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8 & 10 cyl Bristol cars From Type 407 onwards

Girling Handbrakes

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Old 02-12-18, 04:31 PM
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 57
Default Girling Handbrakes

I am pleased to be able to report a very significant improvement in the performance of the handbrake on my 410 as a result of my having eschewed new pads in favour of getting the existing pads refaced in a "softish" material. I apologise for not being able to be any more technical than that, but that was the very simple specification I used, I was understood, and it has worked.

It is now no longer necessary to use all ones strength to haul on the handbrake to pass the UK's MOT (i.e fit for the road) test. The handbrake is now fit for purpose, which, as a kind gentleman on another forum pointed out, it certainly would have been when the car was originally built.

There is a possible corollary, which I have yet to check upon. All that effort could perhaps have stretched the handbrake cables, which might account for the inner pads resting very lightly on the disc when the handbrake is off, as they tend to do on my car, as the callipers themselves are unbalanced. Which may in turn result in the odd wear pattern that has been commented on elsewhere. According to the Instruction Manual "in the unlikely event of stretch" there is provision for taking up the excess via an adjustable link to the balance bar situated under an aluminium cover under the carpet behind the handbrake lever. I presume that will then hold the inner pad off the disc, although the Manual doesn't get as far as saying what the effect of stretched cables might be.

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Old 05-04-19, 06:48 PM
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 57

To follow up on my earlier post.

I have poked and prodded and wondered and thought and as far as I can see there is absolutely nothing in the design of the Girling handbrakes, used by Bristols and I believe others, e.g. Aston Martin, which are by nature unbalanced, to stop the inner handbrake pad resting lightly on the disc at all times. The handbrake cables, stretched or not, are connected to the operating lever that amplifies their effort at a point that is too close to the suspension point of the handbrake calliper to have any effect. And there isn't anything else to stop this phenomenon, as far as I can see.

I have to say that this strikes me as a rather astonishing state of affairs, even though the the pressure caused by the imbalance is pretty light it is still there and has to result in unnecessary wear on that pad, if one does a any sensible mileage.

Can anybody shed any light on my observation? I'm hoping that I'm wrong and the answer is "X". If there is an answer I'd be glad to know it.

By the way the "softer" pads I mentioned are fantastic, I actually have a proper handbrake now easily goes through the MOT and which might even stop the car in an emergency, but how they will wear remains to be seen
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