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MG MGA - Installing new brake pipes...

Hi folks;
I have to say I'm not a little intimidated about replacing the old original brake (and clutch) pipes, while engine and everything else is still attached. The pipes are the copper/nickel ones from Moss. (I've a 1960 roadster)
For those of you out there who've done this, I'd sure appreciate any hints, suggestions, etc. I'm putting in a new master cylinder, rear wheel cylinders and a bunch of other brake/clutch stuff while I'm at it, including switching over to silicone fluid. It's the brake pipe replacement that's got me freaked out though; I've visions of lying on my back, grimy, bloody, trying to get my hands and tools where they need to be, etc.
Any thoughts, stories, warnings... ?
Thanks. :)

L.R. deOlazarra

L.R. You will have the greatest fun at the brake light switch - fluid distribution tee-piece which is mounted on the chassis, and almost inaccessible!

Sod of a job without a hoist! Good luck.
Barry Gannon

L. R.,

It isnít an extraordinarily hard task but does take some time and planning. Installing the brake and clutch pipes only takes a few special tools, a pipe bender, 7/16Ē flair wrench and plenty of patience. Read the site one brakes and Hydraulics before you pick up a wrench. Other than straightening out the brake pipe coils, donít try to bend the brake line with your hands, it is very easy to put a kink in a line. Even then be very cautious, straighten the coil very slowly until you get the hang of just how soft the cupro-nickel brake line is. If you are sure that the existing lines are original you can use them as patterns to bend out the new lines. Easier said than done so take your time. Better to under bend than over bend. Only remove then replace one section at a time. Take plenty of pictures. My experience with the Moss lines is that they are generous in length so as you lay out the line route anticipate where any extra length can be accommodated.

It sounds like you are pretty much replacing everything, end to end. Switching over from DOT 3/4 to DOT 5 requires that every inch of the system is torn down for a complete cleaning. Best to replace all of the rubber bits and hoses in the process. Donít forget to clean out the 4 and 3 way fittings. While you are messing with the rear 3-way fitting clean off the top of the differential housing and remove and clean the differential breather. Regarding the 4-way fitting, Larry is right about getting to the 4-way fitting, except we donít have the steering column on the right side so it isnít as bad as he has it. Start from the 4-way fitting and work out to the front brake calipers. It took me the better part of an hour to get the end for the left hand side brake line into the 4-way fitting without cross threading, so be patient and careful. Try loosening the bolt holding the 4-way fitting to the frame, that will make it easier to get the threads lined up.

The front lines that run from the 4-way fitting to the calipers are held in place by tabs that have been welded to the frame. The tabs may be missing, particularly the middle tab on the cross-member for the left side brake line. If any of the tabs are missing you will need to figure out how to secure the brake line so it isnít flapping about. The tabs are easy to lever up, but the tab for the right hand line is a bear to get pushed down.

Replacement hoses, bleeder valves and other parts may have metric hex nuts but the correct imperial/SAE threads.

Cupro Nickel brake line, bubble flair fittings and bubble flair tools are available from if you need spares. The down side is that you will not be able to produce as nice as looking bubble flairs as provided by the Moss ready-made lines. On the other hand the DIY is much less expensive.

If you have any specific questions, please feel free to send me an email.


This thread was discussed on 03/06/2012

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