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Replace handbrake cable on monocoque mk2


dandan62
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Hi. I replaced my brake shoes yesterday and on the final pull of the handbrake the cable snapped. The nipple connection to the shoe came off. I've ordered a new sierra one. Any tips on how to get to the horseshoe? Is it buried above the prop somewhere? Prop off maybe? Or cut an access hole from above? I know I'll have to shorten the cable. Experience tells me that tapping into the vaste previous experiences of everyone can save half a day of fettling. Many thanks.

Mk2 monocoque 

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It's been a while since I looked under the rear of the Exmo, from memory, the "horseshoe" or "Handbrake Equaliser" as Ford call it is just above the rear propshaft coupling to the diff pinion. It is accessible without cutting any holes in the chassis. Are you sure you need to replace the cable ?. You say that the nipple came off. When the cable that runs through the horseshoe is shortened one of the manufacturer's nipples has to be cut off and a new nipple somehow placed at one end of the shorter cable. It might be that it is this possibly "homemade" nipple has come off, and all you need to do is re-make a better one ?. Either way you will have to place/replace the nipple. I followed the build video instructions on this, using an M10 or maybe M8 bolt (size matters because the nipple has to slip into a certain place) .. anyway I drilled a hole longways through the centre of the bolt, and cut off the head, so I had a section about 15 mm long. The centre hole was only just wide enough for the cable end to get through, as tight as possible. Then, with the cable end through the hole I placed the "nipple" on an anvil, and  using a cold chisel and big hammer "crimped" it by pinching both ends from one direction and the centre from the other side. So far this nipple has not moved or popped off.

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Thanks for that. To be honest replacing the cable has been on the to do list for a while anyway. It is fairly seized and my lovely mot guy has been suggesting a new one for a few years. The cable definitely gave way behind the nipple probably due to my struggles to get it hooked back on. 

As far as I can see at the moment the cable will need to be cut to shorten it at the horseshoe end as I've seen in other threads.  I was hoping this means I can just pass the cables through the rear bulkhead without removing a nipple? Or am I completely wrong? I will use about 4 mini cable clamps to rejoin. Hopefully access above the prop will be enough?

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As I remember it, the new cable will have all the various components, two sheaths, plastic adjusters, some washers, and protectors etc. These are all threaded on to a single cable and then the nipples attached. The nipples will not run back through the sheaths, they are too big. So what you get is a symetric component, Nipple sheaths etc for nearside, a length of bare cable threaded through a new horseshoe in the middle  and then sheaths etc. and nipple for the off side. Fitting on a Sierra is simple, just attach the horseshoe to the handbrake lever rod, thread each side through the subframe holes attach at each drum etc and adjust. The important thing is that the cable can slide back and fore through the horseshoe, this means that the tension on both sides is equalised, thats why Ford call it an "equaliser". When the cable is shortened by cutting off a nipple and pulling the extra cable through, cutting to length and attaching a new nipple, the "equalising" action is preserved because the cable can still slide at the horseshoe. I guess the cut could be made in the exposed part of the cable near the horseshoe and re-joined with a cable clamp, however the clamp needs to positioned so as not to either prevent the cable from slipping into the sheath when the handbrake is released or fouling the horseshoe when the cable moves to equalise the tension to each drum. Adding to this will be the confined space just above the propshaft UJ and the metal edge around the transmission tunnel which will make positioning of the cable clamp a bit of a challenge. (I don't know how hard because I didn't do it this way). Fixing a new nipple on the shortened cable end can be done away from the car at a workbench. So much less fiddling IMHO.

Oh, P.S. I did this on an EXMO, maybe the S7 has a different construction of the rear panels ?. On the EXMO the propshaft emerges from the tunnel through a large circular apeture that has room for the horseshoe to sit just above the UJ with a few inches of the cable visible to left and right before they enter the sheaths that thread through the subframe. When everything is installed/adjusted etc. there is enough tension in the cable to stop the horseshoe from dropping on to the propshaft.

Edited by Sparepart
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That's all great info thanks. I think I have enough options now and will get the car up next week to see how much room there is. I'll probably go for the nipple off option as I'm guessing it's the same as the exmo and fiddle room above the prop will be tricky.

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Update. Job done. Took a bit of fiddling but I decided in the end to cut and clamp the new cable.  I made the join to the rear of the bulkhead so it didn't interfere with the cable quadrant. Also access is very much easier. I also moved the adjuster bracket back about 6 inches to give a bit more adjustment if needed. It all seems to work fine so far!

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