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Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
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userHymie835
Posted: 15 May 2017 8:44 PM
Subject: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 
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The hand brake on my Fiat based 2.8jtd, 3.85Tonne, RHD Hymer C664G 2005 will not hold on steep slopes.
The Camper has had many hours spent by our local garage (a local specialist in trucks and lorries in whom we trust). They have replaced many parts of the linkage, springs, discs etc. and replaced the shoes twice, last time with premium products which have achieved a handbrake efficiency on rolling road of around 20% which is much better than the 12% we started with but it still will not hold on a 15deg hill which unfortunately is where we live.

I have also had it checked by a local garage whose mechanic is Fiat/Peugeot trained (worked for main dealer as trouble shooter until starting his own business).
I was surprised to find out that handbrakes do not need to be 100% efficient for MOT purposes!
I would like to find out if there are others suffering the same problem and if anyone can suggest a solution. I have contacted Terry Acreman, MMM Tech Help editor who has replied in depth but unfortunately we have done most of the things he suggested.
usereuroserv
Posted: 16 May 2017 8:48 AM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 
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Hello.
It was me that Terry asked to help with your query and i made the answer as comprehensive as possible. I did stress that you would probably need to change the rear handbrake cables and probably the front one from the lever as well. You state that you have had most of the work that we advised done; but you have not had the cables replaced.
You should do this for two reasons.... First, it will work and second, because there is nothing else (assuming that everything else has been done properly).

It is not at all unusual to need new cables on a heavy vehicle like this after four or so years so you have done well to get 12 years out of them. Aftermarket items are inexpensive and usually of at least the quality of the original equipment parts

Nick.
userPJay
Posted: 16 May 2017 9:51 AM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 
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euroserv - 2017-05-16 8:48 AM

Hello.

It is not at all unusual to need new cables on a heavy vehicle like this after four or so years so you have done well to get 12 years out of them. Aftermarket items are inexpensive and usually of at least the quality of the original equipment parts

Nick.


Hi Nick
Do you advise that brake cables should be replaced after a certain time?
Our van also 2005 ducato. We have no problems with brakes and van is serviced every year (and MOT) by a local commercial fiat workshop.55, 000 miles on clock .Had van from new.
PJay
usereuroserv
Posted: 16 May 2017 10:07 AM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 
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No i don't. They only need replacing if all other methods of adjustment have failed and stretching is the only obvious cause.

In the first instance, the rear centre adjuster has to be backed off a little and then the adjusters on the rear shoes need to be set correctly. Then the centre adjuster is tightened so that there is an acceptable amount of travel on the lever without causing the shoes to drag more than a little when released. If under testing this does not give some retardation (evenly) to a van that is rolling forwards; you have to examine the shoes and discs. If replacing the shoes and discs (plus pads) does not fix it, the cables are the last option.
It has always been a pain and is still so even on the latest vehicles but i still prefer the rear brake set up of the Ducato to the many others that just use a cable and lever to operate the calipers. These are far more prone to seizure problems and much greater expense. Done methodically this is a straightforward job.
userPJay
Posted: 16 May 2017 10:39 AM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 
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euroserv - 2017-05-16 10:07 AM

No i don't. They only need replacing if all other methods of adjustment have failed and stretching is the only obvious cause.

In the first instance, the rear centre adjuster has to be backed off a little and then the adjusters on the rear shoes need to be set correctly. Then the centre adjuster is tightened so that there is an acceptable amount of travel on the lever without causing the shoes to drag more than a little when released. If under testing this does not give some retardation (evenly) to a van that is rolling forwards; you have to examine the shoes and discs. If replacing the shoes and discs (plus pads) does not fix it, the cables are the last option.
It has always been a pain and is still so even on the latest vehicles but i still prefer the rear brake set up of the Ducato to the many others that just use a cable and lever to operate the calipers. These are far more prone to seizure problems and much greater expense. Done methodically this is a straightforward job.


THanks Nick. That's reassuring. . i think we have had good service from our model Ducato. Did Not have the shudder, etc of the next "upgrade" model
PJay
userAndy&Lou
Posted: 16 May 2017 11:10 AM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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We had to have ours replaced for the MOT this year.
It cost about £150 and took 2 weeks to arrive.

Enjoy

Andy
usercolin weston
Posted: 28 December 2019 10:28 AM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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As my handbrake performance was a bit below par I decided to get it looked at before the next season. Despite new disc and pads plus new shoes the handbrake performance is now worse than before. The only parts not replaced were the cables. I have now done some 55,000 miles.
My van has an al-ko chassis and I believe that the rear cable arrangement is different from the standard Fiat/Peugeot layout.
I have carefully read the comments and have a few questions mainly to Nick who obviously has much experience regarding this subject:
Is the al-ko arrangement regarding rear cable layout better or worse than the standard Fiat layout?
Which Aftermarket suppliers can supply cables for al-ko chassis?
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 28 December 2019 11:29 AM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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I’m not sure how familiar Nick Fisher will be with motorhomes built on an AL-KO AMC chassis, but a GOOGLE-search on al-ko motorhome chassis handbrake cables strongly suggests that a) the cables differ from those used with a non-AL-KO chassis and b) are pretty expensive (if one can actually get hold of them!)

I’ve no idea if the AL-KO cabling system is better or worse than the ‘standard’ one, but the size of the rear brake drum/shoes that the handbrake operates with is pretty small and, if there is anything sub-par in the system (like the cables) even if the rear disks and shoes have been replaced, handbrake performance will be less than optimum.

As you now have brand new rear-brake shoes, it’s quite likely that these won’t be bedded in properly yet. So you could try driving (carefully) with the handbrake lightly engaged to see if that beds the shoes in and improves matters. And make sure that the handbrake-related part of the rear brakes has been correctly adjusted. If none of this works, that really just leaves the cables...
userWill86
Posted: 28 December 2019 12:06 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 
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A cable is a cable and any good engineer could make one provided the correct 'end' connections could be found or use the replacement cable ends

Hymie 835 says he lives on a slope, whenever I had heavy vehicles on my sloping drive I used wooden blocks

Modern users don't thinks practically, they just throw money at looking for answers.
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 28 December 2019 2:55 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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Hymie835 apparently lived on a slope in mid-2017 - who knows where he/she lives now
userHans
Posted: 28 December 2019 3:24 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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Colin In case of a AL-Ko chassis you have a green plate whit a ETI number on it on the axle block. i think on one side only. That number provides the spare parts link. To AL-Ko. If lost use the fiat ZFA number wich is in their data base. Only their reg dealers have entrance. The cable arrangement is different from fiat. All the rest is fiat. In case of air suspension on the rear the cable can be different. Because of the many variants of the chassis buy from them only. it was and still is a critical cable. On my range rover it is electrical by a button.
useronecal
Posted: 28 December 2019 3:46 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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Hi Hymie835
As you have replaced all the internal braking parts as you say and the are working 100%
Two things need to be looked at:-
1 Hanbrake lever
2 Handbrake cable and connections
If you have adjusted your cables and they are to the end of their adjustment (or close) I am afraid due to stretching of the cables they will need to be replaced,
Also before attachment of the new cables check your handbrake for full movement of travel.
userKeithl
Posted: 28 December 2019 4:26 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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onecal - 2019-12-28 3:46 PM

Hi Hymie835
...


Brendan,

Hymie835 was the OP of this thread but way back in May 2017 and has never posted since.

Colin Weston resurrected it today to add about the problems with his handbrake so it is really Colin you need to address your comments to.

Keith.
useronecal
Posted: 28 December 2019 5:21 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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Hi Keith,
Sorry we are away at the moment just flicked through and I have had this problem of poor hanbrake performance on motorhomes with Al Ko chassis presented to me many times over the years.
Hi Colin
The same criteria still applies and hopefully helps
Al Ko may be best to contact for the cables or get them made up to fit also cable tech may be able to help with maybe a slightly heavier duty cables.
http://www.rdb93.co.uk/handbrake_cable.htm

Edited by onecal 2019-12-28 5:39 PM
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 28 December 2019 5:48 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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This UK firm advertises AL-KO handbrake cables, but it seems to be a trade-only business

https://www.novaleisure.com/brands/alko

This French website advertises AL-KO AMC brake cables

https://www.franssen-loisirs.fr/recherche/recherche.html

and (as will be apparent) the prices vary dramatically.
userHans
Posted: 28 December 2019 7:17 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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Good luck on the internet , and see you later
userROND
Posted: 28 December 2019 10:54 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 
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I had the same problem on a 2004 Autotrail 2.8 3.85 ton at its very first MOT back in 2007. After trying everything the Fiat dealer went back to Fiat and they recommended fitting a softer shoe, it worked and have never had any problems since.
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 29 December 2019 9:19 AM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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Nick Fisher advised on Ducato handbrake inefficiency in the first four postings of this 2017 thread and also in this (also 2017) longer discussion relating to Ducato X250 handbrakes.

https://forums.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/Ducato-X250-Handbrake-shoes/47552/

A handbrake system that uses traditional brake shoes within a smallish-diameter drum integrated into the rear brake-disc unit cannot realistically be expected to rapidly decelerate a Ducato size/weight motorhome, but it should be able to hold the vehicle immobile on a reasonably steep slope.

The UK’s MOT test will check the braking capability of a Ducato’s handbrake while the vehicle’s wheels are rotating and, to some degree, that braking capability will depend on the friction material (compound) that the rear brake-shoes are made of. A ’soft’ compound should have more grip when the brakes are cool, but will be vulnerable to overheating. So - for a Ducato with this type of handbrake system - soft-compound brake shoes should be best as the MOT test procedure won’t overheat the shoes and, if the handbrake needs to be used for emergency braking, soft-compound shoes should normally survive such treatment.

But to hold a Ducato on a slope with the handbrake, as long as the rear drums and brake-shoes are in good condition, the shoes’ compound will be less important as it’s how hard the handbrake system can force the shoes against the inside of the brake drums that will matter.

To maximise the system’s mechanical advantage (as onecal has mentioned) the handbrake lever, linkages and rear brake-shoe mechanisms need to be correctly adjusted and the handbrake cables need to be in good condition.

If Colin’s motorhome’s handbrake lever, linkages and rear brake-shoe mechanisms have been correctly adjusted and the handbrake cables are all OK, the handbrake performance may improve if the handbrake is applied while the motorhome is moving (a procedure also suggested in this November 2019 forum thread)

https://forums.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/Citroen-relay-rear-brakes/53739/

Given how expensive the AL-KO cables can be, the handbraking-while-driving ploy would be worth trying before deciding to replace the cables.
userkevina
Posted: 29 December 2019 1:39 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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I have a 2008 Alko chassis and recently freed up some of the handbrake linkage. This was the bush on the vertical pivot point holding the adjustment bar which had crudded up and was very stiff. It came apart quite easily, very long thread if I remember correctly, scraped off the rusty crud and greased it before reassembly. It is now very free and has undoubtedly helped.
userkevina
Posted: 29 December 2019 3:51 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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edit; "the bush on the 3 arm lever" - not the adjustment bar.
usermikefitz
Posted: 29 December 2019 6:48 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 
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The only way to get good performance from the Fiat 'top hat' handbrake system is to adjust correctly and only use Fiat or PSA original fitment shoes that have a soft lining.
Its a combination of the friction on the softer material allowing the leading edge of the shoe to 'grab' the drum and the self servo action of the drum brake then takes over, giving additional 'bite' and forcing the shoe in contact with the drum.

Where shoes of a harder material are used there is just not enough mechanical leverage in the system.

The adjustment procedure has been posted before, in summary, release the adjuster at the balance bar were the handbrake cables attach to the rod, adjust the shoe clearance until binding and then, important, back off 5 clicks. Adjust the front cable as specified, then the adjuster at the balance bar, just to take the slack out of the system. Check for binding on the drums. I remove the caliper so pad drag does not mask this test. If the brakes are over adjusted resulting in binding, the shoes will overheat and become useless. Similarly driving with the handbrake engaged will easily damage the soft linings.

Usual original fit is ATE, UK motor factors don't usually stock this, its readily available from EU based factors like Mr Auto , ( part of the PSA croup) or Buycarparts.co, based in Berlin.
There are the suggested shoes,

https://www.buycarparts.co.uk/ate/953798?gadw=1&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhN-5nb3b5gIViLPtCh0Vdgp0EAAYAiAAEgLKgvD_BwE

Mike
usercolin weston
Posted: 30 December 2019 2:40 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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Thanks for all your info and advice. I have requested the garage to obtain some new handbrake cables. When they have been fitted I will report back.
usercolin weston
Posted: 26 January 2020 11:35 AM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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Got a quote from Nova Leisure for the three AL-KO parking brake cables at £379 incl. VAT. Quote from local Peugeot garage for a set of parking brake shoes, without springs, etc at £228.39. I asked whether or not they were gold plated!
I have been trying to obtain info regarding who was, or is now, the OE supplier for these brake shoes. It was suggested by mikefitz that ATE were the OE supplier for these shoes but on contacting their Technical Dept in Germany they said 'No'.
Contacting Mr Auto they recommended either Bosch, TRW or ATE. These all cost in the range £40-50 including springs, etc and delivery from Buycarparts who are somewhat cheaper than Mr Auto.
Bearing in mind that this 'Parking only' application is different from that of a convention drum brake used for vehicle retardation one might think that the lining material would be a different, softer, compound but this may not necessarily be the case particularly with the cheaper brands.
Does anyone have experience of fitting any of these brands of brake shoe for this particular application?
usermikefitz
Posted: 26 January 2020 5:51 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 
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I was a little surprised that ATE are not the OEM supplier as the logo is clearly on the retaining springs.
Further investigation shows the name GALFER on the shoe. I have not been able to find a retail supplier of this and it does not appear in the GALFER on line catalogue. GALFER are best known for motorcycle braking systems.
I have had problems with previous 250 series vans failing the UK MOT test on handbrake efficiency and tried various makes of shoes. Branded makes, Mintex and Pagid only had just enough efficiency when brand new and the performance deteriorated with use. Lower cost unbranded shoes were useless and I was not prepared to pay over £200 for the dealers parts.
The handbrake on my current van has excellent performance, even preventing driving away with the brake on. I can only conclude this is due to the brake shoe lining compound.

Mike

Edited by mikefitz 2020-01-26 5:56 PM




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userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 27 January 2020 9:07 AM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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The hgh price of Ducato handbrake-shoes was mentioned in this forum thread

https://forums.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/Ducato-X250-Handbrake-shoes/47552/

where Nick Fisher (euroserv) said that he used Bosch brake shoes for Ducato X250 models.

A parking brake should be capable of holding a vehicle when it is stopped on a reasonably steep hill and, if it can do that, I’d expect it to also to be able to prevent the vehicle moving off with the handbrake engaged. When a vehicle is moving, the compound of the brake shoes will be important. When a vehicle is stationary the compound should not much matter provided that the full area of the shoes contacts the brake drum's inner surface and sufficient pressure can be exerted to force the shoes and drum hard together.

In the 1980s I owned two Golf GTi cars. Both had excellent cable-operated 'rear-drum’ handbrakes, but the main braking system was poor. I experimented with various makes of front brake pad (including Mintex rally type) and even swapped the discs for Tarox grooved ones, but none of those measures produced significant improvements. The issue was well known and the cause of the problem was VW’s conversion from the original LHD braking system to RHD that meant, no matter how hard one pressed the brake pedal, it wasn’t possible to gain adequate pad-to-disc pressure. Eventually a UK Golf GTi specialist engineered a solution that moved the brake-servo from the car’s left side to the right where it was operated directly by the brake pedal rather than via a cross-linkage. During that time my wife bought a new VW Polo and that required a very high brake-pedal pressure to stop it. Again this was due to VW’s LHD-to-RHD conversion where the brake-servo fitted to LHD Polos was omitted for the UK market. I fitted Mintex “Silverline” pads and that did help, but the only real ‘cure’ was to fit a special servo directly operated by the brake-pedal.

I would agree with Mike that fitting ultra-cheap brake shoes to a Ducato is asking for trouble, but I find it difficult to believe that good quality shoes made by (say) ATE, Brembo or Bosch should be inferior to the shoes sold by a Fiat Professional agent for over £200. The snag, of course, is that to prove this would require fitting ATE or Bosch shoes to Colin’s motorhome’s rear brakes and, if the handbrake’s performace was still poor, fitting the expensive ‘Fiat’ shoes to see if that made a magic improvement.
usercolin weston
Posted: 27 January 2020 12:13 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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Thanks Mike and Derek for your replies. I have had further clarification from Ate that they are exclusively aftermarket suppliers. In view of Nick Fisher's extensive experience I have ordered a set of Bosch shoes.
The fundamental problem with the parking brake is that it is a poor design.
I decided to do some calculations regarding the forces involved when operating the handbrake mechanism which I am, hopefully, attaching.
Assuming a 40 lbf pull on the handbrake this exerts a tension in the primary cable of approx. 160 lbf using the approximate mechanical advantage of 4 (12in divided by 3in) giving a cable movement of 1.25in with 6 handbrake 'clicks'.
Using the diagram of the lever I made an estimate of the rotation of the lever resulting from a 1.25in primary cable movement. This lever has a mechanical advantage of approximately 2 so the tension in the 'output rod is approximately 320 lbf. This tension is then distributed via a yoke to the two rear cables which must result in a tension in each rear cable of 160 lbf. I am not familiar with the mechanism at the brake drum which actually forces the shoes apart.



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usermikefitz
Posted: 27 January 2020 2:11 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 
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The actual mechanism that moves the shoes apart , (shoe actuator 77364022), has a kind of cam/lever action that makes it difficult to calculate any mechanical advantage. Its available if required for around £20. I have not found any significant wear in these.
Tips for replacing the shoes.
Its a bit of a fiddle but you don't have to remove the hubs. Note where all the springs are fitted before dismantling. Use an electrical cable tie to hold the shoe actuator in place as you assemble the shoes. Fitting the spring clip onto the hold down pins is not easy, I found compressing with a very small mole grip then fitting to the pin was the most successful method. When adjusting the shoes follow the Fiat instructions and back off 4 to 5 clicks. I suspect the shoe assembly needs some 'space' centre itself against the drum when activated.

Mike




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userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 27 January 2020 2:17 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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Colin

There’s a drawing here

https://www.quora.com/How-does-handbrake-work-on-a-car-with-a-rear-brake-disc

that shows a generic operating mechanism for a disc-with-drum operating arrangement.

When remedial work has been carried out on a vehicle it's to be anticipated that, afterwards, certain things may not be better immediately. If worn-out dampers or damaged springs have been replaced a driver should notice an improvemen straightaway, but replacing the friction components of brakes (eg. replacing part-worn brake pads/shoes) when those components are still in good condition, may result in braking performance being worse than before until the replacement pads/shoes bed in. For handbrakes that operate the same pads/shoes as the main braking system, bedding in should be fairly quick, but when a Ducato X250’s handbrake is used only when the vehicle is stationary (as Fiat recommends) bedding-in can’t happen.

GALFER products are made in Barcelona and, although Mikefitz has confirmed that the brake-shoe he examined carried a GALFER marking, there’s no guarantee that GALFER shoes were OEM for Ducato X250s in 2007 when yours was made. (Like Mike, I would have expected Fiat to have chosen a more common manufacturer like Brembo or ATE.)

Realistically, given the quite small diameter of a Ducato’s rear brake drums and the weight of the vehicle, when a Ducato is moving retardation using the handbrake will never be great - the shoes and drum have too little contact area.

Adjustment of the X250’s handbrake system was discussed in this 2011 thread

https://forums.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/FIAT-X2-50-Handbrake-Adjustment/25588/

though AL-KO chassis Ducatos may differ in the arrangement that links the handbrake in the cab to the rear brakes.
userHans
Posted: 27 January 2020 8:06 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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The Alko chassis also uses a Bowden cable on the rear axle(s). And the wheels are fiat ducato etc. A critical point is the the T- piece which split the cable L/R.
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 28 January 2020 9:04 AM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
 


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The Nova Leisure website lists 17 different handbrake cables for AL-KO chassis

https://www.novaleisure.com/towing-reversing/towing/al-ko-handbrake-cables

The advert for each cable includes a reference number (eg. 1292940) and this can be used to obtain a price from the outdoorbits.com website that seems to be able to provide these cables. The quoted prices vary between £100 and £200 per cable (example here)

https://www.outdoorbits.com/al-ko-handbrake-cable-1292940-p-7522.html

As was advised earlier, there are UK firms that will manufacture ‘bespoke’ handbrake cables, but the cost would quite likely be no cheaper than buying the appropriate AL-KO cables.
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