Anyone who has been around performance vehicles recognizes the name Wilwood Engineering. Founded by Bill Wood in 1977, Wilwood is a leading manufacturer of cutting-edge, high-performance disc brakes and related components. One of their newest products is the Electric Parking Brake system that eliminates cables and conventional actuation levers. Wilwood’s Electric Parking Brake kits include calipers, pads, brackets, hardware, control module, switch, wiring harness, and detailed installation instructions.
It’s interesting how the description of some automotive parts has changed over the years.
Parking Brake Vs. Emergency Brake?
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As an example, the term emergency brake was once used to describe the system that was originally intended to be used in the case of a main brake system failure (not to mention Brennan by name, but lots of older editors still call it the emergency brake). Of course, as automobile technology evolved there was often a change in nomenclature as well and the emergency brake came to be more accurately described as the parking brake for obvious reasons. But regardless of what you call it, hot rods need one. Relying on leaving your car in gear or in Park can be risky. Take it from someone who watched his roadster try to roll away when it was assumed to be in Park and wasn’t proof positive that an effective parking brake is a wise addition to any car.
Parking Brake Construction
The Electric Parking Brake calipers are made of forged aluminum and are equipped with weather-resistant, high-torque motors that produce a minimum 2,400 pounds of clamping force on the discs—enough to keep any hot rod in its place. The calipers are controlled by a microprocessor that is activated by a momentary contact rotary switch. When the calipers are activated (brakes applied) there is a momentary 40-amp draw. When the calipers are released the momentary amp draw is approximately half of that. The red indicator light on the Electric Parking Brake control switch will illuminate when the EPB is engaged, but only while the ignition is on.
Fail Safe System
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Current is only required to turn the Electric Parking Brake calipers on and off. Should something unexpected happen, such as the wiring harness become damaged by a hot exhaust pipe while traveling, there is no chance that the system will apply with the car in motion. In addition, the indicator light on the control switch will flash if there is a fault in the system, such as damaged wiring.
Releasing The Electric Parking Brake
Another obvious question is, “What happens if I store my car with the Electric Parking Brake set and the battery goes dead. As Mike Hamrick from Wilwood explains it, there are two simple solutions: charge the battery enough to release the brakes or take the wheels off and release the two ¼-20 bolts that hold the electric motors in place so the pistons will release and the car may be moved.
Like every other brake product Wilwood offers, the Electric Parking Brake system is well designed, extremely effective, and good looking to boot. Some may still call a parking brake an emergency brake, but whatever you call it your hot rod should have one. MR