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2 Handbrake Problems


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#1 GSM

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 04:35 PM

Hi all, two problems with handbrake over the past few weeks:

Firstly, they seem a bit ineffective! When stopping in traffic I usually need to apply it to the very last possible notch to get the car to stand still. Any other notches, and it just rolls forwards or backwards. And if the incline is steep enough, even the last notch can be ineffective.

Is it simple enough to adjust?

Secondly, when it's particularly rainy, like it has been all week (and most weeks, up here in Scotland), then when I get in the car the next day, take off the handbrake and attempt to move off, I find that the brakes are stuck on. Most times you hear them pop off when you begin to move off, but some times you need to give a right good rev before they'll come undone.

Again, what's the possible issues here and will it be easy to fix?

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#2 Fastfordman

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 06:01 PM

The handbrake will be locking on when you park up as you'll be pulling it on too hard to compensate for its lack of effectiveness. Getting the handbrake adjusted properly will more than likely cure both problems.

#3 artscot79

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 06:04 PM

the brake sticking im assumin is the rear usualy the passenger side? and does it have drums? its something ive heard a few focis do usualy if you lie under the rear you will see where the handbrake cable goes into the drum theres a section where the cables visible apply grease to that area and work the handbrake on and off a few times if that fails remove the drum and take away any crud like rust between where both parts meet. as for adjusting the handbrake you dont want it too tight but im sure you lift up the centre console and the adjustment is there havent taken it off so not sure how to do that part

#4 stef123

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 10:18 PM

you really need to get the drums off for inspection, dont just tighten up the cable. (if drums are fitted?)

it could be the cable sticking, shoe/level sticking, piston not returning... quite a number of reasons.

the shoes should self adjust and this means the handbrake cables shouldnt really need touched if its working ok.

#5 NorthSussex

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 10:38 PM

As you have a Focus Ghia I assume you have rear discs not drums, if rain gets onto the discs it is common for the handbrake to stick on and you will hear a pop as they release when you drive off, from your description it does sound a bit more serious than this; check the pads for wear and replace if necessary, if there is a lip on the edge of the disc this will need replacing also.

#6 stef123

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 10:52 PM

its quite normal to have a lip on the edge of the disc, providing the disc in not extremely worn

#7 NorthSussex

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 08:22 AM

its quite normal to have a lip on the edge of the disc, providing the disc in not extremely worn


Depending on the depth of the lip it denotes the amount of ware on the disc, a new disc has no lip.

#8 martyntdci

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 08:32 AM

strip ya callipers down and grease ur sliders, check pistons, and surrounding seals. check pads, yeah if disks have slight lip replace just pads if needed, if has larger lip personally id replace both easy enough to do.... if im right there should be a 13mm net under the centre console behind the hanbrake lever......

#9 GSM

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 09:50 AM

Hi guys, thanks for all the replies.

For clarification, it's drums on the back!

#10 martyntdci

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 10:09 AM

depending on set up, remove centre console there should be 1 cable coming from handbrake, 1 cable coming from either drum upto a connector with 1 10/13mm nut... apply handbrake and see if both cables pull up equally, if they do you will need a 1/4" ratchet but with a deep socket fasten up a few times..... handbrake 4 clicks enough.. If cables dont pully up equally then obv 1 rear brake is working more than the other. Take both sides off, (may need hub nut removal depending) clean all rust and sandpaper the insides of drum. check adjusters, seals etc and condition of shoes, (also check cond of drum as it might need replacing also)....

#11 stef123

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 03:01 PM

be aware that the handbrake adjust is only there to take the slack up in the cable, not pull the shoes in. so hand tightening it with a socket it enough

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