Brake Maintenance, A Tutorial... -
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Unread 08-19-2014, 12:25 PM   #1
Running On Empty...
1973 CJ5 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: South West Indiana
Posts: 10,445
Brake Maintenance, A Tutorial...

This is a Tutorial Thread, Some Tips, Tricks and Ideas for those stubborn brakes.

By far the biggest problem I see with brakes is twisted off or rounded off brake caliper/cylinder BLEEDING SCREWS at the wheels.

No one ever asks first before bleeding their brakes that might have been in place for the life of the vehicle (around 3 decades!)...
So they twist off or round off the rusted/corroded bleeder screws in the calipers/wheel cylinders.

If you do this very much, you will learn some things about getting those pesky bleeders out without damage...

1. Get a drill bit that fits into the bleeder TIGHTLY.
Clean out the hole out with the drill bit and your fingers.
Blow out the crud you knocked loose with WD-40, PB Blaster, ect.

This not only cleans the hard crud out so the bleeder can vent fluid,
But it cleans/sizes the hole, removing rust/hard crud so the drill bit can be flipped over, more on that in a minute.

2. Use some solvent and wire brush to clean off the OUTSIDE of the bleeder.
You don't need crud keeping your wrench from making it's best contact with the bleeder.

3. Flip the drill over, stick the BACK END of that tightly fitting drill into the bleeder.
This fills the hole up and keeps what is basically TUBING from shifting and twisting off as you try to remove the bleeder.
Tubing will shift and collapse/twist off MUCH easier than something mostly solid inside, and this is the idea of flipping the drill over to brace the inside of the bleeder.

4. If it's REALLY STUCK, and you have come close to twisting it off, and it still won't release,
Take a SOFT PUNCH, like a brass drift, and a hammer, and give that bleeder some side 'Tapping' and some Tapping from the open hole end.
This will help break loose the crud in the threads...

DO NOT wack it hard enough to sheer the bleeder off from side load,
Or hit it hard enough, or with a steel face hammer to distort the top of the bleeder.


Now, some people will tell you to use HEAT from a propane torch to help break up the corrosion connection.
Every single stuck brake bleeder (From lack of maintenance) is on a backing plate with a bunch of oil crud on it.
Oil crud is a fire hazard. So is brake fluid.

Also, heating that caliper/cylinder is a VERY good way to destroy the rubber seals, O Rings, ect. inside of it,
So if you didn't plan to replace the unit, I wouldn't apply heat,
If you did plan to replace the unit, there is no point heating it.


They are cheap, available everywhere and if you try to use a common wrench on this application you are more than likey going to fail miserably.
Give yourself the best chance at success and get the proper wrench/socket for the application.

We all have POs. POs had a tendency to destroy things, then sell the Jeep off... No one is immune...

If the bleeder is rounded off,
Vice Grips are about your only choice here, and by the time you get vice grips tight enough to take a bleeder out, you have crushed it since it's basically tubing.

The end of the drill in the bleeder hole will REALLY save your life here!
Since the drill keeps the bleeder from crushing, you can get a REAL DAMN GOOD GRIP on that screw, and usually with a little 'Wacking' and twisting (and some cussing) it will back out...

IF the top of the bleeder is slightly deformed,
Use a SMALLER drill to open up a pilot hole, then use progressively larger drills until you get the tube/hole full size again.
DO NOT make the hole larger, just clean it out and flip the drill to remove the bleeder.

Making the hole LARGER removes even more of the material you are relying on to get the bleeder out successfully, so don't do it!



You CAN bleed both calipers and cylinders, (although this works best on cylinders) by breaking the fluid line loose and blowing out any air.
It's not a PERFECT solution, but it will get you up and running until you can get the bleeder fixed properly.

Worst case issues, breaking off the bleeder...
Replacement Cylinders are CHEAP.
It's not worth drilling out the broken bleeder screw in a cylinder most times, so just replace it.
To drill you will have to take it off anyway, so while it's off, replace it.

Calipers are a different story,
You CAN drill the bleeder out with the caliper still on the vehicle...
*IF* you are VERY steady with a drill motor,
And *IF* you have some LEFT TWIST DRILLS...
Most people don't...

When you drill a bleeder screw, you ARE NOT Trying to drill all the way through.
If you do drill through the bottom of the screw, you will ruin the seat cut into the caliper!

The idea is to drill the SIDES of the HOLLOW bleeder screw so thin they release from the threads...
One slightly larger hole at a time until the broken off screw heats up from the drilling and releases...
And the LEFT twist drill backs it out...

I specify LEFT TWIST DRILLS since a common RIGHT twist drill will simply tighten the broken off part of the bleeder against the seat in the caliper.

Since the bleeder has a 'Pilot Hole' in the middle, you can use a hand drill motor here,
But make no mistake, if you don't hit the EXACT CENTER of the axis of the bleeder you WILL drill out threads, then the caliper is junk...
Unless you are going to drill/tap for the next larger size of bleeder,
And you think LEFT TWIST DRILLS are rare! Try and lay hands on that tap on a Saturday afternoon in a small town!...

If you drill through the bleeder and get into the seat machined into the caliper, or you drill the threads out,
This is the 'TOTAL' point,
It's just cheaper/easier to take that caliper in for exchange and get a reman or new one.



Line work is a real pain in the a$$.
Think 'DOUBLE FLAIR' which is fairly hard to do even with the correct MANUAL tool since it requires a lot of hand strength, and it requires room for the line clamp tool, the flaring tool, ect.

On top of that, lines are NOT created equil, neither are flairing tools...
Expect to make a LOT of mistakes,
So I don't recommend you try to remove/replace/rebuild lines if you don't get the proper tools, and some practic line and do some practice flairs.

Once you have mastered the 'Double Flair' on practice line without cracking it, Then you are ready to get your butt whipped on the real thing...


Lines are TRICKY!
If you don't have the line cut off almost PERFECTLY square, the flair at the end isn't going to form correctly.
Get yourself a good, SHARP tubing cutter.
The 'Harbor Freight' versions are NOT going to work here, you are going to need to kick in for a good tubing cutter and deburring tool here to cut/prep the line before you try and flair.

Remember, this IS A SAFETY ISSUE, so don't cheap out here...

Cut the line, De-burr the line (inside of a cut line will have burrs, smeared metal and that MUST be removed before you will get a good flair),
And when you have a good line, try for a good double flair.

*IF* you are working on existing lines, keep in mind that 30+ years of rust, corrosion, dents, bends, ect. will be working against you.
Rust hardens the lines, so they often split,
Rust UNDER-SIZES the lines, so they often won't stay in the clamp properly.

If the line is damaged to the point it won't stay in the clamp, or you split the line trying to flair it,
Take BOTH ENDS loose and make a new line instead of just trying to repair the end...

Flair your ends BEFORE you bend the line. Make sure your fittings are at the ends when you bend! Nothing like doing flairs, lots of complicated bends, then finding out you can't get the fitting past the bends!

Not all 'Off The Shelf' line is created equal!!!
The 'Made In China' stuff RARELY stays in the clamps where you put it, and often splits/smears when you try to flair it.
You will also find the 'China' stuff likes to KINK when you try to bend it...

Like I said before, get some tubing and practice flaring, this will tell you where to get your line along with giving you proficiency in flaring.

For those of you with big ideas about stainless steel line...
Stainless steel is EXPENSIVE, it's easily damaged, bends like crap without a mandrel bender and will drive you nuts trying to flair it...
Stainless is HARDER than regular line, so it takes more pressure to flair,
And it cracks EASIER than regular steel line.
You usually need more/better tools for stainless steel line, so keep that in mind...
And just try to find stainless steel fittings locally... You will have to mail order everything.


Damaged line fittings seem to be MANDATORY on a CJ!
POs like to use common wrenches on line fittings, when they should have used a LINE WRENCH (Yes, another specialty tool you need if you are going to do very much fuel line or brake work)...

Again, you get what you pay for. Big, thick, clunky line wrenches will give you fits trying to get them into tight spaces, like between line and wheel cylinder,
While thinner walled wrenches will often flex and let the wrench round off the fitting.

The solution here is to buy TOP QUALITY.
You won't hear me send people to places like 'Snap On' tools very often, but this is one of those times.
SK tools makes a pretty good line wrench set for about 1/3 what Snap On does, and the Sears/Craftsman version is very thick, so keep that in mind when you are looking at line wrench sets.

Line fittings seem to hate people... They round off, rust down, stick like crazy in calipers, line 'T's, and god help you if someone PO has installed a STEEL fitting into brass, like the Combination Valve, because they ALWAYS screw them in WAY TOO TIGHT, and they seize into place in the brass...

Again, remember the 'Hollow' in the line when you find a seized line.
Cut the line, use a drill and FINGERS to clean things out,
Flip the drill over and stick the blank end into the line,
And then try to turn the fitting out.

Sometimes in brass you are just going to take the threads out no matter what you do.
This is NOT your fault, it's the idiot that cranked down until the brass seized on the steel.

If you get that fitting out of the brass,
Have a look in the brass fitting to see if the flair was crushed or deformed by the idiot with the wrench...
Brass seats don't take a lot of pressure since the brass will fairly easily form to the line flair... So tons of pressure isn't usually required...
So if the moron PO didn't deform the tapered seat, you can usually reuse the brass fitting or combo valve...

When you screw DIS-SIMILAR METALS TOGETHER, Steel into cast iron, steel into brass, ect.
Remember, a little NEVER-SEIZE goes a long way here!
Most people throw a fit about using something like 'Never Seize' on brake fittings,
But the truth is, anything that gets into the lines will be flushed out when brake fluid hits it.
Brake fluid is a POWERFUL solvent, and trust me, it WILL remove anything that gets into the lines!
Just remember to use it SPARINGLY, you don't want great gobs of it, just coat the threads and leave it at that...

Now, we have covered removing a rounded off fittings (Cut the line, change fitting, re-flair the line with new fitting),
Checking brass seats for reuse,
And some basics on making/flaring lines,
Getting bleeder screws out or fixing broken ones...



YOU WILL HAVE LEAKS! If you open the system, you will have leaks.
Opening the system to bleed is OPENING THE SYSTEM.

If you replace lines, calipers, cylinders, replaced the master cylinder, you will have opened the system.


For some reason, people think this is 'Easy'...
I've been doing this for over 40 years, and I can tell you it's just not that simple...

Bench Bleeding is the best way to bleed a master cylinder.
Clamp it in a vice as level as you can get it,
Make up some lines from the outlet ports back into the master cylinder reservoirs, make sure your lines are UNDER the fluid level,
And stroke that MC FULLY.

(trying to bleed on the vehicle doesn't work since the brake rod in the vehicle DOES NOT bottom out and air will be left in the MC.)

Make sure you DO NOT let the piston 'Snap' back, control the return.
If you let it snap back without a lid on the MC, you can suck air pretty easily.

Stroke it several times, then let it sit a while.
Bubbles trapped in the cast iron will surface, then bleed it again.
Those small bubbles will look like something discolored or foam in the reservoirs when you stroke it the second time...

Do this three or four times at the very least, allowing somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes in between bleedings.
When you stop getting bubbles or 'Foam' then the cast iron has given up all it's trapped air and you are ready to install in the vehicle.

Keep the bleed lines in place,
Keep the MC UPRIGHT,
DO NOT remove the bleeder lines until you are ready to hook up the vehicle lines!

Most, but NOT ALL master cylinders have 'Check Valves' or 'Back Pressure' valves built into them, but some of the lower quality re-manufactured master cylinders don't have them,
So allowing the bottom connection to drain will introduce air back into the system.
On very old vehicles, the check/back pressure valve is in the line, not the MC, so again, you will get air into the system if you let the bottom end drain.

Once the line is on the MC, the air bubble is TRAPPED, without flow from below up into the MC, the air bubble will stay right at the outlet port...
So if you bleed the brakes in a timely manner, the air will be FORCED DOWN instead of migrating back up into the MC.
It's a quirk of hydraulics that saves you aggravation here...
And pouring the line you are hooking up full of fluid will help trap that little air bubble also.
Lots of air from below will allow it to move up faster,
But a full line will keep it trapped for several minutes.


Start bleeding...
Make sure the system is CLOSED (Bleeders closed) before the pedal is let up,

Snapping the pedal back up creates VACUUM in the lines, and that will suck in air from any leaks that might be present.

Check your fittings, any fitting you replaced, for leaks.
If you find a leak, tighten it up a little more (Don't crank the crap out of it!)

Now, most of you will think this is stupid, but a little toilet paper on the fittings will tell you right away if there is a leak.
There is some spray on leak detector that changes color when fluid is present,
Or you can keep watching for drips,
But toilet paper will change color right away, is cheap and you don't have to mail order for it...

Once you have the leaks cinched up, then start with serious bleeding...


COMBINATION SAFETY VALVE, AKA: "Proportioning Valve"...

This valve is by far the least understood and biggest pain in the butt for DIY guys!

This valve is a rod that has three grooves cut into it.
The first groove is a passage for brake fluid,
The second is a groove to turn on your 'BRAKE' failure light,
The third groove is a brake fluid passage.

When you have an 'Open' in the system, front or rear, the valve rod moves to block off the 'Leak' and turn on the 'Brake' warning light.

This means if you have an 'Open' line,
Or a line with air in it, the air will compress, and the valve will trip.

Centering the valve is MANDATORY.
Without a centered valve, you WILL NOT get brake fluid to one end or the other... (usually the back locks down)

There are a couple of ways to keep this valve centered...
The 'Factory' way is to use a clip on the valve to keep it centered.
The clips are available, or there is a way to make your own...


This is a VERY cheap way to make the tool you need.

The second way is to bleed both ends at once.
There are 'One Man' bleeders that make very little back pressure so the valve doesn't trip,
But allow the brake fluid/air out without letting air back into the system.


This IS NOT what you may need, it's for example only of one man bleeders.

Then switch sides when you get the air out...

Slow, even FULL strokes down, then control the 'Up' or return of the pedal.
That will trip the valve, and that is what you are trying to avoid.


A third way is to use THREE MEN,
One on the pedal, one front, one rear.
Again, make sure your bleeders are OPEN before the pedal goes down,
Close bleeders,
Control pedal return,
Repeat as necessary.


Just some tips and tricks of the trade,
They are worth exactly what you paid for them, So if you have complaints, keep it to yourself.

IF you have something to add, then by all means do!
No mechanic knows everything, and you would be surprised what people come up with when they are in tight quarters or pressed to get a daily driver up and running...

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Unread 08-19-2014, 02:28 PM   #2
pepe le pew
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Thank you for the always informative and instructional posts!
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Unread 08-19-2014, 04:25 PM   #3
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I will lightly coat the bleeder screw threads with copper anti-seize.
I do that to all brake line fittings.
Have'n you along, is like loose'n 2 good men
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Unread 08-19-2014, 05:42 PM   #4
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1973 CJ5 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: South West Indiana
Posts: 10,445
Copper works best when you are connecting to brass. Zinc works best with aluminum, either work with steel or iron.

So many guys think they are going to ruin their brake job if they use 'Never-Sieze' but that just isn't the case.



When you get the lines, wheel cylinders worked out,
Then comes the brakes at the wheels.
In the case of drums, the biggest problem I see is people getting springs, cables, ect. either in the wrong holes on the shoes,
Or getting the adjusters on backwards...

LOOK CLOSELY at the manual, make sure you are doing the correct side for the picture!
Take pictures before you tear things down, so you can compare to your finished job.
Remember the opposite side is a mirror image, things are exactly 90 degrees reversed from side to side!

Most proprietary brake parts are marked 'R' (Right) and 'L' (Left) so you don't screw things up...


Adjuster ('Star Wheel Thing) at the bottom of the brake shoes...
Make SURE you take that thing apart and lube every mating surface!
High temp grease or better yet, Never-Seize...
This is usually the FIRST thing that rusts/corrodes and stops working, and some lube or never-seize goes a LONG WAY to keeping them working!

When you are fitting the brake shoes to the drums,
90% of the time the shoe edges will fall off in the groove around the backing plate.
You will have to pull the shoes out and make them sit on the pads on the backing plate before the drum will come close to fitting over the shoes...

This is QUITE common...


Look for the friction pads on the backing plate that support the shoes when they slide in and out.
Use a little Never Sieze here.
It's usually easy to spot, and there are usually two on each side, about a third of the way up, and about a third of the way down the shoes...

It will be RUSTY if the shoes haven't been working correctly,
Or it will have the crud/paint rubbed off if they have been working.


When you go to adjust the shoes to the drum,
You can use the adjuster slot in the backing plate, which will take all day...
Or you can do it BEFORE you stick the drum on for the last time.

Use the heels of your hands, smack the shoes diagonally at the same time, top right & left lower, then left top and lower right.
This squares the shoes up once everything is put back in where it belongs and prepares you for the drum.

Test fit the drum, if it fits, and you HAVE NOT opened the system, pump the brake pedal with the drum on to get the shoes out where they need to be,
Then take the drum off, EXPAND the adjuster some and try the drum again...
Keep doing this until the drum just barely fits on the shoes.

This will save you a TON of time trying to get the adjuster to turn though that hole in the backing plate...
When you have the shoes as snug as you can and still get the drum back on,
Then hit the brakes, let off the brakes, and adjust through the slot until you feel slight drag on the drum.

Hit the brakes again, and adjust up until the shoes are just hazing the drum a little.


Brake shoes have to 'Burn In'.
If you have good brakes, drive for about a week, then adjust the brakes again.

The brake shoes come with 'Fuzz' on them that will burn off,
And they will 'Burn In' to the drums,
Sometimes this takes more off the shoes than the adjuster can keep up with, so a second adjustment is needed.

After that, adjust your rear brakes every time you change oil.
This will keep that pedal nice an firm, and it won't dash for the floorboard when you need them!


Some calipers are mounted on bolts, the bolts and sliders need to be lubricated,
Preferably with Never-Seize.

Some calipers have 'V' shaped rails they slide on to compensate for pad wear.
Those 'V' shaped rails need lubrication.
This will keep the caliper sliding easily and keep it in correct adjustment for the rotor.

Failure to do this will result in UNEVENLY worn pads. If you yank pads with one worn out, and the other with a lot of pad left on it, then the caliper hung up... Lack of lubrication is usually the cause.

Remember to use 'Never-Seize on ALL caliper bolts, no matter how small!
High heat form the caliper will make a rusted/stuck mess out of bolts in very short order!
(The only exception is the 'Banjo' bolt that attaches some brake lines, you don't want to use 'Never-Seize' on a banjo fitting bolt...)

One thing you won't hear from most people is to LIGHTLY sand the rotors with FINE sandpaper or emery cloth.
This will get rid of the surface glaze on the rotors, and give you some real stopping power back.

Sanding the pads is a good idea also. Same deal, but for a different reason.
Pads and brake linings are compressed composite material.
This leaves air spaces between particles, which is critical to the best function of the brake material...

The air spaces allow heated gasses to escape through the pad, other than lifting the pad off the rotor to escape...
When you see glaze, that means the air spaces are plugged up and coated over.
Sanding will remove the glaze and the pads will work like new again for a while, until they get glazed over again...

The three types of pads you are likely to run onto are,
Organic, no metal.
Semi-Metalic, some metal,
And Metallic, usually mostly metal with a binder.

Stay away from Organic and full Metallic in most cases.

Organics have a tendency to burn away quite quickly, and they degrade over time as they draw moisture.
Not good in a vehicle you don't drive every day and dry the pads out.
Organics also have issues with things like bacteria growth when left unused for long periods.

Full Metallic pads are hell on rotors! They gouge the crap out of the rotors.
Full Metallics were designed for really high temperature applications,
And since Jeeps aren't real heavy, or they don't do really high speeds, there is no reason to scrap your rotors during the life time of one set of pads...

Metallics also like to rust to the rotor, pitting the rotor (and you get a wobble or pedal pulsing), and they make 7 kinds of noise you really don't need...

Semi-Metallic pads work the best for light weight 'Utility' vehicles, they have good qualities of both Organic, meaning low noise and long rotor life,
And with some Metallic particles, they have a long pad life without the problems of moisture/corrosion in most cases.

Some other tips,
When your vehicle 'Pulls' to one side or the other, steering wheel actually turning right or left,
That's your FRONT brakes doing something stupid.

If it's MOMENTARY, and snaps back to center when you let off the brake, it's usually a brake caliper issue.
The line has let a little air into one caliper,
The piston is hanging up in the bore, usually rust,
The caliper has hung up in the bracket, usually rust or lack of lubrication,
Or you just plain wore out the pads...

The steering wheel will ALWAYS pull to the 'Good' side when you put on the brakes, and snap to the 'Bad' side when you let up on the brakes...

If you go straight down the road, but the steering wheel pulls AFTER you let off the brakes, this is usually something keeping the caliper pushing on the pads.
A cocked piston, rusted piston that can't retract, or a brake line that has failed internally and keeping pressure against the caliper/piston.

If you go straight down the road and when you apply brakes, and the entire vehicle seems to want to drift sideways,
That's usually back brakes.
Same rules as above, it will lean to the 'Good' side when you apply brakes, and want to come back to the 'Bad' side when you let up on brakes.

It's EVOLUTION of brakes here,
The rear drums are OLD technology, while the discs up front are NEW technology for vehicles.
This doesn't mean you should run out and buy a rear disc set up,
But you SHOULD remember you are running with what is mostly 1920's-1930's rear brakes...
And they need REGULAR maintenance...

Advent of 'Self Adjusting' brakes makes the maintenance periods expand, but you *SHOULD* check/adjust rear brakes every time you change oil...
(Just like you should pull the distributor rotor and lubricate that felt pad under the rotor, but we don't think about it and no one does it like they *Should*)


That little pedal was NEVER intended to take the place of the regular vehicle brakes in any way, shape or form!
It's there to keep your vehicle from rolling away when you don't have it in gear and it's parked...

Keep in mind that parking brake IS NOT SELF ADJUSTING!
There is a MANUAL adjuster under the vehicle, on the cable linkage, to compensate for brake shoe wear...
Again, this is supposed to be adjusted at 3,000 to 5,000 mile increments... (Oil Changes), but no one does...
(I know I don't! It gets adjusted ONCE when I do the brakes and hangs there with slack until I do the brakes again...)

Brake shoes MUST be adjusted to the drums before you try to adjust the parking brake!
The parking brake relies on adjusted shoes to work, so if the 'Automatic Adjuster' quits working, the parking brake goes out of adjustment with the brake shoes...
(So when you need it most... IT'S NOT WORKING!)
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Unread 08-19-2014, 05:48 PM   #5
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I also use the copper A/S where the shoes rub on the backing plate and to lube the p'brake cable.
Have'n you along, is like loose'n 2 good men
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Unread 08-19-2014, 09:57 PM   #6
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Cheers JH, I always learn something new from your educational posts. Putting a drill inside the bleeders to prevent crushing is a great tip.
BagusJeep lives in Bali, the Land of Temples.
With a Jeep every prayer counts.

1981 CJ7 258ci - Bagusjeep
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Unread 08-19-2014, 11:27 PM   #7
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EziBend tube is the only way to go IMHO. It bends nicely by hand and flares easier than regular steel.

I used the 5/16" stuff for fuel and it was great.
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Unread 08-20-2014, 06:23 AM   #8
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Very timely! Doing brakes this weekend! Thanks Hammer!
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Unread 08-20-2014, 07:04 AM   #9
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Man that was just great...Thank you so much!
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Unread 08-20-2014, 07:12 AM   #10
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How about some of you post up PROPERLY INSTALLED brake parts on the backing plates,
Or caliper jobs you do in the near future?

Some accurate pictures, close up, different angles would help the next guy figure out where things belong if they run into trouble.

Nothing more aggravating that to have a bunch of parts and not be able to figure out which hole they go in or where they locate!
(and we all know the Service Manuals don't do a very good job of color pictures with good angles...


Originally Posted by LumpyGrits View Post
I also use the copper A/S where the shoes rub on the backing plate and to lube the p'brake cable.
LG, you have proven yourself to be not only a proficient 'Tinker', finding ways to make things do what you want,
But your advise is good and your practices sound.
(and 'Tinker' is the highest praise a fellow 'Tinker' can bestow! It was 'Tinkers' that came up with every invention that made this country great!)

You are one of the guys I listen to when you post because I usually either agree with you, or I learn something new. I'm always up for learning a better way to do things!

The old saying was never more true,
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"

My version of that is,
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and a ton of money at the parts store!


Originally Posted by BagusJeep View Post
Cheers JH, I always learn something new from your educational posts. Putting a drill inside the bleeders to prevent crushing is a great tip.
Can't take credit for that. It was common practice when I was a kid since brake bleeders were often brass or bronze back then and crushed quite easily.
The old timers found out if you fill the hole they don't crush or shift/twist off as easily.

I keep my broken drills just for that application. Not much else you can use a broken drill for, but for exact gauge size, they work, and for this they work...

A twist off will always start with a shift first.
If you twist a few off (and I hope NONE of you go through that!),
You will notice that slight shift before they break and you learn what NOT to do!

I grew up in the country, on a farm with old equipment, 17 miles from town...
And I'm an old fart, over 50, so virtually everything I was working on had drum brakes.

So when the bleeder shifted or twisted off,
You had one more, mostly slim chance to get things to bleed out, and that was cracking the line fitting to bleed the wheel cylinder...

This isn't 'Ideal'...
The line fitting has usually been there as long as the bleeder, is tighter, and it's position doesn't let the fluid flow THROUGH the cylinder, removing air as it goes,
But it WILL allow you to get most of the air out... IF YOU CAN GET IT LOOSE WITHOUT ROUNDING IT OFF OR TWISTING THE LINE...

Yup, "Not Ideal" is an understatement, but if it is your LAST chance to get something up and running for the day, or the next trip to 'Town'...

Like Lumpy Grits does, Never-Sieze is your best friend in those instances!
Only a Jeeper will get into mud, corrosives, ect. as much as farm equipment, so the same practices apply.
NEVER-SEIZE EVERYTHING you will have to take back out at some point,
Thread Locker, Lock Washers, Lock Nuts for everything you want to stay in place,

Schedule the time,
Jack that sucker up twice a year and take your time, inspect everything at your leisure.
Do the maintenance and you will learn every system/part along the way, and catch 'Issues' before they become 'Problems'.

MUCH EASIER to change that 'U' Joint or what ever during a scheduled maintenance afternoon than when you are butt deep in mud, bugs are eating you alive, you are short on tools and the wife/rest of your trail group are bored and restless waiting on you to fix something on the trail...
(and you won't have to listen to them gouge you for the next 5 years about the time you broke...)
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Unread 08-23-2014, 05:21 AM   #11
AZ_Chip's Avatar
1978 CJ7 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 195
Here are some pics of the start of my weekend brake job that just got expanded. You will see why.

Tire off, drum off. So far fantastic!

Some spring stuff on top.

Wild guess, the infamous star adjuster.

And the reason my simple brake job/adjustment changed. I found grease/oil all over my brake shoes. So I am thinking I need to change the grease seal and check the bearings anyway. So in I go. Anyone have the part numbers for the seal?
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Unread 08-23-2014, 11:02 AM   #12
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1985 CJ7 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: The Mojave Desert Palmdale Ca. U.S.A.
Posts: 5,181
You need to fix the oil leak first--
Have'n you along, is like loose'n 2 good men
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Unread 08-23-2014, 01:30 PM   #13
AZ_Chip's Avatar
1978 CJ7 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 195
Originally Posted by LumpyGrits View Post
You need to fix the oil leak first--
LG, yep, that is the plan of attack.
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Unread 08-24-2014, 08:12 AM   #14
Running On Empty...
1973 CJ5 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: South West Indiana
Posts: 10,445
What most people MISS when they do AMC 20 axle is...

The AXLE FLANGE needs a good coat of gasket sealer to seal the BACK SIDE of the brake backing plate, sealed to the axle flange...

Then the WHEEL SEAL needs a good coat of gasket maker to seal it to the INSIDE of the brake backing plate.


The axle seal is just that,

Keeping the brake backing plate to axle flange joint sealed up is the job of RTV Form A Gasket.
And keeping the seal flange sealed up to the brake backing plate is the job of RTV Form A Gasket.

Remember knowing what NOT to do is sometimes as valuable as knowing what to do...

I've tried making GASKETS to fit in these spaces, and it DID NOT WORK.

By the time I got gaskets THICK enough to seal things up, I had end play in the bearings I didn't need or want.



Use a FLAT STEEL SURFACE and dolly out ANY 'Pucker' in the backing plate holes!

You would think between two pieces of flat steel that brake backing plate WOULD NOT get 'Puckered' or have the holes 'Funnel Shaped', but nearly every single one I see is Puckered.

Use a FLAT piece of steel, progressively smaller sockets, opening end down against the RAISED side of the 'Pucker', and dolly them out of the steel GENTLY, a little at a time.

If you use a hammer directly on the 'Pucker', you will stretch the steel and you will have a never ending warp at the hole.
The rounded faces of sockets will 'Chase' the 'Pucker' out a little at a time, towards the CENTER of the hole, and you won't warp the sealing surface that way.

FLAT, CLEAN sealing surfaces... Or the 'Gasket Maker' won't stick properly.
This sometimes means jacking up the axle on the side you are working on to keep the diff lube from running out where you are working... And sticking a CLEAN rag in the hole to mop up what is in the axle pocket until you are ready to assemble...

Cut a SMALL hole in the application tip, make a BEAD around the axle hole, between axle hole and bolt holes.
Too much Sealer and you will wind up with sealer in the bearing pocket.

Allow the RTV Sealer to 'Stand Up' before you let the jack down.
Keep the gear lube off it a couple of hours (or more if you can let the Jeep sit) so the RTV can vulcanize before you get lube against it...

This will give you your best chance of having a seal.

As always, use NEW BOLTS/NUTS, DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN, (over tightening is what puckered the holes in the first place)

When you put the new seal on, make sure the seal surface ON THE AXLE isn't chewed up.
No burrs, no rust, ect.
Some emery cloth wrapped around the axle 180 degrees, and pulled back and forth until the seal surface is cleaned up is fine, just don't get carried away,

You aren't going to get every rust pit and scratch out, just clean things up and let it go at that.
I usually use around 230 grit EMERY cloth (NOT sand paper), but in a pinch something as course as 180 grit will work... Just go easy on it...

The bearing has to PRESS FIT onto the axle, so UNDER SIZING the shaft is a bad idea.
Just the seal surface...
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Unread 08-24-2014, 04:59 PM   #15
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1978 CJ7 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 195

Any tips on removing then installing the Moser one piece axle? I also have Detroit Locker on the diff.
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