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Discussion Starter #1
Spider just failed MOT on low handbrake efficiency, had same problem last year, adjusting the cable just scraped it through.
The mechanism is all working as designed (cable is free and mech is all free moving and lubricated) I think it is just a poor design in my opinion.

How have others improved their handbrakes? Green Stuff pads? roughening up current pads?
 

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I treated my previous Spider to new rear discs/original Alfa pads. The handbrake wasn't bad before but was definitely better after. Rear discs on Spiders have a tendency to get quite rusty and grooved from periods sitting unused. It will take ages for new pads to bed in on grooved discs.

My current Spider appears to be suffering a similar fate but to be honest, I've always had good handbrake performance from all my cars (after my non-Turbo Uno models, they were awful), so actually, this reply might not be as helpful as it first appears :(

So let's try again. New genuine pads (likely to be softer than 'performance' replacements, and therefore work better for what you need). Then, loosen the lever nut right off so the cables are slack. Wind back the pistons, fit the pads (and discs if appropriate), then reassemble and reapply the foot brake many times. Leave the handbrake cable slack for this. I've seen it happen many times that people over tighten the cables - then the adjusters can't self-adjust correctly. Also, over-tight cables make the lever harder to pull up and therefore less effective.

Obviously you need some tension so the lever doesn't reach the end of its travel, but just be careful not to overdo it. :) At least five clicks should be easy to apply, seven at a strong pull.

-Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #3
OK thanks Alex, I have had a search since posting, I can see lot's have had same issues and 'slacken, pump, adjust' seems to be the way to go.
 

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OK thanks Alex, I have had a search since posting, I can see lot's have had same issues and 'slacken, pump, adjust' seems to be the way to go.
No worries.

I also remember once accidentally leaving my Uno's handbrake on when departing the start line of a hill climb race. Must have only been a few clicks but when I got to the top, discs were slightly blue and smoke was pouring from the wheels. Funny thing is, the handbrake worked better after that and has remained better for eight years since.

-Alex
 

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My hand brake was weak, so I changed the hand brake return springs on the caliper, you can't get replacement alfa springs, you have to get a new caliper. My calipers were fine so I got a pair of Lambreta brake springs about £2.50 on ebay, worked a treat they are much stronger and this mot sailed through.
 
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