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Rover Vitesse, Hand Brake Cable Replacement

I know I have covered replacing the hand brake cable on Effie before, but having done it again on Tess this time, I have some new insights to share.

One thing that had been getting worse and worse on Tess was the hand brake. Since the WOF is due for renewing, I needed to fix it, or it wouldn’t pass.

I tried adjusting the cable in a previous post, but no mater what I did I just couldn’t get the brakes to hold. I suspect the cable was stretched, so I ordered a replacement cable from Rimmers.

It was time to get Tess up on the QuickJacks, and do some work.

Speaking of QuickJacks, one of the party tricks is that once its up and on its locks, you can completely disconnect and remove the hydraulic hoses. Means you can have free access front and rear.

First step, disconnect the cable from both rear brakes. Remove the split pin, and pull the steel pin out.

Snip the zip ties holding the cable to the diff and torque tube

Use a spanner and ratchet to remove the nut and bolt that holds the compensator to the diff. The nut is hidden behind the bracket

Now move to the middle of the car/front of the cable and completely back off the locking nuts to adjust the cable. That square plate at the front of the mount will drop out, so keep it somewhere safe when it comes out. To remove the cable from this mount, you need to pull it towards the rear of the car so that the inner cable can pass through the slot in the mount. You may need to push a little rubber boot (at top of photo) on the cable out of the way to allow this.

The next part is a pain; removing the rubber boot over the lever clevis. Some careful brute force will free this up and then there is another split pin and steel pin to remove. The cable should be free to remove from the car now.

With the cable out of the car, this is what you have. The rubber boot and clevis

The adjuster section, showing the exposed inner cable section to pass through the mount

Rear section. The narrow cable looping around is for the left side wheel


The new cable is complete other than two items. The compensator, and large rubber lever boot, both of which need to be transferred over.

The rubber boot pulls off the cable, and the clevis pulls through the bellows section. This was after a very thorough clean and degrease

The compensator needs to be disassembled to transfer over. There is a 10mm nut/bolt that goes through it, which will allow you to split the two halves

The old bushes were looking a tad flogged out and it didn’t help someone had pinched the bushing and crushed it

The 10mm on mine was VERY seized and needed some hefty ugga duggas to free it up, along with some WD40

Once off the two halves can be split. You may need to employ some brute force or percussive persuasion here, as they can be rusted together.

The fulcrum pin was looking worse for wear too. Luckily I always order a spare

Of course I couldn’t refit those ugly, rusty parts to the car. So out came the twisted wire cup

ALWAYS gear up. You don’t want a piece of wire in your eye

The parts are stuck in the vice and hit with the brush. It quickly stripped off any chunky bits, and brought it back to mostly bare metal.

There was a lot of pitting and ingrained rust, so I used some rust converter to treat it

I let this cure/dry, and then painted with some black Zinc paint. I only painted what would be the outside of the parts.

Once it was dry, I used a small file to clean up the inside of the holes, and smothered the whole inside of one half with copper grease, and where the cable would pivot on both

These are the parts you want to buy, as a minimum, when replacing the cable (as well as a cable, obviously)

I would also recommend a new large lever boot, as they seem to perish. Effie’s was OK, but the one on Tess is perished and cracked. I have used superglue to hold it together and seal the cracks, but it’ll need redoing in a couple of years

Now to reassemble the compensator on the new cable. Place both halves on the cable, and refit the 10mm nut/bolt with some copper grease on it. Make sure the compensator pivots freely on the cable. If it doesn’t, you may need to tweak the bracket slightly to ensure both halves are parallel where it pivots on the cable as they can bend easily.

The new bushes get fitted with some rubber grease

Smother the fulcrum pin and washer in copper grease, and slide it through the bushes, making sure the back one doesn’t pop out

Now the boot needs to go back on. With an old boot like mine, this sucks. You need to feed the cable through the bellow section clevis first, until the bellows can be slid onto this little rubber bush. Use some grease to help side the clevis in.

Now its a case of refitting. Lay the cable under the car, and start by attaching the compensator. It’s the reverse of disassembly.

Hook up the LEFT side cable to the brake lever. It’s crucial that this cable end is adjusted so that the compensator is at a 30 degree from vertical, to the left.

Now connect the RIGHT cable to the brake lever. Slides the pins through, but don’t fit the split pins yet as both may need some more tweaking.

Move up the front, and attach the cable into the mount, and to the hand brake lever. Refit the bastard boot, with lots of wiggling, jiggling and stretching to get it over the lip and into place. Fit two zip ties, one on the RH side of the diff, and one on the torque tube, to secure the cable into place. There are rubber sleeves that need to be under the zip ties on the cable to protect the outer sleeve.

Now it’s time to adjust the cable

This sums up what to do. You need to back off the two locking nuts as far as possible, so that you have the freedom to pull the outer cable towards the rear of the car. Pull the cable back until you see the RIGHT brake lever moving and then snug the bottom nut in the photo up the mount (remembering to fit the square plate). Finger tighten the first lock nut up to the mount too.

Now get out from under the car, and test the brakes. Pull the hand brake lever up one click. The rear wheels should still turn, but some dragging should be noticeable. Now pull the lever to a total of three clicks. The rear wheels should be locked solid now.

If the wheels are locked before three clicks, you need to back off the lower nut in the above photo, to move the cable forward, towards the front of the car. If the wheels are still able to turn on three clicks, or the handle pulls further than three clicks, back off the top lock nut, and tighten the lower nut a few turns. Nip the lock nut up again and try again.

In my case it took a couple of tweaks of the adjustment to get the setting right, but now I have it so that it takes a firm pull to get onto three clicks, and the rear wheels lock solid. One click has noticeable binding but the wheels still turn.

Now slip the washer and split pin through each side brake lever, and you’re done.

The cable will eventually stretch over time and need more adjustment, just follow the directions above to tighten the cable when the times comes, and you should be good for another few years.

I’m now two for two for my recent SD1s needing hand brake cables. My first SD1 also needed hand brake work (failed a WOF), but being young and having no garage, I outsourced that at considerable expense.

Parts Used

GVC1036 – Hand Brake Cable
CRC1027 – Fulcrum Pin
FAM320 – Compensator Bush x2
GHF233 – Nut
WA112081 – Washer (Recommended)
CRC330 – Under Floor Lever Grommet (Recommended)
Split Pins as needed

Please note these parts are specific to my car and may vary. Please check before ordering.

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