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Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
Posted: 28 January 2020 8:08 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005

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Posts: 191

Be Aware that AL-Ko has about 2000 chassis variants. The correct cable can only be defined by the chassis number. Or the green plate if still there by the ETi number. Fixed by one pop nail on the axle. I no longer drive that axle anymore. Just monique drives A t6 Vw. For hobby i do air suspension only. And that includes every single bolt that is in contact with the chassis rails. And my MGB And Jaguar E type in the shed. Citroen DS sold.
usercolin weston
Posted: 8 February 2020 4:56 PM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005

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Posts: 168
Location: Cheshire Autocruise Starburst 2007

Success at last! Supplied the Bosch shoes to the local garage for fitting and adjusting the handbrake. In their opinion the brake drums may not have had the preservative properly removed and this had affected the friction of the previous shoes. They thoroughly cleaned the drum before fitting the new shoes and on the brake test recorded an efficiency of 21%. It is interesting that the efficiencies of the front and rear service brakes were 30% and 23% respectively. These subsequently get added together to give a total service brake efficiency of 54%.
Having driven home the short distance of some 1.5 miles without much braking I checked the temperature of the rear drums which were too hot to touch. In my opinion they shouldn't get very hot unless one is using the service brakes hard. I returned to the garage the next day and they rechecked the adjusters in the drums. Whether they were already backed off the recommended five clicks I don't know. Anyway, when I got home the drums were barely warm and the handbrake performance on a moderate hill was fine. Today I went out to find a steeper hill and the handbrake was fine both down-slope and up-slope with 5 clicks on the lever. Strangely, when I got home I checked the temperatures of the drums and found the nearside drum quite hot whilst the offside was just warm. At least I can now finally have confidence in the handbrake performance and maybe put this thread to bed!

Edited by colin weston 2020-02-08 4:58 PM
Posted: 29 July 2020 6:38 AM
Subject: RE: Poor handbrake on Fiat Ducato 2005
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I’d like to add my findings on the problem of poor handbrake performance on the Fiat Ducato and its Peugeot and Citroen variants.

We’ve owned three Motorhomes to date, all of them coachbuilts based on the Ducato, and never found the handbrake to be an issue.

So when in October 2016 we decided to buy a panel van for conversion, we were pleased to find a smart 2014 Citroen MWB Relay in Appleby.

On the test drive, I was surprised to find that the handbrake wasn’t very effective, so when we did the deal, we asked for this to be adjusted. On taking delivery, I checked that the handbrake was improved; and yes it was, but still not brilliant!

After a month or so we SORNd it and started the conversion. Nearly 4 years later, it’s ready to be MOTd and put back on the road.

I was concerned that this might be a problem at the MOT test. So I checked on all the forums. A lot of people have given a lot of advice on the issue, regarding careful adjustment of cables, shoes, trying softer friction compounds etc.

What nobody seems to have picked up on is the handbrake lever itself, and in particular its mounting plate. I only stumbled across it by accident, when I decided to remove the lever for better access to the area behind the driver’s seat.

The handbrake mounting plate just didn’t look right...

My mounting plate looked bent; the upper and lower flanges were no longer parallel. The upper one provides a mount for the lever, and the lower one locates an end stop for the cable outer. This meant that the cable pull of the lever was no longer in line with the cable end stop. I presume that this had happened during the van’s 2 years and 150,000 miles of commercial use.

When I re-mounted the lever, I carefully observed the two flanges when the handbrake is applied with some force. I was surprised to see that the upper and lower mountings were being squeezed together. Also because the top flange was distorted, the lever itself was a few degrees out of vertical.

So ‘there’s your problem!’

Despite being made of 6mm steel plate, these mounts are not strong enough to withstand a really strong pull (perhaps of the kind needed when you’ve got a full load in the back of the van, AND the rest of the system is out of adjustment AND you’re on a steep hill).

I’ve now re-squared up the upper and lower flanges, and welded a reinforcing bracket between them to stiffen up the whole assembly.
I also adjusted all the linkages under the vehicle.

The difference is noticeable. MOT is booked for next week. That’s one more thing off the worry list.

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