how to unlock the brakes of a vw bug?

I just got my 71 vw bug running after 15 years, it caught a fire because of the wiring.

well, my brakes are stuck to the wheels. first off, what is stuck? the brake to the wheel or the cable that pulls the brakes or whatever? so if the brakes are stuck to the wheel how do i unlock it? i was told to smack it with a hammer. but still none. or if its the cable, what do i do to make it move? do i have to unscrew that big bolt at the middle and remove it? is there any other way?

thanks for answers.

2 Answers

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  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Hey Johnny,

    Congrats on resurrecting the Bug.

    The brakes "sticking" could be from the erosion of the interior of the rubber brake hoses. I had never heard of this before until I dealt with it on the resto of my '73 Beetle; I could not get the brakes to release on one or two of the wheels. If I remember correctly at least one of the wheels was a front one so that eliminated the e-brake cable being stuck. I did some research on one of the many Beetle/Type 1 forums and got this info on the rubber brake lines.

    Over time (like 20-30+ years) the inside of the rubber brake hoses breaks down and develops what looks like a layer of "cholesterol". This goop will allow you to apply the brakes but will not allow the release of the hydraulic pressure exerted by the brake fluid even though you've taken your foot off the pedal. It acts sort of like a one way check valve. The only way to release the brakes is to remove or cut the rubber brake hoses (and after 42 years they should be replaced anyway). That's what I did, removed the hoses, and since I was going to replace them anyway I did a postmortem dissection ...cut the hose in half. Lo and behold there was this goop ...the "cholesterol" ...the line was full of it. After that the brakes released with just a little bit of persuasion.

    Hope this helps and good luck with the resto.

    Source(s): Own and restored my '73 Beetle
  • ?
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    If the hand brake has been set the whole time I'd say the cables will have to be cut at the backing plates and you may still have to smack it with a hammer. At least the cables are still available.

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