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MG Car Repair/1972 MGB Hand Brake


QUESTION: My hand brake didnt work, so I installed a new assembly. One cable runs from the hand brake lever through the pivot( on the rearend) and attaches to the left brake lever. The other cable attaches to the pivot and the right brake lever. When I pull up on the hand brake lever, the left brake accuates however the right brake cable becomes slack.I' pretty sure I installed the new assembly exactly as the old. Looking at the mechanics of how it works, it's impossable for both cables to pull toward the center of the car.Please, please, please tell me what I'm doing wrong!!!

ANSWER: Hi Mike,

The cable attaches at the hand brake with the adjusting nut and the other long end goes through the pivot on the end of the short lever (called a compensating lever) mounted on the differential and on to one wheel. As you pull on the cable at the hand lever it pulls the cable to the one wheel and since the housing is supported by the short lever on the differential, the housing itself forces the short lever over which pulls the other cable.

If however the short lever on the diff is frozen and does not pivot then it would only pull the one brake. So when it is working correctly the hand brake lever pulls on one brake and the housing moves the short lever which pulls the other cable and brake.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Howard..Thank you for answering so quick.. I'm still having problems seeing how this works. Pulling up on hand brake lever pulls the left brake drum lever towards the car centerline and at the sametime releases tension on the right brake drum cable. My compansating lever is free to move and it also moves torward the car centerline when handle is pulled. I just dont see how the compansating lever can move away from the car centerline (towards the left) therefore pulling on the right cable. What am I missing??

         Mike Gianotti

When you pull on the hand brake you pull the laft brake. But due to the cable housing not being fastened to anything solid the housing just moves toward the left wheel. But the cable housing is in the pivot lug on the compensating lever so the lever and the housing moves toward the left wheel when the brake is applied. Now the compensating lever is moving toward the left wheel. With the right cable (with no housing) attached to the compensating lever and that lever moving toward the left wheel it pulls on the right cable which in turn pulls on the right brake.


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Howard M. Fitzcharles III


MG from 1956 (USA versions only) up and Engine theory.


Dealership line mechanic on MG, Triumph, Jaguar for 15 years, Instructor in commercial mechanics school 2 yr. Product information manager for piston and valve manufacture, Instructor & hotline answer man for import car parts importer 15 yrs.

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Import Car magazine

ASE Master Auto with L-1 certification up to 2000

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