Repair Information On Your Imperial's Brake Hoses and Lines

Imperial Homepage -> Repair -> Brakes -> Brake Hoses and Lines

Question from Matt:

Saturday at a small car show a friend of mine mentioned stainless lines and the difficulty he had keeping them from leaking on a '62 Corvette he has. He indicated this was a characteristic and said if he had it to do over would go back to regular lines. Anyone else have this problem?

Reply from Don:

I was told at the Mopar Nats at Fine Lines that you really have to tighten the S/S fittings or they would leak.

Question from Tim (1957):

Some time ago I remember a long discussion about removing rear brake drums. I have a '57 and would be appreciative of anyone forwarding me some of that discussion if the have it on disk or any tips on removing the rear drums anyone might have. I have a leaky rear cylinder. By the way, any advice on where to get a cylinder and piston assembly, shoes and related items for a '57?


From Dick:

If only one side drags when hot, there are two possibilities I would check: 1. Make sure the shoes were "arc"-ed to the drum. This was always done by the old time brake shops, but nowadays there are fewer and fewer mechanics who are familiar with drum brakes on passenger cars. 2. Verify proper assembly, most importantly the correct return spring for front and rear shoes if they are different (check your manual), and that the primary (shorter) shoe is toward the front of the car; these checks to be made on both sides of the car (the problem may be caused by an error on the non-grabbing side also). I would have had a 3rd suspicion, but I assume you eliminated it by replacing all the hydraulic parts including the hoses. If you did not replace the hoses, do it now! A common failure of old brake hoses is an obstruction such that the brake does not release completely, especially when it is hot, thus making the side with the obstructed hose much hotter, causing a different coefficient of friction from side to side, thus uneven braking. 

From Colin:

I agree with Dick--put the drum back on dry but clean . I had an awful job getting my rear drums off--you must use a heavy duty gear puller--Its difficult if they haven't been off for a while . Don't do as I did originally , and use a repair kit-replace the slave cylinders -I got mine locally in the UK and they weren't expensive , so you should not have any trouble . The non stick grease we use as mentioned is 'copper slip' over here , which of course is copper based so does not corrode , and years later nuts come free easily--but the rear taper should go on dry -it was designed that way--if in good condition there should not be any rust formed on the surface. I would be interested if you have trouble with the front brakes binding after re-shoeing. I have completely renewed ALL my braking system and still have the left front grabbing slightly once they are warm--I'm at a loss to how to cure it now--any body any ideas? I looked up the torque setting in the manual but it doesn't give it--Dick is right -about 150 PSI. If you can I'd like you to send me a picture of your car via e-mail (privately of course).

Question from Richard (1960):

I am going to need several new brake line clips for my '60 Imperial. They are a kind of curly "T" shape and pop into the frame rails to support the brake line. Anyone have a resource?


From Kenyon:

If you can not find new, I suspect that used will do OK for where they are located.
The salvage yard section of the Parts area on the club website would be a place to start.

I'm assuming that you know this already, but you didn't mention it explicitly, so there you have what I'd do.

From Richard:

Gary Goers has them.

Question from Charles (1963):

I see that Andy B's hoses stop at 1962 for the Imp, where do I need to look?


From Steve:

I would look at your friendly neighborhood discount auto parts store. These hoses as well as all the rest of the brake stuff for a '63 are still current production. If you want to buy them online go to parts america.

From Joe:

Try for the brake hoses.. They have a large selection of replacement brake system parts....

From John:

I would expect to find those locally. Probably at Napa or one of the big chain auto stores.

Question from Robb (1966):

I just installed a master cylinder kit in my '66 Crown. The brake line fitting was seized and I had to cut the line. This is not really a problem (so I thought) as I have a ready supply of new brake lines, fittings and a decent flaring tool.  One I have used numerous times. Well, the powers that be have reminded me once more to be more careful and take my time. The stripped a thread on the brake line 'T'...the one that distributes the fluid to the front/rear wheels...and scored the flange so I cant get a seal. The long and short is I need a new one. Can anyone supply the part or interchange number? All my favorite parts suppliers tell me its a dealer item and the local dealers don't carry books beyond 10 yrs. I prefer new parts when it comes to brake systems but failing that I'll take a used one. I did notice the feed line (7/16 nut) is a different size than the brake lines (3/8 nut) though have not removed it from the car yet.


From Elijah:

The Chrysler part number is 2123 218.

From Mark:

I don't know exactly what part you're discussing, but if a used part will do, there's Bob Hoffmeister's Imperial "junkyard" (he's a member of the IML & will probably see your message). I also got a catalog from these folks recently and they seem to have every obscure Chrysler-Imperial part made from 1924 on: Atlas Motor Parts 10621 Bloomfield #32 Los Alamitos, CA 90720 (562) 594-5560 (562) 936-1398 Their prices are a little high, perhaps, but they may have what you're looking for. There are other places listed in Hemmings, too.

Question from Mark (1966):

The front brake hoses on my '66 Crown are rotted and in trying to separate the hose from the brake line, the brake line end snapped off. I have new hoses, but my question is this, should I put the end screw back on and then try to reflair the end for a new connection or should I replace the brake line? This is the passenger front and travels under the block. It doesn't look very fun to replace what with all the turns it goes through. If I need to replace the line, who and where do I get one from? The driver side front is acting the same way, (not wanting to move or come loose). I have used liquid wrench, pb blast, and even heat. Still a no go...looking for help and direction


From Jim:

I recently purchased a seven piece set of steel brake lines for my 1939 Custom Imperial on eBay for less than $40.00 delivered. They advertise lines for newer Chrysler/Imperial cars. The lines are straight & need bent to shape. No small job with out experience! Try or call Toll Free 1-888-399-7278. (Duluth, Mn.)

From Dmitrios:

I had similar problems with my '68 sedan on the front left side, of much smaller length (lines might be different from '66). All I did was take the line to an auto part store and match the fitting. It was not too difficult to match and replace the line. It was a bit too long, but I coiled it around, and that was it. 

In your case though, if you can reflair, go for it. Its worth trying. If it was not leaking before, it should not leak afterwards. I am sure you know that, but make sure you use the proper wrench. You can't fit the box end of a standard wrench, but if you try to use the open end, you may round up the fitting. They make special "semi-box" wrenches just for cases like this (don't know the proper name of the wrench). I have one (I think 3/8") and without it, I would have never been able to remove and reinstall my calipers.

From Dick:

The wrenches that Dmitrios squared refers to are called "line wrenches". The trick in getting these line fittings apart is to use a very good fitting line wrench on the line side (again, I must mention that Snap-on is the only brand to buy here!) and ALWAYS use a backup wrench on the mating part, so there is no possibility of anything twisting the parts. The technique is to "snap" the fitting loose by a rapid jolt on the wrenches. Slow, steady pressure on the wrench will not work, usually. You have to use the impact of a hard jolt to the wrench to get them to pop loose and turn. It's easier to do this than to describe it - it is just a feeling one learns after many years of working on these things.

As for re-flaring a tubing end, be advised that brake lines use what is called a "double flare", and anything else will be unsafe and probably leaky. It takes a special flaring tool to make these flares, and even with a very good quality flaring tool and setup- they are tricky to make. Imperial Eastman makes such a tool, and of course you know the other brand to buy.

I'm a little nervous about re-flaring a tubing which has previously been in service, as the metal may have some strength or surface deterioration. Much better to start with new parts - we're dealing with brakes here, folks!

You can buy prefab brake lines at any good parts store - I know NAPA stocks them for one, and while you can't usually find the exact length you need, you can usually come close enough, if you do some creative bending and looping. There is a bending tool you can buy that prevents crimping the tubing when you try to bend it (which weakens the tubing and makes it unsafe for brake use in my opinion), or you can pack the tubing tightly with sand to bend it - of course you need to thoroughly clean and flush it afterwards, but if it is packed with sand, it won't crimp!

Question from Don (1967):

Got a quick question regarding the left front brakes on my '67 LeBaron. After driving a while, the left front caliper locks on, thus producing smoke galore should I continue to drive. I've discovered that a short stop on the side of the road, allowing it to cool off, produces a clunk from the wheel and releases the caliper, allowing me to continue on. I've also discovered that if I don't keep my foot on the brake pedal at every stoplight, just put her in "N", then the event never takes place, or at least takes a heck of a lot longer to happen. Any thoughts on what it might be? I've heard about flex hoses, rebuilding the calipers, et cetera. Every mechanic has a different story!


From Bob:

I've had the problem with front disks locking & dragging on several cars and it seems to always be the brake hoses rotting on the inside and not allowing the brake fluid (pressure) to return to the master. And once they start dragging, the heat closes the gaps and makes them drag more! I'd try to replace the hoses first. I'm sure there are other possible causes - rusty pistons, new seals on the pistons, etc. but the hoses are pretty easy to do by comparison (or should be) and nothing is lost by replacing them anyway.

From Dick:

This sounds to me like a case of crudded up brake hose. They can look just fine visually, but be so occluded inside that the fluid will pass only when the force of the power booster is pushing, but will not return fluid to the master cylinder with only the force of the return springs pushing, at least not quickly enough. Replace the front two, and if that helps, I would replace the rear one too, since they are all 31 years old, probably. These should really be replaced every few years, since they are a single point failure location for the whole braking system on cars with a single Master Cylinder, and at least for one end of the car for modern cars (1966 and up). I just had a rear one fail on a 1982 of uncertain mileage, but it was probably the original, so it was 16 years old.

From Kerry:

I would be very careful about lube around the brakes. I would suggest a good cleaning down to shiny metal. The problem is caused by rust buildup. Under normal use, they are self cleaning. Its only when they sit that you get the rust buildup which causes binding. It would be interesting to observe them cooling off after they bind.  If it is a repeatable problem, you could drive around a parking lot on Sunday AM until it locks, jack it up, pull the wheel, and watch for the pop. If the caliper moves it is binding. The pop tells me that the binding is your problem not a hose. The hose would slowly leak down pressure.

Question from Bruce (1969):

I need to replace the rubber brake line hose at the left front caliper of my '69 Coupe. It seems to be a high pressure hose not unlike a power steering hose, crimped into pieces that attach to the standard steel lines on each end. It seems to stump the local parts houses. Any advise on getting a new hose?


From Roger:

Take the hose to a heavy equipment shop that makes hydralic hoses. They might be able to use your factory ends and replace the hose. If not I'm sure they can built you one that will work. The '69 model car should have lots of interchange parts too. Kanters showes them in there catalog 1936-1972 drum brakes and 1966-1980 disc brakes @ $25 &$30 each or 973-334-9575. I think it would be the easier route to take. RC Remember old farm boys can fix anything!!!!

From Kerry:

Any parts store should be able to get it if they don't have it in stock. I got a new one for my '73 with no problem. If all else fails an hydralic hose place can make a new one cheap.

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