installing a woodcraft brake pedal
Time needed: A couple of hours; more if you're a cautious Dremeler. Make sure to give yourself enough time to play trial and error with the brake light sensor at the end.
aside: the -supplied brake light sensor.
The next day, I emailed Eric and described our problem. Here is his reply:
"I'd be interested as well as to how you made your stock setup work..... The "bolt" replaces your stock banjo bolt on the master cylinder. This is the bolt that couples the brake line to the stock master cylinder. It then senses the pressure inside the master cylinder when you depress the brake pedal and closes the curciut for the brake light. Pretty simple, but not completely obvious if you have never seen a pressure switch before."
So, if you have an aversion to Dremeling and drilling and tinkering and would rather buy the $20 switch from Woodcraft: splice your stock brake wires and connect them to the Woodcraft wires via the metal connectors that come with the sensor switch. Use Eric's comments above to hook the bolt part of the switch up to your master cylinder. You'll need to bleed the rear master cylinder when you're done. If you have any further question, contact Eric at Woodcraft (contact info available on Woodcraft's website). But now back to our hack...
When you've removed the bracket from the frame, you can start to turn the entire assembly around to look at the backside. You'll see two springs; you can easily unhook the longer and thinner of the two -- that goes to the brake light sensor. Once it's out of the way, you can turn the assembly entirely around. The thick black spring is the brake return spring. Carefully use pliers to remove it. Notice the little hook that both springs attached to on the stock brake pedal -- you'll be seeing a lot of that little hook and the bracket it's attached to.
Next, take a look at the hex bolt that runs through the bracket from the backside and into the footpeg. You're going to remove that bolt to take the footpeg off. The footpeg runs through the brake pedal, so be careful when you pull the peg off. There's a washer that fits between the brake pedal and the main footpeg bracket -- don't lose it!
You've got one more step before the stock brake pedal is off, and that's to disconnect the pedal from the hydraulic plunger going to the master cylinder. This is theoretically easy and practically a pain in the rear -- all you have to do is remove a cotter pin, but due to its small size, it's a little trickier than you'd think. Once you've got the cotter pin out (and, really, do so by whatever means necessary. New cotter pins are cheap.), you can pull out the bolt that runs through the pedal and the hydraulic bracket -- again, don't lose the tiny washer that goes on the cotter pin side.
That's it; your stock brake pedal is off!
When comparing the two pedals, the most obvious difference -- besides 18 months' worth of grime on the stock pedal -- is the little hooked part on the stock pedal. Look at that hook. Notice that it's attached to a bracket. Look at the bracket. Love the bracket.
Now the fun begins -- attaching the bracket onto the Woodcraft brake. First, unscrew the bottom bolt from the Woodcraft brake pedal. Unfortunately, you're going to need to buy a new bolt with which to attach the bracket to the Woodcraft pedal -- the one you just took off is the right width, but it isn't long enough. You'll need a new bolt that's exactly the same, but about 1/2 a centimeter longer. So, you go off and run to the hardware store now; we'll wait for you.
OK, back? Good. Now we need to remove the bracket from the stock pedal. Maybe you'll be lucky and the screw will just come right out for you. Ours didn't -- or maybe I just wanted to play with the drill. You'll never know. At any rate, get that screw out of there by whatever means necessary -- the nut on the other side is welded onto the bracket, though. Don't try anything funny with that.
Put your shiny brand new bolt into the lower bolt hole on the Woodcraft pedal, and screw the bracket on. Don't Loctite it or anything, though, since we need to make some markings on the bracket and then remove it and play with the Dremel.
Why do we need to Dremel anything? Aside from the obvious pleasure of Dremeling, you wouldn't be able to get the Woodcraft brake pedal to line up correctly with the stock bracket the way it is. Here, I'll show you. After you screw the bracket on, the side of the bracket will bump up against the brake pedal. This is bad because it doesn't allow the bracket to get into the correct position to install the pedal. If you try to install the pedal with the bracket intact, it won't line up correctly with the footpeg bolt hole. See?
OK, now that you believe me, let's get Dremeling. You'll need to cut a little square out of the back part of the bracket. We used a blue Sharpie marker to mark the bracket for Dremeling, and then Peter went at it.
After I could finally wrestle the Dremel away from Peter, we had a nice notched bracket. You'll notice that when you install the bracket onto the pedal now, it'll turn further, allowing the brake pedal to line up with the footpeg bolt hole when installed.
The hard part's over now -- now we just need to install the new pedal. This is pretty much an exact reversal of removing the stock one. You might need to bend the little hooked bracket out a little bit in order to fit the Woodcraft brake pedal onto the footpeg mounting bracket -- that's not a problem at all. Just make sure that the hook is snugly attached and has enough room between it and the mounting bracket to fit the brake light sensor spring.
Put your brake pedal washer between the brake pedal and the footpeg mounting bracket, and then re-insert the footpeg. The notches on the footpeg will line up with the grooves in the mounting bracket -- make sure the footpeg is tilting slightly forward (as opposed to being completely upside-down. I probably didn't have to mention this, since you're smart people).
Replace your footpeg bolt -- be careful not to tighten it too much, though, or you won't be able to press down on the brake pedal! I put a little bit of Loctite on the bolt, and then tightened it just enough so that the footpeg fit snugly against the mounting bracket. If you can't pull the footpeg out at all, or rotate it, that's good enough. Press on the brake pedal to make sure that it'll move smoothly; if it does, you're all good.
Replace your little cotter pin (with a new one, if you're like me and utterly destroyed the old one while removing it), and you're almost done!
There's just one more slightly tricky part -- you've got to make sure that your brake light sensor spring will actually turn off and on your brake light when you want it to. This is all trial and error -- grab some pliers and prepare for fun. Start by attaching the spring back onto the bracket. Once it's attached, you'll have to bolt the footpeg mounting bracket onto the frame so that it's set up as it would be normally. Turn the bike on and look at the brake lights. Are they on? If not, press the brake pedal. Do they turn on now? If you're lucky enough to have it work correctly the first time, try it a few more times. If you're convinced it's OK, remove the bolts for the footpeg mounting bracket, Loctite them, and torque them to spec.
If you're like me, the brake light won't work right on the first try -- not by a long shot. To get it close, I took out the footpeg mounting bolts, removed the spring, and re-bent it using pliers. I re-installed it and re-bolted the mounting bracket back on. Lather, rinse, repeat. Once I had it close, I could use the brake light adjust nut that's right above the spring. That's also trial and error. But take heart; eventually you will finally adjust it correctly, and your brake light will work.
That's it! Now you have a nice new brake pedal that looks nicer, is stronger, and more convenient to replace than your stock pedal. :)