The handbrake pads on a Jaguar E-Type are located within the rear subframe and operate on the top of the discs. While this makes access difficult it is quite possible to change the brake pads without removing the subframe, saving considerable cost/time if you know how to do it. Most of the job is relatively straightforward and the only part where access can makes things difficult is the refitting of the retractor plate designed to pull the calipers apart when the brakes are released. This too can be achieved without too much effort with the right approach. These instructions apply to all 6 cylinder models fitted with self-adjusting handbrakes which is all but the very early models. They are a supplement to the instructions in the Jaguar Workshop Manual.
The image shows the forward side of the subframe with a rear footbrake caliper in the middle and the front of the differential casing in the background at the bottom left. The handbrake calipers are attached to the footbrake calipers by means of two pivot bolts. These bolts also hold the retractor plate in position with its two tines which reach across to the two caliper halves.
The process is as follows:
1. Remove split pin and clevis pin linking the operating lever to the handbrake linkage.
2. Fold down the locking tabs and remove the 7/16″ pivot bolts, lock tab and retractor plate.
3. Push the caliper over the top of the disc towards the back of the car. The caliper can be withdrawn from the subframe through the centre opening at the back of the subframe.
4. Loosen the 5/16″ nuts clamping the pads to the carriers – there is just enough space between the reinforcing ribs to swing a 12 point ring spanner. In the unlikely event that the clamp bolts aren’t badly rusted you can then slide the old pads out with the aid of some tapping. It is more likely you will be completely removing the bolts and replacing these at the same time.
5. Fit the new pads taking care to mount them the correct way round – the triangular edge upwards and the chamfer towards the adjuster bolt which links the two caliper halves.
6. You will now find that there is not enough clearance between the pads for the disk and you will need to reset the self-adjusting mechanism. Simply hold one of the caliper halves and rotate the other anti-clockwise to unscrew the adjuster until the inner faces of the pads are 12 mm apart.
7. Now you’re ready to reinsert the calipers. Push them back in and around the top of the disk the way they came out.
8. Line the retractor plate up with the two mounting holes, place the locking tab on top and insert the pivot bolts into the holes hopefully finding the holes in the handbrake calipers with some judicious wiggling. Gently tighten them but not fully as you will probably be taking them back out.
9. This is where the problem occurs. In all probability the tines of the retractor plate won’t line up with the holes in the top of the calipers. If the subframe is off the car this is not a problem but with the subframe on there is no way you can get anything in there to bend the tines to get them in the holes. But don’t despair. Get an inspection mirror such as dentists use and take a close look to see in which direction each tine is out and by how far. Make a note of this, unscrew the pivot bolts and take the retractor plate back out. Bend the tines according to your estimates and then reinsert. You may have to do this a couple of times but once you have it right you will be able to reach in over the tines with a screwdriver and push them down into the holes.
10. Now you can tighten the pivot bolts properly and push up the locking tabs.
11. Pull the operating lever repeatedly until the ratchet of the self-adjusting mechanism stops clicking.
12. Refit the clevis pin linking the operating lever to the handbrake linkage and fit a new split pin.
13. Adjust the handbrake according to the manual as necessary.