Electric Parking Brake For Your Classic Car

How To Install Wilwood’s Electric Parking Brake System

By Ron Ceridono   –   Photography By Brian Brennan   –   Videography By Ryan Foss Productions

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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.

02 Wilwood’s Electric Parking Brake calipers in various finishes
Wilwood’s Electric Parking Brake calipers are compact and available in gloss red or black powdercoat, polished aluminum, or Type-III hard anodized coating.

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.

03 Geared motor assembly of the Wilwood Electric Parking Brake caliper
The Wilwood Electric Parking Brake electric caliper uses a geared motor assembly to provide 2,400 pounds of clamping force. Right- and left-hand motor options are available for ease of installation.

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.

04 A typical kit of Wilwood Electric Parking Brake calipers with new rotors and hydraulic calipers
Electric Parking Brake calipers are available to retrofit existing systems as we did, or as part of the complete new Wilwood brake kits that also come with new rotors and hydraulic calipers. A typical kit is shown here (the necessary brackets and hardware are also included).

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.

05 Variety of brackets for Wilwood’s Electric Parking Brake calipers
Wilwood’s variety of brackets allows the calipers to be mounted where they fit the best.

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.

06 Measurement of axle flange offset for proper mounting of Wilwood calipers
Determining the axle flange offset is critical to selecting the proper mounting brackets to properly locate hydraulic and Electric Parking Brake calipers in relationship to the rotors.

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

07 Backing plate for the Wilwood Electric Parking Brake calipers
Here is one of the backing plates that attaches to the axle housing—in turn the hydraulic and Electric Parking Brake caliper mounting brackets attach to the backing plate.
08 Axle retainer for the Wilwood Electric Parking Brake system
This is the axle retainer that attaches to the axle housing. The open end of the bracket allows it to be installed with the axle in place unlike the OEM full-circle design.
09 Caliper mounting brackets for Wilwood Electric Parking Brake and hydraulic calipers
These are the caliper mounting brackets, the hydraulic caliper bracket on the left, Electric Parking Brake bracket on the right.
10 Exploded view of the rear brake components of Wilwood Electric Parking Brake system
This exploded view shows the relationship of all the rear brake components (although the positions of the calipers may vary).
11 Installation of Wilwood backing plate requiring removal of axle shafts
Installing the Wilwood backing plate requires removing the axle shafts. Not a bad time to install fresh axle seals.
12 Installation of axle shaft in Currie housing with backing plate in place
With the backing plate in place, Scudellari replaced the axle shaft in the Currie housing.
13 Axle retainer being secured to housing with attachment bolts
Next the axle retainer is put in place; the attachment bolts (with lock nuts) secure the backing plate and the retainer to the housing.
14 Application of blue thread locker on caliper bracket fasteners
For security, a blue thread locker should be applied to all the caliper bracket fasteners.
15 Access to axle retainer backing plate nuts through Currie flanges
Access to the axle retainer/backing plate nuts is made easier by holes in the Currie flanges.
16 Installation of spacers on mounting bracket bolts to center brake caliper on rotor
After measuring the axle flange offset, the proper combination of spacers is installed on the mounting bracket bolts to center the brake caliper on the rotor.
17 Brake caliper bracket bolted to the back side of the backing plate
Here the brake caliper bracket has been bolted to the back side of the backing plate.
18 Electric Parking Brake caliper secured to the mounting bracket
The Electric Parking Brake caliper is secured to the mounting bracket.
19 Addition of spacers between mounting bracket and backing plate for caliper alignment
Spacers are then added between the mounting bracket and the backing plate to center the Electric Parking Brake caliper on the rotor.
20 Reinstallation of brake caliper with verified location
With the proper caliper location relative to the rotor verified it was reinstalled.
21 Electric Parking Brake caliper bolted in place and centered on the rotor
The Electric Parking Brake caliper was bolted in place and its location was verified (note that it is centered on the rotor).
22 Positioning of the Electric Parking Brake motor to allow full suspension travel
To allow full suspension travel the Electric Parking Brake motor has been positioned far enough below the frame to allow full suspension travel without interference.
23 Layout of the Electric Parking Brake wiring harness
Scudellari and Hamrick laid out the Electric Parking Brake wiring harness to identify all the connectors.
24 Compact control unit for the Electric Parking Brake system
This is the control unit for the Electric Parking Brake system. It’s compact, measuring roughly 5 inches square and 1-1/4 inches thick.
25 Wiring of the Electric Parking Brake system with 12V constant source and ACC
Wiring the Electric Parking Brake system is plug-and-play with one 12V constant source and one ACC or ignition on source.
26 Inline fuses for the Electric Parking Brake system included in the wiring harness
Inline fuses for the constant and switched power sources are included in the wiring harness.
27 Installation of the Electric Parking Brake switch to the wiring harness
Once the Electric Parking Brake switch is installed, the wiring harness plugs in; it can only be installed one way.
28 Operation of the Electric Parking Brake control switch
The Electric Parking Brake control switch is momentary; to operate there is no need to hold the switch in position. Rotate the switch clockwise to engage the parking brake and counterclockwise to release.
29 Hidden installation of the Electric Parking Brake switch for theft deterrence
By installing the switch in a hidden location the Electric Parking Brake system also acts as a theft deterrent.
30 Installation of the wiring harness protected from exhaust system or driveline components
The wiring harness should be installed so as not to be damaged by the exhaust system or driveline components and protected with plastic loom rubber grommets if it passes through holes in sheet metal.
31 Weatherproof connectors for the Electric Parking Brake caliper plugs and wiring
To problem-free connections the Electric Parking Brake caliper plugs and wiring uses weatherproof connectors.
32 Installation of the electrical harness for the Electric Parking Brake calipers
The electrical harness is simple to install, however note the wires for the Electric Parking Brake calipers are marked for the left and right motors.

Source
Wilwood
(805) 388-1188
wilwood.com

Tech Center updated 9 28

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of Electric Parking Brake For Your Classic Car.

mr october 2023

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