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Can anybody explain the plungers when adjusting handbrake. Sierra manual doesn't make sense.


Also any reason that when I adjust handbrake the drivers side gets tuff. But at 2 clicks I can still move the wheel with a lot of effort.


But worse stil the passenger side spins freely.

Any advice highly appreciated while the cars on stands.

Edited by Dino
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If all the handbrake mechanism is working correctly, (you can watch both sides getting somebody to pull it on and off) the shoe adjuster on the cross bar is probably not working.

This should have been stripped, cleaned and lubed when replacing shoes.

Have you checked both side outer cables are free on the inner cable. That's another easy check.

Other thing to look at, when you had them stripped off did you screw the adjuster in to tight.

They do stick if you do this.

On refit they should be screwed all the way in then back out at least one full turn.

Then follow Nigel's full and correct instructions.

You are nearly there, just something very simple holding you back.

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Yes both sides of the cable are working. Until I get to 2 clicks onwards.


After 2 clicks the drivers side tightens ok.

Passenger side stops moving.


It's as if the adjuster is only tightening the Drivers side. Is there a clip or pin stopping the u from sharing the distribution between left and right cable being equal????

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The inner cable should move freely through the u slider.

Free it orf and wheel grease it.

If you use a lever on the fulcrum operating lever near the backplate, can you lock the brake up then.

Does the faulty wheel lock up with the footbrake.

If you try to take the drum off the good side is the drum tighter on that side than on the faulty side.

If yes to either, your wheel adjuster is not working. Do as in my last.

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Both sides work good on foot pedal.

Drums slide off and on without any issues.


Both wheels spin freely unless foot applied.

Both wheels spin freely, drivers side stops when handbrake applied.


It's as if it's not splitting it 50:50 or the cable is stretched/longer on the passenger side.


A bit baffled and might call it a day and start packing up ready for another go tomorrow night..

Sky is looking a bit black above my head and it's beginning to drizzle.


Don't fancy ripping the gearbox covers off the interior just yet.

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My self adjusters caused the same problem that you are experiencing. Difficult to explain but even though I cleaned them and made sure they worked before assembling the brakes, slackened off the handbrake cable adjuster and stamped on the brakes to get the adjusters to set, they never set. When I adjusted the handbrake cable what was happening when the handbrake lever was operated was that the spring on the cable inside the drum was becoming coil bound because the shoes were too far from the drum.


Took it apart, checked the adjusters again and could not find anything wrong, slackened off the cable and stamped on the brakes (well, Marg did!). This time I heard the adjusters click and set the shoes. Adjusted the handbrake cable and both sides were perfect. As regards the plungers, these are an indicator that you have the correct clearance when the cable is adjusted but I never bother checking them. I just do what you do and make sure the handbrake will set and release correctly.

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Cheers CB750, I must admit. When Nikki stamped on the brakes yesterday I only heard the drivers side self adjust.


Hmmmm....looks like I will tr my again tomorrow night and give feedback.


So frustrating, cos I really need to start driving the car and getting used to it.


Basically Nikki is complaining she needs more sugar (see earlier comments about the sugar runs).

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Have you got the Sierra system with one inner and two outer cables or two seperate cables.

Does the bad side fulcrum arm move the same amount as the good side.

If the wheel adjuster on the bad side is not correct you will get exactly this fault.

How do you know it is correct and functioning.

Try adjusting it manually with h the drum off.

Adjust it out and keep trying until the drum is to tight to go on and then back off till free.

Make sure the pawl is engaging correctly to to stop the adjuster is unwinding.

I've got two important hospital appointments this week but if your not fixed by weekend I will come and sort it for you.

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Standard Sierra set-up with handbrake single line to crescent shaped splitter with clevis pin.

This then has a single cable (shortened) passing thru the crescent shaped U bend and travel to each drum.

Tonight when I get in from work, I will put the car on stands again and remove the wheels and drums and inspect both sides to make sure they are performing equally.


Strangely this is the same side as the iffy drum in the picture below (guess which one):




Looks like its been getting very hot in the past, but not a problem now as both drums have been replaced.


Questions - Is the self adjuster solely reliant on the handbrake? Or the foot brake? Or both?

The adjuster seems to be for the shoes to align with the drum when the brakes are applied and I would assume its working if both wheel stop spinning when the foot brake is applied.

Edited by Dino
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The adjuster operates when the footbrake is pressed.

The hydraulic piston operates moving the shoe onto the drum.

If the gap between the shoe and the drum at rest becomes to great, the adjuster takes up the slack as the piston pushes the shoe closing the gap when the shoe releases.

The cylinder stroke has a far greater operating stroke than the handbrake mechanism.

This means if your adjustment is out (adjuster still at its pre operating possition) the footbrake will still work but the handbrake won't.

The crescent shaped splitter on the cable is supposed to compensate for unequal adjustment to a certain point but the cable can stick or partially sieze and will stop working to its full potential.

The shoes are aligned with the the drum by sliding on their mountings across the cylinder tops.

This is why after fitting the drums you should apply the footbrake a few times to line the shoes up.

Sound to me that either one or even both adjusters are not working correctly, leaving to great an air gap between shoe and drum for the handbrake linkage to work correctly.

I'm a bit crap at explaining things ain't i

Edited by 2b cruising
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On the 2.0L rears the self adjuster is solely reliant on the foot brake. Snail shaped ratchet on the upper cross connector bar between the shoes. On the 1.6 the self adjuster is a swinging bar and pivoting ratchet on the leading shoe but it's logical to think it's worked the same by the foot brake, taking the pressure off the self adjuster which can then take up any slack by moving under tension from their springs. Check the components move without resistance and the springs are active. Also check the ratchet teeth will interlock to 'save' the movement.

The self adjusters are under tension and locked when the handbrake lever is pulled on so no self adjustment can take place when the handbrake is on, or adjusted too tight.



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Finally we have very good rear brakes and a great handbrake on 3 clicks.


I had stripped them down again soaked all the springs in oil. Copper greased the crescent shaped thingy (cheers bob).


Slacked the handbrake loose and refitted everything. Banged the brakes a couple of times and heard both sides ratchet on the self adjusters.


With the help of my son (rare occasion) then spun the wheels and watched them stop when foot pedal applied.


Next the handbrake.....

Well both sides working, but very loosely and not passable when the handbrake will only click 5 times max and still be slack :)


Adjusted the handbrake until clicks. banged the brakes a few more times and then tested each side by tightening the bolts to the wheels with handbrake on (no movement).



No movement in both, rock solid and easily passable for the MOT at 3 clicks.


Dropped car back down tighten nuts properly and tested brakes & handbrake on drive and extremely happy.


Cheers guys, not sure what exactly it was but just following your advice seemed to work and now I need to get it checked on the rollers and book a re-test.


Right it's getting dark now, so time to garage it and chill.


Chuffed to bits....

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