Le Mans or Bust

Nearly there….

Probably the last technical update for a while, due to the impending race, but I’m pleased with what was done this weekend.

With a little help from Ian the spare tyre is fitted, and the wheel nuts have all been slackened off to the point where a normal breaker bar (my new toy) can deal with them. It did, as predicted, take a scaffolding pole to sort it out on Friday!

Saturday was…interesting. I’d never fitted a handbrake cable before, and had little no experience of drum brakes, but how hard could it be? Well, at about 7pm Satuday, I was jumping up and down cursing a blue streak (as was Matt), planning to melt down the taxi and take the Golf instead…

The wheels came off easily enough, but getting the drums off was a different matter. I followed Friday’s technical advice (bray it wi’ a hammer) but they weren’t budging. I tried a screwdriver and got somewhere, then a crowbar, and got a little further, but then I hit a plateau and they refused to move any more. After an hour of messing about, I finally got frustrated and really went at it in an uncharacteristic fit of violence and fruity language.

Top tip for removing brake drums? Get an angry short man with a sledghammer and set him lose. They came off perfectly after receiving a repeated battering…

Getting the old cable off was also entertaining, as I really didn’t want to take the whole brake assembly apart, not having any idea how it went back together again. A cunning arrangement of different size flathead screwdrivers removed a couple of return springs, and the only snag was removing the end section of the cable itself from the lever that pushes the shoe onto the drum. The aformentioned flatheads did the job, but only after another loss of rag. I was sensing a pattern emerging here.

There then followed a judicious use of the crowbar again, to subtly alter a section of chassis that restrained the adjustment section of the handbrake. I’d like to point out that this would not have been neccessary, had it not been designed in a way that meant the cable was never designed to be replaced as a whole. However as the restraining bracket that holds the outer sheath of the cable was welded to the chassis, I had to improvise.

“Refitting is the reverse of removal.” This includes the use of hammers by the way, and this was where the final snag arose that led me to throw all of my toys out the pram. One of the drums went back on without any difficulties (it was the same drum that I ‘learned’ earlier, I think it now knew its place), but the other had a stubbon streak… Despite beating it like a ginger stepchild (thanks to Viz for the phrase) it resolutely refused to go back on, and I ended up knocking off parts of the shoe. After an hour of frustration (including a couple of jumping up and down in anger moments), I gave up.

A massive shout out to Ian for helping me out this morning at short notice and providing technical support over the phone. The reason incidentally the drum wouldn’t go back on, was that in the course of my fiddling, I had moved the self adjusting ratchet, and so the shoes were at their maximum extent, and just too large to fit a drum over. It took Ian all of 3 minutes to sort it, and the drum went on with no resistance at all. Result! One working handbrake.

The only outstanding issues to resolve are the indicator relay (needs cleaning), the untidy wiring in the passenger footwell, the untidy heating system and the interior cover for the TAXI light. Nothing like leaving it until the last moment, so I know what I’ll be doing on Wednesday morning…

Gotcha Keep hitting it

6 Responses to “Nearly there….”

  1. Orde Says:

    Good use of the pony club, old boy.

  2. Tom Says:

    T’was only a small Pony Club, possibly why it took so long… [Mental note: Next time use larger hammer]

  3. Mel Says:

    I’m so glad you have the handbrake working, had visions of a lot of very upset ferry passengers with bashed up cars… or a long line of flattened tents

    m x

  4. Oli Says:

    Ah, the Scottish Multipurpose Adjustment Tool. Fond friend of all those who try to maintain cars of a certain age.

  5. Phil Says:

    Tom - sorry for doing half a job with the light. Sadly, that’s all we had time for after mine brain malfunctioned.

  6. Tom Says:

    No worries, I think the untidy look fits with the cab, and I like a little last minute sorting…

J885 DYK