Where Brake Fluid Goes to Hide

Warner strips a Girling Mk2A brake servo

Warner strips a Girling Mk2A brake servo

The red Austin Healey gave us a little surprise Tuesday.  After sitting for a couple of weeks while we were waiting for upholstery, it lost its brakes, but curiously, not its brake fluid.

After a certain amount of head scratching Warner pulled down the brake servo and, Et Voila !  there it was, pretty nearly a quart of it.  Brake servos are a great place for brake fluid to go and hide.

Twenty-five years ago I was recommissioning an MGC  which had been off the road for a very long time, and although

Brake fluid in the servo

Mk2 vacuum chamber: Where the brake fluid went

it was not rusty, nearly everything was stuck, right down to the switches in the dashboard.  I stripped and re-ringed the engine & got it running, but after overhauling the brake & clutch master cylinders, the calipers, the slave cylinder and replacing the wheel cylinders, I bled and bled & bled, but couldn’t come up with a decent brake pedal.  Even more puzzling, my recently freed-off engine wouldn’t turn over anymore.

I pulled the plugs, cranked it on the starter and was instantly bathed in so much brake fluid that I needed a shower and a change of clothes.  After filling up the servos (MGC’s have two), fluid pumped its way thru

Steve is carpeting the red BJ8

Steve is carpeting the red BJ8

the vacuum lines into the manifold, through an open intake valve or two and filled the cylinders creating the perfect hydraulic lock.  Always remember, the servo is an integral part of a brake overhaul.

Steve is carpeting the red BJ8 now.  Next week he’ll be on to the rest of the upholstery.  He’s captured here with a drill in one hand, and a can of penetrating oil in the other, having just drilled out the stuck hardware securing the dimmer switch bracket to the floor and retapped the weld-nuts.  The oval intakes below the radiator grill are for the oil cooler.

Air tools are a bad idea

Patrick shows why air tools are a bad idea

Patrick’s holding the  hub nut for this TD.  It’s been stripped by the indiscriminate use of an air impact wrench.  TD’s, MGA’s and some others use a left hand thread hub nut on the left side  so it won’t wind off if it gets loose.

Unfortunately, a previous repairer didn’t know that, so when it wouldn’t loosen (for obvious reasons) out came the air impact wrench.  We have to score that round as a draw, because although he got it loose, he never got it off, even after taking most of the threads out of it.  Fortunately, however, the thread on the stub axle is hardened, so it survived.

Coming Out Soon: The engine in this Mk2, for detailing

This entry was posted in This week at the shop. Bookmark the permalink.