Repair “spongy” handbrake

This applies to any Cavalier with independent rear suspension (IRS) or Calibra, and I’ve since found, to the majority of 80s and 90s Vauxhalls, some are stronger than others, but the repair is the same when needed.
 
Since picking up my new Calibra I thought the handbrake was poor and decided to adjust it.
 
Car on axle stands, centre heat shield removed from over the handbrake adjuster and EEEK… the bracket that the handbrake cable is terminated in had come away from the floor pan.
 
I remember on my GSi that it looked like it had been welded before and assumed it’d been abused at some point, but on the Cally?
 
Anyway, welding really is the only way to go, so that’s what I did:
 
Here’s the bracket, as I found it:


 
Trimmed the bitumen cladding from around the damaged area, then straightened the section of the tunnel, by tapping the bracket from the outside until it was back in the correct position, then tapping (gently) the panel from the inside to get the metal to line up:

 
Then I cut a small patch out of 1.6mm steel plate, cleaned all the metal surrounding the patch for welding and bent the patch to match the shape of the floor:

 
Next for some welding (and it must’ve had a good day for welding) and the patch was welded in stages, first running across the top, then tapping with a small hammer to keep it lined up, progressively welding down the sides and finally across the bottom:

 
With the inside done now I transferred myself under the car and welded the bracket along the vertical edges (front and rear) of the bracket to the floor. (Sorry, I was so engrossed, no piccies :O).
 
While the welds were still warm I put a first coat of that nice Waxoyl underseal around the welds and as it melted, fed loads in until it came out from the bottom of the bracket. After it had all cooled I put a thicker coat of underseal on and reassembled and adjusted the handbrake, then refitted the heatshield.
 
Now it looks like the back shoes want adjusting, as the balancer on the end of the handbrake cable isn’t at 90 degrees to the lever rod, but that’s a job for another day, as it’s probably better to have the discs off and give it a proper clean and inspection.
 
Total time? About an hour of welding, an hour faffing about with the jack and stands (not much space) and half an hour undersealing and adjusting. So something like 2 and a half hours all told.
 
Looks like this may be a common problem on Calibras and Cav Turbo/GSI so I hope this is helpful to someone.
 
Ian.