Handbrake Adjustment

conaero

Forum Owner
Messages
27,367
#1
Slacken wheel bolts using the wheel wrench or better a 22m socket and long bar, jack up the car and place on axel stands, note both wheels need to be off the ground or turning one is nigh on impossible. Then remove one wheel, be prepared they are heavy and sometimes require a bash from the rear with a mallet if the centre locating hub is rusty:

HBRAKE1.jpg

Remove two 19mm mounting bolts holding brake calliper in place you will probably need a ring spanner as a brake pipe is in the way of a socket. Hang the calliper with string / wire or in my case a tie wrap, from the suspension to take any strain off the flexible pipe:

HBRAKE2.jpg

Remove the two 13mm bolts holding the disc in place and remove the disc, if tight make sure handbrake is fully off and make sure that the flange, the disc centre fits over is free of rust. Gentle persuasion with a soft mallet may be needed. If no luck you may have to slacken off the adjuster through one of the access holes see pics 7, 12 and 13 and the last paragraph.
Once removed, you can see the handbrake gubbins in all its glory:

HBRAKE3.jpg

Remove the holding springs by grasping the centre flat with long nose pliers and pushing and at the same time turning 90 degrees to unhook the rear. I understand the very early cars had a different type of fixings but these operate in a similar manner to remove:

HBRAKE4.jpg

Next you should remove the top shoe spring but that's easier said than done so I just spread the top of the shoes to disengage them from the operating mechanism, this allowed me to remove the top spring easily as there is no longer any tension on it:

HBRAKE5.jpg

Now you can remove the shoe / bottom spring and adjuster assembly easily, all the parts can be seen:

HBRAKE6.jpg

Clean all parts with a wire brush (a dusty and dirty job) no asbestos should be in these shoes but still, your nose won't like it. If the shoes are intact and not missing their linings or parting company then give these a good clean and de glaze them with some coarse emery paper. The shoes are rarely worn down unless they have been binding or you spend your time practicing hand brake turns, after all they are only used when stationary:

HBRAKE7.jpg

One shoe done compared to a glazed one I'm sure you will tell the clean one from the glazed. If I had more time I would have cleaned them more and could have applied some zinc paint to the rusty bits, maybe a job for next winter when I redo this job for the next MOT.

Dismantle the adjuster and apply some grease to the threads:

HBRAKE8.jpg

All the parts as they should be when assembled just in case you forget what went where! Note the adjuster is fully wound in.
Clean the brake back plate and apply grease to the operating mechanism joints:

HBRAKE9.jpg

How to assemble the shoes for refitting note the lack of top spring as this can be fitted last. Offer up the shoe assembly from the bottom whilst opening the top of the shoes to engage in the small cut-outs in the operating mechanism:

HBRAKE10.jpg

Refit the shoe holding springs and finally the top spring with the aid of some stout pliers or spring hooks.

Clean the inside of the disk from brake dust and rust then deglaze with emery paper:

HBRAKE11.jpg

Centralize the shoes and try the disc on it should be an easy fit remove and turn the adjuster a little (top away from you) and refit continue this until it will just slide on without catching. Refit the two 13mm bolts to hold the disc in place. Next we have to adjust the shoes so line up one of the outer two holes with the adjuster:

HBRAKE12.jpg

You can just see what I mean, and using a screw driver as in:

HBRAKE13.jpg

Push the adjuster teeth away from you at the bottom one click at a time until you can feel the shoes touching the drum by trying to turn it. Once it catches back off the adjuster (top away from you) about 2-3 notches. Refit the wheel so you can turn it more easily and make sure that it is not binding. Apply the handbrake and make sure it locks the wheel. Carry out any further adjustments if required and then after a cuppa, attack the other side.

This is the first time I've come across brake shoes without any form of self adjusting since the 1960's and feel this is a major cause of these handbrakes having such a bad reputation. Once there has been a time for bedding in you may have to adjust them a notch to keep the handbrake leaver operating for the desirable three to five clicks. Mine now has no trouble holding the car on any incline, although I still leave it in gear as a precaution. This is because if a handbrake is applied with very hot discs, when these cool down and contract they can lose contact with the shoes or pads and that's when your car can move. I've seen this happen more than once on different cars.

The figures on the test stations machine went from 26 / 11 up to 290 / 310 although I'm not sure what these numbers actually mean surely the difference is meaningful.
 

Parisien

New Member
Messages
34,902
#2
Conaero, I never commented on nor thanked you for the above photo fix....brill!

Will also link this to a thread on Maseratilife!


P
 

JAGPURR

New Member
Messages
91
#4
Hi guys,

Sorry to dissapoint you but the above was actually all my work! check some of my other posts and you will recognise the garage floor and rug. I gave it Conaero to reprint it and post the pics for me as I had just joined the forum and didn't know how.
Thanks anyway.
Keith
 
Last edited:

Parisien

New Member
Messages
34,902
#5
Genuine mistake JAGPURR.......I will amend the attribution on the maseratilife forum,

Regards and a big thank you again,

P
 

NickP

Centenary Club
Messages
1,529
#7
Excellent post, will be giving this a go as my handbrake is not great & only just made it through the MOT.
 

conaero

Forum Owner
Messages
27,367
#10
Benny, yes, they are very difficult to adjust, my advise would be to just replace the shoes. If you sent them to Belfast Brakes, and mention this forum, they will reburb them for £35 including VAT and return postage.

Clean all the parts and grease up the equaliser (the coupling where both rear cables meet in the middle of the car).
 

Parisien

New Member
Messages
34,902
#11
Thanks. Hugely helpful. This should help me get my handbrake lever down from the vertical!
Just make sure your shoes aren't shot/delaminated if you're pulling it up so far.....plus additional damage can be done to the relevant parts in the drum.


P
 

BennyD

Sea Urchin Pate
Messages
12,986
#12
Sorry for the delay in response but only just got around to sorting them out. The shoes are good although the drum is a little scored. Cleaned everything and adjusted them up and all is well. The lever is about 5 clicks and there is now a definite retardation when applied on the move. I even cleared the holes in the disc which were clogged with brake dust/ debris. Thanks again for the thread, it saved me considerable grief and expense.
 
Messages
1,393
#15
This is what I will need once I have replaced the rear disks.
It might just help me get them off as well. Off back out to try slacking off the shoes. Top away to slacken the shoes then?

Thanks to Jagpurr for the work and Conaero for posting.

Rob
 

BennyD

Sea Urchin Pate
Messages
12,986
#16
Just had problems with my handbrake; it was working fine the last time I was out but as the day progressed, every time I used it the handle came further up. When I stripped it down one of the shoes had disintegrated and was in the bottom of the drum in the form of small bits and dust. Relined shoes and skimmed drums and all is well. Apparently what happens is, every time you wash the wheels, water gets into the drums through the two holes in the drum face and starts to rust the drum. If you leave it for any length of time the shoes stick to the drum and when you start off you sometimes get a thump as they disengage. This apparently can break the bond between shoe and lining. I have found some grommets to blank off the holes and I will be parking it in gear with the handbrake off.
 

BennyD

Sea Urchin Pate
Messages
12,986
#17
This is what I will need once I have replaced the rear disks.
It might just help me get them off as well. Off back out to try slacking off the shoes.Top away to slacken the shoes then? Rob
Rob, which way to slacken off the shoes depends on how the mechanism has been rebuilt. The gear like wheel threads move the adjuster in or out depending on which way you move it. Move it and see what happens; if it gets tight move it the other way to slacken it off. If it gets slack, you got first time lucky! I hope this helps, I was doing it myself yesterday.
 

Emtee

Centenary Club
Messages
8,446
#18
Just had problems with my handbrake; it was working fine the last time I was out but as the day progressed, every time I used it the handle came further up. When I stripped it down one of the shoes had disintegrated and was in the bottom of the drum in the form of small bits and dust. Relined shoes and skimmed drums and all is well. Apparently what happens is, every time you wash the wheels, water gets into the drums through the two holes in the drum face and starts to rust the drum. If you leave it for any length of time the shoes stick to the drum and when you start off you sometimes get a thump as they disengage. This apparently can break the bond between shoe and lining. I have found some grommets to blank off the holes and I will be parking it in gear with the handbrake off.
Did you keep the old shoe liners Ben? Belfast Brakes will reline them for £35.00 (IIRC) and the bond is far better than OEM.
 

BennyD

Sea Urchin Pate
Messages
12,986
#19
Miles, my shoes were reshod with new friction material, so I haven't got an old set to pass on I'm afraid. It cost me about £58 for the new facings but there was no postage so I am happy with that.