Heroic effort, Gordon. And I know you'll succeed.
Meanwhile, here at The Brass Hammer Motorwerks & Pub, I decided to set Bridget right for spring after literally driving her home from VA Beach through the rain last October and putting her away wet.
One of the e-brake cables busted some time in August, and I had a new set in stock so I put her up on the lift for the two-hour replacement and set about removing the two-eared knockoffs that fix the wheels to the hubs.
The rubber mallet just tickled it so I got a 2x4 and the five pound sledge and that...
OK, fine, time to make the knock-off wrench. A 3-foot length of 2x6, plus a couple shorter stubs of 2x4, plus a couple old MDF shelves to sandwich them between...
Couple hours with the jig saw and the file and...voila!
That was Tuesday.
Next I lit up the ol' compressor, bripped off the little nuts, then bripped off the big axle nuts and got the drums off with relative ease.
The cable broke just under the handle, so I went in and pulled that out, which was a chore since the handle is set way back almost on the split, and I had shortened the cables and clamped them together over the handle in order to make said handle look more like a proper MG TD type, so undoing them requires a 7mm open wrench and a lot of patience loosening all eight tiny nuts which, to keep that from happening spontaneously under normal usage, I thoughtfully encased in clear silicone caulk seven years ago.
Pulled the old cables, got out the new ones and checked them against the old ones—yep, they're the right ones. Marked the length of the old ones and added six inches to that before cutting the ends off the new. Then I greased them up and threaded them back in to set about re-tensioning them without the aid of the threaded ends.
It was about then, two or three iterations into my attempt to pretension the new ones properly, that I discovered that the pawl on the brake handle (got the chrome aftermarket one since the original MG ones were chrome) was jamming/hanging up.
Out it came for adjustment.
An hour or two after that, having obtained no joy, I dug into my spares pile and retrieved the original VW unit, gunky with grease and chipped up but very much better-functioning than the chrome aftermarket unit. And so...
degreased that one, stripped the paint and repainted it in pewter hammertone, as it was the closest working rattlecan to the bench I was doing this on.
Dried overnight, reassembled and installed.
Another hour or so fettling the cables to get them pull evenly, cut the excess length off the ends, and I was done!
—OK, not quite...
Now it was time to readjust the brake shoes. I put a screwdriver on the passenger side star wheels and got no movement. Whatsoever. At. All.
Sledgehammer plus screwdriver?
Driver's side almost the same. One finally turned, the other didn't.
Broke out the liquid wrench. More hammering. More hammering.
And more hammering.
An hour or so of this and the Driver's side one finally gave way. YAY!
Passenger side soaked over night.
That brings us to yesterday am when an additional application of the sledge-plus-blunted-screwdriver finally yielded no further progress, necessitating resort to the fire hammer.
Four applications of MAP gas plus ambient oxygen plus the sledge and aforementioned screwdriver-that-is-now-a-chisel-only finally got a good result.
Spent a half hour or so after that R&Ring the brake adjusters. A nice wire-wheeling, some emory cloth, a file, degreasers and then new grease before reassembly.
Put the drums back on.
Looked at the drums.
"Goddamn these look like crap don't they?"
Took the drums back off. Degreased. Wire-wheeled them. Cleaned with acetone. Taped off the studs and painted four coats of chassis black. Let em dry over night.
That brings us to this am when I reinstalled the drums and adjusted the shoes to them before testing the e-brake again. Good! Dug out the Torquemeister tool and put 270 ft-lbs back on the big nuts via 30 pounds on my 3/8 torque wrench, then pushed them another eighth turn or so to line up the cotter pin holes (which, owing to the very tight fit of the Triumph TR3 wire wheel hubs over the VW drum snouts, is now fitted with a short exterior deck screw instead of a cotter pin).
Everything else went back together without a problem. I inspected the undercarriage, cleaned up and brushed a lil Rustoleum on a couple of spots and called it a day.
Test drive tomorrow.