Aftermarket Emergency Brake Kit

Aftermarket Emergency Brake Kit

Aftermarket Emergency Brake Kit – Story & Photos: Jim Clark (The Hot Rod MD) Emergency brakes on most modern vehicles are usually relegated to duty as parking brakes only, because modern braking systems are so efficient. In older hot rods and classic cars, the roles are often reversed, as early braking systems leave a lot to be desired. The automotive aftermarket has done much to change this by introducing modern disc-brake systems for many of the early cars – though few, if any, offer advanced systems with anti- brake lock or modern stability control. I’m one of those die-hards with a traditional hot rod equipped with drum brakes and a single-stage master cylinder. It stops the car but is a grossly inadequate system by today’s standards…  It’s the price I have to pay to keep it the way I originally did it in the ’70s. As such, my emergency brake is a necessary safety device, and one that needs to do more than hold the car securely while parked. The aftermarket offers many good emergency/parking brake kits. Some can be adapted to a wide range of vehicles; others need to be ordered for a specific application. Here are a few examples of what they offer, starting with a Floor-Mounted Traditional-Style hand brake.

Lokar’s traditional style floor-mounted hand brake attaches directly to the floorboard and is compatible with their universal emergency brake cable kits. It is offered in a black powder coated finish, as shown, or chrome plated.

Aftermarket Emergency Brake Kit

Transmount Emergency Hand Brake The Transmount Emergency Hand Brake is designed according to automotive industry standards. Ratchet cut gear plate and lock are heat treated for strength and safety. The geometric design of the lever allows for comfortable leverage operation. Levers are available in chromed steel or black powder-coated steel and come in 11″ and 16″ lengths to complement Lokar’s Automatic Transmission Shifter. Mounting hardware for use with the Lokar Automatic Transmission Shifter is included in the Transmount Cable Kits and is used with the built-in mounting bracketry included with the shifter kits.

Avoiding Brake Blunders

Lokar’s Under-the-Dash Hand Operated Emergency Brake gives you ease of operation with a clean, out-of-the-way emergency brake. There are no cables going into the firewall. It fits in a gap as little as 11″ from firewall to dash.  The ratchet cut gear plate and lock are heat treated for strength and safety.

The Kit is designed for use with Lokar’s Floor Mount Emergency Hand Brake, and in conjunction with Lokar’s Connector Cables. The kit is equipped with a one-piece aluminum adjuster and aluminum ferrule to eliminate the destruction of the stainless housing. The outer housing is designed with a special extruded liner for extended cable life. The stainless steel inner cable is resistant to moisture. The design allows the rear end backing plate fittings to be removed without removing the brake cables. Lokar cables also feature an adjustable cable lock and clevis. The kit is complete with cable brackets and spacers. The kit includes two 8-foot “U-Cut-to-Fit” outer housings and is available in stainless or black housings. Application fits 8″ and 9″ Ford, Chevy, Chrysler and Lincoln Versailles drum and disc brakes. Call for other applications or custom configuration.

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Your vehicle may have one of the emergency brake cable configurations like these shown on the Control Cables brake layout sheet. A cut-to-fit cable system can be created in one of these configurations or custom cables can be ordered from Control Cables to fit your specific vehicle.

For my roadster I chose the floor mounted hand brake from Control Cables. It’s shown next to a hand brake assembly from a Vega or Pinto (can’t remember which) I picked up in the early ’70s for use in the project. At the time it looked like it would be used but proved to be huge, especially compared to what the aftermarket is offering today.

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The cable mounting bracket is attached below the floorboard. I pre-assembled it with spacers the thickness of the floorboard to verify there was proper clearance for the cable connection.

A hole was cut in the floorboard, holes for the bolts drilled and the hand brake bolted in place. When mounted in place the cable connection proved to be too high for proper integration.

The floorboards on my roadster are made of wood and when the cable mounting bracket it puts the cable clevis attachment point too high to align correctly with the bracket.

The floorboards are made of ¾-inch plywood, so I was able to recess the hand brake by removing the layer of plywood where the mounting brackets attach to the upper part of the floor. A larger section of plywood can be removed from the bottom of the floorboard to accommodate the cable mounting bracket if the hand brake needs to remain flush with the top of the floor.

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Emergency Brake Calipers

With the hand brake recessed into the floorboard, all hardware is located almost flush with the floor. By recessing the mounts, the cable connection below the floor is now lined up.

The brake actuating cable housing is attached to the cable mounting bracket, and the clevis is attached to the hand brake lever below the floor using the provided pin and C-clip.

This is the short actuating cable that connects between the cable mounting bracket and the easy junction bracket. I had to wait until the hand brake and easy mounting bracket were installed before I could order this cable because I had to measure the exact distance between them.

The short cable housing attaches to the easy junction bracket while the cable adjuster attaches to the emergency brake equalizer bar.

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This image from Control Cables shows the components that make up the kit I chose for my application.

My roadster was fitted with a large X-member kit to accommodate the Turbo 400 transmission behind the Buick Nailhead V-8, so I had to make cutouts in the top and rear gussets to provide clearance for the hand brake and cable mounting bracket. The X-member is so overbuilt that it isn’t affected by it.

The easy junction bracket needs to be mounted on the frame, but the X-member is angled right. A bracket is made from steel plate so that the easy junction bracket can be mounted parallel to the centerline of the car.

The easy junction bracket provides a solid point to connect the two cables from the brake backing plates. Adjustment for the brakes is done via an emergency brake equalizer bar that connects the rear cables to the short actuating cable.

Emergency/parking Brakes For Hot Rods

An actuating bar running parallel just below the wheel cylinder connects the forward brake shoe to the pivoting arm attached to the rear shoe. The emergency brake cable enters through a bracket attached to the backing plate on the lower left. The emergency brake cable is attached to the bottom of the pivoting arm and when pulled mechanically, forces the shoe out of the inside of the brake drum.

The rear Buick on my roadster uses a bracket for mounting the brake cable that is bolted to the outside of the backing plate.

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I had to give up the original bracket on the Control Cables because I was using a rear end from one of the less popular car models. They created the new cable and installed it exactly like one for a stock Buick.

The stock bracket holds the cable housing so that the spring-loaded cable can be applied and the brakes released. The cable end is permanently attached to the cable end just like a stock unit.

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The new brake cable is made to exact length, so it is critical that the hand brake and the easy junction bracket are installed before measurements are made for the length of each rear cable. I used some cheap spiral wire loom wrapped around the original brake cables to act as the rear cables so I could get an accurate measurement. Anything that allows you to simulate cable routing will make the job easier.

The end of the rear cable is attached to the easy junction bracket and the cable hook to the emergency brake equalizer bar. With this setup there are no cable clamping points to loosen.

An easy junction bracket joins the two rear cables together and the emergency brake equalizer bar provides a wide range of adjustment. The easy junction bracket can be mounted in an infinite number of places depending on available space and clearance around other components.

Routing the rear cables from the backing plates to the easy equalizer bracket can be very difficult, especially in a small open car like a highboy roadster. The cable from the right rear is relatively easy, but brackets and clamps are needed to keep the cable clear of the driveshaft and hot exhaust. This is why you need to mockup the routing before ordering the cable, because they can’t be adjusted afterwards.

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Recessing the floorboard mounts makes the hand brake flush with the carpet below. The hand brake is small but provides just the right amount of leverage to properly operate the brakes.

Control Cables offers this boot and ring kit to cover the hand brake. It has extra length at the bottom so trimming can adjust the height in your application.

The finished hand brake provides a very compact installation that looks

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