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Few questions from a new member


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Hello all,

I am glad to have found this forum. I have a '87 Comanche that was given to me for free about 4 years ago. The truck ran, but had a lot of little things wrong that the owners couldn't fix themselves and didn't want to pay someone to do it. So the price was right and I like the truck so...

I use the truck mostly for utility, hauling brush, compost and firewood. I drive the truck in winter when I can't ride my motorcycles to work. I put about 1000 miles a year on the beast.

So for my questions. I just sprung a leak in the rear brake line. It is in the hard line behind the gas tank. I have never had to replace solid brake line before, but it looks straight forward. What diameter is the brake line and can I splice into the line or should I replace to whole thing? Any advice would be great.

Also, I am going to intall a heater for the winter this year. Anyone have any recomendations? I was thinking towards a tank heater since I have to change the coolant before winter.

Thanks,

Joe

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brake lines always rust out above the tank.

 

You can splice them, it's not legal so if you have inspection you'll fail. I've got a trail fix slice in mine that's held up for over a year, so it's not the end of the world if you splice it.

 

You'll need a flaring tool, and compression fitting, line size is 3/16 IIRC.

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3/16" is the size. I replaced all the line from just behind the gas tank to the height-sensing proportioning valve. I actually deleted the valve altogether and got a longer brake hose from the axle (95 Dakota -- thanks Pete).

 

You could use unions to splice in a clean piece of brake line, but it's not recommended (yes, I've done it before).

 

Hope this helps.

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Could you explain in more detail the elimination of the proportioning valve? When I was under the truck, there was a whole lotta brake line running everywhere. The leak is right behind the gas tank, close the first union right by the bed rail before it drops down to the axle (to another union, if memory serves me correctly). If I could make it simpler back there, I would be interested.

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The rear height sensing valve (thingy with the brakelines running in/out of it and a rod connecting the arm to the diff cover bolt...if it's still there) is designed to adjust f/r brake bias with a load in the bed. If yours works, no need to tinker with it. But many of us have eliminated it completely and just run a single line from the prop valve in front to the axle, with no ill effects. You'll notice two lines running to it from the front....one is live, and the other is actually a safety line that is supposed to come alive in the event of a front brake failure, allowing full brake pressure to the rears. One of the members actually sawed a spare front prop valve in half lenghwise and discovered that the port that feeds the 'safety' line wasn't actually drilled completely thru, which meant it never would have worked as designed anyhow. I'll let others chime in on how to plumb the line (they have good pics, as you have to cap one port on the front valve and run the rear line to a different output, and I can't remember which one is which right now :D )

 

For the rear hard line, you'll probably experience more leaking from different spots if you just put a patch piece in to fix your leak now. It's best to just run a whole new line from the front back, just to be safe. That said....I didn't run a full new line. I spliced a new line in around the UCA mount area, where the original line was still solid, and I used a compression fitting, too (I hate flaring....). Yeah, I know, it's not the best, but it's held for over 3 years now, and passed VA safety inspections as well. YMMV.

 

Welcome to the club!

 

Jeff

 

edit: here's a couple pics. First one is the rear hardline on mine, minus the height valve. Second one is a shot of the soft line/junction block that Tom mentioned above, which is longer by about 6" (on an axle I'm about to swap in)

 

 

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Thanks for the additional info and pictures. The rear height sensing valve is there and intact so I will probably leave it alone for now unless further investigation leads me to remove it.

The brake lines are solid until the gas tank area and then there is rust on the lines to the first union. I will probably try to splice into the solid line, replacing the line from around the fuel filter until the union. I won't be getting to this for a few days, so if anyone else has something to share, please do.

 

Also, I am located in River Falls which is on the WI/MN border.

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I just recently( like yesterday) found out the worst part of removing the rear prop valve is replacing the main prop valve under the hood. I think it just may be easier to remove the engine first. Only took about 1 minute to remove the replacement from the donor cherokee with no drivetrain.

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The brake lines are solid until the gas tank area and then there is rust on the lines to the first union. I will probably try to splice into the solid line, replacing the line from around the fuel filter until the union. I won't be getting to this for a few days, so if anyone else has something to share, please do.

That's fairly typical. To do the splice properly (and legally) you will need a DOUBLE flaring tool. If you only make a single flare, the tube is likely to crack at the edge, and leak. Either spend a few extra $$$ and get a good double flaring tool, or rent/borrow one from the store. The cheap ones don't hold the line tight enough to make a flare.

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So, I bought the brakeline and such to fix my blow out on the rear of my Comanche. When I started to check to see how much rusty line to remove, I found that the leak was where the coil over the brake line is. The rear brake line in questions leads to the block on the axle (for the driver's side rear brake). Well, I can't get the coil off the brake line, I can't remove the fitting from the block and even if I could, I can't turn the bleeder on the drum. Everything is rusted solid. So, not being able to do anything else, I just looked around the underside of the truck. Rust is everywhere, it basically starts from the bed to the bumper in back. I have everything soaking in penetrating oil right now with a hope that it will be able to fix it using wrenches...but ahhhhhhhh rust! :headpop:

Yes, I own a maul and a sawzall...

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Generally, when one starts messing with the rear brake system (usually to replace a blown line....) one thing leads to another. If you can't get the bleeders open, you end up relpacing the wheel cylinders. Since you have everything apart to do that anyhow, you might as well put new shoes and hardware on. Then, you might think about replacing the e-brake cables......

 

It's just best to r&r the whole sheebang anyhow ;)

 

Jeff

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if the rear bleeder screws are rusted solid can't you replace the wheel cylinders for a few bucks? and have new bleeders? i state this in question form cause i've never done it but I'm pretty sure i've heard it before ;)

 

Yes, Wheel cyl's are 8.50-10.00 each, and I alway replace them, not dealing with the rusted bleeders, and the leaking seal that are 17-18 years old.

 

I just get bulk 3/16" brake line, 25 foot roll @ $22, pack of hollow nuts (3/16 x 3/8 shorts) and cut/chop everything old out, and start fresh, less time and know there will be no problems down the road :brows:

 

And as Eagle stated, get a good double flair set, I've used my $49 set many times. Do not use compresion fitting, they leak, not legal, and not kosher.

 

Same with the calipers, if the bleeder are rusted, spend the $18 for new ones.

 

I also order up and replace all of the soft lines, all 3 of them, after 18 years I figure there shot too, and don't have to deal with trying to get the hardline off of them :D

 

But that's me, and I'm in the major rust belt, and 40 miles North/West of the salt mine :eek:

 

So for $120 and half days work, I've got all new brake lines and don't have to deal with them again for another 18 years.

 

And as mjeff87 wrote, do the rusted out cables ($18 each) and new shoes and hardware (springs and holddowns) new adjusters and toss on some new pads, and your done with the brakes for a long time.

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