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Vitesse Mk2 Rear Handbrake cable CAUTION! Check it's length


PatK
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I've just renewed the rear brake shoes and found that the handbrake needed adjusting as it was now too tight. The nuts on the end of the threaded cable had seized solid and as you can guess, with a little too much pressure one sheared off, why oh why don't people use copper grease on threads like this! Anyway as the cable was probably 50 years old and rather grotty it was probably time to get a new one, so I ordered one from James Paddock who I find is very good for spare parts and it duly arrived two days later with a comprehensive fitting kit.

I don't know how many of you have tried to renew the rear handbrake cable but it turned out to be a bu....er of a job because you have to try and get 2" of threaded rod around a small 90degree bend on both sides of the car and thread it through a semi circle channel below the bell crank lever, which sits hidden away above the exhaust and prop shaft. Anyway, after about two hours I finally managed to get it routed correctly and attached the clevis too one side and tried to pull the cable through to attach it to the other wheel cylinder lever. However try as I might I could not get it to reach the lever, so after half an hour I decided to ring up James Paddock to check if they had sent the correct part, which they had. When i told him it was too short he then said that it should be 69" long and he would go and measure the ones he had in stock for the Vitesse Mk2. After he returned he found that all the cables that he had in stock were 11/2" short at 671/2" long. So i ask him where I could get one the correct length and asked him if Canley Classics would have one and he said no because he had bought these from Canleys! He did suggest that I try Rimmers which I did, the guy there was very helpful and went to the outside building and checked their stock for the correct length. He returned after five minutes and then said that his stock was also too short by 11/2", so It looks like their suppliers, probably the same ones,  had also supplied the wrong length cable.

After ringing around I finally located one at Chic Doig's, who went and measured his cable which was correct at 177cms,  approx 691/2" long so that was a great relief as it would seem that I was going to have to put the car SORN until another batch the correct length had been made.

So as a conclusion for any one out there who is going to replace their rear handbrake cable, please check with your supplier that it is the correct length, 691/2" or 177cms long.  I should have checked my new one against the old  but thought that they could not possibly get such a simple thing as this wrong and the old one was probably stretched, but it is a lesson that I have learnt the hard way!

 

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  • 3 months later...

Interesting! My 68 Spitfire MkIII handbrake cable would appear to be too long as the lever comes up too far. I have adjusted all to a maximum and still comes up what I consider excessive. Does anyone know the correct length that it should be as I think I may have to remove it. All replies appreciated.

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27 minutes ago, Rabbit said:

My 68 Spitfire MkIII handbrake cable would appear to be too long as the lever comes up too far. I have adjusted all to a maximum and still comes up what I consider excessive. Does anyone know the correct length that it should be as I think I may have to remove it.

Measuring aside I think, with regret, you have answered your own question.

Can I take it that the cable was on the car prior to you owning it ?? If so you will not be any the wiser and of course you have to factor in the stretch element. If the lever is already at the max and so is the adjustment then a replacement cable is on the cards; but at least next time you will know that the cable you are fitting will be the correct item

Sorry I cannot be more uplifting !!

Good luck.

Richard.

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The across car  cable on a 1500 is different to a mk3 as the track is wider

Before any cable problems are proven you must adjust the rear adjusters with the cable disconnected

Really lock up the adjusters, then check.and adjust the cable to suit to just align the pin holes

Dont let the axles hang, they need to be jacked to resemble running height,   

Pete

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