Go Home! Disk Brake Hand Brake See All Photos

You know the way the transmission brake gets full of mud, you have to remove the prop shaft to get into it to wash it out - so in practice, the only time you bother is for the MOT. The shoes wear out double quick and you spend your life adjusting it!

Well, that's what I think!

    I decided, after considering some much more complicated solutions involving clutches, computers & stuff, that a disk brake was the way to go.

I originally considered cutting the rim off the existing drum - since it already has all the holes in the middle to bolt in place. I was reluctant to cut up the drum in case it didn't work and I'd have to buy another one. Then found a steel disk at the junk yard small enough to go in my lathe - so I made my own disk.

I went for a wander round the local scrap yard at Adversane looking for a car with rear disk brakes incorporating a cable operated hand brake. There were many options as it turned out. The one I chose was from a Volvo 740 GLE. It is a single pot design with an auto-adjust mechanism which works hydraulically.

When you push the brake pedal normally (on the Volvo), the brake pad moves along a hydraulic ratchet. I found that the same happens when you pull the hand brake cable, but only if there is brake fluid in the piston. It turned out that it didn't need any pressure, just a feed of fluid under gravity. I believe this is not the case for all such calipers, but all you would need is a spare clutch master cylinder that you push occasionally to adjust the handbrake.
In order to mount the caliper on the vehicle, I used the original back plate, cut it down a bit (to make it look a bit more deliberate and welded a bit of angle to it to which the caliper simply bolted. It was pretty easy. I reckon anyone with a welder and an angle grinder could do as good a job!
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