Why does the wheel lock up and smoke when the handbrake cable is attached ?

FastLife91

Torque Junkie
Points
52
From
England
Car
Ford Focus mk2
Car - Vauxhall Vectra 1.9 CDTI 120bhp

I am no mechanic but I watch Youtube DIY video's and can follow and perform fairly easy jobs like this on my car.

I replaced the rear calipers , discs and pads and took it the MOT and all was fine including it's handbrake. A few weeks later I wanted the handbrake firmer so I was messing about with the assembly and I disconnected the HB cable and after I put it back together again and was driving down the road I smelt and saw smoke coming from rear wheel and as I tried to spin the wheel it would not move, I disconnected the handbrake cable and the wheel spun freely and also when I drive it no longer smokes.

So the wheel locks up, goes red hot and smokes when the handbrake cable is applied but spins freely without problem when it is not attached. does anyone have any idea of what the problem may be ? I have left it disconnected on that one side for now until this is resolved

The handbrake itself is a part of the caliper assembly, the handbrake cable is attached to the caliper . Some people say on these cars as they are self adjusted then it means it can't be manually adjusted and the handbrake cables need to be changed, but other people say they can be adjusted >>

These car's do not have a simple nut near handbrake that simply adjusts, this car does not have that. apparently if it can be adjusted thew whole console needs removed.

please help, thanks
 
Last edited:

obi_waynne

Administrator
Staff member
Moderator
Points
887
From
Deal, Kent UK
Car
A3 1.4 TFSI 150 COD
The rear drum brakes on these are prone to sticking, do you have drums on the rear or discs?

Are the rotors and pads warped or worn, is the disc flat or slightly warped?

A layer of copper grease on the pistons and other parts can help if the problem is siezing up, DO NOT GET ANY ON THE FRICTION SURFACES (PAD OR DISC/DRUM)

The only way to see it to get it in the air, get underneath it and whilst someone applies the handbrake on and off you can see what's moving, and if it's working the same on both sides.

(Don't ever get under a car supported by a jack or in any other unsecure manner, I've seen some nasty injuries from this).
 

FastLife91

Torque Junkie
Points
52
From
England
Car
Ford Focus mk2
The rear drum brakes on these are prone to sticking, do you have drums on the rear or discs?

Are the rotors and pads warped or worn, is the disc flat or slightly warped?

A layer of copper grease on the pistons and other parts can help if the problem is siezing up, DO NOT GET ANY ON THE FRICTION SURFACES (PAD OR DISC/DRUM)

The only way to see it to get it in the air, get underneath it and whilst someone applies the handbrake on and off you can see what's moving, and if it's working the same on both sides.

(Don't ever get under a car supported by a jack or in any other unsecure manner, I've seen some nasty injuries from this).
I only relaced the rear calipers, discs and pads a few weeks ago and all was fine and it passed its MOT , a few weeks later I thoguht I would get the handbrake to hold better on less clicks for some reason I undid the handbrake cable from the caliper, once I put it back together again was when the wheel locked up.
I want to know can the cables be adjusted although they are apparently self adjusting on these vectra c's or do the cables need replaced.
thanks
 

obi_waynne

Administrator
Staff member
Moderator
Points
887
From
Deal, Kent UK
Car
A3 1.4 TFSI 150 COD
Ah a Vectra not a Focus, sorry.

There was a hand brake recall back in 2008 ish, has this been carried out on your car?

Cables stretch over time, which I guess is why you had to tighten it. My guess is that it's been overtightened now, if you slack it off again it should be fine but I would recommend a new cable.

They are self adjusting so replacing the cable is the best option here. I warn you that changing the cable is a tricky job.

Personally I'd leave things like brakes to the professionals, as it is too easy to mess things up and cause problems.
 

FastLife91

Torque Junkie
Points
52
From
England
Car
Ford Focus mk2
I only relaced the rear calipers, discs and pads a few weeks ago and all was fine and it passed its MOT , a few weeks later I thoguht I would get the handbrake to hold better on less clicks for some reason I undid the handbrake cable from the caliper, once I put it back together again was when the wheel locked up.
I want to know can the cables be adjusted although they are apparently self adjusting on these vectra c's or do the cables need replaced.
thanks
Ah a Vectra not a Focus, sorry.

There was a hand brake recall back in 2008 ish, has this been carried out on your car?

Cables stretch over time, which I guess is why you had to tighten it. ??? ( I have not yet tried to tighten or adjust it yet as I said in my post, I am asking can it be adjusted ) My guess is that it's been overtightened now, if you slack it off again it should be fine but I would recommend a new cable.

They are self adjusting so replacing the cable is the best option here. I warn you that changing the cable is a tricky job.

Personally I'd leave things like brakes to the professionals, as it is too easy to mess things up and cause problems.
Hi
As I stated at the begininng of the post, it is a Vauxhall Vectra 1.9 cdti 120 bhp, NOT a ford focus.

I have not heard of any handbrake recall on these cars and on the onine checker it shows no recalls whatsoever for these cars.

I replaced the rear caliper discs and pads on my car myself, took it to mot and it passed easily no problems. It was only several weeks later I was fiddling about trying to tighten my handbrake and I disconnected the handbrake cable( though there was no need to ) that it was then the wheel locked up .

I did NOT say in my post anything about me tightening it,as I said I have not even tried ot tighet or adjust it yet. I asked you if it can be adjusted on these cars as apparently they are self adjusting, if they can be adjusted then how ? if not do the cables have to be replaced ??

to recap.

It is a Vectra, not a focus.

I have not yet tried to adjust the handbrake , I want to know if they can be adjusted on cars with apparent self adjusting handbrake as I heard yes and no
 
Top