DIY: Making the Handbrake Less of a Nuisance

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Sep 19, 2018
New York
I'm in the process of making a center console that isn't a complete embarrassment. To help facilitate that, I modified my handbrake. Typically, with the handbrake fully engaged, the handle is nearly level with the armrest of the center console. I want it to be much lower, but still fully functional.

This is the handbrake lever. The rubber grip is glued to the handle, you'll have to run a pick or some other thin, flat tool in between the rubber grip and the metal to break the glue. Removing the rubber grip is required, in order to gain access to the brass actuator pin that's housed in the handle, seen below. It's actually shaped like a hockey stick when you first remove the rubber grip, but it's straightened out in this picture. The handbrake button screws on to the end of the brass rod, with a spring between the button and the detents on the inside of the handle.

This is the modified handbrake assembly. The handle was removed from the top of the bracket, moved towards the bottom and the rear of the bracket, as well as angled down somewhat. These 3 changes all help to limit the installed, engaged height of the handbrake. The brass rod needs to be bent slightly, shortened, and rethreaded to accommodate the relocated handle. I attached the handle to the bracket with a pair of Grade 12.9 M6 Button Head bolts connected to a pair of Grade 12.9 M6 nylock nuts.

This is the unmodified bracket as it is installed in the FZJ80.

This is the modified bracket reinstalled into the FZJ80. As you can see, the handle sits much lower.

Because the handle is lowered relative to the pivot of the bracket, the leverage ratio of the handbrake is changed. It now requires more effort to engage the handbrake, but the force is still completely reasonable. The advantage of the different leverage ratio is that although the bracket still rotates the same angle to fully engage the handbrake, the shorter handle moves through a much shorter arc swing, as it has a much lower effective radius.

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