Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Replaced The Handbrake Gaiters... Again!

For some reason, not sure why, I was having a nosey around under the back of the car recently and noticed that the handbrake gaiters were looking a bit shabby. This is a bit annoying as they were only just replaced in January this year when the rear subframe was re-installed.

A hole in it already!!!
Rubbish Rubber?
I've had a few problems in the past with rubber items failing almost as soon as they are installed. There was the case recently of the knuckle joint dust covers that were shot after a just a year. Also I noticed that the rubber seal around the neck of the fuel tank fitted in January was looking cracked also.

Alas reading back over the previous blog posts, I failed to document where I'd bought the various rubber items from. Maybe some are better than others, maybe there was a bad batch or maybe it's just cheap crappy stock across the board.

New Rubber
So this time I have got the replacement gaiters from Mini Spares Harrogate. I bought them in person and asked if they did 'Genuine' items in the hope of higher quality as I'd happily pay more if it was going to last longer. Generally there is a quality and a budget option for things, but not in the case of the gaiters I wanted. There was just one choice, item '17H7612', so that is what I got.

Putting the new rubber gaiters into place was a fairly straight forward job, helped by the fact that the handbrake and it's associated levers were fairly recently installed and as a result were not covered in thick road crud and all seized up. The only slight niggle was the working area was a little restricted as the back of the car sits quite low.

The first job was to chock the wheel and take the handbrake off

My trusty chock
Just enough space to get in.

I probably would have benefited form jacking the car up, but as I couldn't be bothered to get the jack out, I ended up with a somewhat uncomfortable scrabble around on the ground. But using the 'assistive light' from my phone I was able to easily reach and see what I needed.

With the handbrake now loose and working on the passenger side, I clipped off the split pin with a pair of pliers and withdrew the clevis pin. This enables the handbrake cable to be removed from the end of the lever and the old gaiter to be removed.

Clevis pin out
Old gaiter out.

Looking at the old gaiter (well I say old, it wasn't really), I could see that there was a hole in it. If I hadn't spotted this when I did, over time water could have got inside the brake drum and corroded the brake cylinders and goodness knows what else. So I'm glad I caught this when I did.

Old and New.

Getting the gaiter off was the easy part! Now for the tricky bit, getting the new gaiter onto the 4 prongs sticking from the backplate. This was a little trickier than I had anticipated as the last time I did this, the backplate was on a table. Anyway with a bit of a struggle I managed to get the new gaiter on the back, top and bottom prongs.

Nearly there...

For the final front prong, after a few failed attempts with my fingers, I created a nifty hook type tool from an old tent peg to get under the gaiter and stretch it into place.

It might look like junk, but did the job!


With the gaiter in place, now it was time to put the clevis pin back in. This must be dropped in from the top which makes the job harder than it needs to be, aligning the holes is awkward but with persistence it was eventually in place.

The hole in the clevis pin is tiny and requires an equally tiny split pin.

which was too long and needed clipping down to a sensible size.

All Done!

And that's the passenger side done. Looking at the drivers side I could see that although the gaiter didn't have a hole in it yet, it was starting to split.

Mmmm, its not looking good either.

Repeating the process on the drivers side completed the job and the handbrake could be pulled back on again and the chock removed.

This was a fairly straight forward piece of maintenance taking about 30 minutes, but given how long the old gaiters have been in, I wasn't anticipating doing it so soon. Although this is a quick job, I don't want to be doing it every six months, so lets hope these new gaiters last a bit longer.

<Next Post> - 'Replace Front Wheel Studs'
<This Post> - 'Replaced The Handbrake Gaiters... Again!'
<Previous Post> - 'Steering Rack Gaiters'

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