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Old 09-02-2012   #1
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List of fixes for useless handbrake, and best way to put handbrake on?

I've had problems with my handbrake for years (car is 51 reg) and am at the point where I would like to go to the garage with a list of all the things they can try 'cos it's doing my head in. (Especially with the cold weather 'cos I can't just leave it to warm up/defrost; have to sit in it with my foot on the brake for 10 minutes so it doesn't roll down the drive.)

Mechanic has tightened the cable and replaced it (it's snapped twice) and having a look round here it sounds like changing the brake shoes might be another option? If anyone has any other ideas I can just give him as a list I'd much appreciate it.

And as I'm here, are there different ways you've found to actually put the brake on you find work better than others? I was always told that to prolong the life of the cable you should pull it up nice and steady (without yanking it) until it clicks (rather than yanking it up quickly and it grates as it does it). It's never failed on its MOT because of the handbrake so maybe the testers are doing it differently from how I do it??

Thanks ever so much.
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Old 09-02-2012   #2
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Re: List of fixes for useless handbrake, and best way to put handbrake on?

Morning!
right, if your snapping cables something isn't right.
First thing to do is take a look at the brakes. Remove the drum so you can inspect the brakes and check for the rear shoe condition.
If that's ok move to the rear handbrake arms. This is a 2 part privet mech and when the cable is pulled this part privets and pushes the top of the brake shoes apart and in to the drum surface.

I found that where the privet was mine had rusted together and would no longer move...hence a very crap handbrake.

If this is fine and you can move the arm (not freely as it will be under tension but can see it working)

Its time to stick your head under the car and check for adjustment and flex/correct routing of the cable.

I rebuilt my rear hubs with new shoes, slave, arms, and handbrake cable over two afternoons. It only took that long as it was -3 and the bloody thing would not come apart!
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Old 09-02-2012   #3
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Re: List of fixes for useless handbrake, and best way to put handbrake on?

Pretty much that's it. On Seis the cable can seize on one side (especially the pattern cables) as well as the actuator elbows. Just renew everything. Easy enough DIY job.
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Old 09-02-2012   #4
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Re: List of fixes for useless handbrake, and best way to put handbrake on?

I have this very same issue and have had since I've owned the car, my plan for a permanent fix is going to be the pgt disk upgrade all round hopefully that will sort it for good although I understand you need 14" wheels to fit the fronts on may seem a little radical but its a permanent fix imo

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Old 09-02-2012   #5
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Re: List of fixes for useless handbrake, and best way to put handbrake on?

If you do it properly (which is trickier than it sounds), it's a semi-permanent fix. Rear disks and handbrakes do not make for particularly effective handbrakes (which is why Lancia used to prat around with a disk/drum set up similar to that used by BMWs) and the handbrake mechanism is still liable to seize up.

For road use, and any competition use where the handbrake is not used for steering the car, the rear drum fitment is superior. Properly maintained, it's also a reasonably effective handbrake.
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Last edited by fingers99; 09-02-2012 at 18:30.
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Old 10-02-2012   #6
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Re: List of fixes for useless handbrake, and best way to put handbrake on?

I've just made mine work ('95 Cinq) but doing as fingers suggests. The actuating elbows were seized solid. I left them in an electrolysis bath overnight which removed the rusty gunk then wiped them clean, greased them and put them back on.
The shoes were fine, almost new, so I left them alone. I did however, replace the slave cylinders and replace the brake fluid following the guide in the manual for bleed rotation.

My cable (pattern part) seems a bit too long, which in a system that seems a little slack as standard makes for fun. I moved the whole handbrake lever half an inch forward as it's fitted through slotted holes. Whilst I had that out the side to side wobble was taken out with a good greased washer.

Now it's all back together I pull 3 clicks up and it holds fine. Nice. It's good practise to apply the footbrake before using the handbrake as this engages the shoes first, taking the strain off the cable.
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