top of page

What rhymes with 'ball ache'?

        Back brake

We are all familiar with the Bendix rear calipers on an Integrale, they are self

adjusting, and have a mechanism to apply the handbrake. There is a screw

adjustment, but access to the piston head is restricted by the shape of the caliper.

Because the rear brake compensator valve restricts the use of the rear brakes 

when the car is unladen, the little-used pistons seize in their bores.

Removing the pistons and resetting the screw adjustment is tricky, so if you

value your time it's much easier to send the callipers away for refurbishment


I did this with our two calipers via motor factors, but Brake Engineering sent

them back again as unsaveable. They need to split the caliper to recondition them,

our casings were corroded into one solid lump of metal.

I received rear discs, calipers, pads and a handbrake cable from AECar.

At the garage I jacked the car up, made it safe on axle stands and

removed the rear wheels. I first slackened the brake pipe to calliper fitting

while the caliper was still secured, this car's handbrake cable had broken

on both sides, so that didn't have to be removed. But if it had needed

removal, I would have slackened the cable right off at the handbrake

lever adjusting bolt first.

I removed the caliper from its frame, this is a single piston sliding caliper

and is detached by removing the top and bottom sliding wedges that

hold the caliper in place. These wedges have a little spring clip on the

inside end that secures them, remove these, then pull the wedges out

with pliers. Do all this then lever out the caliper, rotate it to undo the already loosened brake pipe. 

I unbolted the caliper carrier frame from the hub and put all the

fittings safely together, them I removed the brake disc, this car had

original spacers fitted too. I did do one side at a time, then I could 

check where the parts went.

I then removed the locating bolts and spacer and brake disc.

Our unsaveable calipers, the cases had become a solid mass.

Tools are available to wind out adjustable pistons,

but they don't work on these Bendix items because

of the solid outer caliper section. 

I cleaned the protective oil from the new discs, and fitted one side with the spacer and securing bolt

With the discs secure I fitted the caliper carrier cage, the two securing bolts can be tricky to locate, they are a friction thread, so will be tight to do up.

The caliper's internal adjustment is regulated by the slot on the piston locating with a knob on the brake pad, this holds the piston while the internal screw can turn and self adjust as required.

I made sure the piston was rotated into the correct horizontal position before fitting the pads.

I put a dab of copper grease on the metal back of the pads and slipped them into the cage.

I wound the new caliper on to the flexible hose, ready to be tightened when the caliper was secured. I then checked the piston groove was horizontally positioned.

It seems like a random kind of fitting, but levering the caliper against the springs, then banging in the wedges does keep the caliper in place, and allows the unit to slide and apply even pad pressure to both sides of the disc.

The spring clips which locate the pads aren't

supplied with the new pads, so I made sure I kept the old ones safe.

This is the caliper in position, I fitted the spring retaining clips into the holes at the inner end of the wedges. You can see the spacer and disc locating fittings. 

Here are the completed rear brakes.

I had sand blasted the caliper carrier frame

to freshen them up, and here you'll see a new handbrake cable is fitted.

The handbrake fitment is described below,

fitting to the calipers can be a bit tricky, the first side's ok, but the last one can be a bit tight.

I'll do the handbrake, then we'll bleed all the

brakes, I renewed the fronts as well.

jacked up Lancia Delta

Now for the handbrake

Cutting off old cable supports

Make sure the car is safe on its stands, you'll be going under there. If you've done the rear brakes as above, the cable will be disconnected, if not unhook it. Check there are new rubber mounting rings in the handbrake package, if so, cut the old

ones off.

There's a metal cable support hook each side at the radius arm top end which can be opened out to release the cable, then there are two P clips bolted to the car floor under the rear seat. These are secured with a 10mm head bolt, remove the easy side, the other side also holds up the heat shield over the exhaust pipe, remove that bolt too. They bolt to captive nuts inside the car, so be gentle.

 Next you'll need to remove the back seat lower cushions, 

and one front seat, and that seat's side rear doorstep cover, and the front seat belt lower fixing on that side too probably, to be able to lift the carpet up from the back to reach the cable, then remove the seat belt centre buckle strap fittings to lift the centre console.


Undo the adjustment nut under the handbrake lever, get it as loose as poss. Undo the screw at the back of the centre console and lift that up, it'll catch on the remaining seat's back adjuster knob and you can hook it there.

lancia delta centre console

Undo the rear fixing screw and lift the centre console, this will also, of course, lift the handbrake lever too, which is the opposite of what's required!

integrale handbrake cable

Hidden cable fitting, behind

exhaust pipe.

Back inside the car you'll see the yolk arrangement on the

short single handbrake lever cable. It's too difficult to describe unhooking the pin coupling, but you'll figure out how to do it.

I probably did it wrongly anyway! Unhook the cable loop, and remove the 2 cable end circlips, don't lose them.

With all this free, pull the big rubber bung out of the floor, and with the cable slack, take the yolk off and pull the cable over the

tensioning box, push the bung and cable down its hole to under the car. You'll have to get under the car to complete this task, this requires the cable to be pulled over the prop shaft and exhaust pipe and pulled out on one side of the car, the driver's side is easier.

lancia delta handbrake pin
integrale handbrake cable

Cable yolk with pin fixing it to

the handbrake handle cable, the

pin will come out with a lot

of wiggling

When it's unhooked, remove the two cable circlips, pull the cable over the mounting box, loosen the big rubber grommet and pass it down through the hole in the floor.

Lancia Delta suspension bush

Unpack the new cable and thread it over the prop shaft and obstacles under the car the way the old one came out, if the fixing loops are on the cable it will be difficult to thread through, persevere! When that's done, and before you push the cable into the car, you'll have to fit the rubber cable rings on to the lower radius arm.


Remove the bottom arm securing bolts and release the radius arms, using plenty of WD40 push the loops down the cable to the ends, then over the arms, and back up again, etc. etc! Replace the lower arm bolts and secure.


Then push the looped end and rubber bung up into the car through the hole. Inside the car, hook the cable over the yolk, fit the short cable and pin, then fit the cable circlips and the rubber bung. Lower the console and push the handbrake lever right down.

Now back under the car, hook the cable ends to the caliper handbrake arms, this isn't easy on the last side you fit, because the cable will be tight, so be ready for some manipulation, when these cable ends are fitted, pass the cable over the radius arm

top end hooks and squeeze them closed, then fix the cable outer

P clips to the two remaining underfloor mounting points.


Inside the car again, tighten up the handbrake lever adjustment nut until it feels right, put the carpet back, secure the centre console, and refit the seats etc. The rear calipers are self adjusting, so the handbrake lever will need adjusting properly after some use.

This is a typical epic Delta job to achieve quite a simple result, the greatest skill required is keeping your temper!

Next.. Bleeding

I have a Gunson easibleed kit, which uses air pressure to blow the brake fluid through the brake lines and opened bleed nipples.

This has been unreliable lately, so I've gone back to the old way.

brake bleeding bottle

The old way!

Fill the car's master cylinder fluid bottle. Attach a short, thin, tight fitting rubber pipe to the bleed nipple, submerge the other end of the pipe into a jar half full of brake fluid, placed lower than the nipple, and so that the pipe end stays under the fluid.

Undo the nipple a bit, get into the car and pump the brakes three or four times, then return to the caliper and do up the bleed nipple. This will pump the air out, but on the pedal up-stroke no air can be drawn back in because the pipe end is submerged in brake fluid. Do this on all four corners, then go around and repeat again.

Keep checking and filling the car's fluid reservoir, don't

let it run dry.

integrale brake bleeding

Reliable, old tech, single person

brake bleeding.

integrale brake valve open

The Delta's own wheels simulating

happy Italian back seat passengers

This bleeding method allows a good flush of the system too,

all used fluid is contained in your jam jar. 

To properly bleed the rear brakes you'll need the compensator valve to be open. Lower the car rear bottom suspension mounts on to wooden blocks, then load the trunk up with heavy things to simulate rear seat passengers.

This will open the valve and allow brake bleeding.

A brake job like this is a major operation, and safety critical. I find it's easy to forget something, so go around and double check all the nipples and hose couplings are done up, and all bolts are good and tight, and that no component will rub on a wheel etc.

When you're happy, start the engine and check the brake pedal is firm, if so, replace the wheels, give the fluid level one more check, put the top back on the bottle, and take your baby for a road test.

Wheels back on, and a good job well done. 

bottom of page