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 Post subject: Handbrake woes
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:13 am 
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Soft Roader

Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:34 am
Posts: 51
Ok so I had the xtrail mot's in August and it failed on the handbrake. I had adjusted the day before and it would hold on my steepish driveway. I had new discs, pads and handbrake shoes fitted by the garage and picked the car up. Got back home and the handbrake wouldn't hold on even a slight incline. Took it back to the garage and they said the new shoes would need to bed in ?. Looked on the net and found the running in procedure. Carried this out but little change. Took car back a couple of weeks later to have the handbrake readjusted as advised by the garage only to pick it up in a worse state. There was a lot of free play at the cable so I adjusted the cable with little improvement. Last week I replaced the cables and carried out adjustment to the brakes after stripping and cleaning and coating the contact points with copper grease. Little better maybe. I have since adjusted a further two times but still have a handbrake that won't hold on any decent incline. Does anyone have any advice or ideas as to why it won't hold ? I know the x trail handbrake suffers problems but surely after all new parts it should be better than this ?


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 Post subject: Re: Handbrake woes
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:25 am 
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Xtrail Nut

Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:11 pm
Posts: 2837
Location: Cumbria
Car:: Xtrail
Model: T30
Year/Plate: 56
Colour: Silver
YES, I've had some handbrake "issues" recently!

I fear that the same thing may have happened to you, as happened to me. (However, in my case, it was my own stupid fault)!

I replaced the shoes on Mrs. Avocet's car. I adjusted the shoes correctly but FORGOT to back the handbrake cable off first! The result was a rubbish handbrake. I tried bedding them in and re-adjusting but they were no better. I tried bedding them in WAY too hard (several stops downhill from 30 MPH!) with the result that I "cooked" the friction linings and they started breaking up. Replaced the shoes again (and this time, slackened the cable before I adjusted them). All was fine again! Here's what I think happened...

When I fitted the new shoes the first time, and didn't slacken the cable off, the top actuator was partially expanded. The result was that the shoes were not concentric with the drum, so although I adjusted them on the adjusters correctly, there wasn't much surface area of shoe in contact with the drum (it only contacted at the ends where the adjuster was). If I had left it for a year or so, and kept adjusting the shoes, they would have worn to the curvature of the drum and probably worked, but once I'd cooked them, I had to change them anyway and they'd never have worn-in, in time for the MOT.

When I fitted the second set, I remembered to slacken off the cable, which meant that they were pretty much exactly the same profile as the drum, so they contacted evenly all round it. I then adjusted them up, bedded them in (very slowly) and re-adjusted them, THEN adjusted the cable. The result was a decent amount of stopping power and about 4-5 clicks on the handbrake lever for maximum application. Any more than that, and you lose all your leverage.


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 Post subject: Re: Handbrake woes
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:50 am 
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Soft Roader

Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:34 am
Posts: 51
Hi and thankyou very much for your reply. When I fitted the new cables I adjusted the shoes with a slack cable then took up the free play at the cable adjuster nut. With wheels off the ground, the rear wheels locked up when I pulled the lever up. When it was back on its wheels it still wouldn't hold on an incline. What you say does sound possible so I think I may replace the shoes for better quality ones and start over with the job.
I suppose if the garage fitted the (pagid) shoes then tried the bedding in process incorrectly it may have worn the new shoes at one end making adjustment difficult without full contact with the drum.


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 Post subject: Re: Handbrake woes
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:41 pm 
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Xtrail Nut

Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:11 pm
Posts: 2837
Location: Cumbria
Car:: Xtrail
Model: T30
Year/Plate: 56
Colour: Silver
Oddly, the first set of shoes I used were genuine Mintex and the second set were "Eicher"! It sounds like you did the right thing. Sacken off the cable, adjust on the adjusters in each drum, and then take up the slack in the cable last. How many clicks of the ratchet were you getting for a full application when you pulled the handbrake on hard?


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 Post subject: Re: Handbrake woes
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:29 pm 
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Soft Roader

Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:34 am
Posts: 51
I was getting 6 clicks for locked wheels with it jacked up but then on its wheels 10 clicks wouldn't hold the x/t on my sloped drive. I've ordered new shoes so I shall try again from scratch paying particular attention. Fingers crossed.


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 Post subject: Re: Handbrake woes
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:19 am 
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Extreme Off Roader
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Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:10 pm
Posts: 469
Location: West Lancs UK
Car:: Xtrail (Jeeves)
Model: T30 22YD ETI DDT DI SE+
Year/Plate: 2003
Colour: silver
Mods: Duplex chain upgrade, EGR valve blanked off EGR allso set to off or ignore via ECU.
changed mine not long ago had no problems the trik with most cars ive learnt is make sure the hand brake is fully down :-) i then pull it up one click up to you, fit new shoes and disc adjust till slightly rubbing adjusting at this point is for fine tuneing so if still slak adjust at hand brake and they bed in soon enough.

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 Post subject: Re: Handbrake woes
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:51 am 
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Xtrail Nut

Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:11 pm
Posts: 2837
Location: Cumbria
Car:: Xtrail
Model: T30
Year/Plate: 56
Colour: Silver
Malinois wrote:
I was getting 6 clicks for locked wheels with it jacked up but then on its wheels 10 clicks wouldn't hold the x/t on my sloped drive. I've ordered new shoes so I shall try again from scratch paying particular attention. Fingers crossed.


That's WAY too many! After about 5 clicks the leverage you can exert with the lever drops off dramatically. Ours is now 4 clicks for most slopes. 5 clicks is about as much as I can apply with one hand. For 6 I need both hands! One of the problems with having 4WD is that it's very hard to feel when the rear brakes are starting to bind and when it's just the normal resistance from the driveshafts. When you adjust the handbrake shoes, just pull the handbrake on one click and see i they lock up (when you attempt to turn them by hand). Try (with a long screwdriver across two wheel studs, just turning the drum against the shoes backwards and forwards a few revolutions, to centralise the shoes, then release the handbrake and see if they're free. If they are, re-adjust. Then go for a short drive (half a mile should be plenty) and feel the rear "drums" to see if either is unusually warm.


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 Post subject: Re: Handbrake woes
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:53 am 
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Soft Roader

Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:34 am
Posts: 51
Yes I found the rear transmission does dull the feel of the handbrake when it comes to adjustment. Ideally is better to have the road wheels back on the car to feel how the handbrake is holding but means wheels on, wheels off a few times to carry out further adjustment. If the little access hole was at the rear of the backplates it would be easier.


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 Post subject: Re: Handbrake woes
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:05 am 
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Soft Roader

Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:37 pm
Posts: 91
Location: Northern Ireland
Car:: Xtrail
Model: T31 2.0dci 150 bhp
Year/Plate: 2008
Colour: Blue
Just changed my handbrake shoes. What is the running in process, or did I miss it in the first reading. Mark


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 Post subject: Re: Handbrake woes
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:49 pm 
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Soft Roader

Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:34 am
Posts: 51
Apply the handbrake a notch or two so that the shoes contact the drum just enough to rub whilst driving. Then drive at 3mph no faster for about 20 seconds. If you go too fast or the handbrake is on too much you will damage the shoes. It's like bedding in new pads, gently. As the handbrake is only applied when stationary, they never get the opportunity to wear in like pads and normal brake shoes. Hope this helps.


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