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Brake bleeding. Whoa, Nelly!


Well-Known Member
Well, I brought a vacuam brake bleeder and I'm going to be ordering my brake line kit in a couple days. Since my rearend is not the 8" that Total uses, I may have to get my own tubing for the rear brakes and bend it myself. I checked mt auto parts store and line with couplings is available if I have to go that route.

I have heard different stories about bleeding brakes where the master cylinder is mounted below the floorboard like on a hot rod. Some say it is easy, others say it is a pain. I'll be sure to let you guys know how it turns out. I intend to get pics, but that depends on how much of a chore doing the brakes are.:lol:
You work out all the kinks Fred, then let the rest of us know.;)

Nailbomb said:
going with regular steel lines or double annealed stainless?

I'm going with regular steel lines. The set up is from Total. I may have to bend my own for the rear though.
thomas said:
Love it.:lol:

Now, Thomas, it wasn't THAT funny. :lol:
I didn't realize how stupid that sounds until I saw Mike rolling around on the ground laughing.:eek:

Well, my friendly UPS guy came by and no brakeline kit. Bummer.:lol: I called Toatal and they ran the tracking number. Turns out the package got held up somewhere. So, it won't get to me till Monday. Total is going to credit my account for the cost of shipping. I was really looking forward to running those lines and bleeding the brakes this weekend because I didn't want to do it after work, but what are ya gonna do? I guess I'll scrounge Ebay looking for things I'll need later on.:)
The brake lines came today and I mounted them up. I'll finish it this weekend in the morning. Trying to work in the heat and concentrate on what I'm doing is a chore. See my members page for a run down of how it went.

Sorry for using my members page, Mike. I'm too lazy to switch up.:eek:

Well, I dealt with the heat (heat index 105 and humid :eek:) and worked on the rear brake lines after work today. I already had a tube bender and small pipe cutter that I had gotten years ago at a yard sale. Today was the first time I had ever used them. The lines came out very good. I used the bender for the long line that had to go over and around the top of the differential. I only had four bends that I needed the bender for. The rest was done using my knee and hads, working slowly. It came out very good. the short line was way too simple. A slight bend coming from the wheel cylinder and then two slight curves to meet up with the T fitting that ties the two lines together. I'll post pics when I get the rest done this weekend.

I sure hope the bleeding goes as easy. I talked to Pete at Total and he said that the AN fittings won't need anything to seal them, but I may use a little strip of pipe fitting tape on the joints where the regular fittings are.

Could I have gotten away without using the bender? Maybe, but I have seen some really bad bends done by hand and didn't want to take the chance.

Also, if I ever do another car, I'll buy stock line and do my own. It really wasn't that hard and a little money could be saved, but this is a learning experience and now I know.
Annealed tubing bends pretty easily. I used to work in a hard parts store and we kept a length of it that had been tied in a bow, to show how easy it was to bend.

Pete's correct, the AN flares will seal on the flare, same as a standard, double-flared brake line. The only place you will need any thread sealant is in areas where you have pipe threads.
CAUTION!!!!!! AN fittings are 37 degrees at the flare and take a ferrell that looks like a top hat along with the nut.AN means Army Navy and were used for high pressure situations.DO NOT USE A STANDARD FLAREING TOOL!!!!!!!!.As it will leak for sure. I do all the high preasure stuff at work and am a 30 journeyman.Please take my word for it.
The plain steel tubing you want is BUNDY tubing and yes it bends like butter,But it's plain steel and will start to rust as soon as the oil film washes off.I used 3/16 stainless seam less brake line.I get it in 6 foot straight lengths and bend it.A slight rubbing with a scotch bright pag makes it look like chrome and it never rusts
Thanks for the comments guys. I called Total and got the run down for the AN fittings. It was the brass T fitting and the fitting where the line goes into the wheel cylinders that was a concern. Pete told me not to worry there either. The main thing I need to be concerned with is making sure the fittings are tight and the flared ends seat good.

The kit comes with the correct lines and is of good quality. I will have to double flare the two rear lines where they meet at a brass T fitting, but I knew this and my neighbor has a double flare tool.

I bent the rear tubing fine and it looks really good. I took picks, but I'm waiting until I do the bleeding before I post them.

Thanks again for the input!:lol: See my members page for the pics I took so far.
Rick said:
The plain steel tubing you want is BUNDY tubing and yes it bends like butter,But it's plain steel and will start to rust as soon as the oil film washes off.I used 3/16 stainless seam less brake line.I get it in 6 foot straight lengths and bend it.A slight rubbing with a scotch bright pag makes it look like chrome and it never rusts

That was why i was asking about the lines earlyer, but up here in the great white north, where the roads get salted to hell and back every year i have to worry about my choice more than he should and it is just a matter of prefference on how long he wants it to last untill he does it again.

regular steel lines should suit him just fine.
Well, I got up, got a great breakfast and got a call from a buddy who is in town for a few days. He wanted to see the T bucket and offered to help do the brakes with me. Great! Now I wouldn't need the vacuam bleeder!

As I got out of my car, I realised that I had forgotten my camera, but as it turns out, I didn't need it. Besides, I'm sure you guys know what bleeding brakes looks like.

My buddy was really digging the chassis and I was eating it up! I listened to his stories about how much fun I was going to have, while I unloaded the things I would need.

Well, bleeding the master cylinder was a no brainer and went quick as you please. I went to mount it on the chassis and it wouldn't go on! I knew it had to, since I had done it a few times. Then I remembered that you have to remove the cover clamp first. Yea, it's THAT tight of a fit! The trans mount was in the way.:eek: Then I installed it. It was then that I noticed that the rear line fitting wouldn't screw into the master cylinder unless it was installed BEFORE mounting it! Yea, a REAL tight fit.:eek: So , I removed the cylinder and installed the fitting, then remounted it and hooked up the line. Then I went to install the other fitting and it wouldn't fit!:eek: It was too big!

A quick call to Total and Pete gave me the run down. The company that supplies their master cylinder changed them to two 9/16" opening instead of a 9/16" and a 1/2". Their brake line kit was changed to match this. So, they are going to express me a replacement fitting. ARRRRRRRRGH! If I had checked the fit when I first got the line kit, I would have noticed the problem and could have gotten a new fitting sent in time for this weekend. Of course, if I had been asked what master cylinder I had, I could have gotten the correct fitting for my application. Both Total and I dropped the ball on this one and lesson learned.

My dad would have loved giving me his "NEVER ASSUME" speech. I had to laugh.... after I got done being pissed off.

Then, I had a great idea! I have a die! I could grind down the fitting and make it work! My buddy just looked at me and said, "Yea, it MIGHT. Would you trust your life or someone elses on it?" Needless to say, I'm waiting for the correct piece.

This is a long story, so hang with me.

I had to go get a quart of oil for my moms car this morning and while at the auto parts store, I was telling the counter guy about my episode with the fitting. A guy in line overheard and said he might be able to help. It turns out he has a machining shop and off we went. About 30 minutes later, he had changed my ftting to a 1/2"! Awesome! He was working on a nice '55 Chevy and was a bonefied gearhead like you're truly. We exchanged phone numbers and agreed to keep in touch.

So, I get to my job and install the fitting. No problem. Now I was ready to bleed the system. I hooked up my MightyVac, as per the instructions and got busy pumping..... and pumping... and pumping. For about an hour!:confused: All I was getting was a lot of air and a little fluid! I quickly came to the conclusion that the vac suction was so strong that it was pulling air from around the threads of the bleeder.

So, back to the auto parts store with my bleeder valves for the front and rear. i had seen that they had the bleeder valves with a check ball inside and figured I may as well try them out. They had the ones for the front Wilwoods, but the bleeders in my Sonoma rear are metric:confused: and the only size they didn't have was the size I needed. Go figure.

Then I noticed a VERY simple one man bleeder set up. It had a small bottle with a magnet attached, some tubes and a few tapered fittings. I grabbed it and figured what did I have to lose at $6. I git back to my shop and installed the new bleeder valves with the check ball. I opened the bleeder about 1/2 a turn and pumped about 4 or 5 times and got a nice, bubble free flow! Success! I did the other one and got the same results.:)

Now, in the rear, I used the new one man bleeder. I put one tube on the jar and attached it on the upper shock mount ABOVE the bleeder. I then installed the end of the tapered fitting into the bleeder and attached the other end to the jar. The tappered fitting fits INSIDE the bleeder opening instead of around it like the vac pump setup. I opened the bleeder and pumped the peddle and after 5 pumps, I had a nice, clean, steady flow of bubble free fluid! I closed the bleeder and I repeated on the other side. I checked the peddle and it was good and firm and the car held in place when I tried to push it. I'll be sure to check the system again and probaly bleed it again before I make my maiden trip.

All told, it took me about an hour, but I was taking my time and stopped for a smoke. Not bad!:D I'll keep the vac pump. It may come in handy for something else and you can never have too many tools.

As for pics, I only took one of the tight fit of the master cylinder in relation to the trans crossmember. I'll post it soon.

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