Military Handbrake (MB) Install on a Willys CJ2A

When I purchased the Jeep, there was no handbrake installed, and no guts inside of the drum behind the transfer case. I purchased a used drum setup on eBay which gave me the pads and all of the springs and such that I needed inside of the drum, but I was still missing the handle and cable. In doing some research online, it looked as though the CJ2A cable was different than the MB (military) version. What was weird is that the military version included the cable and the handle and was the same price as the cable alone for the CJ2A version. Since I needed a handle anyway, I figured I could adapt the military version and save some money. This page shows how I did that.

Note: If you are concerned with originality, you should probably just get the right parts for the job and do it the way the factory did. Since my Jeep has been hacked up by previous owners I am not concerned with originality, only function. Since I needed a handle and the MB version was cheaper, this is the route I took. I simply provide this for reference, or in case somebody else is interested in doing something similar.

I'm happy with the way it came out; I saved some money and it works great!
Click on any pic to bring up the full sized version.
001.jpg - 106 KB Thu 10/19/06

This is what the MB handle looks like. Note that the end of the cable has an eye in it as opposed to the CJ2A version which has a sort of clevis.
001 - 106 KB
002.jpg - 64 KB Thu 10/19/06

These are the parts for two of the three brackets that I made to mount the handbrake in my Jeep. The two longer pieces at the left are for the attachment to the lever on the drum assembly, the large, triangular bracket at the right is for the firewall, and the two little pieces in the middle bolt onto that firewall bracket to hold the cable.
002 - 64 KB
003.jpg - 100 KB Thu 10/19/06

This is the attachment I used for the lever on the drum assembly. Pretty simple stuff really, just the two pieces with three holes in them (they are pictured above), put together with locknuts and/or double nuts so as to keep it loose and allow everything to be able to pivot without binding. A spring runs from the back of the bracket to the Jeep to keep tension on the cable, the middle bolt attaches to the arm on the drum assembly and the front bolt attaches to the eye on the handbrake cable.
003 - 100 KB
004.jpg - 113 KB Thu 10/19/06

Another view of the attachment of the cable to the drum lever. I probably should have used shorter bolts and nylon insert locknuts for the middle and front attachment points, but I was just using the parts I could scrounge up in my garage, so this was what I had handy at the time. The front two bolts are 5/16" and the rear is 1/4".
004 - 113 KB
005.jpg - 112 KB Thu 10/19/06

I made this bracket to grip the end of the cable and hold it still, in relation to the lever on the drum. It also aims the cable towards the lever and holds it so it won't be flopping all over the place. Note that the bracket I made uses one of the skid plate bolt holes to hold itself in place, but it doesn't actually run all the way along the crossmember to the other skid plate hole. This is because I just used whatever scrap pieces I had laying around to make the brackets, and didn't have a piece long enough at the time. I figured that if it became necessary, it would be pretty easy to make a new bracket or weld an extension on it. So far it has worked fine with just the one bolt. (The length of the bracket is sufficient to contact the side of the crossmember and prevent it from rotating.)
005 - 112 KB
006.jpg - 111 KB Thu 10/19/06

Another view of the above bracket.
006 - 111 KB
007.jpg - 101 KB Thu 10/19/06

This is the MB handbrake mounted in the dash; it just slips into place. Fortunately, the spring piece that is used for the ratcheting mechanism was still in place in my Jeep, so I didn't have to bother with that.
007 - 101 KB
008.jpg - 87 KB Thu 10/19/06

A view under the dash, showing the handle and the cable exiting through the firewall.
008 - 87 KB
009.jpg - 99 KB Thu 10/19/06

Another under-dash view.
009 - 99 KB
010.jpg - 79 KB Thu 10/19/06

The engine side of the firewall. I'm holding the bracket that used to be bolted to the firewall; I would guess it had something to do with the CJ2A cable, but I removed it and made up my own bracket.
010 - 79 KB
011.jpg - 83 KB Thu 10/19/06

This is the bracket I made to hold the cable in place on the firewall. It uses the same bolt holes as the bracket which I am holding in the previous picture.
011 - 83 KB

This page was last updated Tue May 8 12:26:13 EDT 2007