First up: Installing the Parking Brake Linkage
As I mentioned yesterday, it’s crunch time! One of the quick wins, or so I thought, was the parking brake linkage. For various reasons, including the fact that I’d needed to pull the transmission twice after installing it originally, I hadn’t yet connected up the back parking brake cable to the front equalizer, lever, spring, cable, and inner handle.
Last night I spent several hours trying to complete that seemingly simple task. Initially I had been stymied by the fact that I couldn’t find the parking brake components. I had to search my database to see when I’d purchased everything; once I realized these were some of the first things I’d purchased, it dawned on me that this box might still be out in the garage. It was.
When I removed the handle and the rest of the e-brake components in the fall of 2013, I’d had to cut the front brake cable to get it out. Everything underneath the car was covered in oily crap, the inner control mechanism was heavily rusted from moisture intrusion, and new components were relatively cheap and available. So, I had ordered the full kit, including new cables, spring, equalizer, adjuster rod, and a new handle. I’d also ordered a complete reproduction inner control assembly (handle, rod, pulley). All told, that set me back about $170. Not cheap, but compared to Packard parts, it was a steal. At least I thought so at the time.
China Strikes Again
What seemed like a deal then has not turned out that way; half the stuff I ordered was unusable. My biggest frustration? The inner control assembly, a $75 item, which doesn’t even come close to fitting correctly. Yet again, CJ Pony Parts describes this as a, “direct-fit replacement…factory-style…reproduction.” As you can see in the picture, the studs are 1/4″ farther apart on the new piece than they are on the factory one. Oh, and the Chinese studs are also coarse thread, while the factory used fine thread, so the nuts that worked for the old one won’t work for the new one (assuming you can get the new one through the firewall in the first place).
Sigh. So instead of being able to just bolt in a shiny new handle/pulley assembly, I have to disassemble the old one, wire brush the crap out of it, paint it, wait for the paint to cure, grease it, put it back together, and install it. At least the old one fits.
Conveniently, the parking brake rebuild kit came with a new handle. I didn’t think I needed the handle since I’d bought the full inner control assembly. But now that I’d decided to restore the original one, that new handle seemed like just the ticket. Yes…it seemed that way.
Only after I’d gone through hell pounding the roll pin out and removing the factory handle did I realize the new handle wouldn’t work. Why? For reasons passing understanding China put the hole for the roll pin on the wrong side of the handle. I can’t figure out why they’d do that. It’s of no use to anyone. There’s only a hole in one side of the factory rod to accept the roll pin. And as long as they’re copying the handle, why wouldn’t they actually copy it?!? So, I put the factory handle back on again, polished it with some rubbing compound, and declared it “good enough.”
The reproduction control assembly and handle weren’t the only things I had trouble with. When I finished late last night, I’d also ended up reusing my original adjusting rod and equalizer lever. So, of the parts I originally ordered, I only ended up using the front cable, rear cable, equalizer, and return spring. That leaves me with a total cost for un-used items of about $100. Live and learn, I suppose.