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