Need Crimping (Swaging) Advice

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    I want to crimp (swage) 5/16 – 24 threaded studs onto the 3/16 inch diameter cables (wire ropes) for the front brakes of my 1932 Club Sedan. I’ve been told that I cannot do the crimping on the car.

    (1) Has anyone accomplished this on the car? If so, what crimping tool was used?

    (2) To accomplish this task off the car, I would have to remove the spiral cable housing that goes from the frame to the front brake mounting plate, but I don’t know how to unfasten the end that comes out of the frame. Does anyone know how to do this?

    (3) I could (but don’t want to) install the threaded stud with a quick connect connection in place of the crimp. Has anyone successfully done this?


    Joe Vogt


    Joe, I am in the process of the same project on my 1931. The cable is held to the frame and backing plates by two 5/16″ bolts and can be removed quite easily. I am silver soldering and swaging mine but while out of the car. You probably could swag yours in the car by using a battery cable end crimper (may be too large)or modifying a cable or bolt cutter (grind down jaws). I am also trying to find a source for new brake shoe return springs or possibly having them made if I cant find some that match. Does anyone know a part number of springs that would match or at least be close to originals? Thank You, Jeff.



    Thanks for your crimping suggestions.

    I guess my cable conduit setup is somewhat different than yours. I’ve removed the two 5/16 bolts on the frame side of the conduit, but there is some sort of attachment inside the frame that still holds it on the car. Because it is a box frame, I can’t easily see what is going on inside of it. It will take major disassembly –which I am trying to avoid – to get a look. Do you have a box frame on your ’31?

    I also looked hard for brake shoe return springs two years ago, but couldn’t find them. I ended up having them made locally.



    Joe: I have had good luck finding springs at a coil spring manufacturing company. The one I use has many bins of over-runs to search. Sometimes the springs I find need to be adapted, however, this usually is easily done. If there is a coil spring manufacturing company in your area, you might contact them to see if they have over-runs through which you can search. Search on outside diameter, wire size and turns per inch.


    Joe, My frame is not boxed, I didn’t realize that the 32 had changed that much from 1931 but apparently they did. Sorry I can’t help you on this part of your project. Jeff


    Thank you Jeff and Paul for your suggestions.

    After removing a number of parts from the bottom side of the car, I found a circular hole in the frame that allowed me to see what was holding the conduits inside, and so I was finally able to remove the conduits. Not a quick or particularly easy task, especially when one is doing it for the first (and hopefully only) time. I can now take the entire cable assemblies to a local outfitter to have the swaging done.

    In 1932, Pierce touted the box frame as “one of the few really great revolutionary improvements in automobile engineering in recent years.” In terms of functional performance, they were probably right, but in terms of removing the front brake cable assemblies, this feature did cause quite a bit of additional work :-)


    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.



    I also have Grundy, and I had a near fire last fall caused by a short to ground in my original wiring. They paid for a new wiring harness and the labor to install it. I don’t know if you would call that a mechanical failure but I offer it for what it’s worth.

    All the best,

    Bill Seward



    Thanks for your input.

    Am looking at my Grundy policy. It reads:



    We will not pay for:

    2. Damage due and confined to:

    a. Wear and tear

    b. Freezing

    c. Mechanical or electrical breakdown or failure, or

    d. Road damage to tires.

    This exclusion (2.) does not apply if the damage results from the total theft of “your covered auto” or any “non-owned auto.”

    I don’t know exactly how to interpret this. And it is my impression that sometimes the better companies are lenient in their interpretations.

    I am curious if most insurance companies have a similar clause.


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