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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-24-2005, 01:17 PM
Megatron Megatron is offline
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Handbrake - How many "notches" to stop car

Maybe it's just me, but I find that if I want to park on a mild hill, I've got to pull that handbrake up to the maximum travel to keep the car from rolling. Is that normal? In my previous car, if I want to park my car on a mild hill, I would need to pull on about 4 notches to hold the car...maximum number of notches if I want to park on a steep hill.

Dealer said the handbrake will only hold when I pull it to the top, but considering that I need to pull it to the top to have it hold my car on a mild hill, I'm not sure if that is correct.

Just wondering if your handbrakes work the same way or does the brake engage earlier?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 01-24-2005, 01:30 PM
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markl53 markl53 is offline
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I'll check again, but I think I've only needed to pull the brake about 6 or 7 notches max on a medium angle hill. Sounds like it's probably a simple cable adjustment might be necessary.
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  #3  
Old 01-24-2005, 02:35 PM
Megatron Megatron is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markl53
I'll check again, but I think I've only needed to pull the brake about 6 or 7 notches max on a medium angle hill. Sounds like it's probably a simple cable adjustment might be necessary.
I'm thinking it is a cable adjustment as well, but dealer said it was normal and that I'm required to pull to the maximum travel for any incline.
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  #4  
Old 01-24-2005, 02:45 PM
allaboutme allaboutme is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Megatron
I'm thinking it is a cable adjustment as well, but dealer said it was normal and that I'm required to pull to the maximum travel for any incline.
Your dealer is lazy, simple as that. However, BMW states that the handbrake should light up on the cluster by the second notch. Mine needs to be pulled to the top after maybe 10 notches. It basically touches the arm rest. I can adjust it at any time by pulling off the handbrake shroud and tightening the nuts.
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  #5  
Old 01-24-2005, 02:54 PM
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msbrown msbrown is offline
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It's a simple fix

and I'm surprised more people don't ask for it. I mean, cables do stretch, fasteners become loose, etc. Once in a blue moon I'll get the car rolling (at about 5mph) in the parking lot and stop using the handbrake -- if I can feel it engage without having to pull it too hard, I figure I'm good.

Not that I ever want to have to try to really stop that way
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  #6  
Old 01-24-2005, 03:19 PM
atlau atlau is offline
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huh?? 10 notches?
I've always pulled it to 2 only... and it seems tight enough. On a hill, I'll go up 3... but never more.

And it goes NOWHERE near the arm rest... I thought all bimmers were like that?
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  #7  
Old 01-24-2005, 05:08 PM
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mkh mkh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlau
huh?? 10 notches?
I've always pulled it to 2 only... and it seems tight enough. On a hill, I'll go up 3... but never more.

And it goes NOWHERE near the arm rest... I thought all bimmers were like that?
No, not all bimmers are like that. Both my 330i and X5 take 6-7 notches to fully engaged. 8 notches for a steep incline.
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  #8  
Old 01-24-2005, 05:10 PM
atlau atlau is offline
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Oh no... is there something wrong with mine?
maybe diff between manual transmission and auto transmission???

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  #9  
Old 01-24-2005, 05:51 PM
Megatron Megatron is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkh
No, not all bimmers are like that. Both my 330i and X5 take 6-7 notches to fully engaged. 8 notches for a steep incline.
Wow, that's a lot! Has it always been like that for your 330i since you've owned the car or only after a lot of use?
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  #10  
Old 01-24-2005, 06:02 PM
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markl53 markl53 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Megatron
Wow, that's a lot! Has it always been like that for your 330i since you've owned the car or only after a lot of use?
I re-checked mine when I got home -- it's also about 6-7 for moderate tightness like I had thought. That seems pretty normal to me.

Atlau, if yours is fully tight at 2 notches, it may actually be adjusted too tight. The brake could be dragging even when fully released (IMO).
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  #11  
Old 01-24-2005, 07:09 PM
Megatron Megatron is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markl53
I re-checked mine when I got home -- it's also about 6-7 for moderate tightness like I had thought. That seems pretty normal to me.

Atlau, if yours is fully tight at 2 notches, it may actually be adjusted too tight. The brake could be dragging even when fully released (IMO).
I also rechecked mine. Basically the car stops rolling at around 6 to 7 notches on a mild hill. It doesn't go any more than that. If that is what everyone else is experiencing, then maybe it is normal for my car.

I was expecting moderate tightness at 4 notches and 6 to 7 for use on those steep hills in San Francisco.
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  #12  
Old 01-24-2005, 07:44 PM
atlau atlau is offline
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Hmm... come to think of it... i rarely park on hills, and 2 notches is pretty light pulling (conservative)... I think i can achieve 4, but I never want to... if my gf drives the car, she'll yank the thing to reach maybe 5... but i always tell her to stop after 2 or 3...

thanks for the opinion tho.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Megatron
I also rechecked mine. Basically the car stops rolling at around 6 to 7 notches on a mild hill. It doesn't go any more than that. If that is what everyone else is experiencing, then maybe it is normal for my car.

I was expecting moderate tightness at 4 notches and 6 to 7 for use on those steep hills in San Francisco.
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  #13  
Old 01-24-2005, 07:49 PM
Rowag Rowag is offline
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Funny thread - I've always been anal about the parking brake, so here's my notes on my 2002 325ci:

- New: 2 notches stopped car on flat surface
- New: 3 notches on incline
- New: 4 notches on steepest incline

- Worn (several months later): +1-2 notches on all

The light has always come on *just* as it was hitting the first notch - I always remark at the precision of the contact point for that. Go German engineering!

As a general rule of thumb, though, I always tell the service guys to tighten the parking brake anytime they work on the rear brakes. If you need to tighten things before servicing the rears you can always use the nut under the parking brake boot.
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  #14  
Old 01-24-2005, 07:49 PM
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TeeZee TeeZee is offline
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Parking Brake Adjustment DIY

Parking Brake Adjustment DIY
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=82648
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  #15  
Old 01-24-2005, 08:15 PM
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Terry Kennedy Terry Kennedy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowag
The light has always come on *just* as it was hitting the first notch - I always remark at the precision of the contact point for that. Go German engineering!
Actually, it is an incredibly cheap plastic pin w/ a spring clip to hold the wire - see the attachment.
Quote:
If you need to tighten things before servicing the rears you can always use the nut under the parking brake boot.
There are actually 2, one for each rear drum.
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  #16  
Old 01-24-2005, 08:35 PM
atlau atlau is offline
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My light comes on slightly before the first notch. If i am driving, and slowly lift it, it starts beeping at me (swearing?!!)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowag

The light has always come on *just* as it was hitting the first notch - I always remark at the precision of the contact point for that. Go German engineering!
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  #17  
Old 01-24-2005, 09:34 PM
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mkh mkh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Megatron
Wow, that's a lot! Has it always been like that for your 330i since you've owned the car or only after a lot of use?
When both were new, they were about 2 notches less. Now after 38k miles on the 330i and 58k on the X5, they did loosen up a bit, but is nothing to concern. Also, both parking brake lights come on at the 2nd notch.
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