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Parking brake cable replacement - using stainless marine cable

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  • Parking brake cable replacement - using stainless marine cable

    I'm now into the fun part of restoring my 72 Z- actually digging through the parts boxes and bolting stuff on.
    Most of the parts in those dusty boxes are new or have been reconditioned.
    But not all....
    I discovered that my parking brake cable is toast:

    The price of a new cable is eye-watering. And I haven't been able to find any mention of someone changing only the cable, but lots of talk about sourcing from eBay and wreckers, so I began looking at alternatives. The OEM cable is slightly less than 4mm, so any replacement must match that to slide in the sheaths.

    Most cable suppliers sell cable in large rolls and I really don't need 1000 feet, so I looked at marine suppliers (The Chandlery in Ottawa). I discovered that you can buy 7x7 3/32 - 5/32 PVC covered stainless cable by the foot - and the copper nickel swaging clamps to match. A perfect replacement. The original cable is steel - the stainless is an upgrade.
    Total cost of 10 ft of cable and 5 clamps was $23 with delivery and taxes. Worth a try.
    The new cable slides easily in the OEM cable sheath.
    swaging process.jpg
    I stripped the PVC back, folded the cable back on itself and through the swage clamp for strength.
    The coating must be removed for strength at the swaged end.
    Swage one side, then pull the other end by levering with pliers.
    Use wire strippers to strip the coating, then cut the cable with a grinder cutoff wheel to make a clean cut.

    swaged ends.jpg
    I swaged the cable ends with a vice and dull chisel. The first end is easy.
    Then use the old cable to get the total length right, assemble the entire rig and cut the cable to length.
    The cable on the second end can be pulled through enough to properly clamp and swage.
    new cable end.jpg
    Here's what the cable end looks like with the new cable in place.
    new cable.jpg
    This is the yoke assembled with the new cable.

    The cables slide easily and the swaging process should match the OEM strength
    I put a light coating of anti-seize on the cable as it threaded it into the sheath for good measure.
    I took my time, but the whole process took about 30 minutes.

  • #2
    A very nice & economic solution to your brake cable problem. I have removed my Z drum brakes and converted to discs & callipers. I really need to address my lack of a parking brake. I have entertained a hydraulic parking brake. But, my preference is for a mechanical solution. Thanks for sharing with us.


    • #3
      Hi Dr Diesel - I'm deep into a full rotisserie restoration - also changing to rear disks. 300ZX disks and Maxima callipers because they have mechanical parking brakes. Cables should fit, but I won't know until I bolt in the coil overs. I'll post a complete report when they're bolted in place.
      240Z rear brakes.jpg
      The cable bracket that I got with the callipers had the wrong orientation so I made one. Also replaced the OEM proportioning valve with an adjustable one - mounted in the engine bay. I just can't help myself.

      But really, parking brakes are like rear view mirrors - who really needs 'em?


      • #4
        I put on the Arizona Big Brake Kits that didn't have accommodation for parking brakes on my 240Z. I was of the same opinion as you "Who really needs them". However, from time to time Im working on the car with the engine running or just want to get out of the car without shutting the engine down when I'm in a parking lot. On a couple of occasions, I have resorted to a wheel chalk. There are solutions to this. Maybe I will address this in the near future. It hasn't been a priority for me. Glad to hear of your progress on your car. Looking forward to hearing & seeing more on your progress with the car.


        • #5
          As someone with a rear disc conversion, I'd be interested in a standalone attachment for a parking brake as well. I've only done limited research but I think all options require some serious welding?

          ATM I still have working parking brake lines but they're just zip-tied to some suspension to keep them out of the way.


          • #6
            vvise, Parking brakes for rear disc brakes sounds like a good reason for us to start a new thread on the subject.


            • #7
              I will be connecting my brake cable this week - '84 300 zx rotors, 86 Maxima callipers - purchased in bits and pieces, not a commercial kit. Had to modify the bracket to suit as the pads only covered half the rotors. The bracket was for much larger rotors but the pad arc matched the rotor circumference (they match perfectly now ;0). Must install the suspension first before I get serious with the cables. I'm really not sure how it will all connect .... I'll take photos and post the results.


              • #8
                Progress update - I fab'd a couple of brackets to connect the parking brake. The cable originally attached to the lower rear of the transverse link for the drum brakes. The disk caliper parking brake connects at the top and forward. Two notes - the cable is too long, but if you cross the cables over (use the left cable for the right wheel, etc.) the length is just aout right. And a bracket is required to connect the cables. I got brackets included in my swap meet kit, but they may have been for a Lada. So I fab'd some new ones. The small part with the two holes is required to connect the cable end to the calliper:

                4 3 pkg brake 1.jpg

                4 3 pkg brake 2.jpg

                4 3 pkg brake 3.jpg