Richard, the problem with testing in parts of Ireland are exactly as you say. it's a stupid, stupid network that only allows the franchised operator to decide how many centres to open, it would appear to regardless of how many people want a test.
The way it is supposed to work is that you get a test on the anniversary of the first registration of the vehicle. You don't need a test for the first four years, then it is every two years until the vehicle is 10 years old, and after that, annually.
The problem now is that there are far more people living around the local [to me] test centre than probably was envisaged but nothing has been done to increase capacity. That's one of the problems with handing the system to a foreign company, trying to make them invest to provide an efficient service. Obviously, the question then is - why not remove the franchise ? I believe the answer is because there are too many vested interests in Irish politics and industry. So it's a case of "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" and being offered jobs at management/board level when the politicians have to leave office.
If, for example, my vehicle is due a test on the anniversary of its' first registration, let's say June 1st, then I need to be trying to book that test at the earliest allowed date of the beginning of February to get a test date near when the current test date expires. If I leave it until a month before expiry then I won't get a date until at least three months later. In theory you could keep doing this until eventually you completely miss a year, as your dates are continually running three or four months behind.
One of the issues, so I have been led to believe and I can't verify this, is that young fella's with their souped-up VW Golfs, Subaru's, etc. etc. book a test way in advance, to allow them to drive their cars, and then two weeks before the test is due they re-schedule a new test a further three months down the road, and so on until the police catch up with them. And the reason they are doing it is because their boy-racers won't pass the test due to too dark window tinting, too low suspension, too loud exhaustion, and failing emissions test due to being chipped. Certainly, I know for sure that anyone with a straight through exhaust system fitted will fail on noise issues.
If the above really is true, and I do believe it may be, then that alone would be taking up test slots that a genuine motorist would use. Also the possibility that these young fellows are doing this was shown when I decided, three weeks ago, just for the fun of it, to see if I could reschedule my test from February 23 2024 to a nearer date, and lo-and-behold I was given a date two weeks ahead although at 9:30 at night. Which I took.
You can request to be on a waiting list to be called to a cancellation but in practice I have not found that it works very well. You could get a phone call to say that a cancellation has come up in three hours time, and you then have to get your car ready for te test, i.e. check all fuels and liquids, check lights, check tyre pressures, and empty everything out of the car, including the boot. It's just more hassle than its worth, sometimes.
Anyway, thanks for the schematic on the handbrake lever tightening process.
I looked at the schematic, and this may sound a bit stupid, but is the adjust made to the handbrake cable on the brake drum ?