how i replaced the rear brake pipes - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 2 Old 13-08-16 Thread Starter
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how i replaced the rear brake pipes

As this is a common corrosion and failure point I thought i would post how i did it, I'm always asking questions so i thought it about time i repaid the compliment.
This post is on how i replaced the rear brake pipes and refurbished the later version of the compensator. The car has always just scraped through the MOT on rear handbrake efficiency despite fitting new cables and discs and pads so i thought while Im at it i may as well fit new calipers and braided hoses.
⦁ I secured the car on axle stands and removed the exhaust system from the CAT back, (mine is a custom quad so there is no point in showing this but you have to remove the exhaust to gain access to the heat shields.
⦁ Remove the mid and rear heat shields, you can now see the brake pipe route to the compensator.
⦁ BEFORE you attack the pipes take plenty of photo's and even sketch which union goes where.There are two different size unions, 10mm and 12mm, the pipes that run to the front of the car were joined about mid way down towards the front ( I'm not sure if this is factory but it makes life a lot easier). You can see the corrosion on the pipes and they WILL snap when you try to remove them, be warned ! See Pic-1 I labelled all the pipe work then in turn undone the pipe join in the middle of the car, have the correct size brake spanners and a jar ready. As soon as i undone the union i capped it off with a male or female blank, once you've done this you can remove the pipes and compensator without getting covered in brake fluid.See Pic-2
⦁ As i said the pipes will shear when you try to undo them so after the first one snapped i didn't waste my time on trying to undo them, i snipped them off as near as possible to the compensator. Remove the compensator, i think the bolts are 10mm and you stand a good chance of stripping them as they will probably be corroded as well. Its not that important if you strip or snap them as its only a thin steel bracket and you can just use a new nut and bolt on refit.
⦁ Remove all the labled pipe work and clips, this depends on whether you are planning on keeping the flexi hoses because i can guarantee the pipe to hose will be a sod to undo. I basically removed the calipers and cut flexi pipes to make life easier. The last pieces i removed were the flexi pipe to caliper brackets which were going to get refurbed. See Pic-3
⦁ The way i made up the brake pipes was :
⦁ With a piece of string measure the lenght of the old pipe and add a bit for errors, cut a new peice of copper pipe with a decent pipe cutter and strap the new pipe to the old one and form it shape. You dont need a fancy pipe bender, i used a length of aluminium pipe held in a vice to form the bends. If you take your time and don't try to make the radius to severe you shouldn't kink the pipe. See Pic 4
⦁ Make the pipe flares with an appropriate flaring tool, apart from the one join they are all male single Din flares. DON'T forget to put the union on before you make the flare, if you haven't got a flaring tool your local motor factors should be able to flare the pipes for you but with a bit of practice it's not that difficult. I'm not going to tell you how to suck eggs if you havent attempted this before, YouTube has some excelent videos on how to do it. see Pic-5-6-7
⦁ The brake compensator was just a bit scabby but perfectly functional, i blocked off the holes and shot blasted the rust away and painted with POR-15 ready for refit
⦁ I refitted the newly painted compensator using new bolts and started to offer up the new pipes, once the pipes were in the approximate positions i attached them to the compensator finger tight. Once i was satisfied that the pipes were not fouling anything or rubbing i tightened them up, as i don't have a tool the would fit my torque wrench to tighten the unions to the manufactures spec i tightened them finger tight and nipped up half a turn. See Pic-8
⦁ I refitted the new calipers and associated bracket work ( i decided to buy some refurbished calipers from Brakes international and spray them up with some good quality VHT paint using a spray gun . Time was against me and it seemed a better bet to let someone else do the hard work refurbing the calipers) . Once everything was in place, calipers, braided hoses, pipes and compensator i did a quick once over and removed each blanking plug and rejoined the pipe work at the mid section. If you have all the tools to hand you can do this without losing to much fluid.see Pic-9
⦁ The last step after checking you have no leaks is to blead the braking system. This is a dark art, there are numerous posts on how to do this. I was lucky in that i could borrow a pro Bosch examiner tool to actuate the ABS solenoids and bleed the system, however it still took the best part of a day using easy bleed and the wife to press buttons and pedals.Why oh why is it such a ball ache to bleed the braking and clutch systems on these Alfa's ?
If iv'e missed some thing I'm sorry but I'm writing this a week later but if you attempt this drop me a PM if you get stuck . The tools i used were; a decent set of hand tools, spanners, brake spanners, socket set, easy bleed,snap on brake flaring tool, compressor and spray gun and lots of patience !!!!!!!!!!!
All the bits you will need are obtainable from Ebay, 10mm and 12mm male brake unions,male and female blank ends to stop off the pipes ,copper or kunifer 3/16 brake pipe ect. Only the patience is home brewed !
I estimate it cost me about 40 to do the brake lines and maybe 200 in total to do the whole job, i did have most of the tools already but I'm sure you could borrow what you don't have or it's just a good excuse to buy some shiny tools .
I now have a working handbrake on the third notch and no leaks from the pipes or compensator.

Pitfalls are: Make sure the VHT paint is cured as much as possible as its stays very soft for ages, the wife wouldn't let me bake the calipers in the oven !
I masked up the freshly painted calipers before i bled the system as brake fluid eats your lovely painted calipers.
Estimate three days to complete the job but it will take five days !!!!!!!!
Bleading the brake and clutch system is ALWAYS going to be a pain !
No one else will appreciate your good work but you .
If it's going Pete Tong, walk away and start tomorrow.
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Rewe and CGTVs like this.

Last edited by Jonlane; 13-08-16 at 21:21.
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Great post, lots of useful info, still debating whether to tackle this myself when the time comes.

Posts like these fill me with confidence.
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