Article Date: 29/08/18
One of the things highlighted in my previous MOT's was that the handbrake cable had very little reserve travel left on them. Basically meaning the cables were stretched to their limits and eventually would fail. I could also tell the handbrake cables needed doing anyway because as a recent shopping trip I started rolling backwards even with the handbrake cable applied pretty much all the way
Now this article isn't a word for word "How to replace your handbrake cables on a VW Golf MK5", but it will have enough information to make your task easier. The reason that it's not a full guide is because I encountered problems along the way which I had to sort out because I didn't have this information at hand and I had to get the car ready for MOT, but multiple issues appeared which slowed me down dramatically and I don't have access to a garage with lifts.
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Part numbers I used to replace the handbrake cables in my MK5 Golf. I recommend you check them for your own car before purchasing to make sure the cables are the same size, as manufacturers like to change variations without telling people
Prices below were what I paid at the time of writing this article when purchasing them directly from Volkswagen
TOTAL PRICE WAS £57.32
This isn't a full guide, because I wasn't taking a lot of pictures when I first did this. If your car has an armrest you will need to look at the instructions for removing the armrest, the procedure is slightly different
If you managed to remove your handbrake cables without having issues with guide tubes, just go straight to Step 7.
Steps 1-6 are just in relation to installation of new guide tubes
Install new grommets as required underneath car
Insert the new handbrake cable into the car, with new guides it should be a straight install
Ok, if it's like my cable guides, part of the old handbrake (a hard piece of plastic) will have broken off or be wedged inside the tube. The best way to remove it will be grip the guide with a pair of pliers (gently just enough to hold it), then use another pair of pliers and grip the hard plastic, twisting it back and forth to work it loose from the tube. This should then allow you to remove it
Alternatively another option, is to use a hack saw or bolt cutters on the handbrake cable chopping off the end near the compensator. Then using a drill and drilling out the hard plastic so it makes a hole big enough to install your new handbrake, this will then allow you to install the handbrakes, without messing around lifting carpets and make it a 30 min job
I can generally think of only two things causing this. First thing is that you have purchased the wrong cables for the car. For reference the standard cables in the 1K MK5 Golf Chassis (part number - ) are 1445mm in Length, a few mm either way isn't too much of an issue (i.e +/- 10mm), but a big variation would be too short to fit to the car.
As a guess, I'd say the shortest cables you could fit to the car would be around 1420mm in Length, as the routing in the car shortens them. Now, the SECOND reason (and the reason I put more emphasis on this), are the guide tubes have been cut on the car. When I worked on mine, I thought the guide tubes simply routed the cable into the handbrake and because they had a piece of plastic wedged inside them (which turned out to be part of my old handbrake). I couldn't simply pull it out so thought to fit my new handbrake I needed to cut it. Just to clarify, they DON'T just route the handbrake cables. They also add tension and length to the handbrake cables. So under any circumstances DO NOT CUT THE GUIDE TUBES!
If you have cut the guide tubes, just order some new ones (they're about £8 each from the Dealer / TPS), or on sites like eBay you can purchase them online. Some people have bodged them with washers to make up the length. I personally wouldn't, but hey, if you're desperate and it's short notice only thing I can suggest as a quick "temporary" fix. Or put in a piece of copper tubing to make up the length you need. Seriously though, don't be a cheap ass. Buy new tubes
I encountered this problem. Firstly, pull the handbrake lever (or get someone to do it for you), look under the car and on the caliper. Make sure the actuator arm of the caliper is moving, and the handbrake cable isn't snagged or caught.
If the cable and arm itself are moving, remove the caliper and manually pump the lever to make sure the piston comes out, it if doesn't the piston (or mechanism) has failed and you will need to replace the caliper
I fitted new brakes to my car and fully wound back the piston, but I had this problem. The cable was perfect and I suspected the piston hadn't fully came out or the caliper mechanism had gone. I manually pumped the mechanism a few more times and the piston eventually came out and locked the wheel