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[T3] Brakes done! Lessons learned...

<x-flowed>I finished the brakes this weekend! hurray!
I replaced all the hydraulic system parts, except for the reservoir and the hoses leading to the master cylinder.
I learned a few lessons the hard way, so I thought I'd post them...
I didn't see anything brake related in the tech section, so maybe this is helpful...

Experts, please correct me where this might be wrong.

1. Buy all the *correct* parts before you start.
2. Brake lines can be slightly longer than specified (but it's a pain having to work away the extra length)
3. Hoses can be slightly longer or shorter than specified BUT make sure that they do not ever rub or end up too short throughout the possible travel of the wheels.
4. You can fill the system with fluid without pumping the dry master cylinder - it just flows through. Just open up a valve and wait. On that note, make sure you don't start filling it up before all lines are in place (trust me, it gets messy).
5. Cut the old rusty brake lines with big tin snips - in my case it was so rusted that it was easier to unscrew the pieces after it was out of the car. One was so rusted that I actually was not able to unscrew it from the hose even after taking it out. But you might want to keep the pieces of the lines to double check measurements and bends.
6. To replace the front-to-back line you pretty much have to remove the driver's seat and definately the back seat. I unbolted the pedals as well to be able to get the old line out and new line in (I think there was some old tarry goop still in the way).
7. Beware - not all bubble-end lines with "metric threads" are the same. Apparently the British one is slightly different. They look nearly identical and actually thread in quite easily too, but they will leak.

# 1 - was really my big mistake which led to much pain. I bought most of the parts from CalImports, and missed one brake line altogether while another was back ordered. Then I made the mistake of trying to find very specifically a 22" line in town - after driving around all morning I found one which cost me 3 times the CalImports and Lordco price, and it turns out that the 20" would have been a better fit even!

# 2 - Lines can be longer than specified, but if they're too long it can be a pain to make them bend properly to fit. I would have liked an extra few inches for that line that runs from front to back though, as it would have allowed a nicer loop at the master cylinder. The line that runs from the T piece to the rear right is a severe pain when it's too long though (yeah I tried to fit that 20" piece in there... oops).

One BIG mistake I made is that I bought the missing brake lines at the FLAPS (Lordco) which has "metric thread" with bubble flared ends, so I grabbed the first one I saw of the correct size. Turns out there are TWO types of metric threaded ends, and as per Murphy's law - if there is a 50% chance of getting it right I will get it wrong. So yeah, it leaked under pressure (noticed it while bleeding the fronts). It was the ugly-to-get-to line at the back too. And then of course that meant replacing the line while the fluid was dripping out of the T connector... now THAT has "fun" written all over it!

The pieces needed for my 1971 Fastback, Automatic, FI, LHD are (purists might wish to divert their eyes)...
1x master cylinder
2x front calipers (I bought the aftermarket ones, came with pads even)
2x rear cylinders (again, aftermarket)
1x T-connector for the back (mind you, the old one would have passed as new with a quick cleaning)
2x 15" hoses M-F for front (I got all Stainless Steel braided hoses... not sure if they really make a difference though).
1x 11" hose F-F back right
1x 11" hose M-F back left (this one seems hard to get in Stainless, but it looks like 9" or 13" should work. I had to add a curled up 9" line as an adaptor after buying 2 of the F-F hoses).
1x 10" brake line for front-left (I used a 12" piece which meant having to put extra bending (a pain to work with). The 9.5" piece CalImports sent me was just 1/2" too short.)
1x 20" brake line for front-left (550mm. I got the exact 22" as recommended, but 20" would have fit very easily and is the easily-found-at-FLAPS size).
1x 20" brake line for middle-back (T to left rear hose). I think 20" is slightly too long actually but not sure if 18" is available. It was a pain to work away the extra length.
2x 425mm (about 17") for back wheel cylinders to hoses.
1x 2172 (about 85") front to back. An extra couple of inches would have been nice though.
This 6-piece kit at CalImports has them all, except that the front-left is too short: http://www2.cip1.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=VWC%2D113%2D698%2D996%2DD

Optional, but recommended...
2x 3-prong pressure switches for brake lines (I forgot these in the order, but it would have only cost 10 bucks if I'd got them)
3x metal clips to hold brake hoses (I reused the old rusty ones cause I didn't know about these when I put in my order)
1x packet of bleeder caps - the fronts came with caps, but the back cylinders didn't. You can reuse the old ones too I suppose.
750 ml of brake fluid ( I bought 2x 500ml of DOT5, and have a half bottle left over ).
1 small bottle of alcohol to rinse reservoir and connector hoses after rinsing with water.
1x packet of never-seize for all the bolts
3x Grommets - the old ones tear easy and are a pain to get back in. You need 3 for the front-to-back line: 1 at the front, 2 at the back.

I think that's all. Like I said, my biggest mistake was that I didn't get all the correct parts up front, so I was running back and forth to the FLAPS every day to get yet another little piece of brake line. Plus then screwing up on that thread didn't help matters any.

Total cost was less than $300 Canadian.
I bought the master cylinder and some final bits of line at Lordco, and the rest online at California Imports (www2.cip1.com) which is very convenient for me as it's in Vancouver :) But you have to buy it all at once because of minimum order sizes.
Oddly, the master cylinder was only $50 CAD at Lordco - much cheaper than CalImports, whereas all the rest was insanely expensive at Lordco ($75 for a wheel cylinder that cost me $15 at CalImports, $25 for the brake light switch that's 5 bucks at Calimports).

I would recommend at least replacing the easy to get to brake lines if you have your car up in the air anyways, as they are relatively cheap. The ends on mine were very rusted so I think it was worthwhile. On the bright side, even though they were very rusty on the outside, the inside of the lines all looked very safe and solid still, after all these years of neglect.


-Nico teWinkel
'71 Fasty, FI, Auto, Yellow
Comox, BC.

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