Parking Brake Cable Removal
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If you've ever tried to remove a parking brake cable from a backing plate or other mounting location - even with the "proper tool" - you know how frustrating and futile it can be to do this. I found a tip that makes it easy and simple to do this on virtually any vehicle I've encountered. How? Use a small hose clamp to retract the "fingers" on the parking brake cable clamp and then pull the cable out. It really works and is amazingly simple once you try it. The special tool they sell to do this is just about worthless in comparison to this technique. Swapping parking brake cables is a very simple job with this tip - taking the rear brakes apart and putting them back together takes far more time than removing the parking brake cable from the housing and/or from the mounting brackets.

I've used this to replace cables, swap cables between rear axles, and remove the front section of a parking cable (that goes from the foot pedal to the equalizer assembly) from several cars. It's never failed me yet, though some of the front parking brake cables required some ingenuity to rear both sides of the cable at the same time since one end is inside the car and the other end is underneath it.

 

Details

Here's a typical parking brake cable end that shows the mounting fingers that spring out once it's mounted into whatever it mounts to. This particular cable end is from a 1989 Ford F150 and is the forward end of the cable that mounts to a bracket along the frame where the equalizer bar connects to the two cables from each rear drum. The mounting at the backing plate for the rear drums is very similar and the removal technique is the same. I'm showing you the cable off the vehicle so you can get a better idea of what it looks like. When installed, the mounting plate goes between the ends of the small fingers (they start at the right and point towards the center of the picture) and the raised ring (on the left side). You insert the cable from the left side and the fingers compress as you slide the cable in the mounting hole, then once the cable bottoms out on the mounting plate, the fingers spring out and capture the cable in place with very little wiggle room. It's very effective and fast to assemble. Without this tech tip, removal will cause you to scratch your head excessively, say bad things about the manufacturer/designer/builder of the vehicle, and increase your blood pressure. If this tip works for you, you can thank me after you're done. :-)

ParkingBrakeCableRemoval1.jpg (966090 bytes)

Here's the tools you'll need - a small hose clamp sized to fit over the finger area of your cable and something to tighten/loosen the clamp with. I prefer to use a nut driver because it's easy to hold and won't slip off the end like a screwdriver will. A screwdriver or a socket will work also. For the clamp, typically you need one sized for a small fuel line, the kind that uses a 1/4" drive is about right for the cases I've run into. Your cables may be larger if it's an older car or heavy duty truck or something else odd. Just get one the fits. Heck, if you're desperate/cheap/stuck you can actually pirate the clamp off the fuel line at the carb temporarily, use it to do this work, and put the clamp back on the fuel line when you're done - provided you don't manage to booger the hose clamp up while doing this work. :-)

ParkingBrakeCableRemoval2.jpg (1711763 bytes)

Here's the clamp installed over the fingers on the parking brake cable and tightened. Compare the ends of the fingers in this picture to the first picture and note how they are retracted here so they are in line with the rest of the cable. In this state the cable can be easily pulled back enough to get the fingers "inside" the mounting hole, and then the clamp can be loosened a touch to allow the cable to slide through the mounting hole and the clamp when you tug on it. The key here is not to install the clamp flush with the mounting plate - install it just far enough on so that it retracts the fingers when you tighten it. You want to leave a small bit of space so that once the fingers are retracted you can pull the cable back about 1/8" to 1/4" and hold in there (aka, applying a moderate amount of pressure to try and pull the cable out) while you loosen the clamp a bit. As soon as the clamp is loose enough, the cable will easily slide back through the mounting plate and clamp and leave the clamp either hanging on the cable end, or if the cable end comes all the way out in one pull, the clamp will be left to do whatever gravity decides to do with it once the cable is out of the way.

ParkingBrakeCableRemoval3.jpg (1129251 bytes)


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Page last updated 01/02/2009 01:51:39 PM