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Discussion Starter #1
I'm having a problem with the parking brake lever (handbrake/emergency brake) on my 2011 Evora.

Lately I've had to go to 5 or 6 clicks to fully engage the parking brakes. I assume this means that I need to follow the adjustment procedures as listed in the service notes, section JL, page 10. (It lists that 4-5 clicks is desirable.)

However, ratching it up to 6 clicks seems to have caused damage: lately the parking brake lever has been really hard to disengage, where the button feels like it's not fully releasing the mechanism. It's gotten harder and harder to bring the lever down, to the point where it took five minutes of jiggling and wriggling to get it to release. Even after I got it off the highest setting, it's hard to disengage throughout its entire range of motion.

I don't see anything in the notes specifically related to this problem.

Has anyone encountered this? Does anyone have pictures of the parking brake lever release mechanism? Perhaps there's a pushrod that goes to the release button that has become bent?

Thanks!
 

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You can remove the handbrake leather grip by loosening the 2x allen grub screws on the underside. That'll expose the button, but you still won't be able to see the rod/mechanism that releases the ratcheting pawl, since it's between the 2 halves, and they're riveted.

If that mechanism isn't working, you likely will just need to replace the whole lever (part A132J0147F).

And as you surmised, if you have to increase effort or clicks to apply the e-brake, chances are you either need to adjust or replace the parking brake shoes, or one of the many cables in the parking brake system is binding.

Be careful applying too much pressure to the handbrake lever; the OEM leather boot is rather small and tight-fitting, and you can easily snap the plastic gaiter (A132V0071F) with too hard of a yank.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You can remove the handbrake leather grip by loosening the 2x allen grub screws on the underside. That'll expose the button, but you still won't be able to see the rod/mechanism that releases the ratcheting pawl, since it's between the 2 halves, and they're riveted.

If that mechanism isn't working, you likely will just need to replace the whole lever (part A132J0147F).

And as you surmised, if you have to increase effort or clicks to apply the e-brake, chances are you either need to adjust or replace the parking brake shoes, or one of the many cables in the parking brake system is binding.

Be careful applying too much pressure to the handbrake lever; the OEM leather boot is rather small and tight-fitting, and you can easily snap the plastic gaiter (A132V0071F) with too hard of a yank.
Thanks for the information. If I wanted to remove the entire lever, I suspect I need to remove the center console interior trim? (Section VE.6, p. 9.) Also, if you've seen the handbrake assembly in person, would it be possible to drill out the rivets, repair the mechanism, and rivet it closed again?

I've recently had bad luck sourcing parts for my car; it took five months for me to get a door latch (and it's not even the right latch!).

It still sounds like a good bet that something inside the handle isn't releasing the ratcheting pawl correctly, and that nothing on the outside of the handle can be adjusted for that part of the repair.

I also don't suspect cable binding, just based on how it feels like its normal smooth operation, just with engagement at the very end of its travel.
 

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Yes, you'll need to remove all of the center tunnel trim and armrest (if so equipped). I believe you could drill out the rivets and split the lever halves, but it's not the usual pop-rivet style ones.

Once you have the lever out, the ratcheting pawl should be exposed, just not the push rod. But maybe you can fiddle with it from the other end.

As for parts, I've had excellent success ordering from both lotuspartsonline.com (AutoEurope) and deroure.com (Bell & Colvill).

I believe I posted a how-to a few years back on removing the center console trim. There should be some pictures of the handbrake assembly there too.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, you'll need to remove all of the center tunnel trim and armrest (if so equipped). I believe you could drill out the rivets and split the lever halves, but it's not the usual pop-rivet style ones.

Once you have the lever out, the ratcheting pawl should be exposed, just not the push rod. But maybe you can fiddle with it from the other end.

As for parts, I've had excellent success ordering from both lotuspartsonline.com (AutoEurope) and deroure.com (Bell & Colvill).

I believe I posted a how-to a few years back on removing the center console trim. There should be some pictures of the handbrake assembly there too.
Thanks for the very knowledgeable information. It sounds like I have my work cut out for me. Maybe I'll try the rivet method first, if it becomes necessary. Maybe the damage is totally internal. I'll update when I learn more
 

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Discussion Starter #6
There's one screw in the center console that's especially difficult to get with the seat in the way, no matter how much I slide the seat around:

You can see my partial solution to turning this screw here, which worked for 1/16th of a turn, but the tool wasn't long enough to use another angle:



How hard is it to take the seats out?
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
It turns out it's not hard to take the seats out at all. Four allen bolts. Of course, because I'm an idiot, I forgot about the wiring and ripped the two wires out of their harness. So now I have to source new connectors and crimp them, and figure out which one goes where.

Oddly, only the driver's seat had wiring. I assume it's a weight sensor for airbag deploy control? It's a seat belt disconnect harness.

For an album of detailed photos showing each step of this repair process (so far, and in reverse chronological order), click the cat:

 

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Discussion Starter #8
Job complete! Removal of the handbrake assembly is accomplished by removing a retaining clip and pin at the bottom of the handbrake, which can be done in situ if you're careful to not drop the clip into the conveniently placed hole right underneath it, which leads who knows where. Reinstalling it is tricky too.

Here are some pictures of the rest of the job, including a nice clean car interior (click the cat):



And here are the components of my old handbrake, with the rivets ground out:



If you absolutely had to you might be able to fix a handbrake like this, but the most difficult part would be getting the latch mechanism to fit into the folded piece of metal. You'd probably have to pry it apart and shape it back together, as it was folded at the factory on some kind of press. Removal of the rivets doesn't allow for both sides of the handle to come apart, but rather only allows for the mechanisms to be removed.

I think what went wrong on mine is the pushrod developed a slight bend, which gradually got worse and worse. I don't know how you could prevent this, and the car only has 25k miles on it.
 

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"I don't know how you could prevent this, and the car only has 25k miles on it" ...
That's because it's made out of the same crap as the window lifts and the wiper mechanism.

BTW: in spite of my painfully honest statement, I absolutely love my Evora. My friends and I occasionally scratch our heads as to how a car so brilliant in almost every way can have components that a 9 year old could evaluate as subpar. But that's Lotus for you!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
"I don't know how you could prevent this, and the car only has 25k miles on it" ...
That's because it's made out of the same crap as the window lifts and the wiper mechanism.

BTW: in spite of my painfully honest statement, I absolutely love my Evora. My friends and I occasionally scratch our heads as to how a car so brilliant in almost every way can have components that a 9 year old could evaluate as subpar. But that's Lotus for you!
My impression (before buying the car too--I knew what I was getting into) is that the Brits simply cannot make fit and finish. From this experience I can conclude that they also consider the handbrake to be fit and finish. After all, you don't need it to go, only to stop. Luxury item.
 

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Well, this is a purchased item, and my guess is that someone absolutely gronked on the handbrake to where the pushbutton was loaded to the max. It then took twice the allotted force to push the button, bending it.

Things like the lack of attention to detail on the Elise HVAC are Lotus problems. They don't design, as a rule, things like this. OR switch gear, or.....

Odds are if you figure out where this came from, there are complaints about the same thing in forums for the donor vehicle.
 
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