adjusting parking brake, 03 accord coupe 4-cyl

Discussion in 'Accord' started by Theo, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. Theo

    Theo Guest

    Dear all,
    After 90000 km, the parking brake lever must be pulled up 9-10 clicks to
    hold the car on a moderate slope. The dealer says the parking brake is self
    adjusting, and self-adjusts when the car is braked in reverse. My Haynes
    manual (yeah, I need to spring for a better one if there are any out there)
    says that you adjust by popping off the centre console and tweaking the
    adjustment nut. Who's right?

    How much of a nightmare is it to take off that console, or otherwise access
    the adjustment nut? I've had problems with that little "overhead door"
    storage compartment ahead of the shift lever, and I don't want to mess that
    up or break off any mounting tabs.

    Anyone ever have this done at a dealer, and if so, what was the labour time?

    Theo, Aug 22, 2007
  2. Theo

    Woody Guest

    Get the Honda manual from and use the procedure in it.
    Driving habits are hell on rear brake adjustments. Learn how they get
    adjusted. You may also need the rear brakes rebuilt...
    Woody, Aug 22, 2007
  3. Theo

    jim beam Guest

    that's incorrect. in fact, i'd be very uninclined to let this place
    anywhere near my vehicle because of that statement - either they don't
    know hondas or they don't know cars!

    that's correct. there's a little panel at the back of the console.
    just open it and you can access the cable adjuster. but the chances of
    you needing to touch it if the rear mechanism is working properly, and
    you have honda brake shoes fitted, is slim to zero.
    find a dealer that knows what they're doing before you worry about that.
    jim beam, Aug 23, 2007
  4. Theo

    Tegger Guest

    Do you have the "drum in hat" parking brake, or do you have a link on the
    rear calipers?

    Don't touch anything yet.
    Tegger, Aug 23, 2007
  5. Theo

    Theo Guest

    Thanks for all the feedback. Some more info:

    They're the only dealer within hundreds of miles. There's a good
    independent place in town that I'll try next, for stuff I don't want to do

    The rear rotors and pads are four months old. The dealer replaced a rear
    caliper last week, after which the pedal was mushier, grr. There is a link
    on the caliper for actuating the parking brake.

    The number of clicks through which you must pull the lever has steadily
    increased since the car was new - now it's at 9-10 clicks for our
    modestly-sloped driveway. Cables stretch after a while, etc., so I wasn't
    shocked at that until I heard about the supposed self-adjustment. After the
    pads and rotors were replaced, there was very little difference in the
    parking brake. The dealer says that it can take another look, and consider
    tweaking the adjustment nut. I wasn't feeling warm and fuzzy about the
    dealer even before I posted my original message.

    Theo, Aug 27, 2007
  6. Theo

    Tegger Guest

    Then there's air in the (fairly complex) caliper; it wasn't bled
    properly. This is a common error.

    Same as mine, then.

    Unless the cable were replaced at the same time as the calipers, stretch
    is NOT the issue. here. Somebody has set things up improperly.

    Before installing the calipers, did the dealer make sure BOTH caliper's
    links were free?

    Did the dealer make sure neither cable was seized on its clevis? If a
    cable end cannot pivot on its clevis, that caliper will not fully
    engage, requiring more force to be applied to the other caliper.
    See roughly 3/4 of the way down that page.

    Did the dealer back off the cable adjustment so that the parking brake
    links JUST sat on their pins, then adjusted upwards from there? If the
    installing tech backed the cable off too far and forgot to take up the
    slack, then this would also cause your problem.

    I don't have a manual for your car, so I'll have to guess at removing
    the cover. Sometimes you can just remove the rear ashtray to gain access
    to the 12mmm cable adjusting nuts. If you have a little access cover at
    the back of the console, a slim screwdriver should be able to fit in a
    little slot molded into the cover. You use the screwdriver to carefull
    lever the tab back (which is beneath the slot), at the same time lifting
    the cover upwards by pushing down on the screwdriver. A bit of cloth
    under the screwdriver willl help in preventing marring of the plastic.
    Tegger, Aug 27, 2007
  7. Theo

    Theo Guest

    The rear rotors and pads are four months old. The dealer replaced a
    Disappointing, considering that I changed the fluid myself about 3 months
    ago, bled things with a manual MityVac, and firmed up the pedal nicely. I
    was charged for brake fluid, so I assume they did some sort of bleed. If
    there's an air bubble in the caliper, should bleeding the new caliper help,
    or must I bleed all four corners?
    This increase in the number of required parking brake lever clicks has been
    slow and ongoing since the car was new, so it doesn't seem like sudden human
    error - the dealer simply did not rectify an existing condition.
    I'll check that. When I did the rear brakes, I had no problem removing the
    cables from the calipers. The FAQ is impressive, by the way.
    The dealer did no adjustment - the dealer claimed that no adjustment was
    needed due to the parking brake being self-adjusting, so no, the cable
    adjustment hasn't been frigged with since the car got on the boat.

    Theo, Aug 28, 2007
  8. Theo

    Tegger Guest

    You shouldn't have to. Just bleed the corner that has the new caliper.

    It's best when bleeding a new rear caliper to have it OFF the mount
    bracket, in your hand. You turn and tap with a nylon mallet between
    bleeds in order to shock stubborn bubbles free. Put a block of wood to
    make certain the piston doesn't try to move out.

    Then maybe it is the cables. In my last message I described how to
    adjust them.

    In your case, somebody should have checked cable adjustment.

    The dealer is right in that adjustement is automatic...PROVIDED the
    cables are properly adjusted in the first place!
    Tegger, Aug 28, 2007
  9. Theo

    Tegger Guest


    Let me rephrase that...

    /Piston/ adjustment IS automatic. /Parking brake handle/ movement depends
    on cable adjustment at the equalizer, assuming no problems at the caliper.
    Tegger, Aug 28, 2007
  10. Theo

    jim beam Guest

    yes, and if everything is as it should be, the cable should not need
    adjusting and the balancer should be pretty much dead even both sides!
    jim beam, Aug 29, 2007
  11. Theo

    Theo Guest

    Devil's advocate question - why does Honda build in the cable adjustment
    capability if it should not be needed over time? If I was Honda's legal
    team, I'd say don't put in any adjustment because that would tempt shadetree
    mechanics to not fix caliper problems.

    The dealer put on an aftermarket caliper, with my blessing, and the pads are
    aftermarket. However, there was a large amount of parking brake handle
    motion required even before the caliper was replaced. If the pads are thick
    and the linkage is free, then I can't figure out what could be amiss besides
    cable stretch, which the group finds very unlikely. If the piston is
    self-adjusting, then the slightly thinner rotors, after machining, should
    not affect things, right?

    Thats a good tip about bleeding the caliper with the caliper off its mount,
    so you can tap it and get rid of stubborn air bubbles.

    Theo, Aug 29, 2007
  12. Theo

    Tegger Guest

    You have to account for manufacturing tolerances, so you need an adjustment
    no matter what.

    Aftermarket pads tend to be too hard ("lifetime", of course). If your are
    too hard, a lot more upwards motion of the lever is going to be needed
    before the parking brake takes effect and holds the car.
    Tegger, Aug 29, 2007
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