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Old 03-07-2012   #1
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Handbrake Actuator Arm Refurbishment.

Ok, so this guide is to aid you if you have handbrake problems and you have ALREADY attempted to adjust the cable and no amount of adjustment will get the brake working.

if this is the case its likely (and common) on cinquecento's and seicentos that your handbrake actuator arms are seized solid and need freeing up/ replacing. and this is how you do that.....


1. )First things first, make sure your car is in reverse gear and turned off with the handbrake off.

2.) jack the rear up and support is safely on axel stands (place them either on the sills infront of the rear wheels or on the axel beam itself underneath... although be carefull placing them underneath as the car is not yet secure...)

3.) Now you have your axel stands in place remove your rear wheels and for extra safety slide them under the sides of the car, (out of the way and further protection against falling cars as you may need to push/pull hard on the car later.

You will now be faced with a drum brake... at this point you may need a friend as were about to check if they need replacing or renewing.... on the rear of the drum at the top you will see your handbrake cable going onto a metal arm that goes into the back of the brake system... what you need to do is watch this arm whilse someone moved the handbrake on and off and see if it moves...

IF it does move more than a few mm its probable that the arm works fine and you just need new brake shoes at the rear.. (guide to come).

IF they dont move at all or only move very slightly and the brake is not working then they are more than likely seized! and you need to do the steps below.

1.) Remove the two 12mm bolts that are holding the face of the drum on... these are next to the wheel bolt holes.

2.) once removed and the handbrake is off you now need to remove the drum face... this is the hard part and do not sit with your legs under the car!!!!!! you can use a drum face puller tool. or you can slowely pry the drum away from the back plate. i usually use a screwdriver and press it in the groove that runs around the entire outside of the drum and slowely push forward and back, taking care not to bend the back plate.

if the drum is not prying off then its time to get abit tougher.. get a hammer and hit the drum face hard a few times, and tap the sides as your prying at it. this will shock it along and eventually pop it off... it will take time and patience.

3.) finally when the drum face is off you will be left with this.


You can clearly see the cable attached at the back, and the arm going into the mechanism. You now need to remove the brake shoes wich again take abit of effort.

Firstly to stop the brake pistons expanding and making it hard later, take a cable tie and tighten them around the piston at the top(image below) and push the pins in on each side to hold it still.


You will now need a pair of pliers and just grab the springs both on the top. and the bottom and pull them out. (be careful they carry some force!)

4.) Half way down both shoes there is a clip that needs to be slid off and a pin removed from behind. move these to one side and keep them safe as you will need it later. The shoes can now be pulled towards you and removed. NOTE on some seicentos and cinquecentos you will need to rotate the bearing in the center to align it to the shape of the shoes. on some this is not needed and they will just pull off.

5.) you are now left with this and you can clearly see the handbrake mechanism.


6.) your rear brakes are now nearly stripped. the last thing to do is remove the cable from the mechanism. on the back at the end of the cable it connects through a hole in the arm and has a split pin through it to stop it coming apart... using your pliers remove the split pin and pull the cable apart from the lever then pull the lever out and see if it moves.

its probable the arm will not move and it should move freely... the fix is to lubricate the pivot point whilst applying pressure and continuously pulling it in both directions. eventually it will free up and should pivot under its own weight.... it will take quite a while and alot of effort...

alternitivly buy a new pair like this...


you now just need to re-fit everything using the same steps but in reverse....

Please note the springs will be hard to replace but perseverance with some pliers will get them in the slots. and remember the slightly larger spring goes to the bottom.



once its all rebuilt just remove the cable tie from the cylinder inside and then tap the drum face back on using your hammer but be sure to align the holes so you can put your wheel back on. When its on replace your 12mm bolts and then test to see if your handbrake now works and that the lever moves when the handbrake is applied inside the car.....

its a horrible job to do to be honest and will take a while and some effort and pushing and pulling, but once both sides are done the handbrake will be brilliant!!


For any further assistance relating to this guide please post in Fiatscotland's Technical section for further assistance!
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