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Hello all,

I have a quick question for the group. How do you adjust a weak emergency brake... I.e.. My brakes are fine.. but the pulled brake handle doesnt engage until at the top end of its travel...

Thanks
Cheers
Martin.
 

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1966-2013
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The S3's adjust by 1st setting the starwheel in the brake hubs, then the tensioner underneath the chassis up by the bottom of the brake handle. (not the threaded rod in the brake handle proper, but the part built into the cable)

I can't imagine yours would be drastically different than that.
 

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If you have adjusted the star wheel inside the rear calipers to be set right...usually run them up tight and back off 3 notches, you have them best set. If this doesn't adjust your handbrake well enough, then you have to get up under the car. Where the cable is attached to the car, you will find a round cylinder that is part of the cable. By turning this cylinder you can adjust the take up play in the cable, thereby lessing how far up you have to pull the handbrake assembly. My wifes spider now sets at 3 notches up from the bottom setting in a full lock. You will have to only turn the cylinder a few turns (not sure which way to tighten) to make the cable right.
 

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Parking/E-Brake

My emergency/parking brake barely engages at all even a full extension of the handle.
I did a search on the BB and got a few hits, I got this snippet about the e-brake system.

<
"There is an access hole in the rotor to adjust the emergency brake. Rotate the rear disc until you can see the adjustment (looks like a gear teeth). Rotate the teeth with a screw driver until you get it tightened up so that the hub starts to get a little resistance."
>

Is the adjustment screw they are referring to the "star wheel" that you are talking about?
If I need to adjust the "round cylinder", where along the cable travel is this piece? The shop manual doesn't really cover the e-brake well.

Thanks, Steve
 

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Yup, that in-hub gear thingy is the star wheel.

While doing that you want to keep spinning the drum/rotor every couple ticks of adjustment. You're going for more of a soft skimming sound than outright perceptible drag. (it's one of those zen-like nuance things rather than a specific X lbs pressure at Y preload type scenario)

The cylinder on the cable is in the single run of cable from the brake handle before it T's off to each wheel.

Roughly within a foot or so of the brake lever mount point. (Can't miss it. It's about 8x as big around as the cable)
 

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replaced the spring

FWIW, for the longest time I thought I needed to adjust my parking brake cable because it simply wouldn't stay up unless pulled all the way. One day it occurred to me that it was simply the little spring inside the handle that had become too weak to pop the button and engage the ratchet gear. I'm guessing the DPO must have developed handbrakeitis from giving it this much exercise...
 

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Any idea if the cylinder need be loosened before setting the brake clearance?


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Any idea if the cylinder need be loosened before setting the brake clearance?
If you are referring to the round device located on the e-brake cable in the propshaft tunnel the answer is yes. You want to slacken the emergency brake cable by turning that cylindrical turnbuckle before adjusting the star wheels in the rear hubs. That will make sure there is no outside influence on the cable when you are adjusting the star wheels and spinning the hubs.
 

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Thanks! I gave the cylinder a turn by hand and something "unsprung" loudly. I assume it was the cable sheath cap that hadn't seated properly in the cylinder. I'll get cracking on the adjustments.

BTW, any good step-by-steps out there for brake pad replacement on an 86 Spider?
 

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That is perfect! Thank you!!

Update: did the rears since I had the car up for fluid replacement. Cleaned the caliper and pads (they were 50%), purged the lines, and greased the backside of the pads. Topped off with Lucas synthetic (it's clear!?) and brakes feel smooth and mighty now. Oh, and the handbrake is adjusted to perfection.

Now on to the fronts.
 
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