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Megger
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156 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys.

Having a bit of a problem with my handbrake. Car's a July 2003 (but 2004MY model - facelift) TDCI.

During the snow the handbrake went from 3/4 clicks to full "jammed-on handbrake turn on tarmac" brakes, to all the way up to the top for "wouldn't stop the car with a tailwind".

I managed to get under the car today. Passenger side seems to be OK. Wheel spins freely. Drivers side, the brakes seemed to be binding very slightly.

Took the cliper off, and the handbrake lever seemed to be jammed solid. A little percussive maintenance, and pulling the lever causes the caliper pot to be forced out a milimeter or so per pull.

Wound the pot back in again (bugger of a job, as I don't have an allen key of the right size, a stilson wrench couldn't push in enough, so it just span. Ended up using a pair of pliers to grip the central hole/external notch and turn anticlockwise and push at the same time.

I re-assembled the brakes, and the first pull was great - 2 clicks and the lever wouldn't pull any further.

Put the wheel back on, took the jack out, congratulated myself on a job well done, pulled the handbrake again and was greeted with click, click, tension, <boinginginging> click click click up to the max again.

I've pretty much got the symptoms of Pulled lever too far. Handbrake does not work anymore

Independently, I've done the "screw in the pot and try again", and it worked, but only briefly.

I didn't have time to strip it down again to see if I couldn't move the lever again.

I don't *think* the problem's with the cable (sticking anyway - when it was disconnected from the caliper, it was free to move in the outer, and is a plastic coated part, not bare metal). I also never haul the handbrake on, so I'm hoping I've not stretched the cable. The original one was replaced in 2006 during my pre-1st MOT "see what needs doing under warranty". (I know that's 3.5+ years ago though).

How do you think I should play it from here? I could...

  • Get new discs and pads. I need new discs anyway - get a disc/pad set, and hope the "funny" bit of the handbrake mechanism will only manifest when the pads are half worn
  • Obtain a "ratchet repair kit" (whatever that entails) and recondition my own caliper
  • Get a 2nd hand caliper off ebay, or anyone on here who's got one for sale
  • Strip down and rebuild this bit of the mechanism myself
  • Beg for suggestions from everyone here!

Given the age of the car, and it being an in-between year, is it likely I've got an adjuster in the centre console, or an auto-adjuster? There's so much heat shielding under the car, I can't see where the cables go, let alone see if there's a manual adjuster there. I've certainly tried the "foot on the brake and haul on the lever" thing, and that appears to do nothing.

If anyone could offer any support/ideas, I'd be very grateful.

Pete.
 

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Chief Stig
Joined
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272 Posts
better off getting a good used one from ebay or better still a local scrappy so you can test it just done this myself,the handbrake arm on the caliper MUST spring back strongly, my old one was really stiff, my passenger side wheel was binding,get your hands on a working one and you will see the difference,when you said `2 clicks and the lever wouldn't pull any further`does not sound right to me should go a bit more i think ?,also not to sure about a ratchet repair kit ? what ever that is,i think if the handbrake mechanism is knackered the calipers knackered,behind that handbrake lever is a big spring which would be fun trying to get that back in,best to leave it, i paid £35 for my caliper by the way.
 

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Chief Stig
Joined
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272 Posts
and if you need discs + pads get them they are important.
 

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Premium Member
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12,458 Posts
Exchange reconditioned brake calipers from most good motor factors will set you back between £45-£65 tops, with a years one years guarantee, really ain't worth the hassle/cost of going the second hand route which may last a month or two tops, or if you get lucky a coupke or years, and brake cables are around £15 per side, again from local good motor factor, if you need a garage to fit the cables for you, then look at an hours labour tops, with tea break. If you price the parts up at Fords, then please sit down before the hit you with a price. Disc's and pads, again from your local motor factor, aim for Mintex if you can, very well liked on here and well priced.
 

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Registered
Joined
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571 Posts
Hi there. I was looking (probably in vain) for someone who's had the issue I've discovered but basically I found my LHS caliper has the handbrake 'tumbler' and piston from a RHS caliper in it.

Don't know if you ever got your issue sorted 😇 but it might've been that
 
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