My handbrake doesn't hold very well. I've adjusted the cable (very tight on the 5th notch) but the car still moves down the hill. Removed the hubs, the handbrake levers attached to the trailing shoes aren't seized. I've noticed though that the rest position of the lever on the near side brakes is further up than the other side. There is plenty of lining left (min 2mm, spec is 1 mm). Any ideas? The normal braking performance of the car is perfect.
I've no idea of the age of this Fiesta, but as a general rule: slacken the handbrake cable TOTALLY, then apply the footbrake to set the self-adjuster ratchets and only then adjust the handbrake cable.
If the handbrake cable[s] are too tight, the self-adjusters won't work and the over-tightened cable will "bottom-out" at the end of it's travel before the shoes have expanded sufficiently to hold the car.
Handbrake Problem Fiesta -
Andrew Moorey (Tune-Up)
The self-adjusters never did work on these cars. Slacken off the handbrake cable. Remove the drums and file off the wear ridge on the edge of the braking surface. You can use an angle grinder if you are confident enough. With two large screwdrivers ease the shoes away from each other gently until the self adjusters 'click' once or twice, refit the drum and operate the footbrake to centralise the shoes, rotate the drum and repeat the operation until the shoes are only just barely touching the drum, you can hear rather than feel contact. Repeat on the other side and you should finish up with a nice handbrake and a better feel to the footbrake. Occasionally the self adjusters sieze up so you'll have to sort that out first. The purpose of removing the wear ridge is to allow the drum to slip over the adjusted shoes without dragging.
Hope it makes sense!
just to add if you do as suggested by everyone (which was excellant) and the handbrake still doesnt work then its a fair certainty that the ratchet teeth on the shoe adjusters have worn,i find this verry common now that these cars are getting older,you have to buy the bits in pairs from the dealer and they are £30 approx
Thanks to everybody for their excellent replies. Before reading them, I removed both drums and dissassembled the shoes. The adjusters are in good condition and not seized. I reset them to the minimum position then reassembled everything. With the hadbrake cable fully slackened, I pressed the footbrake until the clicking from the drums stopped. Then I adjusted up the cable. The result is still a very poor handbake indeed. The car was last serviced a year ago (only 4000 miles ago) and the handbrake cables were renewed by the garage. When the handbrake is applied the cable gives up its slack so I'm sure this bit is alright. I almost feel like fitting new shoes - but the existing ones are well in spec so don't really want to do this. Any more ideas?
If the adjusters are not slipping off, the shoes are not contaminated or glazed,there isnt a big lip on the drums that is not allowing you to to slip the drum on then i am at a loss,all these fiestas i do i get them one click of the handbrake every time and have never adjusted the actual cable to get a good foot and hand brake in fact the wife plays heck because she struggles to put it on in the morning if she hasnt had her porridge
I therefore suggest something is not just right,another thing i do is always deglaze the shoes and drum with some 80 grit
Check everything again young man
Thanks again for the replies. I succombed and fitted new shoes. The problem is better, but not resolved. Could it be that the shoes need to bed in a little first? If this doesn't fix it, maybe I'll change the wheel cylinders...then the drums? Could be that the drums have worn out of spec - I didn't check this. But then again new shoes would have compensated I would have thought.
As Andrew said,the adjusters don't work properly on these(never have),so they will take up the slack,but won't do that last bit of adjustment that is needed to get the brakes spot on.I have to go though this performance with my Sierra when the handbrake will not hold properly,I would much prefer manual adjusters on the backplate,or may convert to discs at some point.
Renewing the cylinders will make no difference,if the drums are excessively worn there would be a huge lip.