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williamggruff

Handbrake upgrade kits

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(edited)
Price: $25
Location: Wayzata, MN

Description:

This kit will eliminate the side-to-side slop in the handbrake assembly. Note: this kit doesn't include a welder, so if the tabs on your handbrake mounting bracket are cracked, you'll need to address that issue before installing this kit.

 

If you want (or need--it's not too strong a word in this case) one of these kits, please order from our main man Blunt at https://www.blunttech.com/products/14057384.

 

The handbrake upgrade kit contains:

 

1 bolt (M14 by 2mm at 45mm in length)

1 Nylock nut (M14 by 2mm)

2 thrust bearing assemblies (17mm Shaft Diameter)

1.JPG

 

Tools you'll need to upgrade your handbrake:

 

2 medium, flat head screwdrivers

1 22mm wrench

1 22mm socket and ratchet (or second wrench)

2 10mm wrenches

2 feet of electrical tape or packing tape (it is better to have too much than too little, and the stickier the better)

2.JPG

 

Upgrade steps:

1. Remove the handbrake cover. In some cars these are rubber, in others they're leather; kind of like underwear.

2. Remove the 10mm nuts from the handbrake cables.

3. Pull the handbrake cable ends from the cable holders in the handbrake handle.

3.JPG

4. Press the release button on the front end of the handbrake handle and, using a few inches of high quality, non-stretchy electrical tape or packing tape, secure the handbrake release button so that it remains depressed. This is important, as it will save you a metric truckload of frustration later in the upgrade process. Note: several members of the forum, including yours truly, have learned that thin, stretchy electrical tape will not hold the handbrake release button in place. The spring in the handbrake handle will simply overpower the electrical tape. So, when you tape the button down, it's best to use tape that won't stretch under the pressure of the spring, and you should wait a minute or two after taping it down to see if the handbrake button is stretching the tape. If it is, either add more tape until the button is secure, or use an alternate method of securing the button in its depressed state. If you have a friend, accomplice, or trusted partner in crime, this would be a good test of his/her loyalty, and will help strengthen the bonds of friendship that you've so carefully nurtured over the years. Remember, a little praise goes a long way. A cold beer and a sandwich will probably go even further.

4.JPG

5. Using the two flat head screwdrivers, or the fancy circlip removal tool of your choice, remove the circlip on one side of the handbrake axle pin.

5.JPG

6.JPG

6. Remove the axle pin from the handbrake assembly.

7.JPG

7. Remove the handbrake handle from the mounting bracket. Be sure to keep the ratchet gear teeth engaged at their lowest setting. If any frustration occurs when inserting the bolt during reassembly, it is most likely due to the handbrake axle hole being obstructed by the ratchet gear.

8.JPG

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8. Remove the bearing assemblies from their bags, keeping them in washer | bearing | washer order and place them on the embossed portion of the handbrake handle.

9. Secure the bearing assemblies to the upper edge of the handbrake handle with electrical tape to keep them in place during the remainder of the upgrade process.

10.JPG

10. Insert the handbrake handle assembly from the front of the mounting bracket to avoid interference with the handbrake switch, which should be connected to the rear of the handbrake mounting bracket on the transmission tunnel.

11.JPG

11. Be sure that all of the washers and bearings make it past the sheet metal mounts.

12.JPG

12. Before moving further, be sure that the long, forward-facing slot in the ratchet gear sandwiches the sheet metal of the mounting bracket. (If you adamantly refused to secure the handbrake button in its depressed position with tape at the beginning of the process, you'll find it quite annoying to perform this step in the upgrade process. You were warned.)

13.JPG

13. Insert the bolt in one side of the handbrake mount.

14.JPG

14. Push the bolt all the way through to the other side of the handbrake mount, ensuring that the bolt has passed through the handbrake handle, washers and bearings.

15.JPG

15. Secure the bolt in place with the Nylock nut.

16.JPG

16. Remove the electrical tape from the assembly handbrake button and the washer and bearing assemblies.

17.JPG

17. Tighten the Nylock nut onto the bolt using the 22mm wrench and ratchet to a 'firm' torque--approximately 40 ft-lbs. The goal is to remove all of the gaps from between the components in the system and add slight pre-load pressure.

18.JPG

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18. Re-insert the handbrake cables into the cable holders in the handbrake handle.

20.JPG

19. Fasten the 10mm nuts on the handbrake cables and tighten them until you have the amount of tension on the handbrake cables to suit your rallying style. 4-7 clicks until tight and you're in the right range.

20. Wipe your hands on your pants and grab a cold beer. Grab a second beer for your assistant. If he/she doesn't exist, or doesn't drink beer, you've doubled your pleasure, and can use the perspiration from the beer bottle to further clean your hands. A job well done!

Edited by williamggruff
Priced out of market by multinational conglomerate
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I like the principle behind your modification, and your step-by-step photos are great. It's a clever and simple solution to a common problem. My observation is this: The two upright steel pieces (with the hole where the pivot goes) that are mounted at the bracket itself are inherently weak. In fact, disgustingly weak, with cracks at the base being common. It's already a tight squeeze for the handbrake pivot area already. It looks like adding the thrust bearings spreads these weak tabs out further. Have you noticed, or have any of your customers reported, any increase in the tendency for the pivot tabs to crack more readily, or even break off?

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I like the principle behind your modification, and your step-by-step photos are great. It's a clever and simple solution to a common problem. My observation is this: The two upright steel pieces (with the hole where the pivot goes) that are mounted at the bracket itself are inherently weak. In fact, disgustingly weak, with cracks at the base being common. It's already a tight squeeze for the handbrake pivot area already. It looks like adding the thrust bearings spreads these weak tabs out further. Have you noticed, or have any of your customers reported, any increase in the tendency for the pivot tabs to crack more readily, or even break off?

When I first saw the proposed fix posted on the FAQ a few years ago, I gave thought as to whether this particular modification would be beneficial, benign, or detrimental. I'll offer my reasoning here, and will gladly accept questions, comments and concerns.

The location of the handbrake lever encourages the driver to pull the lever toward the driver's side of the car as the lever is raised. The driver tends to rock his/her body toward the driver's side door in order to generate the momentum to yank the handbrake lever upward. This lateral force on the handbrake lever increases the amount of force necessary to raise the lever, further encouraging the driver to lean toward the driver's side of the car. The lateral force fatigues the pivot end of the handbrake lever at its fulcrum where it interfaces with the axle bolt, fatigues the holes in the pivot tabs through which the axle bolt is mounted, and fatigues the base of the pivot tabs where they connect to the tunnel. If the driver consistently pulls the handbrake lever in the plane allowed by the axle bolt, the lateral stress on the pivot tabs is greatly reduced.

There are no thrust bearings in the original assembly. The handbrake lever assembly has slop between the handbrake lever and the tabs to allow the handbrake lever to be pulled up, and to return when released. The tabs aren't keeping the handbrake lever in a fixed plane of rotation as much as they are holding the axle bolt in place, which in turn loosely imposes a fixed plane of rotation on the handbrake lever. With lateral play in the assembly, the driver's lateral exertion to raise the lever results in the driver generating substantial lateral momentum, which transfers to the pivot tabs when the lateral play in the assembly is used up.

The lateral stresses on the tabs eventually crack or tear through the tabs where they connect with the tunnel. This can be seen in this image from Jim Gerock's '69:

IMG_7311.jpg

So what does the handbrake kit do to the assembly, and how are the forces transferred?

The location of the lever isn't changed, so the driver is still going to be encouraged to yank the handbrake toward the driver's side of the car. However, the thrust bearings will impose strict adherence to a fixed plane of rotation for the handbrake lever. With no play in the assembly, the driver's lateral momentum is transferred immediately to the tabs, resulting in a linear increase in lateral force to the tabs rather than a step function. If you have the opportunity to pull a stock handbrake lever on a 2002, and then pull a handbrake lever with thrust bearings, there's a remarkable difference in feel. The thrust bearings communicate to the driver that the lateral force is "wrong", i.e. "that motion is abusing the car." It encourages the driver to activate the lever in its intended plane of rotation rather than yanking it laterally.

I don't think most drivers intentionally yanked their handbrake levers laterally with the knowledge that doing so would damage the pivot tabs and the handbrake lever. I think they did so because the original assembly allowed the driver to generate lateral momentum, and the lateral stress on the handbrake assembly seemed, to the driver, to be small in comparison with the strain of raising the handbrake lever. So I think the introduction of thrust bearings to the assembly, while they'll transfer the driver's lateral forces more directly to the pivot tabs, will encourage the driver to exert less lateral force against the handbrake lever, resulting in less stress on the assembly.

There's obviously a relevant range for this functionality. If one is prone to breaking all things mechanical, this kit isn't going to make much difference. And if one is using a 2002 for drift competitions, one should replace the entire handbrake assembly with a purpose built handbrake setup. For drifting and pro rallying, the handbrake lever should be positioned vertically, not horizontally.

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Guest Anonymous
hmmm... now I am wondering how bad the slop is on my e-brake? Nice product.

Thank you for the compliment. For clarity's sake, someone far wiser than I came up with the fix. I noted on several occasions during the past few years that members were selling the extra hardware left over from having implemented the fix. I always showed up late to the game, and in frustration I bought enough hardware to make 25 kits, figuring the local 2002 community would like some, and the rest would go for sale on the FAQ. After two years, I'm on my third batch of hardware. Seems there are more handbrakes in need of some loving care than I expected.

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RE: Above pic of Jim Gerock's handbrake bracket. Man, I thought mine was bad! My method: Quicksteel and sheet metal screws. Wonder how long my jerry-rigged repair will last. I think taking away the side to side motion as the kit will do might help a lot. I think in the next couple days I'll order the kit, if my budget isn'a broken by my wheel-repainting project first.

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RE: Above pic of Jim Gerock's handbrake bracket. Man, I thought mine was bad! My method: Quicksteel and sheet metal screws. Wonder how long my jerry-rigged repair will last. I think taking away the side to side motion as the kit will do might help a lot. I think in the next couple days I'll order the kit, if my budget isn'a broken by my wheel-repainting project first.

Glad I'm not the only one. I'm beyond sheet metal screws. Am thinking maybe just making a plate that drops over the whole thing and bolts/welds on.

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Installed the kit after welding up the cracks, even discovered an unseen crack after the install..then re-removal, more welding, and reinstallation. Bottom line is that this kit works great. Its a little tight and feels like its straining the sheet metal (good reason to make sure no cracks remain) but once its in, and the sheet metal conforms to the new shape when the bolt is tightened, its all good and you have a brandy new modern handbrake feel. Great idea!

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