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

<x-flowed>Thanks for verifying it all, Jim!

Jim Adney wrote:
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.

The metal lines did indeed look perfect on the insides, with lots of metal left on them. The replacement lines look sturdy enough too, but I'm no expert - hopefully they'll last long enough so I won't have to do that work again ;)
Looking back, however, I would do the same thing again (except that I would use the rubber hoses).
I'd still be wanting to replace the metal lines just because of the amount of rust on the ends. The LF line was seized to the LF hose, and I couldn't separate them even after I had it out of the car. Other ends were rusted onto the lines themselves and would not turn.
In terms of money, all the metal lines together cost me maybe $15 US, which motivated me to replace those. The hoses were the pricey part at $15 US each (rubber is cheaper). My wheel cylinders definately needed replacing or rebuilding (one was leaking, the other had a seized bleeder valve), and my calipers were uneven, causing major pulling to the side when braking (I assume that the rear cylinder issue wouldn't cause that much pulling). I originally bought the MC by mistake actually, thinking that was the cause of my fluid loss. All in all, I thought the $300 Canadian was a pretty good deal when compared to the price of just a single tuneup on my New Beetle. But yes, it helped that I had savings available for that.

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.

Yup. I'm proof of that :)

even here in the rust belt I have seldom replaced any hard line other than the
center one.

Oddly enough, that was the one line I felt I should have left, as it looked to be near-perfect inside and out, and was the most painful to replace.

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.

Hahaha I never even thought of that! That's what the FLAPS guy was saying they were, but he must have got that wrong. The hard learned lesson, though, was that whatever the reason, there was a difference in threads there (and they don't specify M10x1 or such).

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.

I bought the Varga with double bleeder valve (so the left one is same as the right one). My braking is so much better than it was before that I wouldn't know the difference I guess.
What makes the OE ones work so much better?

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

Ah, I fell for that "rubber hoses can stretch so you get firmer brakes" line.
Rubber hoses are cheaper indeed ($10 instead of $15 each), and it looks like you can get all the right pieces easily at CalImports - I had trouble finding the 11" M-F in SS.
With hindsight, yes I would have bought the rubber hoses especially considering that they brake the same and are more original looking too.
Nowhere do they mention that they are not Dot approved, which ticks me off... they make them sound better.
So it sounds like I should have saved my money on the brake hoses and spent the savings on the OE calipers upgrade.
Have you ever seen a rubber hose fail ?

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.

Good to know, thanks.

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.

And that's good to know too.

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

Maybe they forgot...

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

I left it open in my garage for at least 2 days, so I hope that did it.
I had thought of tossing some fluid through it, but didn't - do you think that would have helped?
I was amazed at the amount of junk that came out of that area with the water flush.

Thanks again for your feedback, Jim.


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