Brake Cables Made to Fit

Posted by Kyle Madsen on 6th Apr 2014

Today were going to discuss the advantages of a made to fit brake cable. When it's time to upgrade your street rod with a new parking brake lever or change out those old frayed brake cables with a new set, you have many options, but the most common are made to fit, and cut to fit. Let's start by taking a look at the cut to fit brake cable kits and see what advantages they offer. The cut to fit brake kits, or emergency brake cable kits are made with many types of vehicles in mind, so there will be a little bit of modification, such as cutting the cable to length and securing set screws for the cables to hold in place. The "cut to fit" brake cable kits are designed allowing the rear end backing plate fittings to be removed without removing the brake cables. Once you have your "cut to fit" brake cable kit in hand you start by laying out your cable and junction brackets, making sure everything is mounted securely in place, and in there final mounting location, you cut your cables to fit and then using set screws your cable is secured to your end fitting where the cable is attached.

Next are the made to fit brake cables, which are exactly what they say "made to fit". There are no standard kits when it comes to made to fit brake cables, everything is measured and built to the specifications supplied. First, you will have to take measurements from brake lever to the rear junction bracket or equalizer bar. Then, you will have to identify whether you are currently using a center pull only configuration, which is one continuous cable going to each brake, or 2  cables going to each brake with a distribution bracket in the middle. For center pull configurations you will have to measure the exposed portion of cable running from the brake baking plate or caliper bracket towards the center of the vehicle where the front cable connects. With side pull configurations, take measurements from the brake backing plate or brake caliper bracket to the center mounting bracket or distribution bracket where the front cable running to your brake lever is connected.  Next, you have end fitting choices depending on how your brake cable attaches (disc or drum). The final measurements in building a custom cable are overall length and length of travel. With these specifications, your custom cable will be built with permanent crimped end fittings.

What I have found, most projects are time based and if you don't have a lot of time the cut to fit brake cable kits are a great option. I found that the major difference between these cables, are the set screws hold the cables to the fittings on cut to fit cables, and the end fitting are crimped on when building a made to fit cable. Since, we are only using the cable to pull disc or drum brakes, the set screws can handle the pull load.

With these options, you can decide what will work better for your next project. I personally feel more comfortable with the made to fit cable options, since all ends are crimped, avoiding the use of set screws. The set screws tend to fray the cable and make it harder to remove and replace.