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Thread: How do I tighten the handbrake?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    London
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    How do I tighten the handbrake?

    Hi everyone,

    Can someone tell me how I adjust the handbrake?

    At the moment the handbrake lever movement is a bit excessive.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    BANCHORY
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    3,232
    There is no adjustment. Hand brake is supposed to adjust itself automatically.
    Drives a Smart Cdi - 65 to 85 MPG

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    uk
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    809
    Maybe a good service of the rear drums will help matters ..
    You're so money supermarket and you don't even know it!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    The brake shoes are too often incorrectly fitted when serviced by garages and incompetent mechanics. Not entirely their fault since most brake shoe manufactures depict their brake shoe assemblies for the Smart 450 & 451 incorrectly.

    To start fault finding kindly confirm if brake pedal is normal with minimal travel.
    Drives a Smart Cdi - 65 to 85 MPG

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    BANCHORY
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    Above photo shows the springs-rod-rack mechanism on a 450 located just below hand brake lever. Mechanism on a 451 is nearly identical. The mechanism connects hand brake cables to hand brake lever. A long small diameter spring hidden from view in above photo preloads the mechanism in vertical up direction.

    How does the mechanism work?
    The long small diameter spring tensions the handbrake cables. It will not apply the brakes as rather weak. The ratchet is disengaged when handbrake lever is down. This allows the above spring to push rod upwards. Ratchet engages when you pull handbrake lever and cables are tensioned and brakes applied. The mechanism adjusts itself each time you lower handbrake lever to its rest position.

    To confirm above mechanism is fully operational you have to get under the car. Hand brake must be fully lowered in off position. Pull and push on rod to confirm small spring is intact and that mechanism can move freely. Coat the whole and all of above mechanism in wicking grease to lubricate and protect from corrosion.

    I have a better photo somewhere and will post if I can find it.
    Drives a Smart Cdi - 65 to 85 MPG

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    BANCHORY
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    Photos of handbrake auto adjusting mechanism:





    Drives a Smart Cdi - 65 to 85 MPG

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Central Scotland
    Posts
    439
    Although there is no handrake adjstment, what you might have is the self adjsters at the drums not working right (rusted up?) and thats why you have too much slack.

    I had my rear drums inspected by kwik fit four years ago when i got the car, as I was getting new disk pads fitted at the front, and they showed me there was plenty of thickness on the drum shoes, and when they put the drums back on I was getting six notches on the hand brake, instead of the three notches I started with. (Went from a 30 degree pull of the hanfbrake, to double that of 60 degrees, not good).

    I went back to them after realising the handbrake seemed slack, and the guy said the self adjsters will pull up the slack, and within a few days drivng the hand brake was back to three notches, ie, normal.

    I was quite amazed that it does not take a lot of movement at the self adjsters to give you really big differences in handbrake notches of travel. So check out that your self adjusters are pulling up enough slack.

    PS...On the new 453 Fortwo they have solved this problem of handbrake adjustment by having a nut and bolt arrangment to tighten handbrake under a hidden plastic cover next to handbrake inside the cabin. Like cars should have
    Last edited by colin2x2; 19-01-2018 at 02:58 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by colin2x2 View Post

    PS...On the new 453 Fortwo they have solved this problem of handbrake adjustment by having a nut and bolt arrangment to tighten handbrake under a hidden plastic cover next to handbrake inside the cabin. Like cars should have
    But.... the arrangement on the 450 permits dropping of the subframe without having to do much in the way of handbrake cable detaching.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2012
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    Burnley
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinger View Post
    But.... the arrangement on the 450 permits dropping of the subframe without having to do much in the way of handbrake cable detaching.
    This has me confused. When I dropped my 450 I absolutely remember having a diddly of a time unfastening the handbrake cable. When I dropped my 451 it just came out with out me doing anything.

    The only thing I can think of is that the handbrake was on on the 450 though I doubt that I would have done that, too many years experience to ever leave a handbrake on for more than a day or two when working on a car.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mjolinor View Post
    This has me confused. When I dropped my 450 I absolutely remember having a diddly of a time unfastening the handbrake cable. When I dropped my 451 it just came out with out me doing anything.

    The only thing I can think of is that the handbrake was on on the 450 though I doubt that I would have done that, too many years experience to ever leave a handbrake on for more than a day or two when working on a car.
    For certain, the handbrake has to be in released position. Mine disconnects without problem - reconnecting not always so. Not least the persistent binding since it was last disconnected - despite everything appearing to be free.

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