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Brakes - Best Laid Plans/Cautionary Tale

Started by Art, August 08, 2013, 12:39:55 PM

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It was supposed to be a weekend routine repair before the season. 

My 73 B has had the same brakes for nearly 10 years; the rear wheel brake cylinders were done at that time as was the flexible hose from the axle to the body.  That was when I changed from disc to wire wheels  The rear axle and front spindles were changed from a 74 wreck and the full braking system at the back along with new pads and hoses at the front were done, as well as the parking brake cable.  The last time the front calipers were rebuilt ecapes me, but it was before this.

Now, nothing was terribly worn or leaking (between winter in the Northeast and my travel schedule, the car only sees about 2,500 miles a year use) and all was working fine, but I was hear some noises and I wanted to do some preventive maintenance and upgrades before there was a burning need or failure. 

The plan was for new calipers at front, new upgraded wheels cylinders at rear, new pads, shoes and hoses.  Simple, right?  It's been a bit more drawn out than that.

Fit the calipers to the front without issue (just that the bleeder is now metric where it had been Whitworth/SAE), flexible lines and pads.  Done.

First obstacle, and an admonition to those that buy the "better" rear wheel cylinders from Victoria British, they have the roll pin that steady the cylinder to the backing plate on the opposite side from the originals.  No big deal.  Make a template and drill another hole mirror imaged to the existing one.  They otherwise fit exactly.

Then the fun started.  I could not get the air out of the system.  Still can't.  It's over a month later (admittedly other distractions, like work and related travel, have kept me from working on it steadily).

40 year old bake lines seem to develop cracks when they are disturbed.  One rear line cracked so cleanly at the fitting to the new wheel cylinder, I didn't see leakage until a tried to tighten it and it then broke-off completely.  The opposite side was not much better and the junction (tee) to the flexible line from the rear axle to the body was also a mess.

I mentioned I removed a disc axle.  Fortunately I still have it, kept inside the garage for all these years, and the lines on it were in good shape, so I was able to use them (with a bit of modification - the disc axle is wider than the wire wheel one; would not have worked as well the other way) and their tee.

I'm still trying to get this bled and suspect another leak or line failed somewhere.  Suggestions from your experiences are more than welcome.

When your cars are this age or older, you have to expect that a simple project can get complicated or at least more lengthy than anticipated.

Oh well, not much to do but keep calm and carry on, as they say.

Safety Fast!

Art Isaacs
AMGBA Tech Staff

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