Adjusting your Handbrake

G'day all

Just a couple of tips about adjusting rear brakes and handbrake.

Firstly, you MUST totally back off the handbrake before you attempt to adjust the rear brakes. Preferably, remove the clevis pin where the handbrake cable is attached to the compensator mounted to the diff housing. This ensures that the adjustment at the wheels is not interfered with by the handbrake being partly on.

After you have adjusted the brakes, you can then re-connect the handbrake and adjust it. You will often find that the clevis pin will no longer fit, and you have to back off the handbrake cable so that it will come through enough to put the pin in. If this is the case, you have just demonstrated to yourself the problem referred to above.

Until you next change brake linings, you can adjust your brakes at the wheels without having to disconnect the handbrake. But next time you fit new linings, you will need to go through this process again.

Why is all this necessary? Simple. Owners (and mechanics) who see the handbrake lever pointing to the sky and the rear brakes not coming on, assume they have a problem with the handbrake. So they adjust the handbrake cable to solve the problem. Many cars will have the adjustment right to the end of the threaded part of the cable, and the handbrake is still not fantastic. But the problem wasn't the handbrake at all - it was poor adjustment of the brakes themselves at the wheels. So now the handbrake mechanisms inside the brake drums are taking the place of the brake shoe adjustment, with the result that neither of them work correctly. This has probably happened to every Sprite (and MG, Morris, Austin, Mini.....) at some time over the last 40 years. Now is the time to zero everything and get it right.