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All you can adjust on back wheels is shoe position in ref to drum - that affects regular braking too (assume you have drum rear brakes).  So check/adjust rear shoes - jack up, emergency brake off, tighten adjusting stars til drum stops turning and then back off so they turn.  Being a new VW, your's may be ok - but I wouldn't count on it.  Then you can adjust the cables using the VW brake mechanism under the tunnel boot.  If it is already at the end of adjustment - then you have to shorten the cables more - usually, they are just cut and looped over with a "cincher". 

Image result for emergency brake cable adjustment on a vw kit car

Some use these cable shorteners instead of doubling over with cinchers.  They look nice but cable could slip inside the connector.

Image result for emergency brake cable adjustment on a vw kit car


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Geezer:  If the car is relatively new and the brake pedal feels good to you AND it doesn't pull to either side under hard braking, I wouldn't mess with trying to adjust the brake shoes in back.  It is becoming a lost art so you may want to eventually find a mechanic who can do it right, but no hurry if they're working OK.

The E-Brake can be easily adjusted right at the handle between the seats.  Remove the e-brake boot and you'll see two threaded studs (#3 in Greg's big photo) that also have a slotted end.  Put a screwdriver blade in the slot and tighten the 10mm nuts on both cables as close as possible to the same amount (tighten by 1/4 turns to keep track).  Getting the adjustment grossly different between them may mean that the car might pull to one side if the e-brake is applied while moving.  If all you ever do is use it as a parking brake, then don't worry about it, just get it so it feels "right" to you.

Just about everyone uses the cable ends in Greg's lower photo, simply because using cable clamps on shortened cables out back is impractical AND they slip.  Those cable ends shown seem to work well, but the set screws need to be good and tight or the cable may slip out of the end of the terminator (Greg mentions this, too).  

Good luck!

Yes - cable stretched, new end connector slipped, or cable was not cut short enough, to begin with ---- or, I guess, if you never adjusted your rear drum brake shoes they are out of adjustment.  Note - this is a big advantage of rear disc brakes - they are self-adjusting.

Here's the chinch method for a clutch cable.

Image result for vw dune buggy clutch cable shortener

Last edited by WOLFGANG

I tried using double cable clamps like that when I first built my car and they tend to let the two cables slip past themselves and stretch the overall cable out - not good.   Once I went to the cable end studs shown above I never had any more troubles with them slipping when pulled.

I doubt that the cables have stretched that much - unless there was a Gorilla installing them in the first place - Those are 3/16" aircraft-style cable and I seriously doubt that pulling on the handbrake handle is gonna stretch them unless you stand up on the seats and pull with both hands like crazy.  Pull the cables out of the end studs, maybe, but stretch them that much?  Nope.

Trim them back a little bit and try re-adjusting them.  You can grab the cable end with some vise grips to pull the slack out (just remove slack - don't try to pull hard enough to begin to engage the e-brake shoes out back), then eyeball where the end stud should be (don't forget to allow for adjustment).  Draw a line on the cable at that point where the cable will "bottom out" in the stud barrel (or a tad longer if you're not sure) then wrap some painter's tape or electrical tape around the cable where you want to cut it so that the cut will be in the middle of the tape, then use a Dremel with a fine cut-off wheel to cut the cable.  Doing that will prevent fraying of the ends so the cable will go into the end stud easier and the set screw will bite better.  

When you adjust the handle, you want to go for three or four clicks up from fully down.  5 - 6 clicks are OK, but that's beginning to get "up there" (remember that future adjustment thing).

Good luck!

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

Thank you gentlemen. I just recently replaced the master cylinder and the front rotors. I also had the rear drums and pads off so everything was disconnected including the e-brake cables etc. In putting in all back together I was trying to get more tension in the hand brake by adjusting the pads closer to the drum. I thought I had backed the the pads off too far. I'll see if I can tighten the adjusters any more. If not I'll shorten them a skosh.

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