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Old 01-05-2005   #1
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Handbrake

Checking my 1997 60sx punto over for mot I found the hanbrake didn't work on one side.
I replaced the shoes which were down to about 1.5-mill, checked the cables weren't siezed & replaced the hubs.
Allthough I've used up all the adjustment on the adjuster mechanism under the handbrake lever I still cant get a decent hold with the handbrake full on.
Could the cables have streched so much that this is causing the problem? also are the cables on the left & right sides the same?
Thanks for any help Dave G.
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Old 01-05-2005   #2
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Re: Handbrake

How long have the new pads been in? As it takes a good 150miles to get drums and shoes worn in (front discs are more like 75-100miles) and until then I would just leave it, unless it is still working more on one side than the other.
I'd guess the cable could stretch, but more likely the end has frayed away, check the fixings on the underside of the handbrake, the U shaped bit that splits the cable to each wheel and the ends at the caliper/ drum.
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Old 01-05-2005   #3
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Re: Handbrake

It's probably down to the ratchet adjuster mechanism on the brake shoes. It needs to be manually pre-set when you fit the shoes, or it just won't work.
I had the exact same problem with my car, and it took me ages to work out what it was. I fitted new shoes, drums and cables, none of which it actually needed, before figuring out that the adjusters weren't set.

This is how I eventually sorted it:

1. Back the handbrake lever adjuster right off.
2. Jack the rear of the car up and remove the wheel and brake drum.
3. VERY SLOWLY press the brake pedal down. Listen carefully for a "click" from the adjusters.
4. Once you hear the "click", refit the drum and turn it by hand to see if it contacts the shoes (you'll hear a rubbing/scraping noise). Keep doing this over and over until when you turn the drum you can hear the noise. If you go too far (i.e. you can feel resistance) then you'll need to release the ratchet mechanism by pushing the ratchet lever with a screwdriver. It's a bit trial-and-error but eventually you should get it so that the drum rotates freely with very light shoe contact.
5. Repeat on the other side.
6. Refit drums and wheels.
7. Tighten the adjuster on the handbrake lever. Double-check that the wheels will spin freely when the handbrake is off.

Hope this helps
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Old 01-05-2005   #4
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Re: Handbrake

The car has 2 completely seperate cables & they are both in perfect condition. I can't see how bedding in the shoes will make any difference cos with the handbrake full on I can still turn both wheels fairly easily.

The rachet you mention Johny isn't on my car the self adjusters are a friction type (2 camms that rub together) & this works ok.

If there was just another couple of centimetres of adjustment on the adjusting mechanism I would probably get a good handbrake, so if the cables have stretched they must have streched quite a bit. Can the cables have streched this amount?
Thanks for the help lads Dave G.
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Old 01-05-2005   #5
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Re: Handbrake

you have to press foot brake down very hard a few times to set the adjustment of new shoes
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Old 01-05-2005   #6
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Re: Handbrake

I've done that Dave, pressed the pedal down hard a number of times & pulled the handbrake lever a few times as well, still no handbrake.
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Old 01-05-2005   #7
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Re: Handbrake

Do your brakes look like these inside?

If so then they're the same type as mine. Ratchet was the best word I could think of to describe them, but now you mention it they are more like a pair of cams, i.e. 2 bits of metal with "teeth" ground into them, one spring loaded against the other.
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Old 01-05-2005   #8
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Re: Handbrake

Yes mine do look like that but the 2 cams have no teeth they work by friction & being spring loaded against each other..
I've just bought 2 new cables I'm gonna take the old ones off & compare the lenght, they were only a tenner for one & 7 quid for the other so I've nothing much to lose.
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Old 01-05-2005   #9
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Re: Handbrake

The new cables were more or less the same lenght as the old ones so I didnt bother fitting them, but i now have a good handbrake after refitting the old cables.
I'm not even sure what i did to get it working other then what Dave said about pressing the pedal hard to set the new shoes.
This time I really pressed down hard, I nearly put my foot through the floor, then after a bit of adjustment I have a good handbrake & still plenty of adjustment left.
A tip for anyone changing the handbrake cables on a punto, tie a lenght of string or strimmer wire to the inner cable inside the car. Then when you pull it out you can tie the new cable to the string to guide it back through into the car. It is a lot easier then dropping the exhaust heat shield which the cable has to go behind.
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