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1980s Girling caliper with integral handbrake problems

Discussion in 'Car Repairs / Maintenance' started by Avocet, 31 Mar 2021.

  1. fixitflav

    fixitflav

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    Can you operate the handbrake mech on the caliper with a spanner? I have Bosch calipers and the mech is a piece of bent pressed steel about 4mm thick, and I can get an adjustable on it.
    If so, does that apply the brake, with a reasonable amount of travel, say 10mm off the stop? And does it move fairly freely, and the spring retract it? If not, sounds like the self-adjustment isn't working right.
     
    Last edited: 31 Mar 2021
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  3. DIYspanner

    DIYspanner

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    If no, surely that's a warranty rework for BiggRed?
     
  4. fixitflav

    fixitflav

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    Probably is, but he wants to fix it in time for his free retest!
    He hasn't confirmed whether his caliper is the one you posted, but that one is pretty much identical to my Bosch. You can see where I get the adjustable on to work the lever.
    Found a Girling one Here
    I'm with Burnerman in being suspicious about the bad piston retracting. That doesn't sound right.
     
    Last edited: 31 Mar 2021
  5. DIYspanner

    DIYspanner

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    Piston operation can be observed with the caliper removed from the carrier, pads removed and caliper handbrake lever operated surely?
     
  6. Avocet

    Avocet

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    That's a generic image, I think. Mine don't QUITE look like that. (And the car isn't worth the cost of a pair of them at that price anyway)!
     
  7. Avocet

    Avocet

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    Not quite, but I can clamp a pair of Mole grips on to the lever to achieve much the same thing. One is better than the other, but yes, both will stop the wheel within a reasonable amount of travel. When I say "stop the wheel", I mean, "prevent me being able to turn it by hand".
     
  8. Avocet

    Avocet

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    Again, similar but not the same. The abutment for my handbrake cable is part of the casting rather than a separate bracket like that one.
     
  9. Avocet

    Avocet

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    Thanks for all the suggestions guys.

    Just an update on this. I soaked the cable with PTFE spray and took it back to the MOT station on Thursday. I think they took pity on me and it did JUST scrape a pass. (I didn't ask how many of them were heaving on the handbrake lever at the time)!

    My new cable then arrived, and I fitted that on Saturday, but other than making the lever operation a bit lighter, the handbrake isn't really significantly better. OK, it scraped through an MOT, but with all those new / reconditioned components, I feel it should have been MUCH better than it was!

    I spoke to Bigg Red today and they'd be happy to take them back at their cost if I can get them off the car, and they'll have another look at them. They confirmed that the one that wasn't ratcheting out, should have been. That seems decent enough of them. I'll see if I can take them off tonight and get them parcelled up. Beyond that, I'm left with the possibility that the new pads are simply the wrong compound, I guess? They've done a good 50 miles now, and some of that has been with me operating the handbrake whilst driving, to try and get them to bed-in, so I'm still a bit mystified!
     
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  11. fixitflav

    fixitflav

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    The auto adjustment can be troublesome. In Jan this year I wanted to fit new pads for MOT, and the RH piston wouldn't retract however much I twisted and pushed. But I had a spare caliper in stock so fitted that. Playing around with the one that came off, I peeled back the rubber boot and dribbled in some brake fluid followed by rubber grease and it started to work. So if you still have the old ones you could try that, be interesting if nothing else.
    I'd be surprised if the wrong pad material gave your symptoms.
    BTW my MOT man said the brakes were spot on.
     
  12. Avocet

    Avocet

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    Yes, I still have the old ones (I'd sent a pair salvaged from a scrapper to be reconditioned, so that I wasn't stuck without the car). However, both mine can be wound back in very easily, so that's not the problem. With my originals ones, when I fitted the new pads and discs, I obviously had to wind them right back in, to fit them, but the handbrake mechanism (when they were fully in) wouldn't then push the pistons back out. It's as if there were some teeth messing off the ratchet mechanism at the start of its travel.
     
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  13. fixitflav

    fixitflav

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    OK, sounds like it's down to Bigg Red. Just one thought - the MOT tests brake balance. Did they mention a problem? Be interesting to know if the suspect side is much worse.
     
  14. Keithmac

    Keithmac

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    Have you got a good picture of the caliper?.

    My MK2 Golf was on Girlings iirc and the only real fix was to fit MK4 calipers on the back which were practically a straight swap.
     
  15. Avocet

    Avocet

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    The MOT inspection manual says an imbalance of more than 30% (i.e. the effort from one wheel is less than 70% of the effort from the other wheel) is a fail. However, at 88 and 120, it just falls within that.
     
  16. Avocet

    Avocet

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    Just off out to the garage to take them off now!
     
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  17. fixitflav

    fixitflav

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    Keep us posted, won't you. It's an interesting problem.
     
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