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How to Fit a Race / Rally / Drifting Hydraulic Handbrake - Tech Session

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

How to Fit a Race / Rally / Drifting Hydraulic Handbrake - Tech Session

Grant Loc
March 17, 2011


This Tech Session article is going to give you the information you need to fit a Race / Rally / Drifting Hydraulic Handbrake.

Hydraulic Handbrake Fitting Instructions:

The following fitting instructions cover most versions of Hydraulic Handbrakes..

Firstly fully remove your cars original mechanical handbrake system if fitted (Unless The Car Requires an MOT, just the Hyd Handbrake will not pass the MOT).

Mounting the Hydraulic Handbrake System:

When mounting your hydraulic handbrake you will find that most manufacturers mount their standard handbrake to the doubled skinned and the strongest place. This is also a good place for you to mount your system, this is especially important if your hand brake is going to be used in the course of competition, i.e. rallying and using the handbrake round hairpins etc.. any flexing from mounting the handbrake on single skin or a flexible surface will mean your system will not work to its best capabilities.

If the handbrake is only to be used to hold the car i.e. on the start line of a race or whilst loading the car then mounting on a single skin is fine.

Plumbing in the System:

When connecting the brake lines to the cylinder on the handbrake system you need to fit it in the brake lines running from the brake master cylinder to the rear calipers.

If you car has dual rear brake lines then you will need a twin cylinder systems, the fitting of these is the same as for a single lined system.

If the system has a cross over system then a full brake pipe work overhaul may be required. Please look at the manufacturers schematics for the car you are fitting the Hydraulic Handbrake in. This will help you see if the standard system has any one way valves fitted etc.

Now plumb your brake lines as follows - the brake line should now run from the main brake master cylinder into the rear fitting of the handbrake cylinder (normally the flat fitting and normally 7/16" UNF thread). The brake line then runs from the front fitting on the cylinder (normally at 45° to the cylinder body and normally 3/8" UNF).

On dual systems the fitting is the same as on a single line only each cylinder is for each separate line and rear wheel.

Bleeding the Hydraulic Handbrake:

Bleeding your brakes with a hydraulic handbrake is no different from bleeding your system before you fitted the system as the cylinder does is store fluid to allow the rear brakes to fully operate independent of the front brakes.

Also please note the two following important notes regarding replacing your standard mechanical system with a hydraulic handbrake and its intended use:

Hydraulic handbrake systems are not designed to be used as a permanent 'parking' brake, even the lockable systems. A hydraulic handbrake will slowly loose pressure over a period of time so if a vehicle is parked using the hydraulic handbrake as a 'parking' brake it is possible that car will move.

The fitting of a hydraulic handbrake and removal of a mechanical system is only designed for circuit / rally car use.

The removal of a mechanical system will cause you car to fail an MOT.

I trust this has been useful to you.

Please leave comments, it is important to us what you have to say.

Thank you for your time.

Grant Loc has been involved with Motorsports for over 15 years and the Director of obp Ltd. obp Ltd is a major player in Manufacture and Supply of Quality Race Car Products and provides most of the leading Motorsport distributors all over the World. obp shop, obp manufacture Race Pedal Boxes, Alloy Dry Oil Sump Tanks, etc. www.obpltd.com

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