How to get a great handbrake?

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How to get a great handbrake?

Postby rollercoaster » 27 Jun 2018, 12:42

Pretty desperate here...

approaching where I live I come up a track and have to park on a slope to open my gate, (and close it)
neither of my Syncros are really solidly stopping the rolling back by putting on the handbrake.

The Hightop Danbury has all new brakes and recently Brian at Stationworks Garage had it in to resolve this.
He said nothing wrong with them, perhaps wearing them in a bit would help.
Its not made any difference yet and I have driven it lots.
I adjusted the rod and that helped slightly.

My feeling is, (based on my experience of cable brakes) the cable is old and stretchy.
Its just about the only bit left to replace anyway.

I am tempted to not worry about it, (bought some wheel chocks, keep them next to drivers seat!)
and wait until an inevitable brake upgrade maybe later this year.
But sometimes I get out after putting the handbrake on, and it creaks and rolls a little...!!!
This, would end with the van contacting granite and/or someone getting squashed,
so what am I waiting for?

Truth is I am not sure what to do, I want the best handbrake I can get, how do I get it?

Questions
What is needed right now? (its booked into Stationworks next week to have the difflock actuators unseized)
What is the best plan for the future in terms of brake upgrades.

This applies to both Syncros.
They both have standard drum setups at the back.
ASAP I want to change that to disks and the servo upgrade,
but which setup will give me the lock on handbrake?
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Re: How to get a great handbrake?

Postby 937carrera » 27 Jun 2018, 14:54

Ignoring the potential change to discs check the dimensions of your drums. Weak handbrake can be the result of oversize drums, even worse if the wear is so bad the piston can pop out when shoes are worn.

I replaced the drums on my Autosleeper last year, they were still bedding in when I had to park on a 1 in 3 hill. It held.

Other than that, new cables and make sure the normal mechanism is adjusted correctly inside the drum.

ps many vehicles with discs on the rear still have integral shoes / drum for the handbrake, just smaller than a full size drum setup.
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Re: How to get a great handbrake?

Postby bigherb » 27 Jun 2018, 15:46

The handbrake will hold well if it is set up correctly.
Firstly the handbrake cable must be slacked off before the brake shoes are adjusted and the brake shoes must be manually centralised when they are fitted, they don't easily self-centre and this happens.
Not all the shoe makes contact with the drum.
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Re: How to get a great handbrake?

Postby rollercoaster » 27 Jun 2018, 20:24

Thanks, all good points and I'm listening.
1 in 3 sounds good!

Expected the wheel size to be cause for concern,
creating a greater moment,
is that the technical term?

I will make sure to order cables and drums to replace the old ones next week.
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Re: How to get a great handbrake?

Postby 937carrera » 27 Jun 2018, 20:35

You should measure the drums before you replace them, the max diameter is marked on the outside. You never know they may be in good condition and it's just the correct adjustment that's necessary
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Re: How to get a great handbrake?

Postby george2490 » 27 Jun 2018, 20:42

Mine failed mot on hand brake last week.
Fixed by manually adjusting the shoes.
Self adjusters hadn't done their stuff.
Now it holds on our very steep drive.
Totally confident in the handbrake for the first time!

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Re: How to get a great handbrake?

Postby Ian Hulley » 29 Jun 2018, 07:52

george2490 wrote: Totally confident in the handbrake for the first time !


Still leave it gear :wink:

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Re: How to get a great handbrake?

Postby CovKid » 29 Jun 2018, 10:46

Aye, the automatic adjusters may or may not work depending on how freely they move and how much brake shoe dust has accumulated on them since. I've never found them to be particularly good so I always wind shoes out prior to an MOT by default, and if I'm doing a service on mine. The difference it makes to braking action is incredible.
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Re: How to get a great handbrake?

Postby garyd » 02 Jul 2018, 16:13

On reading your original post I was going to suggest checking for drum wear but that's already been covered.

You might also check rear wheel bearings since wear there will allow the drum to be out of parallel with the backplate and shoes meaning potential for only the edges of the shoes to contact.

One other area to check is where the main cable/pull rod runs back from the handbrake lever. Not very far back the cable passes under/through a plastic/rubber bearing block, changing the run from the down angle to being parallel with the van floor. My handbrake was not so great and I got a loud creak when applying it. A clean up followed by a dab of grease on this bearing block stopped the noise, made the brake application much easier and the brake held much better, too.
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Re: How to get a great handbrake?

Postby HarryMann » 03 Jul 2018, 13:45

I'd think the shoes would pull the drum pretty true Gary ? A lot of it is them accurately matching the drum over a large enough area? And freedom of movement and adjustment of the whole cable system.
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Re: How to get a great handbrake?

Postby rollercoaster » 04 Jul 2018, 12:40

Not such good luck with the repairs at the garage,
should have known when they gave me there runabout as a courtesy,
it had next to no handbrake!
Anyhow the van came back to me pretty much the same after they did their best,
except after 15 miles I checked the temp and one side cool the other red hot.
Not ideal for a drive from North Wales to West Cornwall
Took it back and they adjusted it off, but its not holding on a slope.
Disappointed..
Pursuaded them to put the new cables on but not new drums,
they said they dont look worn.
Could end up replacing just about everything which is not a problem,
except its tempting to consider upgrading the brakes if so.
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Re: How to get a great handbrake?

Postby 937carrera » 04 Jul 2018, 13:29

1 in 3 with original equipment, you don't need an upgrade, you just need things checking and adjusting correctly, nothing wrong with the standard drums as a handbrake.

The clue for me was when I couldn't get the brake adjustment after replacing retaining springs and one of the pistons popped out of the slave cylinder.

I thought, I've seen this before on a Clio, the drums were oversize, auto adjuster not working, measured the drums, replace, all is wonderful and the brake pedal stops going long.

Checked the dimension on the T25 drums and they were oversize. Shoes looked almost new. Now I know you "should" put new shoes on with new drums, but I reckoned that if I removed some material from the lead and trailing edge of each shoe the radius of the shoe would reduce to match the new drums. It did, and on my drive up to the Highlands the brakes bedded in and both hydraulic and cable brakes got better. I did manually adjust the auto adjusters before leaving.

I think you need a different garage or do it yourself. IMHO
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Re: How to get a great handbrake?

Postby multisi » 04 Jul 2018, 16:35

I had the handbrake lever arm on one brake shoe seize up which resulted in a weak handbrake.
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Re: How to get a great handbrake?

Postby rollercoaster » 04 Jul 2018, 21:42

I agree its time to roll up the sleeves and get the manual out,
if you want a job done properly as they say...
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Re: How to get a great handbrake?

Postby 937carrera » 04 Jul 2018, 21:56

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