Lotus Elan

Blasted handbrake mechanism!

PostPost by: JonB » Thu Apr 16, 2020 12:43 pm

My handbrake is turn and push, so it can always be released no matter how hard you pull it. On some of the other ones that incorporate a white button, I can see it might be difficult to disengage the pawl under similar circumstances.
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Thu Apr 16, 2020 12:45 pm

I thought for a Hill start you just Heeled and Toed and smelt the Clutch getting warm(non asbestos of course) mmm :lol:
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:15 pm

Mine's a button jobbie and it can be a b****r to release so yes I'm afraid that I either hold on the clutch or attempt "help & toe".
I used to have a 2CV with a "fly off" twisting handbrake - but that also had a centrifugal clutch as well as the pedal so a very easy restart on hills either way.
Marvellous for trickling along in traffic. Obviously not a lot of danger of burning the clutch out with so little power available :D :D
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PostPost by: benymazz » Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:57 pm

JonB wrote:On some of the other ones that incorporate a white button, I can see it might be difficult to disengage the pawl under similar circumstances.


I don't bother using the handbrake unless I'm parked or experiencing a hydraulic brake failure (hasn't happened yet, fingers crossed). On my S2 it's tucked up under/behing the dash and with the harness on you don't have a chance in hell of reaching it. So much for it being an "emergency" brake—fortunately I can release my harness with one hand with relative ease, but if you experience a brake failure and aren't sure if you're going to crash into something before you can get the e-brake on, staying harnessed in is obviously preferable.

Obviously not a concern if your car has the original lap belts - then you can reach it just fine.

If I have to hill start I heel and toe. Having size 11 feet (US) helps, although I've almost worn a hole in the side of my sneakers from heel-and-toeing when I downshift.

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PostPost by: UAB807F » Thu Apr 16, 2020 4:01 pm

MarkDa wrote:Technically the MoT requirements must be met regardless of paperwork.
A handbrake that doesn't work when a policeman pushes the car would be "dangerous" and risks a ticket and insurance invalid.


I agree completely with that sentiment, even though our cars can be excused the MoT as Historic Vehicles, they still need to be roadworthy. Just because the handbrakes were considered weak on most period road tests the fact is that they've been capable of meeting the MoT requirements since new, and that's been 25% minimum efficiency.

Even if you turn a blind eye because you can opt out of the MoT test, I suspect the insurance companies and police would expect our cars to be capable of passing the MoT.

I was told by my local MoT tester that 25% was the figure for single circuit braking systems and 16% (??) for dual circuit systems. Mine would meet 25% if newly cleaned and adjusted but as we know, it goes off.

I ended up putting a dual circuit system in simply because that meant that a pass was much easier. He wouldn't hand me the ticket with a smile and "oh, the handbrake is close to the limit you know, you might want to tighten it up a bit", knowing full well from how clean it was that I'd been under it for a week.

It sailed through on 16%.... in fact since I modified it I bet it's well over 25%.

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PostPost by: Bigbaldybloke » Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:40 pm

Getting back to the handbrake mechanism, for the plus 2 certainly there is a modification in the manual for the tree by the diff, this gives better brake operation if yours doesn’t already have the modified tree on your car, I’d modify it at the first opportunity.
Just a side comment, on everyday car (Porsche Macan) you can do a full emergency stop using the little lever for the electronic parking brake. No idea why you would want to, but it works extremely well. I had it demonstrated to me at Porsche centre Silverstone. The instructor told me to floor the throttle and keep it floored whatever happened. He also instructed me to let go of the steering wheel when we got to around 70mph and he then pulled the lever. The car did an emergency stop and the steering corrected itself to keep the car straight. I dread a passenger playing with that little lever when I’m driving at speed as an unexpected emergency stop could be rather scary for any car behind!
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:58 pm

Very impressive performance by Porsche.
I imagine that applying any electronic handbrake would pull you up pretty smartly as they run a motor on a screw applying force to the standard pads.
In this regard they constitute a very good emergency brake if the hydraulics fail completely.
Whether they all work with stability programs I don't know.
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PostPost by: Bigbaldybloke » Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:20 pm

Not wanting to go too far off topic, but on the Porsche it seems like if you apply the parking brake while at speed, it applies the normal antilock disc brakes all round and also cuts the throttle, once stationary it then applies the normal parking brake. Rather more complex than we could expect a 50 year old Lotus to do!
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