The basic IRS comes with Ford brake calipers from a 93-97 Thunderbird. One of Ford’s better ideas is the way the emergency brake is actuated. Normally, on a bowden cable, the inner flexible cable is pulled to create the movement. The outer cable serves as an anchor. In this application, the inner cable is fixed to the caliper and relies on the movement of the outer cable when the inner cable is shortened by by the movement of the brake lever. Sounds good on paper but in reality, it sux. If there is any extra movement, it decreases the efficiency of the setup. In this case, any loss of movement means less movement of the lever that actuates the puck
If you can’t tell, I’m not a big fan of this and foresee all kinds of problems. But in an attempt to make it work, I have semi-duplicated the way Ford did it on the SuperCoupes.
In a nutshell, I’ve added anchor points along the way to minimize the movement of the cable. The driver side cable runs under the differential, joining the passenger side and both run under the front crossmember of the IRS. Both meet at the forward anchor fitting on the X member frame.
(click on image for full size image)
This hookup does actuate the brakes as they should. A number of concerns still exist. 1) there is a very high amount of lever force required to set the brake. This won’t get a full test till my frame is completed and the roller is on the ground. 2) the brake still requires adjustment of the caliper. This may improve operation.
When finished, I then decided to work on the lever and the linkage.
To make my build more “period correct”, it was necessary to modify the components supplied by Hurricane.
When I was test fitting pieces, I saw I could use a simple spacer bracket to change the angle the supplied Lokar lever sat on. The bracket is a 1 x 2½ with a slight offset bent into it so the lever bolts to the standard mounting blocks. Nothing fancy.
After doing this, I learned the standard Lokar cable linkage worked thru about 50% of the travel, then it hit the brake lever. I added a link to offset the connection. I took a #80 roller chain offset link, popped it apart, removed the roller then reassembled the links. It is necessary to grind out one of the holes as it is D-shaped. At the same time, I used my Dremel cutoff wheel to cut the link spacer to a narrower width, one that fit the Lokar cable adjusting link. When done, it bolted to the cable linkage with a 5/16″ Gr. 8 button head screw and a nylon locknut. The other end pinned to the brake lever with the supplied clevis pin.
This picture shows the before and after of the link then as it is mounted to the eBrake cable end
When the lever is “set”, it takes on the angle shown.
Update: when finishing the interior tub and mounting the bezel and boot, I learned it wouldn’t fit over the relocated brake bracket. Studying it a little further, I saw the base could be shortened, the support strap moved to the inner hole and it would make a more compact unit. Get out the panel cutter and go to work:
|Original Bracket||Cut end off||Assembled|
It will take a grinder type cutter to cut the end off the brake bracket, it is hardened steel. The bracket has two sets of holes on the forward end. I just took off the outer one. Using the link referred to above, it now bolts to the inner hole and the unit is much more compact, fitting the boot.
The pictures show the brake handle in its released and set positions. Almost the same as the original cars. Close enough to satisfy me.
Since completing my build, I’ve learned a couple things on this setup:
- The brake system will work however it is EXTREMELY sensitive to adjustment. You have to have everything adjusted perfectly to get a functional e-Brake – and the Lokar lever only allows you 3-4 clicks between full on and off. Any slop in the system and it won’t lock the rotor sufficiently.
- The last few degrees of lever pull are critical – and the shorter Lokar lever that comes with the kit doesn’t add anything to the leverage needed. I purchased a longer Lokar eBrake and modified it to fit my setup. Works better but still not perfect. If you attempt this, let me know and I’ll send you pictures of my “3rd” generation mod.