Hydraulic Handbrakes

Hydraulic Handbrakes

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Rix Engineering Tandem Hydraulic Handbrake – With Master Cylinder

This hydraulic handbrake assembly has been developed for modern Group N brake line configurations and offers superior performance over conventional hydraulic handbrakes. The sturdy powder coated steel bracket is designed to accept the Alcon dual circuit master cylinder which provides a powerful braking effort with a consistent action. The lightweight

Rix Engineering Tandem Hydraulic Handbrake – Without Master Cylinder

This hydraulic handbrake assembly has been developed for modern Group N brake line configurations and offers superior performance over conventional hydraulic handbrakes. The sturdy powder coated steel bracket is designed to accept the Alcon dual circuit master cylinder which provides a powerful braking effort with a consistent action. The lightweight

OBP Vertical Hydraulic Handbrake – With Master Cylinder

This lightweight vertical handbrake assembly from Optimum Balance Products (OBP) is constructed from lightened steel and have a powder coated finish to produce a long lasting product, strong enough to cope with extensive motorsport use.   The kit is supplied with a 280mm long lever with a rubber grip for comfort, a strong lightweight housing and a

OBP Vertical Hydraulic Handbrake – Without Master Cylinder

This lightweight vertical handbrake assembly from Optimum Balance Products (OBP) is constructed from lightened steel and have a powder coated finish to produce a long lasting product, strong enough to cope with extensive motorsport use.   The kit is supplied with a 280mm long lever with a rubber grip for comfort, a strong lightweight housing and a

OBP Victory Billet Vertical Hydraulic Handrake – With Master Cylinder

The Victory range of hydraulic hand brakes feature a 300mm long billet aluminium lever which pivots on oil impregnated bearings for a smooth action. The lever is connected to the cylinder via a high quality ball joint and the assembly is housed in a robust powder coated steel frame. Available with or without a 0.625″ bore master cylinder. Handle

OBP Victory Billet Vertical Hydraulic Handrake – Without Master Cylinder

The Victory range of hydraulic hand brakes feature a 300mm long billet aluminium lever which pivots on oil impregnated bearings for a smooth action. The lever is connected to the cylinder via a high quality ball joint and the assembly is housed in a robust powder coated steel frame. Available with or without a 0.625″ bore master cylinder. Handle

OBP Twin Cylinder Lockable Vertical Hydraulic Handbrake – With Master Cylinders

This lightweight vertical handbrake assembly from Optimum Balance Products (OBP) is constructed from lightened steel and have a powder coated finish to produce a long lasting product, strong enough to cope with extensive motorsport use. This particular handbrake assembly features twin master cylinders which enables you to have separate control over the

OBP Twin Cylinder Lockable Vertical Hydraulic Handbrake – Without Master Cylinders

This lightweight vertical handbrake assembly from Optimum Balance Products (OBP) is constructed from lightened steel and have a powder coated finish to produce a long lasting product, strong enough to cope with extensive motorsport use. This particular handbrake assembly features twin master cylinders which enables you to have separate control over the

OBP Pro Spec Vertical Locking Hydraulic Handbrake – 280mm Flat Lever

Optimum Balance Products (OBP) have taken their existing range of hydraulic handbrake assemblies and developed the Pro-Spec. The Pro Spec range incorporates a polished aluminium handle and aluminium bracket box for both great looks and reduction in weight without sacrifice in quality or performance. The aircraft grade aluminium is ideal for competitive

OBP Pro Spec Vertical Locking Hydraulic Handbrake – 280mm Round Lever

Optimum Balance Products (OBP) have taken their existing range of hydraulic handbrake assemblies and developed the Pro-Spec. The Pro Spec range incorporates a polished aluminium handle and aluminium bracket box for both great looks and reduction in weight without sacrifice in quality or performance. The aircraft grade aluminium is ideal for competitive

OBP Pro-Drift V2 Billet Alloy Hydraulic Handbrake – With Master Cylinder

The Pro-Drift V2 hydraulic hand brake assembly features an aircraft grade billet aluminium lever / handle and can be used either as a vertical or horizontal lever. The pivot runs on an oil impregnated bearing for smoothness and reliability. The Handle can be adjusted to alter the total length from 320-380mm and is supplied either as a kit with a

OBP Pro-Drift V2 Billet Alloy Hydraulic Handbrake – Without Master Cylinder

The Pro-Drift V2 hydraulic hand brake assembly features an aircraft grade billet aluminium lever / handle and can be used either as a vertical or horizontal lever. The pivot runs on an oil impregnated bearing for smoothness and reliability. The Handle can be adjusted to alter the total length from 320-380mm and is supplied either as a kit with a

OBP Pro-Drift V3 Billet Aluminium Hydraulic Handbrake – With Master Cylinder

The Pro-Drift V3 is a lightweight professional hydraulic hand brake assembly with both the lever and chassis being machined from aircraft quality billet aluminium with a hard anodised protective finish. This makes the V3 incredibly strong and rigid. The billet hand grip is adjustable for length between 320-380mm to enable the driver to find the perfect

OBP Pro-Drift V3 Billet Aluminium Hydraulic Handbrake – Without Master Cylinder

The Pro-Drift V3 is a lightweight professional hydraulic hand brake assembly with both the lever and chassis being machined from aircraft quality billet aluminium with a hard anodised protective finish. This makes the V3 incredibly strong and rigid. The billet hand grip is adjustable for length between 320-380mm to enable the driver to find the perfect

OBP Lockable Vertical Hydraulic Handbrake – With Master Cylinder

This lightweight vertical handbrake assembly from Optimum Balance Products (OBP) is constructed from lightened steel and have a powder coated finish to produce a long lasting product, strong enough to cope with extensive motorsport use. This particular handbrake assembly features an adjustable locking mechanism to allow it to operate as a temporary

OBP Lockable Vertical Hydraulic Handbrake – Without Master Cylinder

This lightweight vertical handbrake assembly from Optimum Balance Products (OBP) is constructed from lightened steel and have a powder coated finish to produce a long lasting product, strong enough to cope with extensive motorsport use. This particular handbrake assembly features an adjustable locking mechanism to allow it to operate as a temporary

GRP4 Fabrications Vertical Hydraulic Handbrake – 12" Long Handle

This high quality hydraulic hand brake from Group 4 fabrications features a vertical lever which is ideal for Motorsports where the hand brake gets a lot of use such as auto testing, drifting or rallying. The vertical bar is easier to reach and more force can be applied compared to a horizontal type. The kit comes complete with a 0.625″ bore girling

GRP4 Fabrications Vertical Hydraulic Handbrake – 18" Long Handle

This high quality hydraulic hand brake from Group 4 fabrications features a vertical lever which is ideal for Motorsports where the hand brake gets a lot of use such as auto testing, drifting or rallying. The vertical bar is easier to reach and more force can be applied compared to a horizontal type. The kit comes complete with a 0.625″ bore girling

RRS Universal Vertical & Horizontal Hydraulic Handbrake

This unique handbrake can be set up for either conventional horizontal or vertical handle use by simply turning the handle 180 degrees. The chassis is of a sturdy steel construction which is powdercoated for a lasting finish. The handle itself is machined from billet aluminium and is 300mm in length, however a 200mm long extension handle is available

RRS Extension Handle For Hydraulic Handbrake

A billet alloy extension handle to fit the Demon Tweeks vertical / horizontal hydraulic handbrake assembly. 200mm

Rix Engineering Vertical Lever Hydraulic Handbrake Assembly

This universal hydraulic handbrake assembly is supplied as complete kit, comprising of a machined billet vertical handbrake handle with anatomical grip, a rugged powder coated steel bracket and a master cylinder with connecting clevis. This handbrake assembly is designed for competition use only as it has no mechanical operation and therefore does not

The Knowledge

THE KNOWLEDGE

Hydraulic Handbrakes

Hydraulic Handbrakes

A hydraulic handbrake, also called emergency brake, e-brake, staging brake, or drift brake, is a braking mechanism used to keep a vehicle motionless and, in many cases, also perform an emergency stop. This braking mechanism uses brake fluid, typically containing glycol ethers, to transmit pedal force to the four brakes. Originally, the hydraulic handbrakes were meant to stop a vehicle when the main brake system failed. Today, they are used to keep a car stationary when it is parked. Emergency brakes are also used in the sport of drifting, rallying, and autocrossing.
  • The hydraulic brake is far more powerful and faster than the standard cable brakes on the market. Its ability to lock up the rear tyres quickly makes it a valuable addition to a drifter set-up.
  • In rally racing, the rally handbrake is used to counter the understeer found in front-wheel drive cars competing in events.
  • In drag racing, it is used to enable burnouts and preload the driveline in order to absorb shock when the vehicle is launched from a dead stop.
While the hydraulic handbrake is part of the overall braking system, it is applied independently of the service brake. This handbrake is installed in-line with the existing brake system and is connected to the rear brakes.

Components of a Hydraulic Handbrake

A typical hydraulic brake has fewer components that the primary brake system. They include:
  • Intermediate lever – the lever is used to engage and disengage the parking brake. This component is held in position with a ratchet locking mechanism.
  • Steel cables – the cables connect the main brakes of the vehicle to the hydro-brake lever. They transmit the lever movement through a series of components to the brake assembly. The cable system has a “Y” design that allows several cables to be connected to the rear brakes. A separate cable is used to attach the equalizer to the lever of the vehicle. Other components of the hydraulic handbrake are a pull rod, equalizer and adjusting nut.

Types of Hydraulic Handbrake Levers

There are different types of emergency handbrake levers. The application of each brake depends on the design of the driver’s seat and the desired operating effort.
  • Stick type lever – this lever is found under the instrument cluster and is common in older cars.
  • Centre lever type or pull handle – the centre lever is located between the two front seats of a car, near the console of new car models.
  • Pedal type – this is located on the left side of the floor-hinged pedals.
  • Electric or push button – the electric lever is located on the centre console and is common in new car models.

How Hydraulic Handbrakes Work

When the emergency handbrake is engaged, the cable attached to the hydraulic handbrake rotates the intermediate lever anticlockwise. The crank pin then moves the strut to the left causing the sleeve nut, adjusting bolt and piston to move towards the left. The movement of the strut also compresses the adjusting bolt return spring. The force generated then passes through the U-shaped equalizer. The equalizer divides the force and sends it evenly across the two cables connected to the main brake system. When the handbrake is disengaged, the compressed return spring punches the caliper piston and the bolt back to their previous positions. Consequently, the hydraulic handbrake is released. When the handbrake is disengaged, the clutch prevents the sleeve nut from rotating, transferring the force of the lever to the caliper piston through the adjusting bolt. This operation applies to vehicles that use disc brakes on all the four wheels (most common brake configuration). Vehicles with a rear drum brake system (rare on new car models) have the hydraulic handbrake cables running directly to the rear brake shoes. These vehicles often have a more complicated hydraulic brake system called an exclusive handbrake. The shoes and other components of the exclusive handbrake are similar to those of a drum brake but smaller and with no wheel cylinder. The system also has an additional corkscrew and lever added to the existing caliper piston. When the handbrake is activated, the lever forces the corkscrew against the piston, activating the brake.

System Limitations

Corrosion – the race handbrake can corrode if they are not engaged on a regular basis. This is particularly common for the shielded cables as they are vulnerable to dirt, debris, salt and other agents that may cause corrosion. A simple solution to this problem is to use the hydraulic handbrake regularly. Breakage and malfunctions - a car’s brakes are controlled by a parking pawl, a device that locks up the transmission when the car is put in park. As with any part of a car, the parking pawl can break or malfunction. Additionally, it can wear out from constant use.