old car

Handbrake & Cross-Shaft

October 03:

Being purely mechanical, the brakes worked even after having stood for 25 years.   Friction in the linkages means that they are not very good at stopping the car!   Lifting the floorboards to get at the gearbox gave an initial opportunity to reduce play in the brake cross-shaft.

March 04:

Nearside outer cross-shaft bearing had plenty of free play! - but the steel cross-shaft bearing surface was OK as judged by micrometer readings.  There was a round clip on the end of this shaft - it was a very snug fit and I couldn't remove it so forced the old bearing off over the top.

When dismantled, the end of the shaft was found to be damaged with severe bruising from forces unknown!  Could have happened any time in the last 70 years!

Although the shaft is not worn, the zinc bearing was badly worn as it had seized on the shaft and had been rotating in the housing!

Offside outer cross-shaft bearing also had plenty of free play!

Again, the cross-shaft bearing surface was OK but the zinc bearing was worn through where it had been rotating in the housing!

This side came apart much easier and again the bearing surface is unworn.

After replacing the bearing with the split-brass type and a locating screw, the play generated over the last 70 years seems to have gone.

To improve lubrication and to prevent the bearing from rotating, a 4BA grub-screw with shouldered end projects into the split section of the bearing.

Remove to oil direct onto the bearing surfaces! - as well as keeping the felt oil "wicks" oiled of course.

This is how the nearside bearing looks when reassembled. Although the bottom of the groove is rounded, a modern circlip seems to fit snugly as the original retaining rings were rather weak.

and the offside, with the locating screw removed for oiling direct into the bearing .  .  .  .  .

The handbrake was quite loose and moved about sideways.  This was cured by tightening the holding bolts through the chassis.  I couldn"t detect any play in the centre cross-shaft bearings so they have been left undisturbed.

The handbrake mechanism seems to be OK for now so it has been cleaned up a little, lubricated and left.

April 2006:

As the brakes wear, so the cross-shaft rotates away from the handbrake.

This bolt (locknut on the other end) adjusts the handbrake clearance

March 2007:
handbrake gaiter - click for larger image

A gearstick gaiter from one of several firms advertising on the internet fitted the handbrake lever like a glove.  The one I used fitted a Nissan Maxima and Honda Infiniti I30 (virtually the same car) though others might well do as well.

The one you choose needs to be narrow and with the "gearstick" hole almost vertical and some sort of framework around the bottom to hold its shape.  See also the gearbox cover page.