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New Brake Lines

We've avoided this portion of the project for as long as we could. Noone wanted to hunker down undneath the truck with the oppressive heat and humidity common to the greater St. Louis metro area. Fortunately, we had a brief respite from the heat for about two weeks and we took full advantage of the opportunity.

When the truck was disassembled two years ago [editors note, it's hard to believe it's been so long], the brake lines were rendered unusable. It became necessary to cut the lines since the fittings were rusted beyond the powers of penetrating oil and muscle. We had hoped to get a new set from Classic Tube since they has sponsored us with the braided stainless steel flexible lines for the front and rear axles. Unfortunately, without the original lines to use as templates, we were completely out of luck. So we invested in a Rigid brand double flare tool, a bender and a bunch of pre-cut 3/16" brake lines.

New brake calipers, cleaned, painted and ready to install.

New powdercoated steel brake lines, custom bent and installed on the rear axle.

The process began by installing the flexible brake lines which Classic Tube sponsored. This was a simple matter of bolting the lines in at the front brake calipers and clipping them in place at the frame rails. For the rear axle, the line was secured to the frame and then to the axle with a new Ford vent tube assembly.

We started on the rear axle since it was easy to reach. We began with the driver's side at the wheel and began bending and forming the line to reach the "T" block which is held in place by the axle vent tube. Once formed, the line was cut with a cutoff wheel and then a new double flare was created. The same procedure was applied to the other side of the axle, but with a bit more efford to form it up and over the differential housing and still have it meet up with the factory mounting locations.

The run from the rear axle to the front of the truck was a breeze, having only a couple of bends along the way. The line was then secured to the frame with some Made For You T-Clamps.

Now came the hard part, forming the brake line down and around the engine mount from the factory "T" on the driver's side to the Classic Tube connection on the passenger's side. We had the factory tubing, but it had been deformed and we could not use it as a reliable pattern. So we started from scratch using rolled tubing. After a couple of hours of bending and fitting the new line, we had failed on attempt number one. However, we did have a pretty good template for a second attempt. Between the old factory line and our first attempt, we were able to create a second attempt in the shop instead of laying under the truck working upside down. Once we got our second piece close, we then were able to take it under the truck and make the connection to the factory "T" fitting and we were very close to the Classic Tube assembly on the other end. With a little finesse and a lot of luck, we were able to make ends meet.

The short hop from the "T" block to the driver's side front caliper line was a matter of a couple of simple bends and all that remained was the connection to the master brake cylinder. While challenging, the final connections were child's play compared to the front axle run. Now with the line formed and connected, we then removed the line and had it powder coated to prevent it from rusting. The lines were resinstalled and the fittings were painted over to fully prevent oxidation. All that's left is to add brake fluid, bleed the lines and we're done.

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