View Full Version : Replaced rear caliper, now e-brake needs adjustment?

05-02-2012, 04:29 AM
Hey guys, I have this posted up in the S4 section but am not really getting much feedback. Since the procedure is identical on A4 cars I thought I'd post here to see if anyone has any suggestions. I had a badly seized rear pass. side caliper (luckily I caught it before the rotor had any severe damage) I got an OEM reman. caliper from Advanced and put it in today. I have a 2001 S4 and everything went smoothly (I put new pads on both sides as well, the rotors were ok) Anyways, We bleed all four corners properly and there was 0 air after we were done. We bleed about 5-6 times on each (I pumped) while my buddy bled each caliper. I actually have two questions.

1.) After we finished and I took a drive, the pedal feels like it grabs a bit lower than it did before. It's not bad and it grabs great, I bedded the pads with a few hard stops. No Issues, is this something to be concerned about?

2.) My E-Brake is now requiring about 4-5 more inches to pull until it fully catches (pretty high up) before I could have my e-brake fully engaged with my arm rest on it's lowest setting. We set the e-brake cable just fine and didn't pull the cable at all really we pushed the mechanism to grab the cable and it set itself to where it should be. Do I need to re-adjust this? We hooked everything up on the caliper, then bleed the system.

05-02-2012, 05:33 AM
I'm not sure of the difference between a B5 and B6, but I figure if people can do a B5 S4 rear caliper swap, the setup must be similar...

Here is the "adjuster" on a B6:


There really is no physical adjustment as it pivots around the center to allow for proper and even tension on both cables. When I swapped one of my cables, I wound having to swap out the other as they both had seized in the plastic covering. Also, make sure the cable is seated on the caliper and the spring properly placed:


05-02-2012, 05:52 AM
The e-brake is self adjusting. You just pull on the handle a couple times and it is supposed to adjust to the correct spot. Also, you are supposed to pull the e-brake a couple times after a brake job. I do this while the car is still on jack stands. But if you want to still adjust it, you adjust it by the cable that is underneath the vehicle. There is a different cable for each side (passenger rear and driver rear caliper). When you see the cable, take out the little clip, then loosen the knob. After that, you pull on the cable for the correct tension (more of a feel thing, but you are supposed to watch the contact of the pad and rotor...as if that really helps), then tighten the knob back and place the clip back on. If you have the Bentley manual, instructions are in there.

05-02-2012, 05:57 AM
Thanks Seerlah, we did (and I have been) pulling the ebrake to try and get it to adjust but it's still about 10-11 clicks up before it grabs. I may have to get under the vehicle and try what you said on the passenger side..

05-02-2012, 06:06 AM
You don't even need to jack up the car, but be sure your e-brake is disengaged when doing it. If you lay on the ground, you will see the cable that will sit right in front of the tire. If you place too much tension on the cable and retighten it, the pad will rub on the rotor while driving. Meaning burnt smell, possible glazing and pad replacement might be necessary.

What you can do is keep going back and adjusting that cable to the height you feel the e-brake handle was at before. That is if you don't trust your feeler method for tension. If it is too much tension on the cable, remember that the pad rubbing on the rotor is the simplest sign that you need to readjust (loosen).

I first was adjusting it wrong, till my mechanic showed me the correct way. It looks like all you really need to do is loosen the knob, but no. You loosen the knob, then pull on the cable, and tighten the knob back down. Then place the clip back on. And thanks to this thread, I'm going to stop being lazy and readjust my driver's side one some more.

05-02-2012, 06:34 AM
Like this:

05-02-2012, 07:04 AM
Thanks guys, Seerlah: This diagram should give me an idea I think. http://img808.imageshack.us/img808/3086/handbrake.jpg

So I remove the C-Clip (D) with a flathead screwdriver or something?
Then loosen the 13mm
Then pull cable behind A towards me by hand until I feel tighter
Then tighten 13mm
put back on C-Clip?

05-02-2012, 07:40 AM
I'm going to adjust mine in a couple min and will take pics.

05-02-2012, 07:55 AM
You're awesome man. My S is pretty low so hopefully I can still manage without lifting her up but if I have to it wont be much.

05-02-2012, 08:39 AM
My A4 is low too, and I didn't take that into consideration when I just adjusted mine. And I think I made it too tight. Only way to really find out is to take her for a drive and see if there is any burning pad smell afterwards (I had mine so tight before it would smoke). Anyways, you should be able to get to it without jacks. If not, then back her up onto some ramps and place your car in gear with e-brake disengaged. It also started to rain when I was doing it, so I don't have all pics. I just wanted to get her buttoned back up, but you should not have difficulty from these pics (they were taken upside down).

Here is what you are looking at.

Take off the c-clip

No more pics.

-Then you simply thread back the knob till you can't tread it back anymore (a colored ring will reveal itself when you threaded it back enough). It does not thread onto the threads you see in the pic, but the threads that are relevant are under the knob.
-Simply pull on the cable towards the front of the car and thread the knob back into place
-Place c-clip back
-Pull e-brake to see if it is now at the height you are used to
-Go for a drive to make sure that the cable is not too tight (smell from pad is how I check, along with a more than usual hot rotor. compare heat on that rotor from the other rear rotor)

If your e-brake cable is loose, your car will roll on some of the most unslanted hills when parked. Ask me how I know! I have a nice little dent on my rear bumper now from my car rolling back. Came out from my friend's house one night to see my car missing. First reaction was someone stole my car. Then it dawned on me to look down the street. And there she was, nestled on the front bumper of someone's vehicle...on the other side of the street...in their driveway. I got lucky with that one with the damage, because it could have been much much worse. Missed a metal gated fence by like a foot. Would have scratched up my whole vehicle, but I got lucky with a little dent on my rear bumper. People who's car I hit were cool, didn't bother with insurance, no damage on their car so no compensation was necessary, they wished me the best of luck getting my bumper fixed, etc. Lesson learned: Park with your car in gear, just in case.

05-02-2012, 09:50 AM
Ouch man! I know how you feel though.. I had my e46 M3 parked on a slight slant and forgot to put my car in gear AND the parking brake on.. I was rushing to do something.
Came out and it rolled into a metal fence that had a wooden fence behind it. Front bumper got scratched a bit but nothing major. So now I'm more cautious with the S4.

I used your steps and was able to adjust the e-brake just fine, it grabs at about 5 clicks now and works as it did before.

Question: WHY would I even have to adjust this if I replaced an OEM caliper with an OEM caliper? I checked to make sure the cables are both seated properly.. I did not bleed the caliper with the e-brake cable off (some have said to do this, I didn't know at the time) I bled all fours when all the pads/new caliper was bolted up. I bled about 5-6 times on each side and I did it the proper way.
I had to pull the cable out probably almost all the way; no threads were showing on both sides originally (a lot of threads are showing now as you can see from the pic below)
Is this okay?

I'm hoping my pedal feel is a bit different because the caliper was seized for a long time and now that a new one is on the pedal is a bit less grabbier but still feels good. I dunno, maybe I'm just paranoid.
Or maybe there still is air in the lines. I'm not sure how that could be though.


05-02-2012, 10:14 AM
Not quite sure. But I also had to readjust mine, ever since I replaced my caliper some time ago. My mechanic adjusted it for me, but not all the way to my liking (I was also confused on how to properly adjust it). I can install a turbo kit, but didn't know how to adjust my e-brake cable. Go figure! Anyways, this thread finally made me stop from being lazy and just do it.

05-02-2012, 10:15 AM
Thanks again man, def a big help.

05-02-2012, 10:26 AM
No problem [cool]

01-04-2013, 01:37 PM
bringing this one back from the dead..I need to loosen mine so I pull the cable towards the rear, however I cannot get it to loosen which part do I pull on?