Safety brakes

Pictured are two generic safety brake handles. Many of the older tractors had safety brake parts that are no longer made or stocked. The ones pictured will often work fine with some modification. They are both the same with the exception that the upper one has a small wheel at the base for cable, the lower has a hook.

One of these levers will probably work just fine with some modification.

Wear and damage

‚ÄčTake a look at all of the springs. Bent, damaged or springs that are seriously rusted should be replaced.

Friction material on original brake shoes was not particularly thick. What you want to look for is separation at the leading or trailing ends of the friction material.


Normally we recommend having your originals relined or buy a close automotive shoe and modify it. At left is a Ferrari 85 brake shoe that has a piece of steel rod welded on to it for use in the older Ferrari 76 (mechanical brake type). Below that modified Ferrari shoe is a brake shoe that looks surprisingly familiar - A Raybestos brake shoe (198PG). Pasquali used the same type of shoe with later models, but you need to drill and mount some studs to the shoe to mount springs to it.

There is no downside to modified shoes. They are essentially the same shoe at about 1/4 the cost.


How come my brakes won't work?

Brakes on the newer Italian tractors are great, just like any tractor these days. The older tractors however (Italian or others), were almost always expanding mechanical brakes with stopping power that ranged from marginal to good. The exceptions are the mid eighties and newer hydraulic brakes which perform well. The challenge is fixing them. Brake components out of Italy can be costly compared to what we are used to.


The common problem with older brakes are as follows:

1) Rust and corrosion from sitting outside in the weather.

2) Friction lining wear or separation.

3) Improper adjustment.

4) Improper parts.

5) Safety brake no longer working.

Because parts were not readily available, many Italian tractor owners used what they could get, sometimes with amusing results.