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2002 325xi Touring
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Can a loose parking brake be adjusted simply by tightening down the two cable nuts at the handbrake boot?

My Bentley Manual, every DIY video I've found, and my forum researching all walk me through a standard adjustment procedure of re-adjusting the star wheel at the parking brake shoes, etc.

A mechanic friend says, Nope. Just tighten the cable nuts at the boot.

I've done that and my loose handbrake stroke has gone from topping out at 12 clicks down to a very tight 3 or 4.

But I don't know... It's so simple. No one says why not.

Have I done something wrong? Have I ignited a time bomb?
 

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2000 328i 5MT
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2,158 Posts
Don't just tighten the handle nuts and call it a day. There's a process to it. Follow this video
Yeah, but OP is asking WHY to do it this way instead of at the handle. I have always wanted to know as well. I don't see why it matters which end of a cable gets tightened, but if there is a real reason out there I'd like to hear it too.
 

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E46 F10 W204 W212
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Yeah, but OP is asking WHY to do it this way instead of at the handle. I have always wanted to know as well. I don't see why it matters which end of a cable gets tightened, but if there is a real reason out there I'd like to hear it too.
The cog adjuster takes up the play between the shoe and the drum (inside of rotor hat). The cable adjuster takes up the cable slack. Both are adjusted as a system.

Loosen cable, adjust cog, tighten cable. Per TIS, parking brake must hold the car in 4-7 clicks. I always adjust mine to 4 so it lasts a while.
 

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2001 330i (5-speed)
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2,718 Posts
I remember adjusting the E brake.
I figured out the drum part at the wheel
but I have absolutely no idea how the handle nuts work.

Anyone have any idea how a nut on the end of a long bolt even attaches to a cable????

Pull 2 clicks, and then tighten the handle nuts.
It was like you could turn the handle nuts whatever you wanted to.
No clue how you know they are set, or how tight or loose they should be.
 

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Can a loose parking brake be adjusted simply by tightening down the two cable nuts at the handbrake boot?

My Bentley Manual, every DIY video I've found, and my forum researching all walk me through a standard adjustment procedure of re-adjusting the star wheel at the parking brake shoes, etc.

A mechanic friend says, Nope. Just tighten the cable nuts at the boot.

I've done that and my loose handbrake stroke has gone from topping out at 12 clicks down to a very tight 3 or 4.

But I don't know... It's so simple. No one says why not.

Have I done something wrong? Have I ignited a time bomb?



It depends on what you are dealing with. There are three reason for ineffective handbrakes. Worn shoes, stretched cables or both. You can take care of the stretched cables by tightening the nuts at the handbrake end. That's why they are there. But there is a right and wrong way to do this. Your handbrake needs to be balanced so that both sets of shoes bite the drum at the same time with the same force. The only way to make that happen is to lift the back end and do both wheels at the same time. Before I start I pull the handbrake so as to make sure that the shoes are centered. Not guaranteed but it's worth the effort. Then I position the handbrake lever to the notch on the ratchet that I want it to rest at when deployed. I then tighten the nuts gradually until I can feel the shoes rubbing the drum. You tighten and check, tighten and check. You get the idea. You have to feel the resistance. When you are satisfied that the resistance is the same on each wheel you then continue to tighten the nuts counting the revolutions, and making sure that they are turned the same number of turns each, until the wheels lock up. Then release the handbrake lever and give each nut an addition 360 checking that the lever locks on the ratchet. It can be a time consuming task to get it right. But if the shoes are worn then it is better to adjust them or replace them as others have described before you try take care of stretched cables.

EDIT. I should point out that you don't remove the wheels when you are just dealing with the cables. You need to leave them on. You need the leverage.
 
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