Reply To: Need Crimping (Swaging) Advice

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A WORD OF WARNING. Now I know why I’ve been told not to do hand crimping of the brake cables on the car. I’ve just found out that this is what came with the car when I bought it. When I suddenly applied the brakes at about 60 mph, both front brake cables pulled out of swages at the rear (cross shaft) ends of the cable. Two very knowledgeable PAS members told me that this should not have happened even under extreme conditions. Plus all the cable literature that I have read says that after proper swaging, the cable should break before pulling out of the swage. And today I saw an actual threaded stud that was made for a floor type of swaging machine. It had a much thicker wall in the swaging area than the stud in my car and could not have been swaged by hand by any typical hand swager. In fact it would take such tremendous force to collapse the swage area wall onto the cable that I can now understand why the cable should not pull out. And now I’m glad that this failure did occur (without catastrophic incident) because it has made me decide to get the best possible swage done at a cable and rigging shop and no longer be driving around with front brake cables that might fail.

PARDON MY SOAPBOX. Over their history, many of our old cars have been worked on by numerous mechanics of many different skill levels. So it is not surprising that some of the repairs have been improper or sloppy But for safety, two areas where I think that there is no excuse for shortcuts are brakes and steering. As I’ve already said, despite the “inconvenience,” I’m glad that my front brake cables pulled out, because I’ll do the highest quality repair that I can and from now on will be driving a much safer car.

One other thing. I have Grundy insurance, and my semi-accurate memory tells me that they will not cover accidents caused by mechanical failure. So this is a secondary reason not to take shortcuts on the brakes and steering.