Mk2 handbrake adjustment

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Phil T
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Mk2 handbrake adjustment

#1 Post by Phil T » Tue May 01, 2018 1:47 pm

I am having issues getting the adjustment on my handbrake correct, it is currently inefficient and MOT is due.

I have replaced the shoes and checked the springs. I think the issue is with the automatic adjusting as the parts are getting a bit old (new shoes don't come with the shoes any more so they have to be transferred).

I have tried tightening the rear cable, but that is not working either.

Are there any tips to assist with the adjustment?

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Jonathan Lewis
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Re: Mk2 handbrake adjustment

#2 Post by Jonathan Lewis » Tue May 01, 2018 3:49 pm

Hi Phil,

One thing you might try is to disconnect the handbrake cable from the operating levers on the rear drums, then give the footbrake a couple of good hard applications before reconnecting the cable. This has worked for me on more than one occasion (I believe it works by relieving the adjusters from preload imposed by the cable mechanism which can apparently stop them from operating properly).

The other thing I have found is that the little pivoting sector plates on the shoes can become very stiff in their action, again inhibiting the ratchet action which facilitates automatic adjustment. On changing shoes or dismantling the rear brakes for any other reason, I usually try to remember to check this and, if necessary, dismantle, clean and very sparingly lubricate the pivot pins and the side of the sector plate where it comes into contact with the web of the brake shoe. Do NOT, however, lubricate the ratchet teeth themselves as this can apparently interfere with their proper operation.

You used to be able to buy the adjusters separately from the shoes, but no idea whether that is still an option...

Hope this helps!

Regards,

Jonathan

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Re: Mk2 handbrake adjustment

#3 Post by Phil T » Tue May 01, 2018 4:45 pm

Thanks Jonathan, I'll give those tips a go.

(I am right in thinking it is the action of the footbrake that adjusts the shoes, I did a quick run up and down the road slamming the anchors on, but made little difference.)

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Re: Mk2 handbrake adjustment

#4 Post by Jonathan Lewis » Tue May 01, 2018 11:10 pm

Yes, it is the action of the footbrake that adjusts the shoes, but the adjusters don't always appear to be too keen to take-up with the handbrake cable connected :roll:

With the cable released, it is not unusual to hear the ratchets go out a couple of clicks with a good hard application of the pedal.

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Re: Mk2 handbrake adjustment

#5 Post by johnnydog » Tue May 01, 2018 11:39 pm

The handbrake operating levers often wear where they fit in the slots on the shoe, and they can partially seize.
When replacing the rear shoes, check the contact points of the operating levers for wear, and replace if required, and ensure the two halves of the lever spin freely before fitting.
The handbrake cable fork must also move freely where the clevis pin locates in the lever. The cable guides should also be suitably greased, both in the compensator at the end of the front cable and through the rear box sections.
Are the springs correctly located, and the 'curly' end of the larger lower spring correctly positioned? Have the ratchets been correctly refitted (as they have been removed from the old shoes)?
It is a must that the shoes are correctly adjusted PRIOR to attaching and adjusting the handbrake cable, as with any car. If the shoes aren't correctly set up, the efficiency will not improve by tightening the cable!
Some people manually adjust the ratchet with a thin screwdriver prior to fitting the rear drum, so that it just spins with minimal contact between shoes and drum - I personally have never had the need to do this, with the shoes correctly ratcheting themselves up by operating the foot brake.
I always have had an excellent handbrake on the Mk2's following this procedure.
One additional thing to check- due to sometimes previous poor efficiency of the handbrake, excessive force on the handbrake lever in the car in trying to get the handbrake to hold can sometimes cause the handbrake mounting points to begin to break away from the floor, which will then never give a decent handbrake. You can sometimes hear a 'cracking' noise from the handbrake area if this happens. Its worth checking that the two bolts are firmly attached to the floor, or a spot of welding may called for!
If all this is correct, you should get an excellent handbrake!
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Phil T
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Re: Mk2 handbrake adjustment

#6 Post by Phil T » Wed May 02, 2018 11:21 am

More thanks chaps.

Cannot do the work today as it is piddling down, tomorrow is babysitting granddaughter day so Friday is my 'crawling around on the drive' day.

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Re: Mk2 handbrake adjustment

#7 Post by Mike Stevens » Thu May 03, 2018 10:26 am

Absolutely agree with John and Jonathan's comments. The only thing I would add is that when you've disconnected the handbrake cable at one rear brake, push both levers in to make sure there is no tension on the handbrake mechanism. Like John, I've never had a problem with the handbrake when following this procedure.

The ratchet mechanism is, I believe, the same as on the Stag and they have been remade via the SoC. Not cheap of course! I would check the part numbers, Stag/2000 to make sure they are the same, but I can't see why they would be different.

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Re: Mk2 handbrake adjustment

#8 Post by poppyman » Thu May 03, 2018 3:10 pm

If i might add, Dont rely on the pressing the pedal to adjust the brakes..... They never worked from new :(
Adjust them by hand by putting a flat screwdriver between the cyl and the shoe with the adjuster and twist one click at a time and try the drum on each time, also press the footbrake after every adjustment to centralise them. you will probably find you will not get the cables back on without letting them doing it this way. I know its faf and time consuming, but it is worth it :D
I can actually stop my car with my handbrake.

Tony.

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Re: Mk2 handbrake adjustment

#9 Post by Phil T » Fri May 04, 2018 7:20 pm

Thanks chaps, attacked the job today with the requisite tools and armed with an abundance of patience, and they now lock on the fourth notch.

Lets hope the mot man agrees next Wednesday.

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Re: Mk2 handbrake adjustment

#10 Post by Phil T » Thu May 10, 2018 8:36 am

Just to add a postscript, the mot man did agree and passed the car with no advisories. :D

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