Lotus Elan

My Handbrake Cable is .....TOO SHORT!

PostPost by: TroonSprint » Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:21 am

Hi guys (and gals, if there are any), I am getting on with the rebuild of my Sprint FHC and am working on the handbrake. Now I've read all over this forum and everyone, even Brian Buckland, says that the cable is generally too long. Mine seems to be too short!

A bit of history. My car was taken off the road in 1977 after a shunt and has never been used since. So the cable I have is almost certainly the original, and is still in good condition. In my first photo you can see that I have it screwed right in to the lug on the Spyder chassis. I have made sure that both ends of the outer are snug in the sockets.
Handbrake 1.jpg and


In the second photo I have adjusted the new pads as per the manual with about 3 thou clearance, and have jammed the handbrake tree forward with a lump of wood, and as you can see, the cable is about an inch too short. If I did manage to connect it, the brakes would be on with the lever fully down.
Handbrake 2.jpg and


What to do? The only thing that springs to my mind is to cut a bit off the outer cable sheath. That would effectively lengthen the inner cable. But before I do anything so drastic, I would value your thoughts.

Thanks,
Mike
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PostPost by: peterexpart » Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:50 am

Mike
The Two Rigid Rods which run from the Tee to each Rear Calliper are threaded on one end to allow for adjustment, assuming yours are the same as mine, you should be able to lengthen them by enough to get the cable to fit.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:00 pm

Also check the hand brake handle end to ensure the outer fully seated in the end of the split block in the end of the outer rod and the inner fully seated in the end of the inner rod and the rod is going fully home

cheers
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PostPost by: TroonSprint » Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:00 pm

Yes, I will definitely check the handbrake attachment at the lever. I found it really difficult to get the cable attached. I drove out the roll pin but even then the inner slider only just projected enough to hook on the cable. Am I doing it wrong?

Neither of the rods at the rear wheels has any adjustment. From what I have read the 2-seater Elan never was made with adjustable rods. If you have them, they will be a modification.

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PostPost by: TroonSprint » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:33 pm

OK. I've figured out that if the cable is disconnected at the tree, you can pull the lever right out of its housing by pressing the pip on the outer case, and then connecting the cable is easy.

I'm wondering about this roll pin. It goes through the outer case immediately behind the warning light switch and it's function seems to be to prevent the lever from going too far into the casing. If you look at the photo you can see that the pin prevents the lever going any further into the case than what is shown. 32mm of the slider is still exposed.

The thing is, the roll pin doesn't appear in the parts diagram, and neither the workshop manual or Buckland's book mentions it, so is it meant to be there? Should I remove it? If I did, there would then be enough cable to connect up the tree.

What do you think?

Mike
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Handbrake 3.jpg and
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PostPost by: peterexpart » Wed Oct 08, 2014 4:04 pm

[quote="TroonSprint"]Neither of the rods at the rear wheels has any adjustment. From what I have read the 2-seater Elan never was made with adjustable rods. If you have them, they will be a modification.

Mike
They must have had a mod done, a very useful one though !!
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Wed Oct 08, 2014 4:58 pm

Mike,
I just went and looked at my S2 and S3 handbrake levers, my S2 has no pin/rivet but my S3 does.
On the S3 there appears to be a sort of sleeve or packing that the rivet/pin is attached to so maybe its missing on my S2.
I'm not sure this is relevant but my Sprint does not have that type of handbrake lever, it has a "twist to release type" which I thought all Sprints had, I thought the type with the push button was only on the early cars :?:
EDIT: Just noticed you said "just behind the switch"..........ignore my post as I think I misunderstood you :oops:
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HANDBRAKE S3.JPG and
HANDBRAKE S2.JPG and
Last edited by types26/36 on Wed Oct 08, 2014 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: Gray » Wed Oct 08, 2014 5:02 pm

Hi

Not looked at mine for a while, but roll pin looks in the wrong location?
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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Wed Oct 08, 2014 5:55 pm

HI Mike.

The joys of the elan handbrakes eh...

What you need to do is get that cable to the correct length. If it's not an attachment issue at the pull handle I will be surprised esp' as it fitted before (or did it?) ... :roll:

If need be just shorten the cable outer to get to the length you need..

Now... With your pads properly adjusted with the handbrake CALIPER levers fully off and resting on their stops, (Look for these, they are there.) and the tree lever FULLY BACK AND ALMOST TOUCHING THE CHASSIS DOWN TUBE. Your rods from the tree to calipers should be a nice fit and the clevis pins should just drop through the relevant holes. If they don't then go buy a set of adjustable rods from Sue miller.. They do work and are worth the investment. You should not need to move the tree lever or indeed pull the caliper levers off their stops to fit the connecting rods. NO SIR!!!
So.. Caliper levers on their stops. Tree lever fully back as far as it will go and the pads adjusted properly with the little hold off springs properly in play, all you should need to do now is set the cable length to clip nicely into the tree lever. Try and make sure your cable adjuster is screwed fully in. Future adjustment of the cable depends on this. Your handbrake should now work as it was designed to do..

Its not rocker stuff this but I have seen cars with poor handbrakes where the caliper levers are set at about half on with the handbrake (supposedly) fully off.. And the owner was adjusting both the pads and the cable length to try and get the handbrake to work.. Those rods must be the correct length to allow everything to settle in the full off positions.. Important this. The handbrake will not work at all well if its not set up right. If it is, then it works very well indeed,

Have fun guys... Adjustable rods!! Repeat after me.... Adjustable rods!!! Feel the difference. And no I don't sell them, but I did give the info'/ design etc to Sue...
Alex Black.
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PostPost by: TroonSprint » Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:10 pm

Thanks all for replies so far. Alex, the tree is actually touching the rear chassis tube with the pads correctly adjusted. I phoned Sue Miller about adjustable rods today, and she hasn't got a pair, just one side. Not sure when she will get more.

Going back to this dratted roll pin that I have been going on about. It isn't easy to get a photo down there, but with a pocket camera I have achieved the attached shot. The roll pin goes from top to bottom right next to the warning light switch and it effectively prevents the lever from going into the sleeve any further. The thing is, I don't see it in any of the manuals, so is it there on your car? Could it be that the handbrake mechanism is from another Ford, or has been modified? If the roll pin wasn't there my problem with the short cable would be solved.

Mike
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Handbrake4.jpg and
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:42 pm

Had another look but cant see any roll pin, just had a thought......maybe someone added the rollpin to restrict the amount of movement so the lever did not "bottom" making it easier to reach the lever with the seat belt still buckled.
(With the seat back and the seatbelt tight it is quit a stretch to reach the h/l lever)
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roll pin b.JPG and
roll pin a.JPG and
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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Wed Oct 08, 2014 7:03 pm

Hi Mike / Guys..

My handbrake 'lever' is the twist to release type and no roll pin i can remember!!


How's the fuel tank looking?

Al' ...
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PostPost by: TroonSprint » Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:49 pm

My car came with the white squeeze type lever release, not the twist type. Apparently the squeeze type was superceded by the twist type sometime in 1971. My car wasn't registered until '72, but the chassis number shows it to be a '71 car.

Since different cables are specified for the two types I wonder if I have the wrong one. Perhaps the twist type cable is slightly shorter. All speculation. I shall remove the roll pin tomorrow and see what effect that has.

Alex, I haven't got the distance of putting any petrol in the tank yet, so I don't know if the sender will be leak proof. I certainly hope so.

Mike
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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:51 pm

My one is still spot on Mike,, :wink:

Back to topic!!

Al ' .... 8)
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PostPost by: TroonSprint » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:51 am

Here's the final chapter. I went out to the garage this morning and with a long thin punch managed to remove the roll pin without taking the lever out of the car again. Woohoo! The cable now reaches the tree at the back, and the handbrake works well and seems to lock the wheels fine. There seems to be no problem with the pin not being there - no hint of the mechanism being compromised. So what the dickens was it there for?

Right, on to the next job.

Mike
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