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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #16
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Re: Getting to the bottom of a useless handbrake..

When I sold my Multijet earlier this year, it was 12 years old and still on its original handbrake cables. I was forced to replace the brake shoes when the original Bosch brake linings came unglued, an interesting experience 40 miles from home.
One important point with brake drums, learned from the days when all motorbikes had drums, was to make sure they were kept free of brake dust, it really reduces the efficiency of the brakes.
My present car a Corsa has discs all round, all the dust sticks to the alloy wheels.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #17
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Re: Getting to the bottom of a useless handbrake..

check that the little metal flap is still attached to self adjuster or the shoes will never stay at the set adjustment, they will back themselves off if no metal flap is present. easily overlooked if you don't realise it's supposed to b there.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #18
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Re: Getting to the bottom of a useless handbrake..

Quote Originally Posted by SB1500 View Post
We had it adjusted last year and you barely had to pull up the lever to get it stopped. But it didn't take long to loosen up again.

1, we had adjusted it a week or two before the MOT

2, how can I check if it's both wheels?

3, I inspected them last year but sort of didn't know what I was looking at sadly. If I posted a picture from last year would you point out what it looks like?

Goudrons that's a great in depth response. I would only work on it with my uncle who knows what he's doing. Though the Panda handbrake and why it's not holding seems to be a mystery to him too. Though I intend to sort it this time
After reading this, if it were me I would replace both hand brake cables with new - from Fiat. I suspect this will sort it, but there is some great advice given here.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #19
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Re: Getting to the bottom of a useless handbrake..

If it's the same as the MJ and you've had the cable adjusted to make the brakes work, it's likley the auto adjusters won't work.

the adjuster only clicks round when the shoes go to the fully together rest point, and then move apart more than one click on the adjuster.

if the cable is too tight they will never adjust as the cable is holding the shoes apart, so that little annoying square piece of metal that falls off all too easlly prevents anything from happening.

think I posted a video of the adjusters in action... here we go


the pressing together by my hand is how the springs in the drum should hold the adjuster which sits between the shoes.

When I let go that represents what happens when the shoes are pushed apart more than the adjuster likes, so you hear a click - that's the adjuster being wound out slightley - to hold the shoes futher apart at rest point.

If the cable is too tight and holds the shoes apart the adjuster never gets pushed together, so never clicks round when released. As your shoes and drums ware the handbrake becomes less and less effective as the actuation angle on the 1 shoe increases.

I suspect pumping the foot brake with the handbrake off is the best way of adjusting the shoes as both shoes are pushed apart, but adjusters and cable needs to be good - the handbrake only acts on 1 shoe (not both).
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #20
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Re: Getting to the bottom of a useless handbrake..

I'm planning on getting the wheels off to check front and back brakes soon so this thread shall be referred to car-side so thanks
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #21
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Re: Getting to the bottom of a useless handbrake..

Quote Originally Posted by Louie Bee View Post
If it's the same as the MJ and you've had the cable adjusted to make the brakes work, it's likley the auto adjusters won't work.

the adjuster only clicks round when the shoes go to the fully together rest point, and then move apart more than one click on the adjuster.

if the cable is too tight they will never adjust as the cable is holding the shoes apart, so that little annoying square piece of metal that falls off all too easlly prevents anything from happening.


You should never try to fix a weak handbrake by tightening the cable. The cable adjusters are only there to enable the slack in the cable to be set correctly; a degree of slack is needed in order for the self adjusters to work correctly. It's a common mistake that I've even seen garages making.

Adjustment of the cable is not a routine adjustment and should only be needed after replacing the brake shoes, brake cylinder or the cable itself. if you've done none of these things, and you can improve the handbrake performance by tightening the cable, then something is likely wrong with the brake mechanism which needs to be investigated and fixed. Performance can be affected by brake dust building up inside the drums; brushing this out once a year when you remove the drums to inspect the brakes is all that should be needed.

For drum braked Pandas/500's, the correct adjustment for the cable is for the handbrake to be fully on after 5 clicks.

Mine was set to 5 clicks when it left the factory, and now after 6yrs and 77000 miles, it's still at 5 clicks. I've never needed to adjust it.

If the brakes are working correctly, you shouldn't need to pull on the handbrake lever like a gorilla for the car to hold on a hill. If you do, then the cable may stretch, leading you to adjust it, then it stretches some more, until one day it breaks and you return from parking to find the car halfway down the hill embedded in a garden wall.
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