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View Full Version : Emergency/parking brake mechanism



junya
10-21-2010, 07:01 PM
On a B5 a4 quattro, how does the parking brake work? is it a drum set up inside of the disc or does it simply apply mechanical pressure to the calipers to engage the pads????

Thanks in advance guys!

walky_talky20
10-21-2010, 07:07 PM
A cable actuates the calipers via a spring loaded lever on each.

junya
10-21-2010, 07:47 PM
thanks alot. My cable moves the lever. Potentially that my calipers are frozen???

walky_talky20
10-21-2010, 11:09 PM
Yep, the levers on the calipers are common to freeze up. The best way I've found to free them up is to disconnect the cable at the caliper, then move the lever from limit to limit manually with pliers. Maybe use some lube and it should free up very nicely. It should spring back on it's own (the spring is visibly attached to the lever).

junya
10-22-2010, 03:25 AM
Yep, the levers on the calipers are common to freeze up. The best way I've found to free them up is to disconnect the cable at the caliper, then move the lever from limit to limit manually with pliers. Maybe use some lube and it should free up very nicely. It should spring back on it's own (the spring is visibly attached to the lever).

I'm going to give this a try today. I've actually found a few other posts by you about the subject. I noticed you said that the adjusters for the cable are near the lower control arm vs. in in the tunnel above the exhaust (which is where my haynes manual says they are). Have you adjusted the cable? my handle goes nearly to the top before there is any resistance.

walky_talky20
10-22-2010, 09:35 AM
Did I say that? It's been a while as I don't recall. If I did comment on the adjuster location, I probably got the info from the Bentley manual. I have never needed to adjust the cable.

If your handle goes to the top before resistance it is possible 1 or both of the caliper levers are stuck on.

junya
10-22-2010, 09:44 AM
Did I say that? It's been a while as I don't recall. If I did comment on the adjuster location, I probably got the info from the Bentley manual. I have never needed to adjust the cable.

If your handle goes to the top before resistance it is possible 1 or both of the caliper levers are stuck on.

You did mention the bentley manual. Is it fairly easy to remove the levers to work on them or should i just try to free them up in place? Thanks for bearing with me on this.

walky_talky20
10-22-2010, 01:27 PM
The levers are just bolted to a rod via a 13mm nut. The rod that it twists is actually part of the caliper and would require much disassembly to remove.

There are 2 methods to free it up:

Method 1 - just work the lever back and forth in place.
a: Use the e-brake handle to pull it on.
b: Release e-brake handle
c: Use a tool of choice to manually move the caliper lever back to it's "released" position.
c2: You can use a 13mm wrench to rotate the rod/move the lever. Or use a pair of pliers to just grab and move it. Removing the wheel isn't necessary, but may be helpful.
d: continue this process (pull on with e-brake handle, release handle, force caliper level back with tools) until it can spring back fully on it's own.

Method 2 - remove the e-brake cable from the caliper
a: pull e-brake handle on
b: release e-brake handle
c: disconnect the cable from the lever at the caliper location
d: Use tools to work the caliper lever back and forth, from limit to limit. When finished it should be able to spring back on it's own very nicely.

For either method, lubing the rod where it twists with some WD-40 or PB blaster, etc, can be helpful. Also, for both methods, after it is freed up make sure to use the e-brake every day (or several times a day) to ensure it doesn't freeze up again for a while.

junya
10-24-2010, 08:09 AM
Ok well I was able to free them both up completely yesterday. I used a bunch of PB blaster and tried to move them with the bolt attached to the lever with no luck. I was however able to break the mechanism free by loosening the caliper bolts just a few threads and then moving the lever a few times to break it free. Worked it back and forth a few dozen times more and it works like new!!!

Thanks alot walky talky. There isn't alot of info on this subject. you literally saved me hundreds in dealer repair bills.

walky_talky20
10-25-2010, 08:59 PM
I'm pretty sure they would have tried to sell you 2 brand new rear calipers at a price of about $275 a piece. Yikes!

Glad you got it fixed.

GOROSSI46
05-29-2012, 12:33 PM
I've got this same issue right now. E-brake handle had no tension at all on it when trying to engage. Went to the shop up the street this morning to see if they could adjust the cable to bring the tension back. Turns out the right rear caliper lever is stuck and he starts telling me I need a new right rear caliper and new parking brake cables. For a cost of $700. I asked for him to hit the lever with PB blaster and beat the crap out of it to see if it would free up but he wasn't having any part of it and just said straight up that the caliper is bad. Even after I told him about people being able to free theirs up with this method. Failed inspection because of this too.

Somehow the tension is back at the handle now. Think the left one was stuck but freed up while they were playing with it. The right one is gonna need some work. Chewed up the rotor pretty good too since I've been driving around a bit and thought the cable just needed some adjusting. Think I'm just gonna hit it with a can of PB blaster and see what happens.

RoadRage
05-29-2012, 01:57 PM
I have the same thing going on. I have to pull my handle all the way to the sunroof to stop from rolling. I need to give this a whirl when I have time.

GOROSSI46
05-30-2012, 12:22 PM
Well I dropped my car off with a local Audi/VW tech to have a new clutch installed and asked him to take a look at the stuck lever on the right rear caliper. He basically said it need to be replaced if it was stuck but I asked him to please take 20 minutes, spray it with pb blaster or something and work it a little bit to see if it would free up. Just got the call that he was able to free it up! Told me it's gonna need to be replaced at some point but atleast I will be able to get my inspection sticker. Then he told me I got 2 torn cv boots he wants to replace.............arggggggg.

Seerlah
05-30-2012, 12:53 PM
You know what I did when this happened to me? I replaced the caliper myself for cheap. No need for a new cable either (mechanic is trying to get over on you). If not going by walky_talky20's advice, just replace your caliper. There will also be a good chance your pads will need replacement also from heat retention.

GOROSSI46
05-30-2012, 01:54 PM
I already know the pads and rotor are no good. I just need it to pass inspection so I can legally drive it again. I'll worry bout the brake repairs once I get the clutch paid off lmao.