There are few things more important than safety and security when it comes to building a classic car or truck. Sure, beauty and reliability are up there, but as the saying goes, chrome won't get you home. Oftentimes, some of the simplest safety devices get left out when wrapping up a custom car build. I know I'm just as guilty as anyone else when it comes to leaving out certain things and a proper emergency brake is one of those items that I've left out of a handful of builds for various reasons; namely due to frustrations from trying to mate a stock emergency brake lever mechanism with a non-stock rear brake application. My custom and classic vehicle is a great example for this electric emergency brake install.
The E-Stopp is designed to replace an existing e-brake lever with a microcomputer-controlled pushbutton system. A simple push of the button and the E-Stopp engages or disengages the e-brake, giving the user a visible cue in the form of a blinking LED button as well as an audible recognition signal until the process is completed. Once engaged, the button's LED remains lit (drawing 16 micro amps) until the button is pressed again and the e-brake is disengaged, whereas the LED extinguishes.
The mechanical process of setting the e-brake is handled by a worm-drive actuator that is housed in a rugged aluminum case, with about 3 inches of travel. A microcomputer control box relays the signal from the button to the actuator, which pulls the e-brake cable until it detects 600 pounds of resistance, whereupon it stops and locks in place. Once activated, the unit locks onto itself, drawing nothing from the battery to remain set.
What's cool about the E-Stopp, and what makes it more than just a simple push-button e-brake, is the security aspect of having an electronically actuated parking brake. By hiding the button in an inconspicuous location, such as in a locking glovebox, it becomes nearly impossible to disable the e-brake once set. A would-be thief could get into your car and fire it up, but he'd have a hard time driving away with a pair of locked-up rear tires. In the case of a failed hydraulic system, it can also be used as an emergency brake by safely engaging the brakes via the mechanical e-brake system. Safety and security built into one system, now that's 21st century technology for ya!
Installing the E-Stopp system is a simple manner of locating the existing e-brake cables and mating them to the actuator, mounting the control box and switch, and wiring the system to a 12-volt source. On most cars, the install could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the existing, or lack thereof, e-brake system.
We took an afternoon to install the E-Stopp system, which included running brand-new Lokar emergency brake cables, mounting the actuator, control box and button, and wiring up the system. At the end of the day, we ended up with an e-brake system that not only gave us the safety features we were lacking, but also added a bit of extra security over a standard lever-type system, in about the same time it would have taken to install a traditional e-brake setup.
2. Housed in a double-layered, weatherproof aluminum housing, the E-Stopp actuator consists of a worm-drive mechanism capable of pulling a tension up to 600 pounds, wherein it locks upon itself to maintain continuous line pressure.
3. The brain of the unit is in the control box, which contains a microcomputer and relays the signal from the LED-equipped pushbutton to the actuator.
4. The pushbuttons are available in an assortment of LED-lit colors, as well as a faux cigarette lighter that is easily hidden in any dash.
5. For our application, we're using a Lokar universal emergency brake cable kit (EC-80FU) to mate the actuator to the Chevy emergency brake mechanisms on the rear disc brakes.
6. It's a simple matter of attaching the housing to the caliper and hooking the cable's clevis in the arm of the e-brake mechanism.
7. Next, it's time to figure out where to mount the actuator. We chose to mount it on the driver-side framerail where it's well clear of the exhaust and close to the driver side of the dash, making mounting the button on the dash and the control box under the seat a breeze.