I like to obsess about things. From big tasks to tiny details. It’s fun for me to live in the fantasy world within my brain where all bolts thread easily with simple hand tools and never rust. That magical place where all items are in stock right next to the Unicorns and where the more rare they are, the less they cost. Where every decision is the right one the first time and all well-laid plans run like proverbial clockwork. I spend so much time analyzing and reanalyzing that I exhaust myself before even starting the actual tasks and usually give up 1/3 of the way through. I vowed not to do that with the 48 Hudon Commodore. So this week was finishing the brakes.
After the Irish-model Derek came over last week and we got all of the drums rebuilt with new cylinders, shoes and springs this week should be “fairly” straightforward. Using the HET forum and the power of the web and Amazon prime I armed myself with the flex rubber hoses, a single-style master cylinder and a can of PB Blaster. Because I have a difficult time staying on track the whole process took longer than needed as I diverted off into suspension changes. But I did eventually sort those and moved back to the brakes. To get the quite old rubber hoses off the front I had to use a small air tool with a cutoff wheel. I cut the hoses as close to the ends as possible and then tried to pull them through after removing the pesky brake clips. No dice. Took the impact socket and tried to quickly spin the hose remnants free. Nope. Finally had an idea that worked. I took a set of lock-jaw pliers and fastened them to the fitting side of the rubber hose (the side that is on the inside of the fender). Then put the deep socket on the impact and slowly rotated it until the pliers jammed on the frame creating a way to keep the “fitting side” from spinning. Let the big compressor get up to PSI and spun the impact on full throttle. The force snapped the old brake line from the fitting and I was able to remove the pieces. Was happy with that one. May not be the most sanctioned method but I am always happy when forced to come up with some way to make something work – and then it does. Sort of like golf, which I am terrible at. One good shot each hole keeps you doing it again. Sure at the end of the day I’ve spent as much in lost golf balls as I did to play the course and my scorecard looks more like a decent bowling score but it was fun. This is a hobby after all.
Now that the hoses were out it was time to remove the master cylinder. Of course I didn’t read the manual and started unbolting things. Wrong idea. So I put the parts back and did a bit of light reading. Got the bolt (9/16 fine thread) out which secures the bracket to the frame. Took the 2 long bolts (9/16 fine) out that held the master cylinder in place and the 1/2 coarse thread nut/bolt off the front. The M/C slid off no problem and I cleaned up the push-rod. Even the adjuster nuts still spin freely! The M/C was 100% crusty though it amazingly did still have some brake fluid left in it. I couldn’t figure out how the M/C had the brake line fittings attached because it was so rusted that the Y-adapter block and banjo bolt were rust-welded to it. Back on to the HET forum and member Ken-Tx advised what I needed and sent the package off. Took stock of brake line lengths and routing and it seemed pretty straightforward.
Over the next couple days the parts from Ken arrived and I was able to get the new M/C installed. Went to AutoZone and grabbed a couple of every length brake line they had. I can return the unused ones. Plan was to use Sunday to get them all run and bled.
Sunday was Father’s Day and I was asked what I’d like to do. My response was to stay home, be allowed to work on the car all day and see what happens. Then my Dad called on Saturday and invited us to spend the day with he and his amazing wife Cathy at a little beach about 30 minutes from the house. We’d celebrated their wedding there 2 years earlier and it’s a place we’ve all fallen in love with. As much I wanted a day to be under the car, family is more important. So we hopped in the car Sunday morning and set off to bake in a beautiful afternoon. The Better Half reminded to put on sunblock which I didn’t and now am paying the price for. The water was cold and the current pretty strong and it didn’t stop us from wading out, watching sailboats and fishing vessels off in the distance until they seemed to just fall off the end of the world. As I stood there with my beautiful son in my arms, him giggling for me to go out further and further, while the most beautiful girl in the world left sand imprints of handstands and cartwheels next to us I knew it was the right decision – the only decision – of how to spend Father’s Day.
Got home and even managed to cobble all the lines together. Just need a simple 1/4 to 3/16 adapter for the rear flex line and I can ask my little girl to help bleed the brakes.