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Thread: Frozen E-brake

  1. #1
    Established Member Two Rings TJR178's Avatar
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    Frozen E-brake

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    Hi all,

    So I found out that my e-brake is partially frozen this evening while pulling the car in to the garage after washing it. Clutch was in and the car came to a somewhat abrupt stop. It still rolls and drives alright, but I notice that the e-brake lever won't engage until it's 50% pulled.

    Thoughts on fixing this problem?
    Last edited by TJR178; 11-16-2009 at 02:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Account Terminated Three Rings lotusgardener's Avatar
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    Dec 24 2006
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    1997 Audi A4
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    NW & NE

    Re: Frozen E-brake

    Well, I would start by figuring out which one is dragging and inspect everything. Lubricate if its not completely f-ed.

  3. #3
    Established Member Two Rings esee135's Avatar
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    Re: Frozen E-brake

    Pull the rear wheels and start playing with the rear calipers. The e-brake is a cable pulling a lever on the caliper.

  4. #4
    Established Member Two Rings TJR178's Avatar
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    Re: Frozen E-brake

    I'll pull the rear wheels today and check it out. Thanks guys. I'll report what I find.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Four Rings terraflata's Avatar
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    Re: Frozen E-brake

    When my E-brake didnt work, it turned out it was the calipers that were seized.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member Three Rings discontained's Avatar
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    Jul 09 2007
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    '01 A4 1.8t
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    GA

    Re: Frozen E-brake

    water may have got into the handbrake cables causing corrosion & seizures overtime. May need to replace, but I would inspect the rear calipers first.
    For Sale $3,500 -'99 Audi A4 1.8T Quattro 5sp
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  7. #7
    Established Member Two Rings TJR178's Avatar
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    Re: Frozen E-brake

    Ok, so I inspected the e-brake system and found that my left-rear caliper is the culprit and not the cable itself (from what I can tell).

    I noticed that the lever that the cable attaches to on the caliper wasn't releasing completly. I had to manually release it with my hand. I had my wife engage and disingage the e-brake and each time I had to manually release it on the caliper. I sprayed some WD-40 where the point of contact is, but it didn't loosen anything.

    I'm guessing the internal components in the caliper is the issue now. Thoughts on fixing this? Can I take that bolt out to see if there is corrosion?

    Thanks for the help so far.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Two Rings rdguy's Avatar
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    Oct 12 2006
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    98 Audi A4 1.8T Quattro & 87 M
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    Re: Frozen E-brake

    keep moving the lever back and forth and spray with WD40 or Liquid Wrench until it loosens up. SHort term fix only but it will buy you some time. THe lever should spring back to the white stop when working correctly. I posted some pitures about a month ago of the caliper totally taken apart if you search for it. Exploded calier view.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member Four Rings walky_talky20's Avatar
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    Re: Frozen E-brake

    What actually freezes up on the caliper? Is it internal?

    My brother's A4 is doing the same thing - driver side rear isn't releasing quite all the way when the E-brake is let go. Requires pushing it the rest of the way with your hand. I pulled the e-brake one day and he got all mad because he had to reach around and release it manually - my bad.
    Last edited by walky_talky20; 11-15-2009 at 08:19 PM.

  10. #10
    Established Member Two Rings
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    Re: Frozen E-brake

    How do your rear brake pads look?

  11. #11
    Veteran Member Four Rings Mantvis's Avatar
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    Re: Frozen E-brake

    so dont use the e brake... simple...
    If you don't need both hands on the wheel, then you're NOT driving.

  12. #12
    Established Member Two Rings TJR178's Avatar
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    Re: Frozen E-brake

    I'll check out the exploded caliper, thanks for the tip rdguy. I'm hoping it's something simple in there.

    I'm guessing there's something internally of the caliper that is freezing up walky.

    Brake pads are fine seeknstrike.

    I live in NW PA, which = multiple hills, so sooner or later, I'll have to use the e-brake again Mantvis.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Two Rings rdguy's Avatar
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    Re: Frozen E-brake

    The lever on the outside of the caliper connects to a spring pack on the inside of the caliper. Weak spring perhaps? I replaced my caliper and solved it that way but had to take the old caliper apart to see for myself how it looked. I did notice a locking pin that the spring pack would insert into but the snap ring holds it in place so could not determine what the failure would be exactly? Looks like the brake fluid would migrate to that area as well so unless dirt is trapped there that may be the problem? I still think a weak spring may be the issue.

  14. #14
    Established Member Two Rings TJR178's Avatar
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    Re: Frozen E-brake

    Looks like I have a Saturday project coming up

    Thanks guys

  15. #15
    Established Member Two Rings esee135's Avatar
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    Re: Frozen E-brake

    when my calipers froze, it ended up that the caliper pins were seized inside the pin bore. You'll get uneven wear on the inner/outer pads if the pins are seized (pins are stuck, but the caliper piston can still move the pad associated with the piston.

    BTW, I couldn't even hammer the pins out, they were so seized that I feel sorry for the sucker who gets my rebuilt rear brake cores.

  16. #16
    Established Member Two Rings TJR178's Avatar
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    Re: Frozen E-brake

    ^Yeesh^

    I'm hoping I won't run into that, but I have a feeling I may.

    Thanks for the note man



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