Brake Job From Hades - Part 1 - 02/17/2013

So I tried to do my brakes last week. I failed. Turns out the fittings all rounded where the brake hoses were. I was trying to replace at least the hoses and calipers due to a snapped bleeder. So I had to replace all the hard lines from the distribution block. Fortunately my Livermore connection had them all and he only charged me $20! I bought a ton of other parts too like carpet, rear defogger, AM\FM stereo, and other cool things that will go on the car.

Breaking the distribution block free. While taking this photo my camera took a shot of rotten brake fluid to the lense, so my pictures are... interesting. Some came out, others didn't. Luckily I cleaned it but it may never be the same again. This camera is only from 2002, so I can't complain too much. Rear fitting is for the drums, front bottom is the passenger side, top front is the driver's side. Back top ones are the master. Draining it all out gives me a chance to get rid of the nasty fluid.

I destructed the driver's side setup. I had to remove the fitting from the distribution block and bend it out to get rid of it. Everything you see here except the rotor will go to the trash.

New hose is installed after new hardline run. New hard lines being run don't photograph well due to poor lighting and angles.

I removed it all as one piece. This is $20 worth of core!

New caliper getting prepared for install. LOTS of anti-seize will be used to avoid repeating the nightmare of this car in the future.

Lots of cleaning to make sure the caliper slides back and forth properly. This car had tons of junk in the old calipers. I could have gotten away with bleeding the brakes and changing the fluid since the pads had lots of life left, but snapping the bleeders pretty much ruins that. And the calipers sucked too. Factory rotors with lots of life left are actually pretty nice to have.

Driver's side done. All pretty like. The hoses are about half a turn off of the correct alignment, which is ANNOYING. Aftermarket parts... well let's just say that while it's nice to have them, if they fit better it would be really nice. You can see that the camera with a low battery and brake fluid shot to the lense is having trouble focusing.

This is the passenger side hard line. I ended up giving it the chop. Took almost an hour to replace, 45 minutes of that was aligning the fitting on the distribution block to get it installed properly. It was... hard. My arms are still sore from fighting it all. Driver's side was cake. Amusingly... the '73 cars (which I got this line off of) only had the brake line being run across the crossmember. '71 cars had both the fuel source and return lines running along the same way in the same place.

Another $20 of core, almost worth the weight in gold. And lots of chopping to get it out.

New hose installed with new line, old caliper stripped. Lots of life in this factory rotor too. Which is good, because the rotors for this car aren't exactly cheap.

Yay! Passenger side done! It looks awesome... except that... for some odd reason, when NAPA had this caliper rebuilt, they drilled and tapped a 10mm bleeder instead of a 3/8" bleeder. So now I've got a 3/8 like every other red blooded American car on the driver's side, and a 10mm on the passenger side. I'm not against the metric system, I believe in it thoroughly. I just hate having to use 2 different tools for the same job on the SAME car. Even worse if I forget my metric sockets in the middle of nowhere and need to use them!

The previous day I fixed the intake exhaust leak. I used Fel-pro 1233 gaskets which include heavy duty blockoffs for '71 and earlier intakes on a '72 and later heads. It works. It's quite cool. Beats the homemade ones I tried to make and failed at. Next time just spend the $25 and be done with it the first time.

Yay! Brakes are done! Kind of. The test drive took a bit of effort to get the brakes to work well, they had trouble biting but finally did. Need to work on it, might need a master cylinder. Which isn't horrible, since a brand new one is $24.99 (not sure how they can be that cheap unless China gets involved). One disadvantage to this whole mess is that after I fixed the intake exhaust leak, the timing cover started leaking coolant from the side. I need a new timing cover now. Which is annoying. But fortunately they are available reproduction style now for only $175. So another $250 to fix that problem. Oh well, be thankful the parts are available. I have to do the rear brakes as they are frozen and not moving, not really sure what's going on. Lots of life left on the shoes, but the cylinders don't seem to be working. They are cheap ($9/ea from NAPA) but I'm afraid they won't fit will or work right after my experience with the '67 Catalina. Still gotta fix it all though. This job took almost 4 hours and LOTS of work. And this update has been brought to you by Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey and a splash of Coca Cola.

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Last updated February 17th, 2013