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Thread: Parking Brake Handle Return Spring

  1. #1
    Boat Anchor Repairman Captain Obvious's Avatar
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    Default Parking Brake Handle Return Spring

    One of the things that's always bugged me was the lack of a return spring on the parking brake handle. The first couple clicks on my car were completely loose and floppy and the handle would rattle a little over bumps when driving because there was really nothing to hold the handle down. So I fixed it... I added a return spring. I messed around with a couple different options and here is the method I thought was the best option.

    Here's the parking brake assy from the top side. Looks completely normal from the top:


    But on the bottom side, I drilled a couple holes and made a spring to pull the handle down into the off position, Not a lot of force, but just enough to overcome stiction and the little spring in the warning lamp switch:


    Here's a close-up of the spring:


    I gotta say that I really really like the modification. The handle stays down, doesn't rattle, and has much more of a positive feel to it when it reaches the OFF end of travel. It's unobtrusive and doesn't require any other changes to the car. It's all located on the dry clean side and I don't have to worry about the spring rusting or sticking...

    It's the little things that really increase the sense of driving pleasure!!

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    Nice mod! I think I'll do the same. Did you pick u the spring at HD?

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    Jim Arnett jfa.series1's Avatar
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    Great idea - one that I wish had been published when I had my car torn down. When I hit a bump, sometimes it is just enough to jar the brake handle and allow the brake light on the dash to light up - it can be a bit startling! I slap the handle back down and all is well.

    Jim Arnett
    HLS30-15320 12/1970, original owner
    L24-020208 (original)
    IZCC Original Owner Registry #53

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    Boat Anchor Repairman Captain Obvious's Avatar
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    Haha!! That's exactly the same straw that made me go through this effort! The rattling was annoying enough, but sometimes I would get the same brake warning flash you have. Here I thought I was the only one! I found it very disconcerting.

    The spring, unfortunately wasn't a right off the shelf option. I looked around a bunch for something that off the shelf that would work, and the best I could find was just "OK". What I did was made a "semi-custom" spring... I found a spring that was a suitable diameter and gauge and applied an appropriate amount of pull, but it was way longer than I needed. It was probably about a foot long.

    So I cut off portions of that long spring and reformed the hooks on the ends. The good part about that is that I could make the hooks in any configuration I wanted to best fit the parts they connected to. If you take a close look at the pics, you can see that the hook on the two ends are not symmetric and go off at weird angles to best fit the application.

    So anyone want one of these? In the beginning, I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out drilling holes in the brake assy, so I bought a spare to mess around with instead of taking the chance that I was going to mess something up. As it turns out, the first one turned out so well that I swapped it out for the one on my car and then did my original.

    What that means is that I've got a spare available for someone who doesn't have the means to do this themselves... $30? Send me PM?

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    Registered User rossiz's Avatar
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    neat idea - i can see how that would work well.

    my z came with a broken e-brake cable (the PO kept a rock in the footwell to chock the wheels when he stopped) so i replaced it with a new one there is really very little play in the cable - the system just naturally holds the lever down, without any drag on the rear brakes (wheels spin freely w/no noise when jacked up).

    i wonder if your issue is due to cable stretch? there's an adjuster in the tunnel to pull slack out of the cable, maybe this would stop the problem before the cable is too stretched out?
    '78 280z - Daily driver/work in progress...

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    Registered User Oiluj's Avatar
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    Smart!
    Julio
    1972 240Z (in-progress, 95% complete)
    CZC# 15388

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    Boat Anchor Repairman Captain Obvious's Avatar
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    Appreciate the input, and as a matter of fact, cable adjustment was something else I tried before resorting to the return spring.

    When I first got the car, I had four or five clicks up to set the parking brake. Handle would rattle around and sometimes flash the brake bulb as Jim mentioned above. So, after convincing myself that I wasn't missing some return spring somewhere in the system, I did exactly what you suggested... I adjusted the brake cable to take out some of the slack.

    After the adjustment, the handle stayed down much better than before, but still rattled a little sometimes. I also only got two clicks out of it before the brake was fully set, and it just didn't feel right to me. Maybe I was just used to those four or five clicks, but I liked it that way.

    Now I can have my cake and eat it too. Four or five clicks up to set the brake, and positive stop down when not in use.

    PS - Love the rock that came with the car as a wheel chock! That's classic!

  8. #8
    Registered User rossiz's Avatar
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    yeah, mine engages right off the floor, which sorta feels a little weird (i'm used to more clicks too) but thats just what i've got.
    i think mine doesn't rattle because i have new carpet with thick rubber backing and heavy felt behind it, as well as a new leather boot cover, all of which keep the lever insulated from moving around. maybe when things settle in a bit i'll be looking for a spring fix...
    '78 280z - Daily driver/work in progress...

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