Alfa Romeo Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
214 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've noticed lately that if I leave the car a few days parked with the handbrake on, when I release it, it doesn't release and the handbrake lever just flops around. After a couple of minutes it does release though and for the remainder of the driving session it works fine though is perhaps a little rough when engaging it.

Both cables are relatively new so I'm guessing the problem is more likely with one or both of the calipers.

I guess it should be easy enough to test by leaving it a couple of days with handbrake on, releasing it then raising both rear wheels and seeing which wheel is difficult to turn.

Regarding the calipers, what might the fix be? Might it need rewinding or something?

Sent from my TA-1012 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,721 Posts
A sure way to tell would be jack it up, release the handbrake and investigate if the lever flops about. If so, go to each caliper and see if the levers are still position forward as though the handbrake is on. In that case, use vise/mole grips to pull the handbrake cable back onto the released position. If the handbrake levers in the calipers stay on, the fault is with the calipers. It may not be that easy though and good judgement may be necessary to work out if manipulating the handbrake cables disturbed the calipers or if is simply stiction of the handbrake cables.

If the fault is the cables, sometimes a good dose of silicone lubricant between cable and sheath may sort it just as effectively as new cables (if cables are still pristine).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
214 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thank you. Good idea, will give that a go.

Sent from my TA-1012 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
214 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Got the car up on the ramps yesterday and found both handbrake cables pretty much seized solid. I only bloody replaced them a couple of years ago!

Squirted copious amounts of WD40 down them and freed them off nicely. Handbrake now back to normal operation but for how long...

I might just order the cables now LOL!

Sent from my TA-1012 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,721 Posts
The WD40 will be a temporary fix. In future silicone spray lube would be better but short term it is ok. The cables don't appear to be long lived parts. BTW, aftermarket cables are about £12 but genuine ones which are twice the price have the metal bracket for attaching to the floor near the trailing arm mounting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30,079 Posts
If you do fit new cables. Before fitting run some proper oil through them, not a spray can, engine oil.
Did that with my Cinquecento and it’s been perfect for well over 10-years now.
 

·
Vendor
Joined
·
45,796 Posts
What brand are the cables you fitted? Genuine Alfa are a decent cable, but its pretty much a bad design, the cables drop at a fairly severe angle then enter the rear caliper bracket, they always crack the outer protective housing here which allows rust to form on the cable and it eventually works its way up, the cable expands and starts to stick inside the housing. The pagid cables from Euros are definitely not as good as the genuine Alfa cables though.

The return springs on the calipers are not all that strong once they're having to work against rust as well as the resistance in the piston in the caliper. I have often wondered if stronger return springs from another make/model could be fitted.

David C's engine oil idea sounds pretty good. Steel wire saturated in oil is not likely to rust as fast as bare steel will.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
270 Posts
The original equipment manufacturers of control cables (clutch, gear change, throttle and handbrake) use silicone grease during the manufacture of the cables.The amount of grease used is controlled during the assembly of the cables.
Consequentially I would recommend silicone grease rather than WD40. Getting grease to run to breakages in the outer case may be difficult though.Oil may be the better solution.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
539 Posts
A while back one of my handbrake cables became totally seized, and the other partially seized, because all of the dust seal 'bellows' had failed. Dust and dirt got in and filled the interior of each cable with a hard set dust / crap 'concrete'.

Removed the cables, and using a high pressure water hose blasted this material out of the sheaths until the wires moved freely. I used a garden hose with good water pressure and a concentrated 'jet' spray pattern directed into the ends of the cable sheaths. It took some time, but eventually all the 'concrete' softened and was blasted out (if not all then nearly all of it).

There are now no dust shields because I couldn't readily source suitable new 'bellows', but I refitted the cables anyway. They worked fine, and still do about a year or so later, despite the dirt road that I live on (3.5km of dirt to the get to the bituman road surface. They are fitted 'dry', I didn't re-oil or re-grease them because without dust seals any sticky lubricant would just attract and trap dirt (and, I suspect that the problematic 'concrete' was largely a mixture of dust and the original cable grease...). In time they may well sieze again, but it's not that hard to clean them out...

Regards,
John.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
539 Posts
Consequentially I would recommend silicone grease rather than WD40. Getting grease to run to breakages in the outer case may be difficult though.Oil may be the better solution.
I agree that WD40 is a bad lubricant. It is just too thin and also evaporates in short order. It isn't even any good as a rust protective agent because of this, i.e. it doesn't protect the surface for long because it just disappears in a relatively short time. There are far better rust protective sprays, and far better lubricants.

When I want a thicker lubricant to reach hard to get places, I use motor cycle chain spray. It sprays on as a very thin runny liquid, but quickly thickens to a light grease. Spray chain lube is basically grease dissolved in a thin volatile carrier liquid, the carrier liquid rapidly dries off leaving only the grease behind. I find it usefull for all sorts of things.

Regards,
John.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
214 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Agreed WD40 won't last though I was more concerned with just being able to free them off. I have some WD40 Lithium spray which I was intending to use but it's 'flow' characteristics are nonexistent so I switched to regular WD40. I just double checked when I installed the cables and it was actually 4 years / 20,000 miles ago so I guess that's not too bad. They were genuine cables from Partsworld.
 

·
Vendor
Joined
·
45,796 Posts
Agreed WD40 won't last though I was more concerned with just being able to free them off. I have some WD40 Lithium spray which I was intending to use but it's 'flow' characteristics are nonexistent so I switched to regular WD40. I just double checked when I installed the cables and it was actually 4 years / 20,000 miles ago so I guess that's not too bad. They were genuine cables from Partsworld.
I would expect better for genuine cables. Although I've got a similar age pair on my 2.4 at the moment and the handbrake has started feeling a bit funny on that lately like I'm having to pull it harder than normal to get it to apply enough to stop the car rolling. I'll have to get it on the ramp for a look. Perhaps they've changed supplier on them and they're not as good as they used to be, wouldn't be the first time Alfa have done that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
270 Posts
Control cable manufacture seems to be now in Eastern Europe or Turkey for European manufacturers.
The UK manufacturers closed in the early 2000s.
I have noticed the gearshift cable boots at the gearbox end disintegrate on most Alfas.
A similar story to handbrake cable boots.
I suspect the material chosen was downgraded in specification due to cost down pressures from Alfa, same as all OE customers.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top