e-brake relocation

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  rexlucy 8 months ago.

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    About 6 months ago I had read EDSNOVA’s past post and his blog on how he relocated the emergency brake on Bridget, but thought it was too hard a task.

    Well, I finally decided to give it a try.  Here’s the rest of the story:
    Out with the emergency brake assembly — I used a Dremel Tool with one (actually took 3) of the quick mount cutting wheels for the cut, and then cleaned up the edges with a 4 1/2″ angle grinder.  I looked at using my jig saw but getting it into the cramped space was problematic. Getting the nerve up to start the first cut was the hardest part.  
    I tried to leave just enough metal around the handle to let me attach the handle in the new location with sheet metal screws, since I’m not good at wire welding — and I wanted to be able to remove the e-brake assembly if something went wrong with my work.
    I cut out the new hole for the e-brake assay using my Dremel tool.  I kept the opening small enough to give me some mounting options.  I was able to save the stamped-in Chassis numbers that are under the piece of velcro on the left side of the picture — but just barely.  Next came cutting the brake cable tubes and bending them so the the cable would exit just behind the guide slots on the bottom go the e-brake handle…hard to do with the amount of room there is to work with.  Again, Ed’s post on his BLOG were really helpful.  I wound up using a cut off hack saw blade in a handle to cut the tubes to length…slow work but doable…
    I followed Ed’s lead and made a fire extinguisher holder to cover up the hole left when I cut out the e-brake assembly.  I added a bracket to the holder for the heat control lever.  I thought about moving the lever with the brake, but the mechanical work of trying to shorten the tubes that the heater control cables run through, as well as having to figure out how to rebend the tubes and shorten the cable made it a no-brainer to leave the lever where it was.  I used a piece of 16 ga sheet metal from Tractor Supply and a block of 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ hard wood (mahogany,which was what I had on hand) for a riser for the extinguisher.  Without the riser, the fire extinguisher would have been too close to my right leg and I would have rubbed the extinguisher every time I took my foot off of the gas to brake.  That extra 1 1/2″ height, and a little right bias at the under-dash end of the mount were just enough to clear my leg.  The heater control bracket was just a short length of 1/8″  steel stock, bent into a 90 degree bracket and mounted to the mounting plate.  I reused the plastic washers that provide the friction to hold the lever in the selected position.
    Here’s the bracket and extinguisher mounted in place.  I wanted to use the smallish, white, marine fire extinguisher I already had but Royal, who had come over to supervise the operation, chastised me for even thinking of putting a white fire extinguisher in this fine car…so a little help from a rattle-can of red paint and voila! a “just the right size and shape” red fire extinguisher was created and mounted…
    I got the e-brake mounted in its new location and attached it with 5 sheet metal screws — they were enough to make a good, solid mounting.  Then came figuring out how to adjust the cables, since the “normal” way of just tightening the nuts on the threaded ends of the e-brake cables was no longer an option (the ends having been cut when the cables were shortened to fit the new location.)
    I needed a way to hold tension on the cable while I tightened the cable clamp at the junction where the cable exited the “rocker plate” at the top side of the brake handle.  I built a special tool (2 actually, one for each cable) out of a 3/8″, 3″ long threaded connector and a 2″ long 3/8″ bolt.  The objective was to emulate the action of the threaded end of the original brake cable and the adjusting nut.  I drilled a hole lengthwise in the center of the 3/8″ bolt large enough for the cable to slip in, placed the slackened cable clamp under my special tool, ran the cable through the tool, and tightened up another cable clamp on the top of the special tool.
    Using two wrenches, I extended the bolt from the threaded connector, which stretched the cable to the right amount of tension.  (I did both sides together so that the top rocker plate would provide equal pressure on both rear wheel brakes when the handle was lifted.)  Once I got the tension set on both cables I just tightened up the cable clamp under the special tool, slackened the clamp at the top of the tool, and removed the top clamp and tool.   I then bent over the extra brake cable length and used the cable clamp that was on top of the tool to clamp the extra cable back on itself.  This let me put on a new e-brake boot and have the extra cable hidden under the boot.
    Here’s the final product…works great and looks good too!!
    So again I want to thank Ed for having reported out his efforts to relocate the e-brake on Bridget.  That posting gave me the courage to try it on Abby.  Total investment was about $5.00 in parts, $10 in steel, some skinned knuckles and scraped hands from working in the tunnel, lots of bad words being said — mostly under my breath– and a new boot for the brake.  
    But I can’t say I’m looking forward to repeating this exercise on Emma, my BCW “hanger queen”
    …by the way, Roy suggested that since I was in the tunnel anyway, I should replace the shift rod bushing under the shifter as well as the shift coupler inserts at the other end.  Who would have guessed it…I found that the builder left out the shift rod bushing so the rod was just flopping around in the shift rod bracket.  I also discovered that the shift rod itself was bent (we speculate that the builder forgot to install the shortened shift rod at the proper step in the assembly process and had to bend the rod to get it into the tunnel).  But since it had been working ok for the last 30 years or so, and since in consulting with our local VW expert (scrap yard owner) who said “no worries” I reinstalled the bent shift rod with its new bushing and coupler inserts and shifting has never been this good! — more cut hands and scrapes were earned but only around $15 in parts for this side project.
    That’s about it from my little corner of Eastern North Carolina.  Feel free to PM me if you are thinking of relocating your e-brake and want to hear more on what I went through in doing this “little” job.



    Nice! Great pictures and accompanying write up.




    Jack, yours looks much neater than mine. Nice work.




    Are you sure that’s not a Nitrous bottle instead of a fire extinguisher?  😆

    Nicely done, and very well documented!  🙂
    I’m glad mine has already been relocated, heater controls and all…

    Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
    Slowly coming back from the ashes...




    Terrific work Jack!

    Paul Mossberg
    1982 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
    2005 Intermeccanica Roadster

    If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to http://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)




    Hey KentT — I never thought about a nitrous bottle on a 1600cc VW engine — Hmm — I wonder what it would do…

    …guess I’ll just stick with a fire extinguisher in Abby, but the Big Block BCW Emma…I wonder…



    Well done and illustrated. Saw Ed’s advice and felt like you originally, but now … thinking about it.




    Just a little easier would be to purchase a cable shorting kit for like 6 bucks at roy rogers vw. Made my move of emergency brake somewhat easier.

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