommet to pull down out of body, already pulled out
First and hardest clips, ideally you squeeze them and pull through hole but tight space makes this hard. Just break them if possible
Next clips, two per side pop off stud with a screwdriver
Last clip remove this screw w/ 8mm socket
Step 6: With the old cable still in place as a guide, layout the new cable under the car, then string it through the same way the old cable is routed. Note that the left and right cables cross over before getting to the equalizer. Also note, the “Mazda” stamped on the equalizer should be facing down. Remove the old cable, then attach all the clips. Two M6 x 1.00 nuts (not included) are required for the mount nearest to the rear brakes. Push the slot shaped grommet into the body at the center of the car, making sure it is seated completely.
a little cable routing help
Add M6 nuts here
New front most clips look a little different too
Step 6: At the rear brakes put the cable ends into the spring return. At the front end in the center console wrap the cable around the pulley and push the threaded end up through the bracket. Put the nut back on and tighten it to about where it was on the old cable. Make sure the back ends of the cables are still where they should be on the rear brakes. With the parking brake lever down, make sure you can still spin the rear hubs. Pull the lever up a couple clicks and see if you can spin the rear hubs. They shouldn't move. Adjust nut height if necessary.
Step 7: Flatten out the heat shields and bolt them back down. Bolt the cross brace back in. Put the wheels back on and put the car on the ground. Check the parking brake on an incline. Adjust the nut on the front end of the cable if necessary, then snap the cover back on. Done!
Can you tell why I needed to replace my parking brake cable?
A couple other gotchas: Heat shields are sharp, you'll probably cut your hands a couple times if you're not careful. Be careful with the heatshield and cross brace bolts. I broke one of the cross brace bolts when reinstalling. Drilling and tapping is never fun!