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makalu

Smax Manual Handbrake Stuck On... Any Clues?

12 posts in this topic

Hi Fellow SMax Pilots.

Decided to join the forum after lurking for a while. I have a 2008 SMax 2.0 Titanium Diesel (140PS) and generally speaking its been a great family car. However yesterday the parking brake decided to jam in the fully up and engaged position (its a manual brake not electric). Despite my uneducated attempts to release it, it was not budging. AA called out and the sourced the problem to a broken release cable in the handle. There is a small flat 'S' shaped (or 'kinked') end to the button release cable that seems to go up inside the handbrake handle's driver's side arm and I think this connects to the spring loaded button in the handle at the top. This 'S' shaped part has broken leaving the spring loaded release button permanently engaged. The nice AA man left me with a piece of wire connected to the release cable which we can now pull on to disengage the button release lock - so at least we have a 'get you home' fix.

I started searching the web to see if there is a replacement cable. Looks like you can buy either an entire handbrake assembly (£160...) or just a replacement handle (£60) - all because of a simple broken cable! The handle option does not appear to include a cable, the full assembly does (at least the pictures on Ebay suggest this is so).

Has anyone else had this problem and what is the best way to fix it? Do I need an entire assembly (like this -> Link) or is there a way to replace just the cable?

Thanks for any help offered!

Mak.

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soz cant offer you any practical advice on a fix,but why not pm any ebay sellers who are breaking an smax for the part.im sure they could be a hell of a lot cheaper??

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Im not sure which part you are referring to to be honest, but it does sound like it should be at the base of the handbrake, in which case a trip to the breakers should help you for a lot less money!

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I had exactly the same last June on my 1800 Tdci Zetec (2007) and again the AA had to do me a Heath Robinson botch till I got to the garage - £200 for a new Unit.

Bizarrely it went again this month though apparently this time it was a calliper that needed adjusted and the handbrake cable also adjusted.

Horrible design and gives no confidence now

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Hi, I got exactly the same problem and fixed it at home for a few pence. You cannot buy the little release cable as a separate part, but a piece of " tiger tail" wire from the craft shop does the same job. Whatever wire you choose it has to be pretty thin to go round the nylon wheel at the bottom of the right HB arm. How? Unscrew the box out of the central console. (Torx screws). Next pull up the chrome trim with the cup holder and slip the gaiter off the gearstick. Now prise off the chrome looking plastic around the release button and next pull out the button and mechanism. Not much more now....unhook the broken wire from the button and the ratchet and pull free. Feed the tigertail wire through the handle and tie onto the button. (I used a wd40 straw around the bend to avoid it rubbing to bits again). Lastly feed it round the nylon wheel and tie it to the hole in the ratchet mechanism. Done. Just the plastics to be put back on in reverse order.

Hope you too can benefit from this cheap workaround if you hit the same problem.

Edit: after one year the tigertail wire also failed, so I now spent a full £1 on proper guitar string. The cost is mounting!!

post-64053-0-39449900-1447885640_thumb.jpost-64053-0-32226600-1447885606_thumb.jpost-64053-0-00327500-1447885619_thumb.j

747777, elfa and jeebowhite like this

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Very useful info, thank you.

fastvelz likes this

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Fantastic suggestion. I used 0.38mm tiger tail wire and the handbrake now works properly for the first time in months.

fastvelz likes this

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Hi, I got exactly the same problem and fixed it at home for a few pence. You cannot buy the little release cable as a separate part, but a piece of " tiger tail" wire from the craft shop does the same job. Whatever wire you choose it has to be pretty thin to go round the nylon wheel at the bottom of the right HB arm. How? Unscrew the box out of the central console. (Torx screws). Next pull up the chrome trim with the cup holder and slip the gaiter off the gearstick. Now prise off the chrome looking plastic around the release button and next pull out the button and mechanism. Not much more now....unhook the broken wire from the button and the ratchet and pull free. Feed the tigertail wire through the handle and tie onto the button. (I used a wd40 straw around the bend to avoid it rubbing to bits again). Lastly feed it round the nylon wheel and tie it to the hole in the ratchet mechanism. Done. Just the plastics to be put back on in reverse order.

Hope you too can benefit from this cheap workaround if you hit the same problem.

Edit: after one year the tigertail wire also failed, so I now spent a full £1 on proper guitar string. The cost is mounting!!

attachicon.gif2015-11-18_22.04.54.jpgattachicon.gif2015-11-18_22.12.50.jpgattachicon.gif2015-11-18_22.09.27.jpg

 

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I used guitar string to fix mine. excellent solution. however I could not manage to take out the release button to extract the broken cable. the cable was broken at the base exactly where the ratchet release was. we looped the guitar string through the that ratchet and connected the new cable to the original one with a small pliers. works perfect. Small hands required!

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Hi, I got exactly the same problem and fixed it at home for a few pence. You cannot buy the little release cable as a separate part, but a piece of " tiger tail" wire from the craft shop does the same job. Whatever wire you choose it has to be pretty thin to go round the nylon wheel at the bottom of the right HB arm. How? Unscrew the box out of the central console. (Torx screws). Next pull up the chrome trim with the cup holder and slip the gaiter off the gearstick. Now prise off the chrome looking plastic around the release button and next pull out the button and mechanism. Not much more now....unhook the broken wire from the button and the ratchet and pull free. Feed the tigertail wire through the handle and tie onto the button. (I used a wd40 straw around the bend to avoid it rubbing to bits again). Lastly feed it round the nylon wheel and tie it to the hole in the ratchet mechanism. Done. Just the plastics to be put back on in reverse order.

Hope you too can benefit from this cheap workaround if you hit the same problem.

Edit: after one year the tigertail wire also failed, so I now spent a full £1 on proper guitar string. The cost is mounting!!

Exactly the same problem happened on our S-Max recently, the thin wire release cable broke about 1" from the button just where the cable goes over the 90 degree sharp bend from the horizontal handle to the vertical handbrake arm. I'm no mechanical engineer but I can figure out that if you allow a thin wire cable to move back and forth over a sharp bend it's going to break there sooner or later. And then to not stock it as a separate spare but instead force you to shell out £150+ for the entire handbrake mechanism, poor show Ford!! Anyway enough of the complaining, I thought I would share my fix to this problem as this thread inspired me to do-it-myself.

Firstly the original wire cable is 0.83mm diameter. I think it's a 7x7 strand arrangement, that is 7 individual wires wound together into a single strand, which is then wound with 6 other strands to form the final cable. The cable has a T-bar stop on one end and a cranked hook on the other. The visible cable length between these two ends is exactly 40cm.

post-70978-0-39596000-1451852925_thumb.j post-70978-0-00361800-1451852909_thumb.j post-70978-0-64779900-1451852918_thumb.j

Initially I looked at making an entirely new cable from scratch, however I could not find anywhere that sold crimpable T-bar ends, and in any case the cranked hook end was going to be difficult. Instead I decided to keep the cranked hook end and splice on a new length of wire cable and make a replacement T-bar end.

All the bits I needed came from a company called TecniCable and are listed below (prices ex VAT and ex P&P):

  • 0.9mm 7x7 wire cable (603.000.900) quantity 1m - £0.84/m
  • 1mm A4-AISI 316 Stainless Steel Thin Walled Stop (208.606.010) quantity 1 - £1.13ea
  • 1mm Double Copper Ferrule for 0.9-1.0mm cable (115.000.010) quantity 3 - £0.24ea

The 0.9mm 7x7 wire cable is slightly larger diameter than the original but is still very flexible. I did try a 1.0mm cable but decided not to use it in the end as although it was still very flexible, its bend radius was a bit much for the edge it needs to go over in the handbrake assembly. The 1mm stainless steel thin walled stop I used was exactly the same size as the original cables T-bar end and so slipped into the hole in the plastic button perfectly. This should help spread the load from the cable and prevent the cable wearing through the plastic. The double copper ferrules are like a figure of 8 end on and allow you to splice two cables together or terminate a cable with a looped end. You can buy proper crimping tools for these ferrules but a good pair of pliers or mole grips works just as well. NOTE: I did mess up the first couple of attempts so you may want to buy say 2m of the cable and maybe 9-10 ferrules just in case.

OK to fix the cable you need to do the following:

  • Disassemble the centre console until you can reach into the handbrake mechanism. fastvelz gave some details. In the end I removed the whole thing to get better access, but that was quite time consuming and hard work.
  • Remove the old release cable. The cranked hook end is a bit tricky to remove as the up-cranked bit fits up between the underside of the U shaped bar which forms the bottom of the handbrake leaver. At the end near the ratchet (see fastvelz second image) the U bar is open bottomed, further back its a closed U.
  • Thread some fine string or fishing line down the vertical arm of the handbrake on the drivers side where the release cable went, this just makes it easier later to thread the new wire cable through.
  • Cut off the cranked hook end leaving about 5-6cm of the original wire. Sorry I can't be more precise but I forgot exactly what length I left. Originally I made it too long and found the crimp ferrules connecting the old and new wire cables together got caught at the other end of the U shaped bar the cable slides in near the nylon wheel. This end is again open bottomed which formed an edge the ferrules got caught on.
  • Take the length of new cable and thread one copper ferrule over the end, then the stainless steel thin walled stop and finally feed the end back through the ferrule again. Leave some spare cable but do not crimp this end yet. Gently squeeze the loop of wire which goes through the steel stop to form a tight loop. This should leave a bit of a bend in the cable where the steel stop fits, as this end has to be crimped in place and you can't remeasure where this bit goes.
  • Slide another two copper ferrules onto the other end of the new cable and then slide the old hook end cable through the other half of the ferrules.
  • Lay out the old and new cable on top of a tape measure and adjust it such that the distance between the steel stop forming the T-bar end and the point the old cable is formed into the hook end is exactly 40cm. The two copper ferrules at the hook end should be next to each other and at the end of the tail of wire left on the hook end. I used two ferrules here to be more secure with the in-line join.
  • Squeeze the two ferrules around the old and new wire cable at the hook end. I used a pair of mole grips to squeeze each each channel through the figure of 8 shape. Carefully test the join and squeeze tighter if needed. Don't absolutely flatten the wire by over squeezing as this will splay the wire end and make it difficult to remake if you mess it up. Cut off any excess new cable sticking out of the ferrules.
  • Recheck the length and adjust the loop of wire at the T-bar end if necessary.
  • Remove the steel stop and ferrule from the T-bar end as you can't thread this up through the handbrake handle. Hopefully the cable will have a couple of kinks in it where the steel stop goes so its obvious when it comes to putting these bits back as you can't measure it once it's in place.
  • Now thread the unfinished end of the wire into the U shaped channel of handbrake mechanism from the ratchet end towards the nylon wheel. The wire must be in this channel not underneath it, I made that mistake the first time. Then fit the hook back through the hole in the ratchet making sure the up-cranked part of the hook fits up into the U channel.
  • Take the wire around the nylon wheel and then up through the vertical handle of the handbrake. This is where having a fish wire may be useful.
  • Once the wire cable comes out at the top of the handbrake lever thread on the ferrule, then the stainless steel stop. Before threading the cable back through the ferrule again pass the stainless steel stop through the hole in the button where the T-bar would have gone, then thread it through the ferrule to close the loop. This will effectively trap the button in the loop.
  • Close the loop fairly small by sliding the ferrule closer to the stainless steel stop where it passes through the button. There is a post on the underside of the button behind the T-bar hole towards the end you press, you want to end up with the ferrule between that and the T-bar hole so it's out of the way.
  • Crimp the ferrule on the loop tight and snip off any excess so it fits in the gap.

post-70978-0-89611100-1451852932_thumb.j

  • Finally put the spring back on the button end and feed it into the handle. Then put the centre console back together.

I hope this proves some help to others.

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