I searched around yesterday when I was trying to reconnect my parking brake cables, and found no such how-to, so I figured I would take some pictures of the process today. This is only required if your parking brake is too tight, if your parking brake is too loose, stop reading and go yank on your parking brake handle a dozen times. It's an auto-adjusting mechanism, and should tighten on its own. If you've replaced the cables, rear brake pads, or if it's too tight for other reasons, check that the cables are not frayed or binding anywhere, then read on.
What you'll need:
- 1x sacrificial flat-head screwdriver
- 1x grinder/Dremel/file
- 5x minutes
Here are the instructions from the manual, many thanks to gotquattro for posting this in my earlier thread.
Here is what the auto-adjusting ratchet mechanism looks like in person. There is a red circle around the "button" mentioned in the factory instructions, and an arrow indicating the direction it needs to be pushed. The drivers side cable attaches to a hook on the near side (not visible in picture), and is the inside toothed ring of the ratchet. The passenger side cable is attached to a hook that is the outside of the ratchet. There is an internal spring that pushes both of these hooks toward the front of the vehicle, and cams/locks that prevent them from moving toward the rear. This is how it automatically adjusts as the rear pads wear down. If there is too much slack, the spring pulls the hooks forward a click or two.
If you do things the easy way, you wont get such a clear view of this part. To get this picture, I had to remove, in this order:
- ashtray (easy, pull on it)
- switch cluster for rear seat heaters/emergency door lock (pain in the ass, broke a tab)
- armrest (not too bad, single 13mm nut, universal joint socket extension required)
- armrest bracket (three more 13mm nuts)
Luckily, you only have to remove the ashtray to activate the release button, if you have the right tool. This brings us to our sacrificial screwdriver and grinding implement. The picture below is what used to be a standard flat-head screwdriver, and by way of considerable grinding (I used a bench top grinding/sharpening wheel) is transformed into an Audi auto-adjusting parking brake mechanism release tool. Works on my B6, may be useful on other models?
Step 1 - Remove the ashtray
Here is the view you will get after doing so.
Step 2 - Activate the release
With the parking brake handle in as down a position as it will get while still giving you access to the button, insert tool, oriented as shown.
If there is tension on the cables, the hooks should move backwards on their own. In my case, the parking brake had frozen this past winter, and I ended up disconnecting both cables in 20deg weather. After the cables thawed enough to move, the auto-adjusting feature moved both hooks as far forward as they would go, making it virtually impossible to reconnect both cables at the same time. I ended up getting the girlfriend to sit in the cabin and activate the release while I was at the rear pulling on, and re-attaching the cables.
That's it. Stick the ashtray back in, and go for a drive.
For reference, here are some more pictures of the inside of the console, picking up after the ashtray removed view picture above.
Switch cluster removed and wires pulled back.
Armrest bracket removed.