Sep 022013

The re-plated handbrake component ready for assemblyThe handbrake had been sent off to ACF Howells for re-chroming as a complete unit. With hindsight it would probably have been better to dismantle it myself and just send them the pieces that needed re-chroming.

I therefore had to work out how the pieces should go back together. The original fittings for the handbrake light switch were missing from the car so the replacement parts would also be added to the puzzle.

Fortunately most of it is fairly self-explanatory. The only issue was having to cut down a roll pin to replace the retaining pin for the push button which wasn’t in the parts returned after re-chroming.

The first task is to reunite the push button operating rod and the pawl of the ratchet mechanism within the handbrake arm. The operating rod is fed through the access hole at the rear of the arm and the pawl is inserted up through the base of the arm, complete with its distance tube and a spacer either side.

Orientation of the operating rod & pawl A clevis pin connects the rod & pawl

The pawl needs to be orientated with the hole for the clevis pin rearward so the hole and fork end of the rod can be manoeuvred to protrude through the access hole in the arm. The clevis pin can then be inserted and secured with the split pin.

The push button needs to be fitted before the pawl pivot bolt, otherwise there’s not enough clearence to insert the retaining pin. Without the bolt, the operating rod can be pushed down the handbrake arm until the hole for the retaining pin is clear of the handbrake arm.

At rest the pawl is held in the locking position by a spring which is inserted onto the operating rod before the push button is fitted. The order of fitting is a washer (not shown in the photo) which sits against protrusions inside the handbrake arm, the spring, a retaining washer and then the push button.

Sprung push button components Roll pin inserted to secure button
The operating rod needs to pushed so it protrudes beyond the end of the handbrake arm (further than in the photo!) so the retaining pin can be inserted Copious amounts of grease was applied before the roll pon was hammered home

A forum member had a thin rubber washer between the second washer and the button. As a rubber washer wasn’t in the returned parts, I can’t be sure if my handbrake originally had one. When the button is fitted the spring is already under compression, providing a cushioning effect and wear isn’t an issue. Therefore I didn’t feel the need to fabricate a rubber washer.

Next the ratchet gear needs to be inserted into base of the handbrake arm followed by fitting the outer cable attachment bracket. Similar to the pawl, the ratchet gear uses two spacers to fill the internal space within the handbrake arm.

The two bolts securing the outer bracket can then be fitted. One acts as the pivot point for the pawl and the other as the pivot for handbrake arm in relation to the ratchet gear.

The final piece in the puzzle was the fitting of the handbrake warning light switch. As mentioned, these parts were missing and so replacement parts were ordered from SNG Barratt.

It looked fairly obvious how things went together. A bracket mounts the switch to the base of the handbrake ratchet gear and it appears that a ‘S’ shaped spring attaches to the end of the switch.

When the handbrake is fully released, a ‘finger’ protrusion at the bottom of the outer cable attachment bracket presses against the spring, which in turn depresses the Push-to-Break switch.

The parts manual indicates two nuts are needed to secure both the spring and the switch. I’m obviously missing something as I can only see how to get it to work using three nuts – one to secure the switch to the bracket and two half nuts to lock the spring at the correct distance from the activating ‘finger’.

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