Dead pedal and pedal positioning

Seeking a more comfortable pedal configuration for long distance drives and spirited drives through the mountains has caused me to rethink all three pedals and the dimmer switch.  First, I decided that the need for a place to put my left foot on long drives had to be addressed. 

How many of us have put our left foot in all sorts of angles looking for comfort on a long drive..... I'm guessing a lot.  I have seen a few very creative approaches to this need.  Some involve hinged pieces which swing away to allow access to the dimmer switch and provide a foot rest when lowered.  I wanted something a bit simpler but the dimmer switch needs to be relocated to use that space for a dead pedal, i.e. foot rest.  The answer for me was to move the dimmer switch to the dashboard.  As it happens, I have a 5 speed conversion, so the OD switch on the dash was a perfect place.  Jaguar XKE's have their "dip" switch on the dash, so a Jag catalogue provides a "Headlamp Dip" escutcheon that replaced the OD escutcheon.  The results are a very factory look.  For the switch, I just went to NAPA and got a fairly light throw toggle and wired it through a relay, so a flick of the finger now handles the high/low function of the headlights. (Pic 1)  With the floor dimmer switch gone, I could place the simple dead pedal in its place.  I used the factory dimmer bracket and added a spacer to it to place the dead pedal at the height that best suited my stature.  For me, a 2" spacer fitted on top of the old dimmer bracket put the dead pedal at 4" from the floor, which I find a comfortable height. You should play with this a bit since the height you choose may well be different than mine.  I made the spacer out of some 18 gauge metal I had laying around.  I powder coated the spacer and original dimmer bracket a wrinkle finish black since, at the time, I was doing some other powder coating.  Obviously this is overkill as rattle can black would have been fine since it's difficult to see anyway.  I got the pedal from Springfield Street Rod (1-800-752-9763).  It's a nice simple aluminum pedal with a rubber pad (#B3239S). (Pic 2)  There are lots of different styles to choose from in the racing and hot rod world, so a little internet searching should get you something that suits your taste. 

The next order of business was to cut the accelerator pedal down.  I found that on my car the height of the pedal pad wasn't comfortable for long drives, and it was not positioned well for braking.  I cut about 2" out of the lower "J" extension and rewelded the pad in its new lower position. (Pic 3)

The last piece, and still ongoing as I fine tune the overall feel, is to get the brake and clutch pedals in a position better suited to my liking.  Granted I could have gotten a piece of aluminum and fabricated the pedal extensions, but Tom's Import Toys has already done the work.  I just ordered a set of extensions from him.  Then I redrilled the extensions to suit me (I shortened them 3/8").  The extensions have the added benefit of giving you the option of moving the clutch over 1/2" to the left and the brake 1/4" to the right, if you choose to mount them that way.  That can give your feet just a bit more room between the clutch and brake.  I think I may still move them down 1/4" more but time will tell.  As it is, toe/healing is easily doable the way I have them.  I'm about 5' 10" and wear size 9 1/2 shoes so your final placements could well be different than mine.  However, this may provide food for thought for your own customized pedal arrangement. (Pic 4)  

The last change was to a more competition looking set of pedals (Pic 5), which is in keeping with my rally car look.  These pedals were custom made and are not commercially available.....special thanks to Mick Nordquist.

One final thought, the pedal positioning is, in part, dependent on where you like to have your seat placed.  I like mine farther back so my pedals reflect that relationship.

I haven't done any long drives, but test driving around the neighborhood I can tell you the pedal positioning is considerably better, and the dead pedal is a great addition! 

Steve Thomton 

This project paper was first posted July 28, 2009