atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#715: Fixing brakes, day two.

I bought 18 feet of brake line and several couplers and spent my afternoon making the van's brake system fluid-tight. Now it no longer leaks.

My brand-new-only-been-used-twice double flaring kit decided it would no longer flare 3/16" tubing, of course. When I put the two 5' sections of tubing into the van they overlapped by about 8 inches. I measured about an inch and a half beyond the meeting place and cut there, then went to put a flare on the end.

Tube slipped out. Cut off mangled end, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Swear a lot, drop new flare tool, get old flare tool and use "bubble" die with it, make proper flare, install pipe...

2" too goddamned fucking short.

The nice thing was that there is a short s-shaped pipe from the antilock motor to the pipe that runs from a union there to the rear of the van, so I didn't have to fab up one big piece, saving me some serious effort--and this also saved me now, becuase I just fabbed up a new S-pipe that was a bit longer to account for the too-short pipe.

Put it all together, got the air out of the rear pipe...and it leaked. Where did it leak? at the freaking flare I'd had trouble making. So I took the damned pipe off, cut the end off, and made yet another flare there, went to reinstall it...

WTF! It was an inch too short again! I only cut off about 3/8 of an inch at the most, so why the fucking hell....

...but the rear pipe had some slack I could use, so I simply bent things a bit differently, got them joined, and tightened everything down again.

Tested the system; no leaks. Good. On to bleeding!

Right rear wheel: no problem. Left rear wheel: no problem. Right front bleeder isn't moving--okay, likelihood that there's air in that pipe anyway? Probably close to zero, since it's on a different circuit than either the left front caliper or the rear brakes, so there probably isn't much if any air in that line, anyway. I'll just do the left front and see that that'll--


[lots of cursing]

The bleeder screw--after I hit it with penetrating oil and held a propane torch on the bleeder boss for about ten minutes--snapped right off.

This is why the going rate for mechanics is around $60 per hour, by the way. This kind of nonsense happens all the time. I'm no stranger to any of this stuff and it's taken me over seven hours just to get the brake system not to leak, and I'm not done yet because the brakes still don't work correctly.

This is how a "simple" brake job ends up costing people $500; "A" leads to "B", which leads to "C", and all it takes to set up this kind of chain is for the vehicle to be 15 years old and driven through nearly every Illinois winter since it was new.

But the other factor is that the caps for the bleeder screws--which keep moisture and dirt out of them--are missing from all four wheels, and look to have been missing for quite some time. That's never good; it lets water get inside the screw and rust 'em solid.

Anyway, so tomorrow I'll go back to the auto parts store for a caliper and a set of front pads, and hope that I can get it back to 100% without having to replace the passenger side caliper. This means that I will have spent three days out of my week off on one project. Argh.

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