Technical My handbrake problem

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Technical My handbrake problem

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Dec 18, 2003
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I've had trouble with my handbrake for a long time now, and I'm worried about it failing the MOT, which is soon. I've replaced almost everything. It pretty much works, but you need to pull on it VERY hard. It's possible that the MOT test will not pull it hard enough.

If I push the brake pedal hard before applying the handbrake then it seems to work as I would expect. So, I think that suggests that it's not the handbrake cable or the linkages (they were replaced anyway). It seems like it would be something focing the shoes inwards, which must be the springs?

I replaced the springs on one side and it didn't seem to make any difference. Does it look like the springs on the other side are the problem? The long thin spring goes on top, and stick short one on the bottom don't they? Any ideas what else could be wrong.

What I've replaced:
Hanbrake cable
Handbrake cable linkages
Brake drums
Brake shoes
Springs on one side
 

Liam

hi friends :waves:
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Can you lock the back wheels using the footbrake?

Sounds like dodgy cylinders or you got a pattern cable which is wrong.

Liam
 
OP
OP
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Can you lock the back wheels using the footbrake?

Sounds like dodgy cylinders or you got a pattern cable which is wrong.

Liam

How would I tell whether the rear wheels locked, and not just the front ones? Heavy braking certainly makes the car skid (I had to brake suddenly a few days ago :eek:), but I don't let the wheels lock.

I replaced a wheel cylinder recently, and the other one is only a few years old. I don't think the wheel cylinders would cause this problem either. The wheel cylinders can only push the shoes outward, not pull them in, so if they were faulty then they could only prevent the brakes from releasing.
 

Liam

hi friends :waves:
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The back end will step out if the wheels lock, I had two problems with mines, back wheels locking on footbrake which was the cylinders that wouldn't return making the shoes about 2mm from the drum hence locking on footbrake, new cylinders stopped this.

Other one was a pants handbrake which was he cable all along, I've said this before and I'll say it again, my cable was taken off, taken to Fiat and compared to all Cento cables they had, picked the shortest cable, fitted it and I never had handbrake issues again.

Liam
 
OP
OP
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I have thought of an idea, but I don't know whether it's possible. Is it possible to fit the handbrake linkage things the wrong way round? I wouldn't have thought I would have done it, but if it's possible then maybe I did?

At the moment they are kinda like this:
(
=-=

Should the be like this:
)
=-=

The bracket is the part that the cable attaches to. The front of the car would be to the right, and back to the left of the screen. I hope that makes sense. I would have thought it would only go one way, but I don't want to pull everything apart just to check.
 
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Like this.... ---------
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Just done my rear brakes. New drums, Shoes and slave cylinders because the bleed nipples wouldn't budge. Can lock up the rear wheels on handbrake now.
Did you remove the handbrake cam actuator from the rear brakes and spray them with oil and work them to make shure they move freely?
 
OP
OP
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Like this.... ---------
(
---------
Just done my rear brakes. New drums, Shoes and slave cylinders because the bleed nipples wouldn't budge. Can lock up the rear wheels on handbrake now.
Did you remove the handbrake cam actuator from the rear brakes and spray them with oil and work them to make shure they move freely?

So I did get it right. Not sure what the handbrake cam actuator is, but the linkages from the cable are fine, I replaced them the same time as the cable. That was what started the whole problem, the old ones seized, so I decided to replace the cable as well.
 

_CinqueCento_

Breed of our own..
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I've struggled for the last two years with handbrakes & MOTs - But my last fix I ensured this time I had genuine FIAT parts and blobbed a dollop of grease on every joint/spring including the handbrake lever... <-- 6 months on and the handbrake is still working fine..
Prior to this I was using Motor factor parts - Blah I say they are rubbish.. Just a thought..

All the best with this problem..
 
OP
OP
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I've struggled for the last two years with handbrakes & MOTs - But my last fix I ensured this time I had genuine FIAT parts and blobbed a dollop of grease on every joint/spring including the handbrake lever... <-- 6 months on and the handbrake is still working fine..
Prior to this I was using Motor factor parts - Blah I say they are rubbish.. Just a thought..

All the best with this problem..

Unforunately I had to get motorfactor parts for my brake shoes/drums this time because it was an emergency. I think the handbrake bits were Fiat though. I always go for Fiat parts where possible. My brake discs were also from the motorfactor (Lucas) and seemed to be really bad. It was scarey after first putting the new discs and pads on.
 

_CinqueCento_

Breed of our own..
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Yeah, i think that where a problem might ly, Motor factor Brake shoes - Theres a little friction disc tensioned by a spring sometimes you can tighten these up by reversing and jerking the handbrake on.. but this is obvouisly a slightly risky thing to do, I tryed it once and it worked a small amout with the motor factor bits I had..
My fiat Brake shoes went on and work better than the motor factor's by far..

My front discs and pads are motor factor jobbies... Its just the handbrake system I was talking about - sorry..

Good luck
 
OP
OP
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Yeah, i think that where a problem might ly, Motor factor Brake shoes - Theres a little friction disc tensioned by a spring sometimes you can tighten these up by reversing and jerking the handbrake on.. but this is obvouisly a slightly risky thing to do, I tryed it once and it worked a small amout with the motor factor bits I had..
My fiat Brake shoes went on and work better than the motor factor's by far..

My front discs and pads are motor factor jobbies... Its just the handbrake system I was talking about - sorry..

Good luck

Ah, the only problem is that it was just the same with my old Fiat shoes and drums. I had to replace them because a shoe fell apart when I was trying to see why the handbrake wasn't working very well. Reversing with the handbrake on isn't risky in my car. There's no chance of the handbrake locking the wheels, at 30mph I don't think you can even feel the handbrake come on.
 

Stickman

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Jun 3, 2006
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I get similar problems with mine too, and not having the knowledge to fix this sort of stuff myself, I've been forced to get the cable tightened every few months. It's not an expensive job (usually free or no more than a tenner), but it's a real nuisance.

I don't know why the cable loses tension and needs tightening - it's either stretching out, or it's slipping. Either way, the problem persists and has done for the life of the car. Usually I can get away with having it tightened twice a year (once just before the MOT, once a few months later).

Cheers
 
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I get similar problems with mine too, and not having the knowledge to fix this sort of stuff myself, I've been forced to get the cable tightened every few months. It's not an expensive job (usually free or no more than a tenner), but it's a real nuisance.

I don't know why the cable loses tension and needs tightening - it's either stretching out, or it's slipping. Either way, the problem persists and has done for the life of the car. Usually I can get away with having it tightened twice a year (once just before the MOT, once a few months later).

Cheers

This problem is due to the leverage geometry. When the shoes are worn by about 1mm, the shoe actuator requires 2mm of movement before it works which is about a full handbrake pull.
Poor rear brakes can be related to bad quality friction material. It's best to stick to a known brand like Mintex/Ferodo etc.

The most important part of getting the brakes to work properley is to make shure the shoes are central to the drum or slightly closer at the bottom because the shoes only move at the top. You won't achieve maximum contact if this is not done.
 
OP
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I get similar problems with mine too, and not having the knowledge to fix this sort of stuff myself, I've been forced to get the cable tightened every few months. It's not an expensive job (usually free or no more than a tenner), but it's a real nuisance.

I don't know why the cable loses tension and needs tightening - it's either stretching out, or it's slipping. Either way, the problem persists and has done for the life of the car. Usually I can get away with having it tightened twice a year (once just before the MOT, once a few months later).

Cheers

It's actually quite easy to adjust the cable yourself. You just need a couple of spanners. On my car I can just squeeze under without jacking it up. It's a bit tight without jacking it up though. The sportings are lower, so you will probably need to jack them up.

I don't think my problem is the tension, you just need to be VERY strong to pull it hard enough.
 
Joined
Feb 16, 2005
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5,983
Park car with one side on a kerb

Leave in gear and take off handbrake

make sure car doesn't move

get on your back with a spanner (13mm??)

Follow along exhaust about 1/3 from the rear

bend heat shield out the way

you'll see a cable with a threaded bar, two nuts, and a bracket with the two cables splitting off

undoo the outer nut a few turns (the locking nut)

turn the inner nut to apply more tension to the cable

test

make sure the brakes aren't binding or always on

tighten the outer nut up against the one you adjusted

Job done (y)

KRistian
 

GoBe

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Jun 28, 2006
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not like there a guide for the mk1 sei or anything :)

Don't even consider not using axle stands, you'll end up with most of your torso under the car and if the jack gives way you're most likely be supporting the car on your chest!
 
Joined
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Ah, when Stickman said he'd checked, I pressumed there was no guide.

Follow that, much better than my 45 seconds of manic typing.

As mentioned, def don't do it just on jacks!

Kristian
 

Stickman

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Thanks guys

not like there a guide for the mk1 sei or anything :)

Ooops :( sorry - I didn't see this. Admittedly I searched very briefly.

I don't own axle stands, so this is tricky. I won't attempt without them as I like my rib-cage. Actually I think my old man has some old ones from his racing days... I'll have to investigate.

Kritip - your brief guide is actually less confusing than the detailed one (what the hell is that picture even of??)! The 2 guides together form something ijust about idiot-proof enough for me to not screw up (hopefully).

Sorry to be the FF novice once again... is everyone on here a professional mechanic or something?? Def time to donate methinks.
 
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