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How to replace a handbrake cable 12 years 10 months ago #20368

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As you may remember, when I started the job of removing the subframe I found that the stainless exhaust flexi pipe had caused heat damage to the offside handbrake cable.

So I bought a new cable and set about fitting it.

Firstly, you need to put the rear end up on ramps or axle stands so that you can get access to the various fixings.

Chock the front wheels to prevent movement and release the handbrake.

Disconect the cable from the caliper mechanism. This is simply a small pin which connects the cable end to the caliper and is secured with a spring clip, a bit like a p clip. The pin will normally be seized in place, so apply plenty of release oil to free it up, trying not to get any oil on the disc or pads. My pins were especially difficult to remove. After lots of "persuation" I dedided to find a nut which fitted over the head of the pin and use mole grips to apply pressure and force the pin from the back into the nut. This worked well.

Once the pin is out you can release the spring clip that holds the cable outer to the braket. You can use a screwdriver to knock the clip off.

Next you need to unbolt a small bracket on the rear bulkhead/boot wall. This is held in place by 2x 10mm bolts.

The cable now goes up and over the gearbox, where it is fastened to a bracket which is part of the airbox bracket. Remove the cable from this bracket and pull the cable over the top of the gearbox.

Next you need to go to the lower part of the front bulkhead where there is a cable entry area sealed by 2 metal plates.

Remove 5x 8mm bolts which hold the small plate in place, pull the plate away and release the grommet and cable that you are replacing. You only need to remove the small plate, but I removed both as I will be de rusting them.

It is worth mentioning here that you will most likely have a subframe in the way. Mine was removed for other jobs that I had to do. You may have to drop the subframe a little to give more room.

Once the plate is removed, the only thing holding the cable in place is the handbrake mechanism.

Now, moving to the handbrake area, you need to remove the cubby box and armrest. The cubby/CD holder simply unclips and pulls out. The armrest is held in by 4 screws in the hinge area and 2 at the front. Remove the armrest and store it somewhere safe.

This gives you access to the handbrake mechanism. Not much room though

The cables are held in place by a double clamp and the cable ends are held on an equaliser bracket.

Remove the double clamp by undoing the 2x 13mm bolts. They are a little awkward to get at and are very tight.

Unscrew the adjuster nut, shown in the centre of the diagram, and remove.

The equaliser bracket will now slide off the threaded rod from the handbrake. Unhook the cable ends by rotating 90 degrees so that the cable lines up with the cut out on the equaliser bracket, and remove.

The old cable is now free to pull out through the engine bay.

The next pic shows the old damaged cable next to the new cable.

The damage to the cable was either radiated heat from the stainless exhaust, or hot gasses when the flexi section hanger failed last time. To prevent this happening again, I bought some heat shielding tube. It is called DEI Cool Tube Extreme and cost me about £34 for 3ft of 1" tube. It is supposed to withstand up to 750 degrees. It comes in 4 colours, and I chose.......

If anyone wants to add this to their cable, after fitting a stainless 4-2-1 manifold, then I have 2ft left and you can have a foot for £10+p&p.

Now you can feed the new cable in from the engine bay along to the handbrake. This is fairly easy, but may be more difficult with the sub frame in the equation.

Refit the cable clamp

And attach the cable ends to the equaliser bracket.

Now comes the fiddly bit. There is a pin that sits in the middle of the equaliser bracket that the threaded rod from the handbrake feeds through (It is probably lying in the handbrake tunnel as it fell out earlier). Fit the pin, with the hole facing the rod, and secure it with a bit of masking tape (otherwise it will keep falling out) and feed the rod through the hole. You might need a torch to see what you are doing. Screw the adjuster nut onto the rod enough to hold it securely in place. Don't worry about adjusting it at this point.

Make sure that the cable outers are fully in the clamps, as it could muck up your adjusting if they are not. You can see that the right hand cable outer is not fully in the clamp shown above.

Now go back to the engine compartment. Feed the new cable through the bulkhead tunnel sealing plate and secure the shaped grommet in place.

Bolt the plate back in place using the 5x 8mm bolts that you removed earlier.

Now feed the cable back over the gearbox and secure it to the air box bracket. Bolt the bracket onto the rear bulkhead/boot wall that you removed earlier and feed the cable back to the calliper.

If you lowered the sub frame then bolt it back in place.

Now attach the cable outer to the calliper bracket with the spring clip and attach the cable end to the handbrake mechanism with the pin and spring clip that you removed earlier.

Lower the car back to the ground, but keep the chocks in place to stop the car from moving.

Go back to the handbrake and screw the adjuster nut in until the handbrake engages in 2 to 3 clicks of the ratchet and fully releases when off.

Now refit the cubby box and armrest and you are finished.

You may need to readjust the cable after it has had time to settle, but apart from that, you should now have a working handbrake.
The following user(s) said Thank You: psymon

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Re: How to replace a handbrake cable 12 years 10 months ago #20375

Another excellent how to!
Nice one Clive.:yesnod:

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Re: How to replace a handbrake cable 12 years 10 months ago #20379

Much clearer than the workshop manual.

Home to black Alfa Romeo 159 3.2 V6 Q4 ,green MGF VVC and red MG Maestro T16.

MG - the friendly marque.

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Re: How to replace a handbrake cable 12 years 10 months ago #20449

Nice job Clive

With the subframe in its a nightmare, but you can get to the plate if you have a rachet ring spanner

But as for re-fitting the plate I'll do it some
Youtube channel of mods an track pics

Website: MG Rover Mobile Repairs Nationwide and Western Europe

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