Tip: Rusty Brake Lines, SAVING YOUR SANITY
Just replaced my second (different cars) rusty broken line in a
month..what does that say about my life! :(
Here's some good advice, I think.
Forget Autozone and the like for parts.. they'll have the flex lines but
when it comes to solid lines, Autozone particularly is near useless, they
dont have everything you might need...EXCEPT for the double flaring tool
which you can rent for nothing or buy cheap.
Find a parts house that supplies local shops.
1. Is the line good or bad... If it has "flaky cakerust", it's gonna go
soon if it hasnt already.
2. Get QUALITY tubing wrenches, not no-names.. you shouldnt need more
than two or three
***THIS IS THE MAIN POINT OF THIS POST:
3. Dont waste your time trying to get rusty fittings loose.
- If it's a bad/rusty line anyway, cut it at the nut and use a GOOD six-
****NO TUBING WRENCH IS AS GOOD AS A SIX-POINT SOCKET!*****
- If the whole connection is solid rust, replace that other part as well.
Example: rear line goes into flex line at body bracket, and you see
a solid mass of rust, including the bracket itself. Cut the solid line,
remove the entire bracket and flex line as an assembly and chip rust away
to remove the clip. Replace the Flex line too.
****TRYING TO "MINIMIZE THE JOB" USUALLY ENDS UP IN YOUR REPLACING THE
4. Overestimate the length of the tubing you're replacing when you buy
the new one(s) or get several. Cheap enough and you can take the ones
you dont use back. It's easy enough to take out excess length by looping
the tubing... if you try to "stretch or short-cut" it, you may end up
with broken or worn lines soon
5. Ford has a bad habit of using two sizes of fitting on the same line.
Look close.. wrench size doesnt matter, it's threaded barrel size that
matters. Get male/female adapters.. if it's 3/16 line, get a couple of
3/16 to 1/4
6. Bending: good brake line bends easily without kinking but always bend
over a round object as the mandrel, not a sharp one.
- Dont try to exactly duplicate the bends..just make sure it follows the
same path and is in same area... double check for clearance and rubbing
7. Flaring. Completely replacing a front to back line is usually a
bitch... and you probably dont need to anyway. The back half is usually
the section that rusts badly. So you will want to splice in new...
Find the rear-most section with no rust between it and the Master Cyl,
and where a splice can be made without it ending up exposed to speed bump
and road trash.
DO NOT use hose or flex tubing of any kind, do not use compression
fittings or single flare.. The rings will eventually leak, the single
flare will eventually crack.
There's VERY high pressure in these lines, so obviously you dont use hose
Most people have had bad experieces trying to double flare, and that is
mainly because the tool they used was junk... the amateaur couldnt afford
the precision pro type tools so ..gasp.. they bought crap and the thing
usuall would clamp or the bobbin tool deformed.
Thanks to the Chinese 'Red Army, Inc' who are trying to Out-Japan Japan
in terms of product quality, that's no longer always the case. The tool
you rent at Autozone IS inexpensive but works well
- Google double flare for directions
- Go to Lowes Plumbing Dept for the mini-tubing-cutter, must be rated for
- knock off ragged edges... dont go nuts and ream it out
- INSTALL NUT BEFORE FLARING!!!!!!!
- INSTALL NUT BEFORE FLARING!!!!!!!
- Tighten end of clamp closest to tubing FIRST, then the other end
(Leverage, ya know) Use the round bar through the wings of nut for
leverage to tighten
- Dont skimp on how much should be projecting from clamp, double flare
takes more length than you might think.
- Double check... DID YOU INSTALL NUT?!!!
- Insert the mandrel, run the tool down HARD till mandrel bottoms on
- Remove and look.. should be a "bell" almost to the lip of the tool
- Finish the flare.. dont run it down as hard as the first step, just a
firm resistance.. if in doubt take it in stages.
8. tighten all fittings to good snug, dont overwrench them
9. Get a brake bleeding tool
- free the bleeder screw with a six point socket if it resists at all,
- make sure you dont run the reservoir dry, if you have, then "bench
bleed" master cyl, first... directions found by google, parts avail at
- Bleed 'far side' brake cyl first.. till you get liquid, then the other
cyl. till mostly liquid
- with bleeders closed, pump brake pedal about ten times slowly.
- bleed cyls again till no air comes out
10 Start Engine, apply brakes hard - Check all fitting and lines, if a
connection is leaking or seeping, tighten no more than 1/4 turn, wipe off
and check again. If that 1/4 turn didnt do it..MAYBE another 1/8th
turn... if that didnt do it, you have a crack or dirt interfering.
Remember: Time is money, and frustration from poor planning or wrong
tools breeds low self-esteem and that ends up costing you money.
Knowledge of a job well done and done right is PRICELESS!
If you could buy it... you'd pay 75 to 100 bucks and hour for it.
Yeah... like a Shrink's fee.