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Re: [T3] Brakes done! Lessons learned...

On 20 Jun 2005 at 18:46, Nico teWinkel wrote:

> I finished the brakes this weekend! hurray!

Congratulations on getting your work done. I saved this message because I 
wanted to take some time to respond to it point by point.

> I replaced all the hydraulic system parts, except for the reservoir and the 
> hoses leading to the master cylinder.

II's generally a mistake to assume that if you just replace everything you'll 
be better off. Of course this would be true if money were no object and if the 
replacement parts out there were all as good as the originals. Unfortunately, 
neither of these is true for most of us.

> 1. Buy all the *correct* parts before you start.

Absolutely, but the hard part for the novice is knowing the right parts from 
the wrong parts.

> 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.

Right, and few people ever figure this out. This is often the easiest way to 
bleed when you're starting out with a completely clean system.

> 5. Cut the old rusty brake lines with big tin snips

It certainly helps with the long center line, but I would emphasize that even 
here in the rust belt I have seldom replaced any hard line other than the 
center one. Unfortunately, the center ones you can generally buy are just a 
couple inches shorter than I'd like them to be.

> 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).

Right, there's really no other way to do it.

> 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.

I've not seen this. The concept of a British metric thread sounds like a bit of 
an oxymoron to me.

> 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)

These are cheap, but they come with a 10% reduction in braking. For a bit more 
money I can rebuild the OE ones and you get better quality AND OE braking. 

> 2x rear cylinders (again, aftermarket)

Unlike front calipers, I've never seen anything wrong with any replacement rear 
wheel cylinder.

> 1x T-connector for the back (mind you, the old one would have passed as new 
> with a quick cleaning)

Right, these last forever.

> 2x 15" hoses M-F for front (I got all Stainless Steel braided hoses... not 
> sure if they really make a difference though).

Cost more, brake the same. There may be insurance issues since they are not DoT 

> 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)

Nothing will last as long as the OE brake light switches. If yours are still 
good, don't replace 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)

That's fine, these also last forever.

> 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.

It's very good to keep those caps on there. I thought new parts always came 
with them....

> 750 ml of brake fluid ( I bought 2x 500ml of DOT5, and have a half bottle 
> left over ).

Good choice of fluid. With a totally clean system, you should be able to easily 
do this with 750 ml. I did my first one with 1 pint, but that was not enough to 
get my reservoir all the way full. It was still enough for a test, however.

> 1 small bottle of alcohol to rinse reservoir and connector hoses after 
> rinsing with water.

Just make SURE that all of this has COMPLETELY evaporated before you add 
anything else to the system. It's hard to be sure that the inside of a tube is 

Jim Adney, jadney@vwtype3.org
Madison, Wisconsin, USA

List info at http://www.vwtype3.org/list | mailto:gregm@vwtype3.org

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