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My lebaron's brake lines were so rusted one of them decided to give out yesterday, so I'm already looking at flaring tools, bending tools, cutting tools, and brake line.

I'm going to go ahead and replace both solid lines that run to the back brakes. My question is...I've got the car on a jackstand with the driver's side wheel off, and it's really hard to tell where those two lines run when they disappear up into the firewall. I can't really see anything from the side, either.

If I try to follow the system from the master cylinder-down, I see below it both sides of the master cylinder appear to plug in to some sort of valve (a part that does not show up in any of the parts databases if you try to call it a proportioning valve, so maybe that's not the name of it).

I'm getting the feeling I'm going to have to take off the master cylinder to see what I'm doing, whether I like it or not.

IS this a proportioning valve, and do the solid lines from the back of the car run into said valve further below it where I can't see?
 

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Do you have ABS? If so, that is just a block that takes the place of the proportioning valve so the same brake lines can be used from there on. I haven't been able to locate this block.

If there's no ABS, then that is the proportioning valve assembly.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Do you have ABS? If so, that is just a block that takes the place of the proportioning valve so the same brake lines can be used from there on. I haven't been able to locate this block.

If there's no ABS, then that is the proportioning valve assembly.
Yeah, no ABS, Lebarons never had them all the way through production to my knowledge.
 

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That is the proportioning valve, and yes, lines run to each wheel from there. Good time to change the flex hoses, too, as they often fail internally and act as a check valve, making the brakes slow to release. This is often misdiagnosed as stuck calipers.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That is the proportioning valve, and yes, lines run to each wheel from there. Good time to change the flex hoses, too, as they often fail internally and act as a check valve, making the brakes slow to release. This is often misdiagnosed as stuck calipers.
Just removed the master cylinder and air filter hoses, which permits a ton more access down below. I can get a 1/2" box end wrench around the fittings that hold in the lines that run to the back brakes, but I can't loosen them yet. I just put some PB blaster on them and are going to let them sit overnight. If I'm unable to remove them from the proportioning valve without destroying them I may just cut the lines and then try to get a 6 point socket around them. The fittings can be replaced, I'm more worried about preserving the proportioning valve. Auto parts stores just don't stock the things for some model cars for some reason.

I also noticed one of the solid lines is spliced with a fitting going back to the driver's side rear wheel. I don't like this, so I've decided I'm going to just replace it with a solid line all the way to the flexible hose. If anyone thinks I shouldn't do that and just replicate the splicing tell me why. I don't really see anything practical about it, if anything to me it's a place for another potential leak.

Lastly, I'm planning on just buying the coiled stuff, is there anything I need to be aware of when straightening it out? Does it straighten easily or do I need to be extremely careful not to kink it?
 

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The coiled stuff is not too bad to work with since it is a bit softer than the OEM steel. It will still kink and you need to get a tubing bender and take your time matching up the original bends. You won't get a picture perfect OEM look on your long straight runs, but it will be functional. Be sure to protect the lines from any rubbing or possible movement on adjacent objects (i.e. frame, crossmembers, etc).

For your proportioning valve, I'd recommend you get tubing wrenches to loosen those flare nuts, or if you are cutting the line off, be sure your box wrench is a 6 point. 12 point wrenches will surely round the flats on those nuts.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The coiled stuff is not too bad to work with since it is a bit softer than the OEM steel. It will still kink and you need to get a tubing bender and take your time matching up the original bends. You won't get a picture perfect OEM look on your long straight runs, but it will be functional. Be sure to protect the lines from any rubbing or possible movement on adjacent objects (i.e. frame, crossmembers, etc).

For your proportioning valve, I'd recommend you get tubing wrenches to loosen those flare nuts, or if you are cutting the line off, be sure your box wrench is a 6 point. 12 point wrenches will surely round the flats on those nuts.
John,

My bad, long night at work, tubing wrench is what I meant to say that I used, when I said I tried to loosen the lower fittings on the proportioning valve today, not box end wrench. Then I put some PB blaster on it to try and loosen it up, I'll see if I have better luck in the morning after a good soak.
 

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On mine, the fittings are 7/16", not 1/2". You might want to check that. I replaced the left front rigid line, and I had to destroy it to get it off. The proportioning valve was bolted to the frame with one bolt, and the fitting was so tight, I was afraid I'd break the mounting bolt. So I put a tubing wrench on it, facing upright in the plane of the valve, and then put a 15" copper pipe over the wrench as a breaker bar. The fitting turned, but the line turned with it and snapped immediately. So plan on replacing it all.

Make sure the flaring kit is a good quality one like what Sears carries, and not the cheapo $20 to $30 ones. They slip and slide, and you can't get a straight flare. And make sure it's a double flare. The guy at NAPA didn't know what a double flare was. He thought I said bubble flare and tried to sell me metric tubing.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
On mine, the fittings are 7/16", not 1/2". You might want to check that. I replaced the left front rigid line, and I had to destroy it to get it off. The proportioning valve was bolted to the frame with one bolt, and the fitting was so tight, I was afraid I'd break the mounting bolt. So I put a tubing wrench on it, facing upright in the plane of the valve, and then put a 15" copper pipe over the wrench as a breaker bar. The fitting turned, but the line turned with it and snapped immediately. So plan on replacing it all.

Make sure the flaring kit is a good quality one like what Sears carries, and not the cheapo $20 to $30 ones. They slip and slide, and you can't get a straight flare. And make sure it's a double flare. The guy at NAPA didn't know what a double flare was. He thought I said bubble flare and tried to sell me metric tubing.
Yeah, don't really care at this point if the line snaps, just would be favorable if the fittings can be saved. That way I don't have to pull the entire proportioning valve to take up to the shop for an accurate sizing for a newer fitting.

Do the auto parts shops sell that ribbed stuff that sleeves onto the solid line? Not sure what it's called (or if it's worth bothering with as long as you have the lines securely snugged into the body mounting brackets).
 

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Yeah, no ABS, Lebarons never had them all the way through production to my knowledge.
That's rather interesting as my 1994 LeBaron had ABS :)
 

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That's rather interesting as my 1994 LeBaron had ABS :)
Valiant...won't be the first time I've been wrong, every Lebaron I've ever looked at, driven or owned made from 93-95 didn't have ABS. I'd love to see a picture of the system just so I can see the differences in the engine compartment.
 

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You should use new fittings, if the line binds to them and breaks off, the stub is trapped inside, and drilling it out might damage the fitting. The thread is 3/8"-24. NAPA and others carry them. Or use a pre-terminated standard length of brake line, many of the OEM lengths are very close to what's available.

I have never found a source for the coiled wire wrap. Just use the new line without it and it will be fine.
 

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You could also use the appropriate size of rubber tubbing (vacuum line) if you think there is an area that needs protection. Just slit 1 side with a razor knife and feed it over the pipe.
 

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I don't have any underhood pics of the car, and it's been a few years since I sold it. But the ABS computer was over by the transmission computer inside the passenger fender as I had to replace the ABS controller on that car. I believe the ABS pump was under or near the battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Progress is still coming slow. I've tried the suggestion of putting a breaker bar on the end of that wrench to break the fitting free, it's not moving. If anything, all the force I was applying was threatening to bend the single bolt bracket holding the proportioning valve in place, so I placed my breaker bar between it and the fender well to keep it from moving. Still nothing, even after a two day PB soak.

So, I'm going to cut them off and put a 6 point on the fittings. What's the best method you all recommend for cutting these lines flush with the fitting top? I have several, including a large pair of wire cutters, or a hacksaw. Now that I ponder it, I'm thinking the hacksaw might not be a good idea as it generates heat and there might still be fluid inside the two lines.
 

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Hacksaw is fine, done it many times, no sparks and it won't ignite. Power tools like a Dremel are not safe.
 

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Well, still stuck. Trying to remove the brake drums to assess the extent of what I need to replace. I'm quite frankly astonished at the way Mopar designed the rear brake drums on this car, they fit inside the backing plate via a groove rather than over it. And these drums are stuck. Did a double soak of PB Blaster, tried hitting it from the front with a ball pean for awhile to knock it loose.

No go. Started using a good length breaker bar, bent the tang back a little on the backing plate so I could get behind the drum (at this point I don't care about the drum, I'll replace it if I have to), and just began prying on it hard, then hitting/rotating the drum from behind. The studs seem to be loose but the center just won't budge.

I know Napa has a specialty heavy duty tool to remove drums, but it's also $200. Trying to avoid the investment right now, got a vacation coming up. If I have to spend it I have to, just would prefer not to.

I've removed many brake drums on many cars, including another lebaron of the same year, but this one is definitely the toughest I've come across in 20 years, not responding to an old fashioned beating.

Any other suggestions welcome.
 

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Well, still stuck. Trying to remove the brake drums to assess the extent of what I need to replace. I'm quite frankly astonished at the way Mopar designed the rear brake drums on this car, they fit inside the backing plate via a groove rather than over it. And these drums are stuck. Did a double soak of PB Blaster, tried hitting it from the front with a ball pean for awhile to knock it loose.

No go. Started using a good length breaker bar, bent the tang back a little on the backing plate so I could get behind the drum (at this point I don't care about the drum, I'll replace it if I have to), and just began prying on it hard, then hitting/rotating the drum from behind. The studs seem to be loose but the center just won't budge.

I know Napa has a specialty heavy duty tool to remove drums, but it's also $200. Trying to avoid the investment right now, got a vacation coming up. If I have to spend it I have to, just would prefer not to.

I've removed many brake drums on many cars, including another lebaron of the same year, but this one is definitely the toughest I've come across in 20 years, not responding to an old fashioned beating.

Any other suggestions welcome.
Just to be sure, you are removing the entire hub from the axle stub right? That means taking the center cotter pin/nut off and sliding it off by the bearings. The drum is a hard press fit to the hub. You won't get the drum off the studs if the entire hub has not been removed first. After the assembly is off, you can press the drum (or pound it) off the hub.
 

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Good point. And if a bearing started to weld itself to the spindle, it could be difficult to remove the hub.

Stuck drums are usually because the drum is worn too thin from neglect, and the shoes have created a lip on the drum that catches on the shoes.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Good point. And if a bearing started to weld itself to the spindle, it could be difficult to remove the hub.

Stuck drums are usually because the drum is worn too thin from neglect, and the shoes have created a lip on the drum that catches on the shoes.
It's admittedly been a decade since I rebuilt the rear brakes on my other '94. Man I feel stupid. Will report back once I've pulled the drums off.
 
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