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Herald 1200 handbrake cable length


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After two days trying to get the handbrake working properly I'm starting to think my cable(s) is/are the wrong length.

I've refitted the relay lever after refurbishment and despite the short cable being at the end of its adjustment at the handbrake lever, it doesn't look like 15 degrees rearward angle on the relay lever to my Mk.I eyeball and adjustable bevel.

Regardless, I've locked the drums, turned over both trailing shoes that the PO had put on upside-down, repaired the grooves in the operating levers and ensured the cylinders can slide. The car is supported on stands under the rear suspension vertical link so the hubs ought to be in the right position.

With the cable clevis forks adjusted to fit the levers with no tension (and I mean no tension - the cable rigidity means it is pretty slack around the radii of the compensator and the two cable guides), the pull-off spring brackets cannot be adjusted back far enough to have any tension on them at all. With the cable attached in this position, and the shoes still locked, I can get nine clicks on the handbrake without effort (not ideal I know, but I thought a reasonable approximation of locking the shoes in use if it takes this much to take up the slack). Oughtn't it to be four or so?

It's impossible to get a good picture of the relay lever position, but some others are attached.

In summary:

  • the short cable doesn't seem long enough to allow proper rearward angling of the relay lever
  • the main cable seems to be too long to allow clevis fork adjustment and pull-off spring operation

Am I doing something I can't see for the trees?

Handbrake applied shoes locked.jpg

OS fork.jpg

NS fork2.jpg

NS fork1.jpg

Relay Lever.jpg

Handbrake Adjustment.jpg

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you need to tighten the cable with the drums locked  so the clevis is just a neat fit in the lever hole,   if you can see slack its too loose 

what you have done is above and better than many achieve in correcting the problems bits but i think you have the secondary cable a bit slack 

with 9 clicks   thats too many and once you de adjust the locked drums will get far worse 


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Thanks both. See above, Pete - the drums are locked, and the photos are taken with the clevises in the holes such that I don't have to pull on the cable to do so. I agree the main cable seems too slack (pulling it a bit more so it sits in the compensator with the same radius bend requires 'tension'), but moving the forks so that this slight tension is attained means the springs are too close to the backplate brackets. They can't be adjusted further back as the attachment point on the cable is screwed hard up to the end of the threaded portion.

If it sounds as though it could be the wrong cable then I guess it's PO syndrome, which this car does seem to suffer from! It looks like the rain has stopped a bit, so I might whip the cable out and measure it...

Oh, and before I forget is there any knack of a way to setting the 15 degrees? The handbrake short cable is waxoyled and the long one is shiny, so it could be that one's original and the other is wrong and long, or both are wrong if there's not enough travel in the short one to allow the relay lever to sit properly.

Edited by Morgana
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After some struggle taking the cable out (getting the threaded ends around the cable guides is not straightforward!) and getting reasonably greasy, I discover the cable is 1600mm long, which is what it's supposed to be according to Classic Parts Trader who measured one (part 127311) for me. Boo, hiss.

I guess I'll have to put it back on and take up the slack in the short cable and risk losing the 15 degrees, even though it doesn't look like it's 10 with the relay lever pushed back to the full length of the short cable!

Has anyone got a photograph of their handbrake lever short cable end so I can compare how much the threaded end is through the square nut?

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1 hour ago, PeteH said:

I don`t know if this may be relavent?, But did I not read somewhere that the Rotoflex and Non Rotoflex cables are diferent?.

No the guide mounting points are, one is on the body, one is on the chassis. I converted my MK 1 Vitesse to Roto and CV shafts.

The handbrake works fine but it takes careful setting up as the movement of the suspension effects the tension.


Edited by Steve P
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Thanks, jonny. I have a photocopied workshop manual where that picture is indistinct. However, yesterday I picked up a genuine complete workshop manual in its original binder from a local chap and can now see that picture. It looks different from the one you posted, but hey ho. I put the cable back in and adjusted as per the manual. Still too much travel, so I took up the slack on the primary cable and readjusted. It now clicks fewer times and the wheels appear to lock. I'm trying to sort a footwell leak which I think is coming through where the PO didn't seal the gearbox tunnel properly, so when that's done I'll take the car out and see if the brake holds.

It appears that the relay lever is still pointing backwards a bit after my intervention, so perhaps it's OK! The pull-off springs are still unable to get any tension, though they're backed off fully.

Edited by Morgana
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I locked up the shoes on the adjuster (tried turning the hubs with the wheels on and couldn't), then backed off as usual. I think it was three clicks on one side and four on the other. Do you back it off until there's no noise at all, or the occasional rub? I gave the pedal a good shove or two in an attempt to centre everything.

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