The e brake spring has a hook at the end that sits inside the handle. This hook should hook the pawl. The pawl has the pivot pin in place and I'm not sure if the hook is suppose to hook onto something (maybe the pawl has broken) or why I can't get the hook to stay. The pawl also has a hole in the other end that I'm not sure what the purpose is. I've just replaced/rebuilt the entire braking system and e brake cables are in good shape.
It sounds like you're describing a ratchet mechanism and that spring is supposed to push the teeth of the pawl into the teeth on the plate, and that holds the brake lever engaged. Then you press a button to push the spring-loaded pawl away from the teeth on the "rack" to allow the lever to be lowered.
It also sounds like the spring has its hook broken off the end that went into the hole on the pawl. The wire the spring is made of is usually rather hard and brittle. You might consider stretching out the coiled up part, (if there is one), to make it longer so you can form a new hook on the end. Because that wire is brittle and might snap when you bend it, consider warming it up first with a very small flame on a propane torch. If it turns orange and is about to melt, let it cool first before you put pressure on it to bend the new hook.
The alternative is to find a spring in a salvage yard or make one from something else.
Another possible reason for having a hole in a pawl is to be able to stick a cotter pin in it to prevent it from engaging at all. That is often a part of the cable adjustment procedure.
If it sounds like I'm off base, can you post a photo?
The brake was fixed shortly after the question was asked. The answer I received was not adequate for the fix, but it may be in part to my lack of explanation. Here is what caused the problem, how it happened, and the fix.
While rebuilding the entire braking system, the rear drums were off and the hand brake was pulled. This allowed the brake handle to come up to a 12: 00 position because there was nothing holding the rear brake pads from full travel.
The ratchet part of the brake pawl cleared the ratchet segment, allowing the spring loaded pawl rod to travel freely and come out of the lever. The pawl did a 180 and I was trying to hook the pawl rod up to the bottom of the pawl, instead of the top.
By removing the entire lever mechanism (and dropping the ratchet into the floor pan of the car) I was able to reassemble the brake correctly and reinstall. Only by removal was reassembly possible. Thanks for you quick response.
February, 27, 2012 AT 12:07 AM
Sorry that part of the picture in my mind was cropped off. I can visualize what you're saying. Happy to hear it's solved.
By the way, if you can't drive a red car, there's no point in driving! (I have two, plus a '72 muscle car in the body shop right now being changed over to red).