Most spare time in January was spent attacking the garden as I want to put up a new shed which means knocking down crumbled remains of an old brick one that has been there for about 30 years. The task was further enhanced as for the last ten years I’ve been using it to store everything from old furniture I’ve thrown out to old trees, fencing and cuttings. So three weekends in and I’ve nearly got it all cleared up and knocked down.
As for Lucie, at the beginning of January I started her up and reversed her out of the garage so that I cold get my small trailer out to take things to the tip. As I applied the brake it seemed solid, so with a bit more force it applied itself and then wouldn’t release. Thankfully it was not applied fully so the car would still move. I noticed that the brake lights were constantly on and so looking underneath soon realised that the master cylinder had seized up.
Armed with a spanner, I took off the master cylinder and inspected it. The piston had seized solid and was covered in rust. Thank fully it is a fairly standard part and looking on e-bay I soon found another Girling 5/8 master cylinder which I purchased. When it arrived I bought a tub of DOT 4 brake fluid and an “eezibleeder”.
Before attaching the new master cylinder I checked all the wheel cylinders and with the exception of the rear passenger one that was covered in dust they all seemed fine, though one of the front ones does seem a little lazy when the piston retracts.
I’ve also discovered that the wheel cylinders are like gold dust and I finally found a company that sells the back ones but have had no luck at all finding front ones. Unfortunately they are completely different to the ones fitted to OHV Regals from 1963.
Brakes and cylinders cleaned up (without detaching them) , I fixed on the new master cylinder and attached the eezibleeder, a wonderful, but simple device, that means you can bleed the brakes on your own. Taking the spare wheel out of my Jaguar, I reduced the pressure to 20psi and attached it to the master cylinder, there was a hiss and a bang as the top flew off spraying brake fluid under the dash (which saves me stripping the paint off). So I reduced the tyre pressure to 15psi, reattached it and that was fine.
I drained all the old brake fluid from the car and was amazed at how dirty it was and how many little bits were in it. With the fluid now coming through clean and no air bubbles present both rear and front were drained and bled which resulted in a very hard pedal that certainly stops the car when you slam the brakes on. I have also noticed that all the brake pipes seem to be steel ones so as soon as I can I shall have to get a set of copper ones made up and replace them.
Much to the amusement of some folks I have also purchased a fuel cat (a little strip of tin stones) to drop into the fuel tank. Apparently they let you use unleaded fuel in an old engine without additives, whether it works or not I don’t know though it apparently also helps to keep fuel fresh in the tank if it has been standing so if it only did that it would be something.
One thing I have noticed this month is that I didn’t seem to loose any water. Once the brakes were done, I took her out for a drive of around 4 - 5 miles, I came back, checked the water and it hadn’t moved. Most strange. Last month I seemed to be loosing water and as the core plug at the back of the engine seemed damp, bought two core plugs. I shall have to hold off changing it and see how things go.
If anyone has a set of wheel cylinders (front or back) for sale, even if they are old ones, please contact me.
Go to February 2009