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New Style Caravan Handbrake


Guest john1215

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Guest john1215

This posting was prompted by the last posting in the breakaway cable discussiom. The new style hand brake was mentioned in there in connection with the breakaway cable and the possibility that the cable wasn't able to activate the handbrake. Link to breakaway topic

 

For anyone who hasn't used one of the new style handbrakes, they don't have a ratchet and you don't have to pull them up to set the brake, you simply apply a little pressure and the brake springs to the on position.

 

The question is - Are they as good as the older ratchet type.

 

I use one on my new van and I like the way the brake is applied but thats the only way I've used it.

 

john1215

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I also have one on my van and like the way it works, but I do wonder if it needs a lot more effort to apply via the breakaway cable, as it is either ON or OFF. .nothing in between.

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Hi John,

To be honest i havn't really gave it much thought, the new style handbreaks are i think easier to apply and it seems just as effective as the old type, releasing the old type could be a stuggle if it was applied right up to the last ratchet, and to push the button down and pull up slightly before releasing could be hard work sometimes.

 

Oscar

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I think it's more a problem that if there isn't enough slack cable. The gas strut system can be activated whilst cornering. Thus bringing the caravan brakes on

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I have a gas powered hand brake on the twin axle box trailer I tow for my voluntary work and although it is easy to get I have to straddle the A frame and lean against the front of the trailer and it takes all my effort to get it back off again. I must admit that when it is it is on and othing wil move it. If it was to come away from the van I tow it with the trailer would stop within seconds. I would hate to think what would happen if it came on whilst cornering.

 

Then again the ratchet style brake has it's down side as it doesn't hold very well backwards down hills

 

As to everything in life there are plus sides and negative sides.

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I would like to point out that from a SAFETY point of view there is no difference in the efficiency of the two types of handbrake.

 

Provided the braking system as a whole is properly maintained and adjusted the forces involved in the event of a diconnection of car and van will be sufficient to fully apply the brakes on the van.

 

Whether individual members have the strength to fully apply the 'ratchet' style handbrake, and release it also, is arguable.

 

The gas strut assisted handbrake only requires minimal application of effort to FULLY apply the brakes - that is why the issue of sufficient length of breakaway cable is highly critical.

 

A breakaway cable that is too short, or attached in the wrong place, on the older 'ratchet' style of brakes would only apply a slight breaking effect. Whilst this could burn out the brake shoes in time, it would not have the same effect as an instantaneous full brake application whilst on the move that the gas strut type would have. (And reading posts from others it seems that some drivers are not even aware of the extra load - almost unbelievable!)

 

BE SAFE

 

Which ever type of handbrake you have make sure it is OFF when moving and ON when static.

 

ATB

You can not reason with an unreasonable person.

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As noted in a CC magazine article,the vast majority of burnt out brakes occured with the later type gas strut system. In at least one case the drum had actually melted. It is worth remembering that binding brakes can cause tyre blow outs and there is also the possibility of fire. :(

 

Frank

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Guest john1215
As noted in a CC magazine article,the vast majority of burnt out brakes occured with the later type gas strut system. In at least one case the drum had actually melted. It is worth remembering that binding brakes can cause tyre blow outs and there is also the possibility of fire. :(

 

Frank

11059[/snapback]

 

Hi Frank,

 

Do I assume correctly that the burnt out brakes were because the owners had not released the handbrake or is it due to a failure of the device?

 

john1215

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Hi Frank,

 

Do I assume correctly that the burnt out brakes were because the owners had not released the handbrake or is it due to a failure of the device?

 

john1215

11194[/snapback]

 

From memory, the handbrakes somehow got nudged on and, because they were being towed by 4*4s, the extra drag wasn't noticed henct the burnt out brakes.

 

Mlamont

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The common cause is misuse of the breakaway cable. The worst instance was a person who took his breakaway cable to the left hand side of a bumper protection plate, passed it around behind that plate and then directed it back towards the car and then clipped it to the attachment point on the towbar! By doing this all the slack had been used and when he first turned right the cable pulled the brake lever on. You get 75% of the braking force applied this way, the other 25% is when you give the lever that extra pull yourself.

 

This person then drove, with his large 4x4 for approx 100 miles and set the brakes on fire and destroyed the hubs and axles!

 

A word of warning if you carry out brake adjustment on gas strut types yourself. Ensure that the handbrake lever is fixed in the off position. Some makes have a retaining pin to insert and some people actually tie the lever down. The reason is that some people have been injured and have had teeth broken when working on the linkage as if you just go too far in the adjustments the lever can fly up suddenly hitting you in the face.

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We have the new style lever on our new caravan and not sure if I like it or not yet. The old one seemed to be easier to apply on a proportional amount when allowing the caravan to run out of our drive down a slight incline. I suspect like all new things it will become easier with practice. Seeing the above comments I will treat it with respect in case it tries to take revengee and attack me- makes you cringe just thinking about the lever coming up unexpectedly. I will never straddle the A frame again without thinking of the reports above! Ouch!

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