Sunday, October 23, 2016

Brake Bits, pt. 3 - Brake lines, Pedal Assembly, and Booster/Master Cylinder installation

The brake lines are in. Finally. I'm so tired of messing with these things.

My superstitious nature means I can't post something until I'm pretty sure I'm done with it for fear of jinxing my progress. The installation of new brake lines has been hard, time-consuming, and frustrating, so it's taken the better part of three months off and on to get to a place where I can call it 'done'. But I think we're finally there. I also have a deep-seated contempt for plumbing work, and hydraulic brakes fall in that category.

You know what brake lines are. I won't belabor the point. Folks who live in the salt belt apparently have to routinely replace brakes lines that rust out from winter salt exposure, but here in the sunny southwest, that's not a problem, so I'd never done anything with brake lines before. Let me highlight some specifics I had to learn how to do for this task:
  • Identify which pre-bent hardline set I needed for my car (not as straightforward as expected)
  • Modify said  'pre-bent' hardlines to fit my car.
  • Figure out how to use a flaring tool to make my own double flares on my pre-bent lines
  • Create custom-bent brake lines from straight stock when 'pre-bent' lines are so far off as to be useless
  • Accept that 'pre-bent' lines are not going to just drop in
  • Bench-bleed a master cylinder
  • Fill and bleed a full brake system from scratch
  • Troubleshoot leaks in brakes lines and wheel cylinders
  • Disassemble and reassemble drum brakes on the car (unlike on the bench as I'd done earlier)

Tools I had to buy or rent for this task:

  • Flaring tool set from Autozone (3x to get one that worked properly)
  • Several line wrenches (3/8" and 7/16" AND 10 mm (new wheel cylinders!) )
After the hardlines were in, I installed the brake pedal assembly and the new master cylinder and booster assembly.

I bought the AMK brake line kit from NPD since all my hardware was a mess. The cleaning time versus cost of the new kit made this an easy choice.

Here's a shot of a double-flared brake line end on one of my 'pre-bent' brake lines. The double flare is the little bubbled end of the brake line that forms the seal between a line and the seating assembly. The two sizes of flare nuts on my lines are shown here - 7/16" and 3/8". I had to cut off and shorten or change nuts on several of my lines (seriously, the new lines had the wrong nuts to fit on the original distribution block) , so I had to learn how to do this. It has to be done right or it will leak - slowly, for sure, but enough that you'll have to take it apart to redo and reinstall. 

I'm not going to spend a bunch of time talking about making your own double flared brake line ends. The Interwebs are full of tutorials, videos, and details, all of which I used to figure out how to do my own flares. In the end, I had to cut off and re-flare 5 of my line ends. Free advice on forming your own double flares:
  • Get a good tool - Autozone has them for loan, and they work, but I had to go through three of them to find one that didn't have a bent die for the 3/16" line that I have. If I were doing a lot of lines, I'd invest in the Eastwood version, but for my purposes, this was 
  • Use brake fluid to lubricate the line and die when forming both steps of the flare.
  • Practice, practice, practice!

"Pre-bent" line for a '67 w/disc brakes - connects distribution block with front right wheel.

New line on firewall.

The line is one continuous piece to the flexible line.

Here's a shot of the line that came off the car - that compression fitting is NOT supposed to be there! That's less than ideal, but I get it - replacing the whole line as a maintenance task has to be a pain. But I do wonder why it's even there in the first place. (And, wow, look at that mess this used to be!)

Here's the line coming through the shock tower and into the flex line fitting. This line was an inch or so short as shipped, so I had to pull it out and rebend this end to get it to fit.

The line in the 'pre-bent' kit for the front left wheel was not even close in bends or length. So I used a length of coat hanger wire to form a proper template, and picked up a piece of straight stock line from NAPA. Of course, that line was too long and one of the nuts was the wrong size, so I had to cut off one end, pull off the wrong nut, install the right nut, cut the line to the correct length, flare the end, and bend to the shape of the template. This took an embarrassing amount of time.

Here's the rear line and both front lines installed in the distribution block. I won't actually use the rear line in the block like this, as my new brake kit includes an adjustable proportioning valve for the rear line and it has some special plumbing.

Bench bleeding the master cylinder. The loop lines came in the CSRP kit. Basically, just hook up the lines to the outlet ports and set them into their respective reservoir bowls, fill with new brake fluid, and manually cycle the cylinder rod with a large screwdriver or other pokey-like device until no bubbles are coming out with each stroke. This is 'must-do', not an optional step.

Once it's bench-bled, the new master is bolted to the power booster.

Now it's time to install the recently restored brake/clutch pedal assembly!

Two bolts on the firewall and two bolts to the dash panel are used to hold the pedal assembly in place so the booster can be installed.

That's nice. It looks better in person, my camera doesn't do it justice.

Before I install the booster and master cylinder, I hooked up the proportioning valve on its bracket, and got the hardlines all plumbed into their respective places.

And then the booster and master cylinder go in. This is a two-person operation, one to hold and guide in the engine bay, and the other under the dash to line up the booster push rod with the brake pedal.

Here's the final installation. Half of these lines were leaking once pressure was applied, but most of those leaks were fixed by tightening the fittings just a little more than I thought they should be.

Looking up at the brake pedal and brake light switch connection to the booster rod.

Here's another view of the plumbing for the proportioning valve. I had to get a supplemental picture from Dennis at CSRP to figure out what the final setup should look like - hopefully this'll help someone else as well.

After all the lines were in, I spent a couple weeks chasing leaking fittings (push brakes, find leak, tighten fitting, push brakes again, wait overnight, repeat), plus a bad (new) rear wheel cylinder, tearing apart the right rear brakes to replace said wheel cylinder, and reassembling the rear brakes. 

At this point, I was utterly sick of the brakes, but I still needed at least a preliminary test to tell me I had it working at some level. So we pushed the car out of the garage and down into the driveway - I hit the brakes, and glory hallelujah, they worked! And then the parking brake held the car on it's own when I got out! To quote the great Hannibal (Smith), "I love it when a plan comes together."

Now we're getting somewhere!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Toeboard priming and interior seam sealing

Now that the under-dash is done, I can finally finish the floor pan and toeboard priming. And once it's primed, I can seam seal it along with the rest of the interior.

Where we left off.

The toeboard gets a proper sanding, while the epoxy primer gets a good scuffing with red scotchbrite pads, followed by a good cleaning with W&G remover, and two coats of black epoxy. I'm not doing the whole floor, just the front foot wells and the sides of the rocker panels. This means I'll end up with a two-tone primer look, and hopefully I'll be able to just leave it like that and resist the urge to prime it all in black.

Cleaned and masked off.

Primer coat one is on.

I'm using a 3M single stage seam sealer I picked up at NAPA. They stopped carrying their in-house brand, so now you have to pay more for the 3M stuff. $20 per tube, so you need to be ready to use it when you cut the end. It gets tacky in less than 5 minutes.

I used the Weld & Sealant manual to figure out where all the seam sealer should go. The factory did seam sealer on bare metal and then primer and paint over that. Naturally this means you'll find rust under the factory seam sealer. So I'm doing seam sealer over primed metal.

Seam sealer at vertical junctions under the dash. 

The rest of the interior needs seam sealing as well. As usual, I found a way to make this over complicated. I use chalk to mark the factory seams to be sealed. I'll scuff the primer, apply the sealer, and then put another primer coat over that.

Masked around the chalk lines so i only have to scuff the primer I'm going ot shoot with another coat of primer.

Cleaned with W&G remover, and then apply the sealer.

Mask the interior (why? there is no good reason to do this.) Shoot the primer.

All this is happening in the trunk as well.

Masking tape and paper is out, and here are properly sealed seams with a fresh coat of black epoxy. In hindsight I should have just scuffed and shot and let the overspray go where it wanted. Way less work that way and no one will ever see it.

Trunk seam sealer came out nicely as well.

The toeboard and the foot wells get their second coat of primer as well. I also hit the seam sealer under the dash with a topcoat of primer.

Done. This should be the last step for the interior as far as priming and sealing goes. The dash and the doors are all that's left. The floors are now ready for the next 50 years. 

Under the Dashboard and Dreaming

Sorry for the delay. Life keeps happening - you know how it is. The Mustang has been getting some of my time and frustration, and I have some updates, so let's get back to it.

Way back last year sometime I primed the interior of the car after all the metalwork and de-gross-ing the floor pan. Well, almost the entire interior.

I stopped at the toe board and firewall for two reasons: first, because I knew I had all that metal work to do on the frame rail, and secondly, because it's a colossal pain in the posterior to get up under the dashboard and clean and strip the endless nooks and crannies.  Well, now that the frame work is done, I can finish this part of the interior.


Here's where we start. The floor is primed with SPI's Red Epoxy, but where the floor bends up to the firewall, it's still mostly original.You can see the patch I welded in the toeboard and the access ports I cut and welded shut on the passenger side floor well. All this will need to be sanded and primed eventually, but first the dash and firewall need to be addressed.

It looks like when these cars were first built. the interior was hit with primer and paint, but the under-dash area either only got a little overspray or was left bare metal. No surprise then that the entire area up there is covered in surface rust. I can't just leave it like that, so I'm going to strip and paint the under-dash so it'll be protected for years to come, Is this concours-correct? No, but it's my car so I get to do what I want.

Lower cowl panel, passenger side. No rot, no leaks, unlike so many other Mustangs of this vintage, but still...

Lower cowl, drivers side. same thing - no rot or leaks, but looks rough.

The middle of the lower cowl section where it meets the firewall.

And there it is. Another unpleasant task I can't talk myself out of. 

The coatings of choice are two new items to me.  No one will ever see this area, so I figured this is a good place to test new things. I'm not going to total bare metal, and I don't want black, so I'm not using the epoxy primer for this job.

The silver can is high-heat grill paint, for the firewall and lower cowl and side panels. I'm using this to simulate the bare metal that might be expected there, and to provide a nice bright reflective area to work in when it's time to put wiring and dash assemblies in there. It's also going to be able to handle the heat that firewalls heat. 

The second one is Rust Reformer in black. I'm not actually going to strip the backside of the dashboard, just scuff and clean, so the Rust Reformer should do a good job and converting whatever rust is left and slow any future corrosion.

Everything gets scuffed with red Scotchbrite pads, and 80 grit discs on the die grinder to get all the surfaces to a 'good-enough' state for cleaning with wax & grease remover, and then hit with two easy coats of paint. This took a full day and a half tucked under the dash. 

Note to future users - the silver paint also filled the car with a glitter-like dusting that gets all over teh place. It looks fairly metal-like, but messy. 

Taping up the dashboard in prep for painting the backside of the dash.

Lots of surface rust back there. I know I don't have to do this, but also know I kinda have to do this.

Much better. The Rustoleum Rust Reformer is a nice satin black. I have no illusions that this stuff is magical rust remover, but I was curious how it would work, and this seemed like the place to try.

Looking down the other side of the backside of the dash.

Done. The firewall and dash area are properly covered, and now just need seam sealing, which I'm saving to do at the same I seal up the toeboard area. The outside of the dash will get fixed up later.

Nice to finally put this one behind me.