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Old 03-01-2012, 09:42 AM   #1
wrndln
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Default Installing emergency brake return springs

I know this has been covered extensively, but I have been trying to install the springs on the emergency brake levers. Unfortunately, the service brakes and emergency brakes are installed on the rearend and all I need to do to finish is install the spring(s). I made a hook tool and I can get the spring within about 3/8" from slipping around the lever. However the spring hangs up at this point and no matter how hard I pull the spring it wont move any farther. It appears the turns on the spring are getting tight on the housing. I bought the springs at Bratton's, so I believe it is not some cheap, non-fitting spring. I also know I have the correct spring on the correct backing plate (checked several picture of the springs for right and left). I know there is a way to install the spring(s) as the the backing plates are assembled, but I would rather not disassemble everything on the plates. Is there a way to just remove the cotter key and pin on the emergency brake shaft and connect the return spring(s) and rotate the shaft back and reinstall the pin and cotter key? Any help would be appreciated.

BTW, I have search the past posts and have not seen the spring binding problem like I have - just using the hook.
Rusty Nelson
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:17 AM   #2
Pilotdave
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

Rusty, I share your pain. I think that the spring is getting wound pretty tightly and you are running out of leverage and space in which to operate.

Does "cotter key and pin" mean "locking bolt and Woodruff key"? If so, we're on the same page!

Although others have described installing that spring with the backing plate and radius rod bolted up, I had to remove the radius rod to do it. Even then it wasn't easy. IF you have the space to remove the locking bolt on that holds the lever on the shaft AND to slide the lever off the shaft far enough to disengage from the Woodruff key, you can then rotate the lever, slip the spring hook over the lever, rotate it back, engage the key, and slide it back on to the shaft. Then replace the locking bolt and the radius rod and you're good to go.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:30 AM   #3
Rusty Homestead Fl
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

Hey Rusty
I installed mine a few weeks ago and I'd almost get it on but, like you, just needed a little more. Pilotdave offered good suggestions with others a few weeks ago. What I found to be my biggest problem was the end of the spring (not the hooked end) was resting on the little flange on the backing plate where the shaft goes through. It's only about 1/8 inch high but it's just enough to shorten movement or twist to get the end of the spring over the lever. Just pull the spring as tight as you can and use a long screwdriver to push the end of the spring off the little flange and you'll get the added length you need. It's still a pain on the car but very do-able.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:56 AM   #4
wrndln
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

I got the springs Installed this morning!!! I removed the cotter keys and pins holding the C shaped connecting arm to the emergency brake operating shaft. By moving the shaft as far to the outside (not a lot as it hit the emergency brake band quickly) allowed me to pull the springs around the lever. It was very tight in getting the springs around the levers, but I managed to do it. I hope I don't have to install another set of springs for a long time.
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Old 03-01-2012, 02:08 PM   #5
Tom from Drippin'
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

If we are talking about the return springs on the outside of the backing plate...I have found it's easiest to make a loop of machinest wire, place a piece if broom handle or large dowel through the loop, twist one end of the loop tight to the dowel and hook the other end of the loop on the spring. Then you can pull the spring into position using the dowel as a handle, and cut the wire and pull it out after the spring is hooked. ..... NOTE: The springs are handed..right and left...they are NOT interchangeable!
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Old 05-27-2012, 11:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

Even after reading all this and looking at several of the pictures, I'm sure I haven't got things correct. I didn't have a pattern to go by since one of the old springs was in 3 or 4 pieces, and the other one wasn't torqued up anyway, just hanging there.

I did discover (as Tom said) that there is a right and a left, just not sure which is which. I had just about come to the conclusion (as Pilot Dave suggested) that taking the radius rod off is going to be my only way out. I'll try that in the morning.
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:54 AM   #7
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

What an absolute pain in the rear end.I finally got these things on but then I noticed the top loop of the springs got caught underneath the lever so it wont seat properly. AHHHH!!!
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Old 06-10-2012, 05:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

When I did mine I was working on just an assembled chassis, no body mounted, so that made access a little better. Still, I recall just using a length of nylon cord to pull the spring around pretty easily. I'm thinking my springs must have been a little bit more generous in size or something, because I can sure sympathize with you folks having the problems. Still and all, isn't it solving apparently insurmountable problems like this (and finally pulling off those stubborn rear hubs!!) that makes restoring As such a satisfying hobby? Just sayin'.
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Old 06-10-2012, 10:04 PM   #9
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

I finally got them on today. 90 degrees outside and humid so I sweated something fierce. I had the backing plates off the car and I hooked the spring around the lever and then twisted the lever around until it slid down into its place. Was still quite a pain but it's a hell of a relief when you finish both sides. Can't imagine doing this job with the body mounted. YIKES!
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Old 06-10-2012, 10:51 PM   #10
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

Alright guys I do this on cars that are driving in my door without removing anything but the drum. How bout we set up a fordbarn meet at my shop in southeastern pa and I show everyone.
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:54 AM   #11
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

Please film it so that us'ns that live outside the NE US can benefit.










Pretty Please?
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:14 AM   #12
CountrySquire55
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

Here is what I did before installing the rear brake drums. For installing the emergency brake lever springs (there is a left and right spring), once all the emergency brake parts are on the car, do not yet connect the emergency brake connecting lever to the emergency brake toggle lever. This will give you about 3/4" more rearward movement of the toggle lever which makes all the difference. Lying under the car, I then used a tack removal tool (similar to a flat screwdriver with a notch cut in the end) to push the hook of the emergency brake spring over the toggle lever. With the extra 3/4" to work with, installing the spring takes about 10 seconds. Then, with the spring installed, you can easily pry the connecting lever to align with the hole on the toggle lever and install the connecting pin, cotter pin, and then install the drum. I have no problem removing or installing the springs but this method requires the rear drums to be off the car.
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:14 AM   #13
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

jkeesey, an added point: when taking apart the brakes, do you remove the rear backing plate with the ebrake lever installed? I could not figure out how to make that work until I removed the radius rods. I can see a whole series of brake repair videos coming!
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:24 AM   #14
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

I completely disassemble the brake when removing them. Meaning I pull the lever arms and remove the e brake band then the carrier then the shoes and if needed the backplate. But if the A only needs the springs I don't remove any of it. I just did one last week only with the drums off because I check every new A that comes into my shop because I have yet to find a brake setup done exactly perfect.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:19 AM   #15
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

Sounds like a good system. I raised the disassembly question within this thread because the reference books imply one can remove the backing plates with the return springs, ebrake levers and radius rods in place. Perhaps so, though I couldn't make that work on our Tudor. So....there's a need to know how to remove those pesky ebrake return springs as well as how to install them.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:27 AM   #16
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

I'll take a look at the next set I do. Usually they come into my shop either missing or broken so removal isn't really an issue but I'm sure I can use the same technique I do on install. Generally I never remove the radius rods for anything being as that's how I pick them up on my lift.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:00 PM   #17
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

I just removed my backing plates and discovered the same think Pilotdave did. Les's book tells us to remove the backing plate and brakes to rebuild, but the only way I could get them out was to remove the parking brake lever. Since it appears the parking brake spring is a real bugger to install, it would seem it would be easier to do this on the bench. However, then it seems the only way to get the whole assembly back together is to remove the radius rods. I haven't had the radius rods out, so apparently there is a trade off between removing the radius rods and doing the parking brake springs on the bench versus leaving the radius rods installed and doing the parking brake springs per the suggestions. Please give my your opinion on which is the lesser evil!
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:55 PM   #18
H. L. Chauvin
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

Best to remove "C" as mentioned above; however, if everything is already assembled, hope this helps in this particular case:

Just installed two last night with backing plate on & everything assembled.

1. First, the point on the emergency brake spring hook, (which ressembles a large fish hook), points towards the differential on both the right & left side springs; & the spring fits between the emergency brake arm lever & the backing plate. The hook part of the spring hooks at top on the emergency brake lever & the bottom straight part of the spring hooks on crevice between the backing plate & the rear radius rod. (The end of the straight part of the spring at the bottom points towards the engine compartment).

2. Tool: Make a hook tool with a coat hanger with about a 1/2" return on the hook side, & from the 1/2" hook on the tool hook to the bottom of the wood handle should be about 7".

3. Tool Handle: The handle can be a 5" long broom handle, large dowel, or a piece of 5" long wood, 3/4" x 1-1/2", with a coat hanger wire size through-hole drilled through the 3/4" side & centered on the 5" width. After the wire goes throught the wood, make a knot with the wire to keep it from re-entering the hole in the wood handle when pulling the hook.

4. Hook the hook tool on the top of the emergency brake spring hook & pull forward towards the engine.

5. TRICKS:

A. Work from inside the rear wheel fender well, (under the fender where the tire goes), as oposed to under the chassis.

B..The emergency brake spring hook point pointing towards the differential will definitely stop after pulling forward when it hits the emergency brake lever arm; however, get a flat head screw driver & compress & push the emergency brake spring hook sideways & outwards, i.e., towards the backing plate & brake shoes, while simultaneously pulling the emergency brake spring hook forward with the hook tool.

C. Snap -- both of mine went in -- compressing the emergency brake spring upper hook sideways & outwards allows this emergency brake spring point to bypass the emergency brake lever with less friction & snap in place, forward of the lever. The emergency brake spring should place pressure on the lever towards the rear of the car.

Hope this helps.

(When providing & trying to install two (2) new emergency brake lever arms, two (2) new emergency brake toggle levers with new grease zerks, & two (2) new emergency brake lever bolts & half moon key sets, the two (2) new emergency brake lever arms would not fit because the two (2) new half moon keys were too wide & too high -- solution was to place keys in a vise-grip pliers, use a flat file, & remove a few thousanths of an inch from the sides & from the bottoms of the round parts of the two (2) half moon keys -- then everything fitted together just fine -- please expect to fine tune & "fit" lots of new replacement parts using Dremel Tools & files -- the Model A parts vendors are doing their best to provide quality parts, but they can only sell what they get from today's parts manufactirers).

Last edited by H. L. Chauvin; 11-23-2012 at 02:20 AM. Reason: Info added info in blue
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Old 04-04-2013, 03:32 PM   #19
Alex Dragone
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

Does anyone have a picture of what they are supposed to look like when they are installed on the car? I dont understand how they go on. My car had the orignal springs on it and bothe were broken so I dont have a referance. If anyone can help I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:52 PM   #20
wrndln
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Default Re: Installing emergency brake return springs

There is a picture of one in the link below. It isn't a great picture, but you can see the part that goes over the lever to tell left from right. This spring is a bear to install. I ended up taking the emergency brake shaft loose to get the spring over the lever. I even made a hook tool, but still couldn't get over the lever until I disconnected the shaft pin to allow the lever to move back a little. Once I did that, I could with my hook tool, get it around the lever.

https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showth...+brake+springs

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