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Main Brake Line Split (FIXT)

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by fixt, October 21, 2016.

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  1. fixt

    fixt Active Member

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    Well dammitall.
    Woman and I went on a pleasure trip over into Tennessee leaf looking and came back the Cherohala Skyway.
    A rather dumb young girl turned across in front of us without even looking and she had to really get on the brakes. She said she felt them give and something wasn't right. A few miles down the road the red brake warning light came on. We stopped at an auto parts place and I got some brake fluid and topped it off.
    We made it home safely by babying it. and stopping to top it off when needed.

    The main line from front to rear is very rusty (a common problem) and has a split in it about 6" from where it ties to the rear cross line at the hangar. My intent is to replace the the main line from hangar to HCU.
    I found this thread
    http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/index.php?threads/replacing-main-brake-line.236951/
    96eb96 recommends using AGS polyarmour, the greenish stuff that I think I can get at NAPA.
    96eb96 also recommended using 3 sections, 6ft length in the back, 40" by the fuel tank section, and 5-6 ft in the front with two brass unions for ease of installation.
    There is also 25ft rolls of 3/16 copper nickel line on Amazon with a stainless steel spring guard
    https://www.amazon.com/Copper-Nicke...77089999&sr=8-5&keywords=25+brake+line+tubing

    Which way would you go? How would you go about this? A single piece or use three to make it easier?
    EDIT: I ordered a 25ft roll of copper nickel, comes with 12 3/8x24 fittings and some other oddball fittings, I have a double flare tool I've never used.
     
    Last edited: October 21, 2016
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  3. 96eb96

    96eb96 Well-Known Member

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    Hi, I'm the brake line guy. I've done many cars (my own and friends and family) since the ex and I now prefer dealing with a roll. The pieces can work (they are still holding up fine). The copper nickel line is good, I recall reusing the fittings at the ABS block and I don't recall if the ex had any metric bubble flares. If it did you could either rent a metric flare tool or get an adapter. Be sure to create some coils after the ABS block to allow for flex. I suggest doing the rubber lines as well, they are quiet old and could fail, usually locking up a caliper. You should replace the axle line as well if it is rusty.
     
  4. crunchie_frog

    crunchie_frog Active Member

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    I go to the nearest Pull a Part and find a non rusted exact replacement.
     
  5. fixt

    fixt Active Member

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    96eb96, hey thanks for stopping in. I was glad to find that quite detailed post. I appreciate your input on this.
    The axle line in the rear has been replaced; it failed while sitting in the driveway. I borrowed the flaring tool that time and have since acquired my own, not yet needed. The line was very rusty and began spraying just over the differential at startup. It was an easy fix.
    Good to know I ordered the right stuff, arriving Monday sometime.
    I don't think there is any metric flares. I think its just 3/16 with 3/8 24 fittings. What I dread is fishing the line through there. I may put a union in the front where it goes into the frame and make the front piece to the HCU a separate piece for ease of bending and installation. It will be a pain because I don't have access to a lift and just have to crawl under there and do it. Routing the line down the frame rail is what I dread.
    The brake line hoses to calipers are in decent shape by appearance, though I will do a more detailed inspection while under there. Front lines as well.

    crunchie_frog, there is no pick and pull around here. Its a very small town; the sign says entering on one side and leaving on the other.
    I also seriously doubt there are any non rusted replacements out there at this point in time. I would prefer a new non rusting line material anyway. If its a part that takes the explorer out of service, I am usually stuck waiting for parts. It does give me time to come up with a good plan of attack while waiting, however frustrating that may be. That is where the value of this forum and its members lie. The voice of experience is so very useful.
     
  6. 96eb96

    96eb96 Well-Known Member

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    The rubber lines are more of an insurance policy - they can look fine but be ready to collapse on the inside. As for the frame electrical metal fishtape could work. Leave the old rusty line in place. Be sure to tape the open end of the line so crap don't get in. Don't forget your front lines as well!
     
  7. fixt

    fixt Active Member

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    OK, I just came in from looking at the frame side where the line is run. It looks doable, though still a pain to get the crooks and crannies. Woman will have to help me unspool the line and push on it while I guide the thing through
    I located the extra tube clips on the frame and looked at how it would need to be run. There is a heat shield in the front that needs to come off, so I'll need to remove the tire and inner fender liner for access to that thing. Looks like I'll need to pull through first and install the front end at the HCU VH point then work my way toward the rear setting it in the clips and finally the rear flare, hookup, and bleed.
    This sound about right?

    Oh, the front hard lines look fine from what I can see of them. I'll have to get to the hoses later but they are on "the list". Brakes are pretty important.

    EDIT: In your experienced opinion, is it easier to feed from the front or the rear?
    Getting past the gas tank is my concern here.
     
    Last edited: October 22, 2016
  8. fixt

    fixt Active Member

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    Well, I just spent the afternoon removing the heat shield (an exercise in spatial relations) and what I can of the old brake line. Also had to drop the transfer case rock guard.
    There's a section of line by the fuel tank that I think will have to stay, about 4 ft or so. I can't get to the tubing clamps without dropping the fuel tank and that's not enough juice for the squeeze. There's two of them by the tank and I don't think I'll be able to get the new line in those clamps/line holders regardless of whether I drop the fuel tank rock guard or not. I really didn't want to leave any old line, but its just the way it is. Something else to rattle around maybe.
    By the way the line removal is a real pain. 6-12 in at a time, so I can see why many left it.

    No bubble flares or anything weird at the HCU VH port, just another flare. Female fitting saved for reuse.
    Progress made toward the new install tomorrow. It looks like the hardest bends will be just after the fuel tank. There's (2) 90 degree bends, which will have to worked at the same time until it fits. Then the bends around the fuel filter keeping an eye toward future filter removal, and the bends in the front to tie to the HCU.
     
  9. 96eb96

    96eb96 Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't worry about hooking it at every point in the clamps. It is a PITA, and the main things is coiling the line before the HCU. The old line can definitely stay, if it is in the clamps it won't rattle. I left most of mine there.
     
  10. Dave98XLT

    Dave98XLT Active Member

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    Interesting discussion. I had a similar threat up a few weeks ago with the same problems on my 98 EXP. If a line does ruptured during a panic stop? How much Reserve breaking capacity is there with the Explorer master cylinder designe? Is it a two-way or a three-way master cylinder?
     
  11. fixt

    fixt Active Member

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    Dave98XLT, I don't know about reserve capacity but there is some braking available as long as you keep the reservoir full, which is what we did. Its not a lot but it will slow you down, and you're not losing fluid (or at least not much) as long as you stay off the brakes. I would hazard a guess that it depends on the severity of the break.

    It is now fixed. Fishing the line was not as bad as I thought it would be as its fairly stiff. Woman pushed it through from the rear while I guided it around stuff to get the routing right. I put the rear fitting on first since there's no room to flare and then finished pulling it up and tightened that one. Placed it in the clips along the frame. Routing in the engine compartment is something of a pain, but the copper nickel line bends pretty easily without kinking. Got my length in the front, flared and hooked it up, bled the brakes. Reinstalled the heat shield in the front which is a right regular pain, then the transfer case rock guard.
    All is right with the world again.

    Quick review on the GearWrench 41590D tubing service set. Its pretty much junk. It did double flare and no leaks, but the pilots for the dies are too small and want to cock sideways so I kept cranking and the handle bent. The flare die itself turned eccentric and overall, I regret the purchase. It is not a quality tool set. It works, but only with extreme care and paying attention to what its doing.
     
  12. Dave98XLT

    Dave98XLT Active Member

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    Sounds like you are doing a great job on the rewiring.

    What I meant about reserve braking is if all four wheels are linked together in a hydraulic fluid circuit and a problem develops in any of the four brakes, lines, hoses, calipers, or single master cylinder, that creates a fluid pressure loss. This will cause you to lose both front and rear brakes. With a dual master cylinder (externally one but inside divided into two) , the brakes are split front and rear, or diagonally and if a line ruptures you only loose one-half of the brakes, and the other half of the system retains fluid pressure.

    I was wondering about the Explorer?

    The master cylinder has three lines, two to the front and one to the rear. What happens if you loose a front line, do you loose both front wheels and only have the rear remaining? What happens if you loose the rear lines?

    You get the idea...
     
  13. 96eb96

    96eb96 Well-Known Member

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    The ex has a dual master cylinder. You may be thinking of the ABS block, which is fed by the M/C. Two lines go to the front wheels and one goes to the back. The splits are internal to that unit.
     
  14. 96eb96

    96eb96 Well-Known Member

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    Most of those cheap tubing double flaring sets are subpar. You have to ream/deburr the tube and hope for the best. I bought a craftsman set from sears when I did the job, it was US made (I doubt it still is) and worked very well. I also did one for a woman in another town, rented one from advance auto and I was not impressed. It barely did the job.
     
  15. fixt

    fixt Active Member

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    Reaming and deburring is one of the things that was frustration. I knew the tube was square and it really pissed me off that the dies would cock due to the too small pilot. I can't believe I bent the flaring handle by hand. A picture of the OTC shows pilots sized appropriately to the tubing. I've always had good luck with OTC tools. Of course its $35 more.
    Even though I've had the thing for a while, I am returning it to Amazon and am going to replace it with an OTC 6502 Master Brake Flaring Kit. I want the Eastwood flaring tool but I can't justify the money that it costs vs frequency of use. I may invest in an inline flare kit in the future. I confess to being a tool whore.
     
  16. 96eb96

    96eb96 Well-Known Member

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    Eastwood is around 180 bucks, no place around here wanted to touch even one line for under 250-300. The Craftsman was around 80 bucks. The $30 ones are made in China and YMMV. Maybe when they are brand new they can make a few good flares. Eastwood can do SS lines. The Mastercool sets are very good, but you are getting into the 300$ range. For one car though you can probably get by with a new low end tool. For everyday work that is another story.
     

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