Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Carbon Handbrake Grip Fitting Guide

This was one of those 'essential' upgrades that I ordered from Carsten Filmer, over in Germany during the couple of months that my car was away at Caterham waiting for the fuel pump, PBC and the IVA to be completed. 

Anyway, I got round to fitting it today, and thought I'd do a little guide so anyone else that wants to fit one will know what's involved, which isn't much actually - it was pretty easy.
Caterham Carbon Handbrake Lever from Carsten Filmer, Germany.
Caterham Carbon Handbrake Lever from Carsten Filmer, Germany.
The original handbrake lever and grip which I found was a little too large to get my fingers underneath when trying to lift to engage.
Caterham Handbrake Lever and Grip.
Caterham Handbrake Lever and Grip.
The grip was really easy to remove, just a slight twist,pull and it was off in no time.
Removing grip from Caterham handbrake lever.
Removing grip from Caterham handbrake lever.
With the grip off I decided to get the scales out (again) to see what lightness I was adding with this mod.  The standard rubber grip weighed in at 56g.
Original Caterham handbrake grip weighing 56g
Original Caterham handbrake grip weighing 56g
And the carbon lever weighed in at 40g - a massive saving of 16g!
The carbon handbrake grip weighing just 40g
The carbon handbrake grip weighing just 40g
With the original rubber grip removed, I offered up the alloy ends of the carbon unit, and it turns out they wouldn't fit around the metal handbrake lever pipe due to the welds on the underside.
Welding seams on underside of lever restricting fitment of the alloy sleeve ends.
Welding seams on underside of lever restricting fitment of the alloy sleeve ends.
So I covered up the transmission tunnel and seats with a large decorators cloth, then it was out with the Dremel to file away the welding seams.
Filing away the welding seams with my Dremel - nice sparking!
Filing away the welding seams with my Dremel - nice sparking!
With the welding seams removed I cleaned up the metal with some kitchen towel and methylated spirits as Carsten suggested using silicon to stop the carbon sleeve from spinning around the end caps, so thought it best to have a clean surface to silicone to.
Cleaning handbrake lever with methylated spirits prior to carbon handbrake lever fitting.
Cleaning handbrake lever with methylated spirits prior to carbon handbrake lever fitting.
As I didn't want to silicone anything in place before trying out the sizes and so on I test fitted the carbon grip.
Test fitting carbon handbrake grip.
Test fitting carbon handbrake grip.
Happy with the test fit, I thought it was probably best to silicone the end caps to the carbon sleeve, rather than the whole assembly to the handbrake lever, so I ran a very thin bead of silicone round the rim of the cap.  Inserted the cap into the sleeve and quickly wiped away and reside, ensuring the holes in the sleeve lined up with the allen bolts in the cap.
Silicone applied to cap prior to insertion in the sleeve.
Silicone applied to cap prior to insertion in the sleeve.
With the carbon grip test fitted I thought it perhaps a bit too long, but quickly I got used to it and think the finished article looks absolutely superb and miles better than the original rubberised grip.  And as it is thinner in circumference it makes it much easier to get my hand underneath, so a great upgrade. 

I measured the length of the carbon sleeve and on mine it's 91mm in length.  Carsten can make them in any size to order, and whilst I like the size of mine it could do with being perhaps 10mm shorter so that you can see both cap ends.  But... Like I said I thought it was too long initially, however I've grown to like the length and how it fits.
The finished carbon handbrake lever fitted to my Caterham R500 Duratec.
The finished carbon handbrake lever fitted to my Caterham R500 Duratec.
The carbon handbrake grip only costs £50 (delivered to the UK!) and can be ordered by contacting Carsten Filmer by way of email.  I believe he's made plenty, his email address is Carsten.Filmer@gmx.de and he dispatches them very quickly.... All in all a great upgrade.

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