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I feel like I'm posting too much on here, but I couldn't find my answer through search. The previous owner on my car said he never used the parking brake, and it wasn't working. I checked all the lines and the internals on the lever, and it seems to all be there, and it does seem to kinda work if I pull really hard on it... but it only goes a couple clicks. I can feel some resistance if I turn the wheel by hand, but not enough to hold it. I searched on here and found a couple posts about cleaning/regreasing where the lever attaches to the lines so I did that. No difference. When the lever was unattached it moved through all the clicks, so I know that's not the problem.

I do remember the previous owner talking about just needing a clip to make it work but I didn't ask him more about it and don't know what that is. I seem to have all the same parts that the service manual has shown though. Any suggestions? Am I actually missing something here?



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Original Post

Hard to diagnose from afar, but I assume your rear brakes are working properly? If you can only pull the hand brake a couple clicks, then it sounds like the cable is adjusted pretty tight or perhaps binding. The internal self adjusters in the calipers often stick or fail and require a strip down to repair. You have to turn the piston at a 45 degree angle to release the self adjusters and remove the piston.

That said the handbrake is marginal at the best of times.

If the rear brake pistons are rotated 45° from the way they should be, they won’t lock into the self adjusters.

If the self adjusters aren’t engaged - you won’t have enough throw in the cable system to lock the brakes securely.

So that could be the problem. There is a groove on the face of the piston, that should be oriented vertically. This will allow the self adjusting function to ratchet.  There should be a little tab on the back of the brake pad that fits into the slot on the piston, and actually holds the piston in the correct orientation.

You will have to remove the rear brake pads to see if the piston is in the right orientation.  Or if the caliper is off of the car, Just slide the brake pad forward and you should be able to see what I’m talking about.

You can rotate it with a big screwdriver.

I know what I’m saying is a little cryptic if you don’t have a brake caliper in front of you.  Once you see the face of the piston, it should be obvious what I’m talking about.






Last edited by rocky

Also, from what I’m seeing on your pictures, shouldn’t the threaded ends on the emergency brake cable sheaths be all the way out?

The fact that it looks like you have an inch of adjustment on each side inside the cable sheath stop, means you could possibly tighten up the cable.

 See what I’m talking about, with the cable sheath stop, and the double nuts?


(Edit:  Louie already beat me to it.  See the second post).

Nevertheless, you should lubricated and clean up those jam nuts, and the threaded portion of the cable stop.


Last edited by rocky

Well, I talked to Louie and took everything off, including the cables... and they were all gummed up, that’s why they wouldn’t move. I cleaned them out and then I could easily move the cable in the tubes. Woo hoo. Then I tried to install it back and now the cables won’t move again. Very annoyed. Might just say screw it and buy new cables, see if that works. I don’t know if I have the patience for this anymore. Maybe I’ll feel like giving it another try tomorrow. Argh. 

This may or may not fix it, but the hook on the caliper is suppose to hang low,  which makes the cable pull in a more straight line and increase the range of travel. This means the caliper pistons are on the wrong sides. No you can't just rotate the pistons to change the hook positions. It's easy to mis-assemble the rear brakes when taken apart. 

And yes, you have a ton of adjustment there, pull the handbrake up 5 clicks, loosen both jam nuts create some space between them and the caliper frame  run the outside nut down firm, use 17 mm wrench and continue to tighten until you can't turn the wheel by hand, now you're making progress. Both sides, test for complete release with the hand brake lowered. Trial and error, tighten the cable as much as you can without inhibiting the ability to full release.  


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Last edited by rrs1

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