Lost brakes, nearly catastrophic. Can you help me identify the problem? - Chevy Nova Forum
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Old 22nd-October-2019, 08:22 PM   #1
toestothesun
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Lost brakes, nearly catastrophic. Can you help me identify the problem?

Hey guys, I recently redid the drum brakes on the rear of my 67 (Ford 9"). I adjusted them until the point of a slight drag when turning the rear wheels by hand. For what it's worth, this car is fairly new to me.

While I was in there I noticed there was no e-brake cable and I left it like that thinking I would just take it for a quick spin for testing. Well, took it out and unbelievably the front brake line snapped after getting caught up with the u joint. I lost my brakes altogether and nearly had to hit a tree to get it to stop. Thankfully, engine braking and strategic use of rubbing the wheels against the curb brought it to a stop.

Now that I'm looking over things, what do you think failed? I can't figure this out at all. Was it the proportioning valve, master cylinder, rear brake adjustment, or something else altogether? I really don't want to replace parts unnecessarily, but also don't want to have this issue again as I easily could have lost my life.

If you can guide me in the right direction, I would highly appreciate it. Thanks!
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Last edited by toestothesun; 23rd-October-2019 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 22nd-October-2019, 09:11 PM   #2
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You lost a hydraulic brake line and therefore you lost the rear brakes. Thatís why you lost the brakes. Do you have a single or dual reservoir master cylinder? If dual you should have had front brakes.. Youíll have to figure out how or why the brake line got tangled up in the universal joint..

Pictures would probably help us help you..
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Old 22nd-October-2019, 10:05 PM   #3
toestothesun
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Originally Posted by Nova Thug View Post
You lost a hydraulic brake line and therefore you lost the rear brakes. Thatís why you lost the brakes. Do you have a single or dual reservoir master cylinder? If dual you should have had front brakes.. Youíll have to figure out how or why the brake line got tangled up in the universal joint..

Pictures would probably help us help you..
It was actually the front brake line that snapped, my apologies for the confusion. Itís a dual reservoir master.
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Old 22nd-October-2019, 10:32 PM   #4
sudden_impulse

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Did you open the lines in back at all? If not bled properly (vacuum bleeder, single-person bleeding with a jar of fluid and a tube, or the old fashioned two-person pump/bleed process) you might not have had rear brakes at all, even if you adjusted them properly. The rear brakes don't do as much braking as the front, but if bled and adjusted properly with a dual-reservoir master you should've had something for brakes.

Start with replacing the parts that you lost, bleed the system (now is a good time for new fluid), and get somebody to help you check to make sure everything else is working before throwing money/parts/time at it. Do you have an area nearby that you can do low speed testing (such as a parking lot, cul-de-sac, or a similar area)?
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Old 23rd-October-2019, 12:41 AM   #5
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I canít understand how you could snag a front brake line in a universal joint.

Pictures would help here..
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Old 23rd-October-2019, 09:13 AM   #6
Corbinstein

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#1. Order what you need to fix the emergency brakes.
#2. How old is the system? Replace it all if over 20, or suspect.
#3. The combi valve should have switched over and at least gave you rears, otherwise it's bad, and if you've opened up the rears at all, you may have introduced air and compromised it so it will need bleeding.

Case in point: my 73.

#1. My cable going thru the floor was jammed. No e-brake. $20 replacement part.
#2. My car was still rocking the Non-Power Drum setup. It's now LS disk fronts and Power Boost. Everything up front is new, other than the LS disks and Calipers I robbed from an '02 Firebird.

#3. I opened up the rears to bleed after installation of the Power Boost Kit. (This included the MC/Booster/Combi/bracket/short lines for less than $200).
My rears had no flow. This turned out to be the rubber line on the rear axle. I replaced all of it.

The only thing I haven't replaced so far is the hard metal line from front to rear, I wish I had the time to do it, but I didn't.
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Old 23rd-October-2019, 02:30 PM   #7
toestothesun
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Thanks for the feedback so far. Clearly the line will need to be rerouted. Right now I just want to figure out what to fix so that this does not happen again.
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Old 23rd-October-2019, 02:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nova Thug View Post
I canít understand how you could snag a front brake line in a universal joint.

Pictures would help here..
Looking at the pic I'm thinking hes talking about the steering shaft U joint catching the front brake line and ripping it out...
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Old 23rd-October-2019, 04:04 PM   #9
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Youíll have to bend up some new hardline for the crossover then the passenger side brake line.. Make sure it isnít in harms way of any moving parts steering, suspension, pullies, as well as not hanging loose where it could get snagged and broken like you have now experienced.. Once it is all laid out secure the line with clips to keep it in place.
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Old 23rd-October-2019, 09:27 PM   #10
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Get speed bleeders they work well when working by yourself.
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Old 23rd-October-2019, 11:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nova Thug View Post
Youíll have to bend up some new hardline for the crossover then the passenger side brake line.. Make sure it isnít in harms way of any moving parts steering, suspension, pullies, as well as not hanging loose where it could get snagged and broken like you have now experienced.. Once it is all laid out secure the line with clips to keep it in place.
What Nova Thug said!
PS- Reroute the two spark plug wires that look like they are touching the header tubes and check that the rest are not touching.
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Old 24th-October-2019, 12:52 AM   #12
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[QUOTE=Nova Thug;5857127]I canít understand how you could snag a front brake line in a universal joint.

Ditto on that
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Old 24th-October-2019, 01:09 AM   #13
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Looking at the pic I'm thinking hes talking about the steering shaft U joint catching the front brake line and ripping it out...
OK I think your right. Then just rout the brake line like your life is on the line instead of a hap hazard way like the way whoever routed that line did. Maybe take it somewhere where they form lines if your not comfortable doing it.
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Old 24th-October-2019, 02:24 AM   #14
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Toe, as long as you are looking at safety I'd take a look at the way your DD shaft attaches to your column. It is highly recommended that a DD not be inserted directly into the thin wall hollow column. Borgeson makes an adapter for this. Look at part number: 315249.

Lastly, if it were my car I'd add a bearing support to that long DD shaft just before the u-joint. That's a lot of leverage on that long run.
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Old 24th-October-2019, 03:43 AM   #15
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Alf might be on to something here. You need to check that universal joint and D shaft assembly from the column to the rack. It could be oscillating when turning the steering wheel and might be why it snagged the brake line.. A center support bearing would stabilize the whole assembly. Have a helper inside the car to crank the steering wheel lock to lock the watch how the universal joint behaves. The connection at the column doesnít bother me too much as that is how all of the factory columns Iíve pulled are connected..
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