Lotus Elan

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

PostPost by: denicholls2 » Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:45 pm

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?

The obvious answer would seem to be because that easy-wearing material had worn off the brake pads and the DPO wanted to take advantage of the much longer-wearing surface it was bonded to so as not to endure the expense of replacing the pads. See your reference to "shunt" earlier on... :)
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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Thu Oct 09, 2014 5:06 pm

EH?? What?? :shock:

The pad material is bonded directly to STEEL !!! How's that going to work? Steel on steel (disc) is not a good idea. Not much friction at all there.

Somewhat stumped here!

Al '. ......
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PostPost by: Harvey » Wed Sep 30, 2015 7:20 pm

I'm coming to this party late but I want to share my recent experience with handbrake cable length. Like Mike, the handbrake cable on my March '71 +2S was too short to reach the tree lever toggle when the lever was fully to the rear and up against the chassis drop bar even when the cable was fully extended. Like Mike, I also punched out the roll pin but got only an extra 1/2" of cable length which was still not nearly enough to reach the toggle. Worse, because i now could push the brake lever further into the square ratchet tube the lever no longer extinguished the brake warning light when the lever was fully depressed. I replaced the pin and looked for another solution.

Before cutting my cable and swaging an extra length of cable to it I emailed Brian Buckland who suggested I simply make an extension that would run between the brake tree lever and the toggle. I cut an extension from a piece of 1/8" aluminum flat stock that was 3/4" wide, drilled two holes in it, and spray painted it black. Bolting it to the tree lever and the toggle gave me the extra length needed to capture the toggle when the tree lever was back against the chassis tube. I now have a handbrake that will hold the +2 on the 15% grade of my driveway. Thanks to Brian for his quick response to my email and simple fix to my problem.

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PostPost by: davidj » Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:36 pm

This web site is a wonderful source of info!

I am fitting the handbrake cable on my S3 and I have exactly the same problem as Mike above, the picture could be identical. I also have a Spyder chassis, Shorter cable and a roll pin in the handbrake lever!

Any further thoughts why it was fitted? It must be for a good reason. It occured to me that the original length cable would probably fit ok. Could it be fitted so the handbrake switch works correctly? Without the roll pin, the lever would move 2" before the switch is triggered.

Do later cars have the pin and a working hand brake switch?

Cheers,
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PostPost by: vstibbard » Fri Apr 03, 2020 9:24 pm

Sorry if this is already called out, the roll pin is on all of the Elan's I've had, and acts as stop for the handbrake handle. It is not on the standard ford part as I've modified one previously.
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PostPost by: davidj » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:00 am

Thanks for your reply but now I am very confused!

The general view on this site and the Brian Buckland book is the cable is 2" to short. This is without the rods attached. Consequently I purchased the shorter Mick Miller cable. However, as can be seen on Mike's message at the start of this thread, the cable is too short. Mike states he removed the rollpin to solve the problem.

I am guessing, but maybe the rollpin was fitted when the handbrake switch was fitted for the s3? This would also solve the problem with the original cable length. Again, guessing, but did the person who suggested the shorter cable have the earlier handbrake?

Has anyone with the rollpin version of the handbrake managed to use the shorter cable? As far as I can see, I have four options.

1. Make an extension piece like Lee. A bit more tricking in my case, because I have the bent style tree like Mike.
2. Shorten the outer sheath by 2". Will this work? It will make the cable radius in the engine bay tighter.
3. Remove the rollpin. However, this will result in the handbrake switch disengaging later, and maybe the light not illuminating?
4. Send it back and buy a longer cable.

Thanks very much for any suggestions. I know the elan handbrake has been flogged to death! Maybe the rollpin and different cable lengths is the reason for some of the issues?

Cheers,

David
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PostPost by: davidj » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:47 pm

Opps. Typo. What I should have said is "The general view on this site and the Brian Buckland book is the cable is 2" to long" :D
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PostPost by: smo17003 » Mon Jul 25, 2022 11:22 am

Revisiting this old chestnut again I'm afraid. Yesterday I had Neil Myers call in to sort a few snags on the body. While he was here he took a look at my handbrake on the chassis. Everything is set up correctly at the rear, the cable is the original length version (via Sue Miller), and yet the cable is still a fraction too short when it is fully screwed in at the adjuster bracket. The chassis is one that I purchased from Spyder about 15 years ago.

After much head scratching one thing that we considered is that perhaps the adjuster bracket itself has been welded on just a fraction too far forward. If so, it would shorten the length of cable protruding through the outer sheath at the front. If not the bracket itself then the tapped boss (welded into the bracket) that the adjuster screws into. On mine there is more boss showing at the front of the bracket than the rear. If the front of the boss was welded flush to the bracket it would add circa 8mm cable length i.e. the length of boss forward of the bracket.

I've searched on here for mention of the bracket location but can't find any mention of it causing the cable length problem. I also can't see in the workshop manual any drawings that show measurements of where the bracket should be in relation to other chassis locations. Just wondering what others, especially Spyder owners, think. Have we taken it for granted that the bracket/boss is correctly located when blaming the cable length for the problem? If anyone has any bracket location dimensions to share that might be helpful.

Incidentally, regarding the roll pin in the lever. Could this have been an addition to locate the handle in the off position a fraction closer to the driver whilst wearing a seat belt?

Cheers

Mike
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PostPost by: davidj » Mon Jul 25, 2022 3:57 pm

I too had this problem, see my earlier post, and I came to the same conclusion; that the cable bracket position on the early Spyder chassis is too far forward. I ended up shortening the sheath. The car is not on the road yet but the handbrake looks to work OK now.
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PostPost by: smo17003 » Mon Jul 25, 2022 4:20 pm

davidj wrote:I too had this problem, see my earlier post, and I came to the same conclusion; that the cable bracket position on the early Spyder chassis is too far forward. I ended up shortening the sheath. The car is not on the road yet but the handbrake looks to work OK now.


I have considered shortening the sheath but I am then worried that it would introduce a too tight radius on the cable as it enters the bulkhead. Presumably yours is OK in that respect @davidj? It does seem to be the easiest fix short of getting a special length cable made.

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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Mon Jul 25, 2022 8:29 pm

I am not sure if this helps, but I had read various reports about cables not fitting. I didn’t even try to make the cable fit, I measured what I needed, made a drawing, searched the web for control cable manufacturers, and settled on cable-tec.co.uk at Sutton in Ashfield Notts. This company also has a facility in Liverpool.

From reading this thread, it seems there is some variation in chassis dimensions. I bought what I think is a genuine Lotus Replacement Chassis, and there are certainly several differences between the original chassis and my replacement, to name 3, the oval cut out for the starter is in a different place, the cut out for the gear lever is in a different place and not round, the front suspension towers are smaller than the original, the springs will go in, but not if the shrouds are fitted.

Our cars were hand built, and it seems that there is more than a minor difference in some items. I hate to say this, but check everything.

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