I started this step in preparation for the differential install, but since the installation of the gear lever isn’t covered at all in the new manual, it seemed logical to combine them into one build step.

Finding all the fixings was obviously my first priority, and thankfully a simple task this time. I decided to tackle assembly of the handbrake in two steps: first assemble the handbrake clevis and pulley and install that into the chassis, then attach the clevis to the handbrake lever, and bolt that to the chassis.

I assembled the clevis with a little bit of grease (Castrol Multipurpose grease or LM grease if you are old like me) on the pin and the pulley wheel for additional life. I make sure that the pin pushes down through one washer into the clevis, through the puller out of the clevis and through another two washers and secured with the split-pin. The split-pin should be pointed at the bottom. The difficulty is making sure you have it the right way up. The adjuster of the handbrake is on the right hand side of the car. On an S3 (like mine) you have to twist the cable, so it’s easy to end up with the assembly upside down.

I installed the cable making sure the cable is crossed. Only the inner black cable can be slid into the mounting brackets on the chassis. Once inserted, the outer cable can be pulled through the mounting brackets (on the right-hand-side). On the left-hand-side, the mounting bracket holds the outer cable.

Recommendation: With the benefit of hindsight, I wouldn’t go any further with the handbrake install before installing the differential. I had to remove the handbrake to locate the adjuster into the differential carrier, so I had to redo this step.

With the cable in position, I installed handbrake into the chassis. The new manual’s diagram shows the pin going through two washers, handbrake, clevis, handbrake and back through two washers. This was obviously not going to work, so I chose washer, handbrake, washer, clevis, washer, handbrake and finally another washer. Again, a bit of grease was applied.

I had to widen the brackets in the chassis that hold the handbrake using a plastic trim lever.

Handbrake installed

The only way I found to tighten the handbrake bolts was with two 13mm open ended spanners, the frame shape made using a socket or ratchet ring spanner difficult. The new manual calls for the top mounting holes to be used; I am not sure about this, because it leaves the handbrake button very close to the chassis cross-brace. I will review this when the tunnel cover is installed.

As for the wiring, I don’t like the red crimped connectors. I am remaking the lead, so I haven’t been able to tidy the wires yet.

When I was at the factory, I asked what the factory did with this additional piece of heat shield. Apparently they do, what I did with my 360R build, and that is to cut it off. Obviously I couldn’t leave it like that, so I finished it with some Tesa aluminium tape.

Before I connected the reverse light switch, I decided to tidy the unused wires from the neutral switch. I used a small pick to release the plastic covers form the connectors, then covered them in heat shrink tubing.

Finally the reverse loom was connected to the switch and then to the chassis loom Econoseal connector, with some tie wraps for tidying.

Now onto the gear lever. For some strange reason, I appear to have two sets of fixings for the gear lever. I decided to try them in the gearbox, but as a precaution used a rag to prevent a dropped screw from falling into the open gearbox. I decided to choose the screws which looked better in my opinion (less OEM), either set would have worked, so my decision was purely based on looks.

Installing the gear lever starts with locating the plastic boss on the base into the round recess in the gearbox, and the pin into the plastic lined slot. Next the retaining ring and the rubber cover are installed.

The old manual called for 11Nm torque, but I wimped out at 6Nm, which seemed to be more than enough, as I didn’t want to strip the thread in the aluminium gearbox.

Tools Used

  • Small pick
  • Small flat bladed screw driver
  • Side cutters
  • Long-nose pliers
  • 6mm 1/4” drive socket
  • 8mm 14” drive socket
  • 4mm to 8mm hex driver
  • 2 x 13mm combination spanners
  • Knife
  • Heat gun
  • Scissors
  • Soldering Iron