[Spridgets] Handbrake Redux

cclabaw at juno.com cclabaw at juno.com
Tue Jun 24 14:00:31 MDT 2008

Listers -

I will explain what I did to attain 'adjustability' with the handbrake on my
'67 Sprite (of dubious parentage).

First, I replaced the lever assembly with a used unit 'cuz the old one was
frozen solid.  I replaced the cable with a new unit from Moss.

I then discovered that I had to use all of the adjustment to get any brake at

I examined the whole setup and figured that the replacement cable units may be
longer than the stock part; it doesn't take much to use up the adjustment.
More importantly, the cross links seem to be longer than they are supposed to
be.  When I disconnected the cable and turned the bellcrank with pliers, I
could hardly get enough pull to set the brakes.  I figured that the holes in
the rods, bellcrank and brake levers are worn and the slack was killing me.

To make adjustable replacement rods:

I got much of this stuff from McMaster-Carr (www.mcmaster.com), some from
local hardware stores.  The rod ends were about $7 each.

Note that the ends of the stock rods are not in the same plane.

The bellcrank pins are 3/16" diam. and the brake lever pins are 1/4" diam.  I
re-used the stock pins.

I got two pieces of 1/4" stainless tubing from my junk pile, cut them to 24"
and 12" and deburred.

I tapped the ends 10-32, about 1/2" deep.

I bought two ball joint rod ends with 3/16" holes and 10-32 male threaded
shanks (MMC part 59915K271), and two clevis rod ends with female 10-32 threads
and 3/16" mouth (MMC part 6071K11).  These clevices were only available with
3/16" pin holes, so I reamed the holes out to 1/4".

I used two 10-32 socket head set screws (with loc-tite) to make 'male'
fittings out of these.

I put nuts on all four of the rod ends and screwed them into the tube pieces.

I took all of the adjustment out of the cable at the bellcrank.

I secured one end of each rod to the brake levers with the original 1/4" pins
through the clevices.

Then I put the swivel joint rod ends into the slots in the bellcrank, screwing
them in/out until the 3/16" pin holes lined up with no tension or pressure on
any of the linkage.  Then I installed the pins.  I ran the lock nuts down
against the ends of the tubing at both ends.  This secures all the parts of
the linkage.  Don't forget new cotter pins in the swivel pin ends.

After this, I took up the adjuster about one turn and I was done.  Handbrake
pulls up snug about 30 degrees above horizontal.

I have another project in the works to change the ratchet pawl to make it work
as a "fly-off" handbrake making 'bootleg turns' ever so much more fun.  Stay

Clay L.
'67 Sprite

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