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Intrepidation

Brake Problems

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So the Grand Marquis needs brake lines and the master cylinder seal. I've never done this before. How hard is it to replace lines? I'm sure it varies from vehicle to vehicle, but a general idea of what to do and the difficulty involved would be helpful.

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So the Grand Marquis needs brake lines and the master cylinder seal. I've never done this before. How hard is it to replace lines? I'm sure it varies from vehicle to vehicle, but a general idea of what to do and the difficulty involved would be helpful.

Brake lines can be a handful, but its one of those things that gets easier as you get the experience under your belt, so to say.

First, you need to assess exactly how much brake line you are replacing and what type. I assume we are not talking about the rubber lines, as they are generally a bolt in deal... usually a fused, stripped, ground off bolt in deal, but a bolt in deal nonetheless. GM stuff uses a banjo bolt on the calipers and a line nut on the other end and a clip... Fords are likely similar. Loosen the line nut before removing the clip. When reinstalling, be sure to get the line oriented right, as the clip won't go on right otherwise... the orientation in conjunction with the crimping helps hold the lines from rubbing on stuff.

Steel lines in some cases can be replaced complete, like the front lines... or need to be patched... usually rear lines are installed before the body and drivetrain is dropped in, so you can't really get them in or out without destroying them, unless you are doing a frame-off.

Since we are then likely talking about replacing a section of line which is rusty or leaking, because one may by on a budget and model specific lines might be hard to get or too expensive. A lot of people will just get a compression fitting and replace the smallest bit of line they can. I prefer to replace more line, because steel line is cheap, and rusted lines are brittle and tend to break more as you work on them, so I like to replace enough to ensure I'm not refixing the problem a year later... so I'll poke at the rest of the line and make sure any nearby fixings aren't stripped or seized. If so, I'll replace up to the fitting, knowing it will be a good repair.

Get yourself a bending tool or bending spring. Otherwise, you had better learn just how much bend you can put in a piece of line before it kinks. Get yourself a good flare tool and practice on the patch piece... it _will_ get shorter as you screw up the flare a few times. Bending line is not a perfect science... just try to approximate the original path of the missing piece without rubbing on stuff.

However, my NUMBER ONE TIP for fixing brake lines... PUT THE NUT ON THE LINE BEFORE YOU FLARE IT!!!! It sounds simple, but I have cut off too many perfect flares because I wasn't thinking. Also put the nut on in the right direction.

As far as Master Cylinder Seal... that, to me sounds like time to get a new master cylinder... Unless the Grand Mark has some weird master cylinder. Sure, you can rebuild them, but its not worth it. Otherwise, they may be referring to the Master cylinder seal as the rubber diaphragm that seals the interior opening behind the master cylinder... but that only would leak water and/or exhaust. If its leaking brake fluid, its time for a new master cylinder.

Hope that helps.

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Good advice, thank you! I haven't had a chance to look at it. My mom took it to the shop and that's what she told me.

I'll have to talk to them tomorrow and find out exactly what.

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Good advice, thank you! I haven't had a chance to look at it. My mom took it to the shop and that's what she told me.

I'll have to talk to them tomorrow and find out exactly what.

Yeah, find out and let us know a better description. Since a shop came up with this, I wonder if it really needs brake lines. Every car over 5 years old has some crusty looking brake lines and some shops fishing for business could try to (literally) scare up some business. Brake lines can look pretty scary and still function fine for decades.

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So now that I got to talk to him in person, he told me that only the line from the proportioning valve to the back of the car need to be replaced, but the entire thing is leaking. It might need a proportioning valve but he suggested trying to just replace the line first.

Got some brake fluid and put it in the reservoir, the brake light went off and the car was fine going home...so that buys some time. I'll need to take it to a friend's house to work on it.

So I need to get the lines...it would be nice if I could get them pre-bent or find a place to bend them. I don't have the tools for that.

He's going to let me borrow his flare tool set...how do I use this thing? :lol:

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So now that I got to talk to him in person, he told me that only the line from the proportioning valve to the back of the car need to be replaced, but the entire thing is leaking. It might need a proportioning valve but he suggested trying to just replace the line first.

Got some brake fluid and put it in the reservoir, the brake light went off and the car was fine going home...so that buys some time. I'll need to take it to a friend's house to work on it.

So I need to get the lines...it would be nice if I could get them pre-bent or find a place to bend them. I don't have the tools for that.

He's going to let me borrow his flare tool set...how do I use this thing? :lol:

Pre-bent lines are expensive. Inline Tube sells pre-bent lines, but they are a $150+ affair. They sell 6" of straight tube for less than $20, depending on width.

Bending tube by hand is not hard...get a few blocks of wood and lock it in a vice, if you have one... get a old wooden dowel, banister or baseball bat to slowly roll the tube to make the bends... just don't apply too much too quickly, otherwise it will kink. That's what the tubing bender or spring is for... kink prevention. Both are cheap tools, but can be specific to the size of your line. Luckily, in cars, you generally only have to be concerned with 3/8 and 1/4 line. Harbor Freight sell the benders.

The hardest trick in bending, IMHO, has little to do with the bending tools. Its about getting an S-bend in a plane. When you first start this, it would seem easy to get them lined up, but something always seems to shift, so double check as you progress. You can twist the tube, to fix this, but the line tends to fight you more... leading to a kink if you suddenly misapply your force.

Don't let me discourage you. You will get a pretty good approximation, though it might be harder to get it in the stock clips that an OEM piece. Also, since you will be replacing a long line with two 6" sections, you can work on them independently... don't forget to buy the union.

As for the flaring kit. First, I assume its a double flaring kit. Single flaring is easier, but the joint is thinner and more likely to leak. Single flaring is just that, the kit grips the line and flares the tube outward.

Double flaring is a two step process. Your kit might be somewhat different, but hopefully, I'll hit the important parts. First you put the line in the vice hole corresponding to your line size (don't forget the nut!) with about some protruding from the cratered side... the kits usually have instructions or a reference for how much should stick out... I don't recall since I haven't double flared anything in a while now... Sometimes the little caps are the gauge for how much should protrude. Tighten this vice GOOD... you don't want to push the line out as you work the end.

Next, you get the little cap that corresponds to your line size and put that on the line. The screw part now goes over the cap and you tighten it down... if will smash the end of the line into the crater in the making a ball with a slight ridge around the equator. Now you remove the screw part and take the cap out and use the screw part again with the flare part in the end of the line. This collapses the ball in on itself, making the finished flare shape. As you will note, the metal of the flared part is folded over, and double thick.

The final flare is not going to look perfect... but as long as the flare shape is right and you haven't torn the metal or pushed the line out of the vice, you should have a good end. Assemble the line and you are good to go.

I doubt anything is wrong with the proportioning valve. Also, keep in mind that there is typically only one leak in a line. Once it leaks, the pressure will not reach a high enough pressure to pop another leak. The leak in your line is likely towards the front, and the fluid is traveling down the line as you drive... so I still think you might get along with a smaller repair. In my experience, the leaks all tend to form from where the line stops travelling downward and follows the frame behind the front wheel to about a foot behind the front wheel.

So that's about the extent of my knowledge on that. Let us know if you run into trouble and how you fair.

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Well the brakes are good as new now, thanks for the advice!

While I was under there I noticed something else I'd like to fix. Since we bought the carthe parking brake hasn't worked. When you push the pedal down there's no resistance. Never really got around to inspecting it, but yesterday I noticed that the cable was kind of just handing there, and the only thing securing it to the body was a half assed zip tie.

So I want to figure out where the actually issue is...the forward cable, intermediate cable, or rear cable.

But first up is getting the driver's seat to work again. I haven't driven it in a while, but it's very uncomfortable because the seat is so far forward to me.

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Well the brakes are good as new now, thanks for the advice!

While I was under there I noticed something else I'd like to fix. Since we bought the carthe parking brake hasn't worked. When you push the pedal down there's no resistance. Never really got around to inspecting it, but yesterday I noticed that the cable was kind of just handing there, and the only thing securing it to the body was a half assed zip tie.

So I want to figure out where the actually issue is...the forward cable, intermediate cable, or rear cable.

But first up is getting the driver's seat to work again. I haven't driven it in a while, but it's very uncomfortable because the seat is so far forward to me.

Your welcome, any time.

Since the cable is likely sheathed, it can hang nearly loose and still function. Of course, it is a good idea to have it secured, but that will probably not fix the problem.

You're going to need to get someone to actuate the parking brake while you watch from underneath to see whats moving. Again, I'm not real familiar with Fords, but I'm sure its similar to GM... cable in a cable sheath to just in front of the rear diff, then naked cable to two cables and likely two sheaths. Of course, and break will likely render the brake useless. Since you feel no resistance, I would guess the break is near the front... likely near where the brake line was at its more corroded. In fact, I would probably just pull the brake cable off of the parking brake lever/pedal assembly and pull it out... it will pull out if broken... then you could use that length to determine where it broke.

Nonetheless, you will likely need to replace the cable and sheath as an assembly. If its anything like the GM cables, the clips holding it in place will be a bear to get off... rusty, stubborn and/or sharp... along with the actual fastener connecting the front cable to the rear ones.

Whenever I had a seat stuck, it was a coin or a soda bottle... but that is with manual seats, I'm sure yours is power. The damn things always seem to stick in the forward position...

Have fun. ;-)

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