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What I learned about brakes in 3 days........and why you should never let you car set in the garage.

Specs:
- 1965 Fastback with 351W-4bbl, 4 speed
- disc brakes (with 4 piston calipers) up front, drums in the rear
- spent last 10 years in the garage
- no power booster, no power steering

Well, I truly enjoyed my week of vacation. No cube walls to "fence me in." I spent the first 3 days working on the Mustang and the rest of the week reading, watching M*A*S*H, and playing my anniversary present (Play Station 2).

So the brakes. First off, I knew very little (okay, pretty much nothing) about brakes and how they work when I started last Monday. I took out the old brake lines one at a time (after taking photos of course), labeled them, and set them aside. I had a few scary moments when the long line going to the rear had to be bent to come out, when the first line I tried to remove had to be cut, and when the rear soft line came off the axle. But everything worked itself out in the end.

BRAKE LINES
When removing the lines, I HIGHLY recommend using brake line wrenches (ours came from Sears). Since out Master Cylinder had brass fittings between the bowl and the line, we could have used an extra wrench (they were different sizes, but both on the same wrench). A can of WD-40 works to a point, but the Liquid Wrench worked ten times better. Spray it several times to make sure it soaks in good. Also make sure you label where those front lines connect. Between the MC, the distobution block, and the porportional valve, it would be a mess to figure out what line went to what. All in all, with the car up on stands and the tires off, the lines came out pretty easy. You may need a screwdriver and a rubber mallet to get the clips loose on the rear axle/transfer case. And the other brake/fuel line clips going the length of the car. Just don't damage the fuel line. We're just working on the brakes, okay? When installing the new lines (we used stainless steel) make sure you have clean hands and you have covered the ends of the lines. The car will be dirty underneath and you DON'T want dirt in the lines. I just used masking tape to cover the end and the fitting. Why the fitting? Because the first line I put on was hard enough to mate up without the grit from my hands and the car.

MASTER CYLINDER
Be patient. It took me a couple hours, and 5 wrenches. Seriously....5 different wrenches (all the same size of course) to remove the two bolts going into the firewall. After removal of course, my Dad was kind enough to point out that I could have used a socket wrench with an extension. Oh well, at least I know how to take it off the hard way. One hand between the hood and cowl, the other hopelessly trying to be usefull. And don't forget to use a turkey baster to take out the brake fluid and a rag to soak up the extra. When you rebuild it (pretty easy) check the kit you buy. Some of them don't come with all the same parts. I would get the one that has the boot (goes around push-rod from brake pedal) and the spring that goes inside the MC. And don't forget the rubber bumper that cushions the push-rod.

DISTRABUTION BLOCK
So I can't spell it. But ours was just a splitter of sorts for the brake fluid. Looked a lot like a t-joint. Easiest to remove, but ours may have been missing a nut that goes inside the fender well.

PROPORTIONAL VALVE
We haven't rebuilt it yet and hopefully won't need to. But it looks like the MC rebuild. We just don't know how to set it.

REAR DRUMS
Getting the driver's side off was a hassle. Had to use that special tool that reaches behind the housing, into the hole, and spins the gear to loosen them. Once that was done, you can use the other special tool correctly to take the springs off, or incorrectly. I of course did it the wrong way, which required a lot more muscle. Take photos of how it looks before tearing it down. And you might want to leave on as is until you finish the first one. We also had a push rod (that thing that pushes the brakes out to stop the car) that was cracked. Picked one up at NAPA for under $3.

FRONT DISCS
Welcome to my Nine Hecks. This was the entire reason I stopped after 3 days and enjoyed the rest of my vacation playing games. First, make sure you remove the correct bolts to get the ENTIRE brake assembly off. Once you remove them, prepare yourself to replace them. It's easy enough to use an air hose to pop out some of the pistons, but some are not that easy. So what did I use? ******* tools, hammer, screwdriver, vise, channel locks, profanity, and Liquid Wrench. After spending an hour just to get the last one out (the others only took about 10 minutes a piece), I was about to quit. Well, I did my best to salvage the piston (grinder, emory cloth, and prayers) but to no avail. I wrecked it too bad. New ones are on order from CJ's. We decided to just get new calipers, pistons, cross over lines, etc.

BOTTOM LINE
Have fun (which I actually did). Take your time. Take lots of reference photos and notes. Label everything. Have a helper (unless you like to work alone). Have a fan (for those hot days). Have a fridge (for the cold beverages). Have a stereo (for background noise).

TK

PS - VMF police, please don't arrest me! I didn't include large photos, just lots of words.
 

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FYI MPbrakes has the pistons for about half the price of CJ's.

CJ's customer service is very friendly, though.

Sounds like my Saturday.

randym4177 came over for me to help him put new calipers and hoses on his brake system. I had done mine previously and am pretty comfortable around the brake systems of the older cars.

I, too, removed the 12-point bolts that hold the two halves of a caliper together. In my defense, the caliper was pretty dirty, and it was a hot day. I couldn't believe how hard it was to get those dang bolts loose. That went without another hitch, got the two calipers off, swapped the crossovers and the dust shields, pulled the old hoses off (man those clips are a bear, or so I thought). It all went back together pretty well, and I even managed to catch most of the draining fluid in a pan under each side.

Got the fronts back together, and Randy pulls out a rear hose. I ignored him for as long as I could, we refilled the jelly jar, bled the brakes (that took quite a while with the MC empty), and took it for a test ride. Front brakes working fine.

Jacked the car back up to do the back brake hose. I thought the front retaining clip was hard... the back was Horrible- fused to the bracket (a real GT Dual exhaust setup). took PB blaster, patience, and more than a little luck to get that thing loose without losing a hand, or a finger. Not even a scratch. Fluid dripping on me the whole time, head in a puddle of fluid. YUCK. Anyway, the back went together fairly easily after that, buttoned it up bled the brakes again, and took it for a ride.

Pedal still wasn't right. Better, but not right.

Took the rear drums off, and inspected the linings and the hardware. It looks like he'll be coming back for the rears.

One drum was scored so badly, it could never be turned, there just wasn't enough metal left. The primary shoe had several grooves in it, and the star wheels were frozen on both sides. The springs didn't have much "snap" left to them, and the retaining pins have seen better days.

So, I gave him a shopping list and an appointment time to bring it back.
 

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sounds lke you had some fun. couple comments - to get fittings off i soak overnight in PB Blaster and then reapply next day with heat from propane torch if you want to save fittings/lines. to get those drum springs on and off like a glove they make a cheap tool that goes over post that holds springs and you twist it which brings spring fight off. same for installing.
 

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"playing my anniversary present (Play Station 2)."

Dude...A MUST HAVE FOR PS2...Gran Touismo:A Spec, Logitech Forced Feedback Steering Wheel...OMG fun...lots of ricers but Ford choices include 2003 Cobra R and 427 Cobra! ::
 

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Steering wheel makes the game, it gives you tension in the turns and jerks when you hit the curbs! Bout $90...worth every penny!

Another good investment is a Game Shark...instantaneously $10 Trillion...you ought to see my garage!!! ::
 
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