Parking Brake Cable Adjust

Phil Rose pjrose at
Sat May 3 11:54:13 EDT 2003

Hah! You missed seeing all of those numerous "e-brake" postings over
just the last 24 hours?

Your problem is a common one in Audi models of this era--most likely
caused by either (or both) of two things: (1) brake cables are seized
by effects of corrosion, etc. and need replacement, and/or (2)  the
(internal) e-brake cam actuator in the rear caliper prevents the
proper release of the piston. The inability of the brake piston to
release is caused by loss of adequate internal cam
lubrication--coupled with the fact that Audi rear brakes have an
external "return" spring that is notorious for being very weak.  As a
result of these factors, the cable is unable to be returned to it's
normal rest position.

So, chances are that you require cable replacement and/or  rear
calipers rebuilt or replaced (esp. if all you had done is pads and
rotors and the calipers are the  original ones). I've replaced my
rear calipers, while others have managed to dissassemble the unit and
relubricate the internals. I doubt that dissassembly and relubing is
something that's cost-effective for a shop to do (relative to
installing a rebuilt caliper).

If the cable itself is OK, sometimes it's possible to manually work
the rear brake's external actuating lever back and forth (after
disconnecting the cable-end) and apply a liberal amount of
penetrating lubricant and grease to the pivot shaft. This can improve
the return "action" but, IME, it is a very temporary fix (e.g., 6-12
months)--if it works at all.


At 10:14 PM -0600 5/2/03, Steve Sherman wrote:
>The parking brake in my 91 200 has been "loose" since I bought the car 3
>months ago.  Even with the lever pulled all the way up, it barely had
>any braking effect.  Since I had planned on replacing the rear pads and
>rotors (were worn when I bought it) I had not given it much thought,
>fgured the PB would be taken care of with the rear brake job.
>Well this week I gave up on having time and decent weather to do the
>rear brakes, and took it in to a shop that I had not used before.  They
>did a decent job on the brakes, but did not adjust the PB.  Said they
>did not have time, and that they should self adjust or some other lame
>excuse. Probably won't go back there again!
>Anyhow, I now am going to look into the PB myself.  After reading the
>Bentley, seems that there is an adjustment nut where the two pb cables
>attach to the rod that goes to the pb lever.  Tightening that should
>take up the slack, taking care that the cams on the rear calipers still
>opens all the way.  (Doesn't seem like a big deal, wonder why the shop
>did not do it).
>But I did notice that Bently said these cable should not need adjusting,
>except on cable or caliper replacement, which did not happen (at least
>by me).  So should I be looking for something else? cable stretching
>about to break?  Any BTDT out there that know what causes the pb to come
>out of adjustment?
>200q20v mailing list
>200q20v at


Phil Rose
Rochester, NY
mailto:pjrose at

More information about the 200q20v mailing list