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5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)

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Old 02-26-2009, 07:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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E39 Parking (Handbrake) Problem

My 2000 530T's rotors & pads are all fairly new & certainly in good condition with a relatively small shoulder showing on the rotors. Foot Brakes work fine but the handbrake is almost useless & certainly wouldn't hold the car on a gentle slope nor pass any technical inspection. The handbrake can be put on up to 4 clicks (5 if one jerks it up really hard) but all too little avail.

Last time this was noticed I changed the rear rotors & pads & some improvement was seen but that's now faded away. Being an automatic I don't use the parking brake much but they obviously need to work properly especially for it's annual inspection. Any ideas anyone please?
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Old 02-26-2009, 12:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The parking brake is a different brake than the pads and rotors. Some people have success by tightening the cable from the handbrake; others replace the mechanism in its entirety.
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Old 02-26-2009, 05:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Try adjusting the cable (need to loosen the nuts at the handle, raise the rear end, remove one lug bolt, and align the whole with the tightening system inside). If that doesn't do it, you may need new e-brake shoes, which go inside the drum portion of your rear brakes.

Good luck!
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Old 02-26-2009, 06:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks guys for giving me the advice. I overlooked mentioning that when I changed the rotors & pads, that I also changed the parking brake shoes. So in fact the whole lot is not really far off from being new. The parking brake itself is rarely used but when I tried it recently on a gentle slope I found it almost usless hence my query. Seems to me little point in adjusting the cable as only 4 (or at the very most 5 clicks) can be pulled on the handle so what's next worth trying? A few applications whilst driving along perhaps but I don't want to risk burning (or glazing?) the shoes.
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Old 02-27-2009, 07:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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cable

Partially siezed cable can give similar symptoms, had this on a van recently, thought it was shoes but wasn't, try some wd40 on the cable and pulleys etc
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Old 02-27-2009, 11:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'll give that a go & report back. Meanwhile I've tried a number of handbrake applications whilst on the move but that didn't improve the situation. Thanks for the suggestions----any more most welcome.
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Old 03-25-2009, 11:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Did you get to the bottom of this David... mine is pretty much the same problem....

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Old 03-25-2009, 12:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi Folks

I've finally managed to get some service work done on the car & in particular, have more or less solved the handbrake problem. I think it probably hadn't been properly set up when the new disks & shoes (& pads) were installed. Now having inspected the shoes (virtually untouched) the cables were fully released & the shoes (not siezed up BTW) properly set before putting disks back on & setting the shoes again. Then with carefull adjustment of the two handbrake cables (on the handle) the handbrake is clearly a whole lot better. Having said that, I doubt I could do any handbrake turns (if I was stupid enough to want to) as it seems to me the brakes are now near enough as the factory intended but not fantastic. Certainly the cable system wasn't siezed at all. Thanks for the suggestions guys.....juts sorry to be so long winded in getting it sorted.
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