Handbrake Rebuild Tutorial

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Greg Scallon
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Handbrake Rebuild Tutorial

#1 Post by Greg Scallon » Fri May 08, 2009 11:53 am

Hello All,
The other day I asked a question to the group about how to fix the hand brake on my '58 Speedster. It was slipping back down into the tube after being pulled, not locking as it should. I was lucky enough to receive some really helpful directions and photos from Alan Klingen, Bruce Baker and John Fletcher, so with their info in hand, I headed out to the garage last night and pulled mine out. Below is a write up of the procedure. I'm happy to report that my brake is now working perfectly again.

Regards,
-Greg


This photo shows the position of the hand brake prior to removal. There are two small studs on the u-shaped bracket that protrude up through the trunk floor. That and the end of the cable are really all that holds it in.
Image


Here you can see the end of the sheath where it sticks into the front firewall. It just fits into a receiving hole here and will pull out with a little jiggling once you have the unit unbolted.
Image


Here's a shot of trunk cover plate removed. You can see the hand brake cable on the right attached to the rigid brake lever.
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This is a very simple attachment, although you wouldn't have known that from a first glance at my grungy piece.
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After wiping it down with a squirt of carb cleaner on a rag it's much easier to visualize and work on.
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Here you can see the clevis pin, washer and cotter pin used to hold the cable end to the rigid S-bend brake lever
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This little dust cover slides onto the front of the cable and up onto the end of the sheath. You'll notice it when you try to pull the entire unit out. Don't forget to put it back on when reinstalling everything. (as I did)
Image


Here's the front end of the cable. Upon re-installation, this end needs to be torqued counter clockwise as you're looking from the front to the back of the car. This springs the t-handle into the correct locking position when you're hand is removed from it.
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Here's a trunk shot showing the two 10 mil nuts that hold the entire unit in.
I used a small ratchet and a long extension to get in there.
Image


Here's the ratchet I used and the nuts and washers that were removed.
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With those nuts removed and the cable end un-clevised,(is that a real term?) the entire hand brake unit can be jiggled loose and pulled out. Now you see it, now you don't.
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This is the entire unit on the bench. The cable really isn't very long and it's quite thick and sturdy.
Image


More grunge. My mechanism was pretty yucked up.
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This photo shows the parts as I removed them.
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After 10 minutes of cleaning with a wire brush and some Simple Green it's a lot easier to see everything.
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These are the four main parts to the mechanism. The "L" pointed washer. The "V" washer, the "thin" washer and the spring.
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Here you can see the original brazing used to build the u-shaped washer box.
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I found some generic nuts that fit the studs, threaded them on and then put the unit in my vice. This provided a third hand while I fished around getting the washer re-installed correctly.
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This pointy dental-type tool was useful in holding the washers in place while I was stacking them in from the back. This isn't the easiest procedure in the world but with Alan, Bruce and John's instructions, it didn't take more than 5 minutes. Here are Alan's instructions. They're the ones I used. One thing to remember though is that the instructions are based on the unit being oriented as it would be in in the car, not upside down as it is in my vise.

From Alan K...
When the brake is assembled correctly it takes at least 90
degrees of rotation before it lets go. If you are off on the
installation of the thick, bent locking washer it will
release with the slightest twist. Here is the order of the
locking parts: Handle at 2 and 8 o'clock, pointer washer at
full CW pointing to the right, thick locking washer has the
crease in a vertical position. Plus all parts need to be
clean and lubed for smooth operation. The order of parts
from the pull handle forward are, pointing washer, coil
spring, thick bent locking washer with bent part forward,
thin washer.
Image


Below you can see the washers and spring installed. See how the spring is nestled inside the opening of the "V" in the v-shaped washer. This is the correct orientation.
Image


You can use this shot to double-check your work. This is what your washers should look like when the t-handle is turned counter clockwise in the car, to release the hand brake. See how the pointy washer is all the way over. Note also that in this position the crease line of the v-washer is horizontal to the photo.
Image


This photo shows the mechanism as it would be when the t-handle is turned clockwise in the car, locking the hand brake. Note that the crease line of the v-washer is vertical to the photo.(if this doesn't make sense in photos, it will when you have the unit out and in your hands)
Image


Once I had everything put back in place, I put a light coat of lube on the main shaft of the t-handle. I chose not to lube the washer mechanism.
Image


This shows the orientation of the t-handle when it's turned counter clockwise to release the brake.
Image


And this is the orientation of the handle when it's in it's locked position. This is the position that it will return to due to the torquing of the cable when you reinstall it.
Image


Here is the cable re-installed. Again, you want to twist the cable such that it forces the t-handle in the car to always return to the clockwise and locked position. (that's clockwise as you look at it from the seat of the car. The cable is so rigid that you're only twisting the cable half a rotation. It doesn't require a lot.
Image


And here is the final unit all put back. It now works perfectly. The entire job took a few hours from start to finish.
Image
Last edited by Greg Scallon on Tue May 12, 2009 11:21 am, edited 2 times in total.
'58 Speedster
'56 VW Deluxe Microbus 

joeldrexel
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#2 Post by joeldrexel » Fri May 08, 2009 1:39 pm

Great instructions and pictures, Greg. Is the mechanism the same on a "C"? I don't have a problem with mine to date, but with that being said I expect it to fail any moment now.
Beautiful car!
Joel

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#3 Post by Bruce Baker » Fri May 08, 2009 3:15 pm

joeldrexel wrote:Great instructions and pictures, Greg. Is the mechanism the same on a "C"? I don't have a problem with mine to date, but with that being said I expect it to fail any moment now.
Beautiful car!
Joel
Yes, in theory, with a different handle and the addition of a clamp and switch that operates another idiot light on the combo gauge, a redundant system. That light alerts the driver if the handbrake is still on, so stalling the engine upon releasing the clutch with the brake on is not such a surprise......
 

John Walker
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Re: Handbrake Rebuild Tutorial

#4 Post by John Walker » Tue Dec 25, 2012 3:41 am

Greg,
A short note of thanks for taking the trouble to photograph and document this project. To my absolute amazement, my refurbished 356A handbrake now works perfectly. As I am new to 356's, thanks to you and others who post similar projects, this registry remains a priceless resource worldwide.
Cheers,
John

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Greg Scallon
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Re: Handbrake Rebuild Tutorial

#5 Post by Greg Scallon » Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:10 pm

I'm glad you found the post useful John. It's been 3.5 years now and mine is still working perfectly. It's amazing how well every aspect of these cars functions when you get things back to the way they were at the factory.

Happy Holidays,
-Greg
'58 Speedster
'56 VW Deluxe Microbus 

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TomDoherty
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Re: Handbrake Rebuild Tutorial

#6 Post by TomDoherty » Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:26 pm

Thanks for posting this fix, I did mine today and now everything works as intended!

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Mervyn Hyde
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Re: Handbrake Rebuild Tutorial

#7 Post by Mervyn Hyde » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:20 am

Also very useful. Took 2 hrs from start to finish and all is right now. Those small nuts holding the parking brake bracket, accessed from in the front hood area are fun to get back on again without removing the fuel tank.
Merv
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Hugo Karasawa
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Re: Handbrake Rebuild Tutorial

#8 Post by Hugo Karasawa » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:06 am

Problem solved, now I can see the photos.
Thank you Joe, for your fast answer.


I cannot se the photos in this post.
This is the message I get.
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registry photo not found.jpg

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Rudy Bernhard
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Re: Handbrake Rebuild Tutorial

#9 Post by Rudy Bernhard » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:43 pm

Joe, what is the trick to view the pictures. Post to this thread so the rest of us can figure it out
60 Super Cab, 63 S90 Cpe
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Hugo Karasawa
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Re: Handbrake Rebuild Tutorial

#10 Post by Hugo Karasawa » Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:10 pm

Rudy,
This is Joe's answer
"Click on the blue square in the post and you will see the images."

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Ron LaDow
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Re: Handbrake Rebuild Tutorial

#11 Post by Ron LaDow » Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:31 pm

It works when I'm logged in, but those Ukrainian ladies sorta ruined my concentration on the subject.
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Ronald Sieber
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Re: Handbrake Rebuild Tutorial

#12 Post by Ronald Sieber » Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:48 am

Greg:
Very resourceful article and your photos document everything. However, you might want to edit "brake 24" as that image looks like some cutting boards rather than a brake assembly, at least as it appears on my screen.

I hope that this is also posted in the technical articles section of our website, as the detail is priceless. Can't wait to check my brake's operation!

Thanks for posting this,
=rds

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Alan Hall
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Re: Handbrake Rebuild Tutorial

#13 Post by Alan Hall » Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:47 am

Ron, if you click on the photo again, it comes up alone without all the Ukranian ladies and other assorted ads. You can then save or print the image.

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Greg Scallon
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Re: Handbrake Rebuild Tutorial

#14 Post by Greg Scallon » Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:57 pm

Hey guys. I posted this article, along with the images, on the site a number of years ago. I used the registry's built-in image uploader but apparently the pictures automatically got converted to "PostImage" when the site architecture changed a few years ago. Hopefully you can just click the images to view them.

And if any questions come up that you think I can answer, don't hesitate to ask.

Regards,
-Greg
'58 Speedster
'56 VW Deluxe Microbus 

Hugo Karasawa
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Re: Handbrake Rebuild Tutorial

#15 Post by Hugo Karasawa » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:01 pm

Greg ,
Thanks for posting this tutorial.
Like Ronald Sieber said there is one photo that does not belong to this post.
It is photo 24 with the following text

"This photo shows the mechanism as it would be when the t-handle is turned clockwise in the car, locking the hand brake. Note that the crease line of the v-washer is vertical to the photo.(if this doesn't make sense in photos, it will when you have the unit out and in your hands"

Would it be possible for you to post the correct photo ?

Thanks again.

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