Parking Brake P2

I finally received the e-brake system for HiSpec. It seems to be well built and I was happy to see a quality assurance tag (see picture below) on the harness indicating when and by whom it was tested. The top of the ECU housing appears to be anodized cast aluminum with the backside potted with epoxy to encapsulate the electronics. The included button has an LED to indicate if the brake is engaged or not. It’s useful if you want to hide it or if you’re going with a race car interior, but I’m likely going to upgrade it.

The following photos compare the Superlite caliper (left) to the HiSpec caliper (right).

I expected the overall HiSpec system to be lighter, but I expected the calipers to be heavier due to the integral motor. I’m thrilled that the HiSpec solution has lighter calipers which results in lower unsprung weight. The following table lays out the weight for three different parking brake scenarios.

Part UnSprung Hispec Superlite Superlite & E-Stopp
Calipers Y 5.7 6.5 6.5
Caliper Brackets Y 1.0 1.0 1.0
ECU & Wiring Harness N 1.4 n/a 0.5
Handle N n/a 1.1 n/a
Handle Brackets N n/a 3.0 n/a
Cables N n/a 3.5 3.5
Actuator N n/a n/a 4.8
Total Unsprung Weight - 6.7 7.5 7.5
Total Weight - 8.1 15.1 16.3

There are three features to prevent accidental engagement/disengagement:

  • The button must be held for two seconds

  • An optional wheel speed input to prevent activation when moving

  • An optional ignition input to prevent deactivation

I spent a while trying to figure out how to mount the calipers. In particular I couldn’t figure out what the snap spring was for… at some point Bob pointed out to me that it’s a floating caliper design. Duh, that explains a lot! The caliper can slide (i.e. float) 0.35” towards/away from the rotor. I figured it would would be best to place it in the middle. While mocking the bracket I was constantly measuring and re-centering the caliper. I then figured out it would be easy to 3D print two temporary spacers to keep the caliper centered.

The rotors are 28 mm wide (1.1”) and the space between the pads is 1.2”. To ensure that the pads were perfectly spaced on the rotor I tried using some metal shims, but they weren’t the exact width that I wanted and they kept falling to the floor. So guess what? I 3D printed two brake pad spacers the prefect width and with a right angle to keep them from falling. The openings in the brake pad spacers aren’t for style points. They significantly reduce print time and the amount of material used. This is the exact opposite of CNC machining in which this would increase machining time.

Since the hydraulic brake caliper is at 3 o’clock I placed the parking brake caliper at 9 o’clock. While mocking the bracket I figured out that it’s critical to locate it in exactly the 9 o’clock position. Otherwise I would will get different fitment due to the curvature of the rotor and the shape of the upright (it’s sloped -15 degrees from vertical). I tried to do everything on the car, but after a couple of misses I decided to pull the upright… I hate removing ball joints. I think I’m going to put some anti-seize on them when I reassemble!

Rear left upright, the line scribed in the blue dye is the 9 o’clock position (when looking from the other side)

The Superlite bracket requires you to drill holes in the the side of the upright which has machined pockets behind it (i.e., the recesses above and below the 9 o’clock position in the picture above). This area is 0.3” thick which is only 0.95x the diameter of a M10 bolt which is well under the 2x rule of thumb for thread depth in aluminum. Given that the parking bracket doesn’t see much stress and that any stress puts one screw in compression and the other in tension this isn’t an issue. That said, it doesn’t feel right to put the screws there. In any event, the HiSpec caliper results in a bracket that places the screws towards the center of the upright. After careful measuring, it appears that the holes can be placed in the web between the machined pockets on both sides (see picture below). I would like to confirm the 0.934” dimension with Superlite before drilling!

Horizontal cross sections of the Superlite and new brackets

A bunch of iterations I wound up with the following bracket. This could be made from a 3/8” angle aluminum, but the Superlite bracket is machined from billet. If we’re going to machine it, we might as well give it some pockets to make it a little more like the upright!

To hold the mock bracket in place and ensure that it was parallel to the upright’s edge I used a piece of 1/4” scrap aluminum (yeah, that’s not bending). I wanted to position the bracket inboard of the upright’s chamfer so I used some scrap 1/8” aluminum to make a spacer and lined everything up using a centerline groove I designed into the mock bracket.

In the picture below you will note that the rotor’s OD is parallel with the edge of the parking brake’s pad. This leaves approximately 1/8” between the rotor’s OD and the caliper’s ID. You will also note that the caliper isn’t exactly centered on the caliper pin (or whatever it’s called).

The following picture shows an outline of the bracket and where and how deep the threaded holes will go to achieve 2x screw diameter (i.e., 20 mm).

Next step is to wire it up and test it. Apparently you need both calipers plugged into the ECU for it work.