Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Re: Rear Brakes

Task: replace Porsche 914 rear brakes, including rebuilt calipers ($300/per), new pads ($60/set), new stainless-steel flexible brake lines ($90/set), and new rotors ($60/per).

Tools needed: 11mm flare-nut wrench for the brake-line connectors, 19mm open-end wrench for the caliper retaining bolts, 17mm flare-nut wrench for the original flexible-line connectors (my replacements were standard 11/16), 6mm hex wrench for the old caliper plugs, 10mm socket wrench for the new caliper plugs

I paid a little extra to buy parts from HPH in Redwood City so I can drop in and ask questions. The chief mechanic Larry has answers, but when I ask about removing the rear brake lines, "oh, those are the hard ones." True.

Problem: the flexible line is connected to the frame by two clips, which pin the metal/flex connection to the body. The lower clip is fully exposed, but the upper clip is buried underneath the chassis, above the heating duct, motor mount, emergency brake cable, and fuel pump (right) or master brake cylinder (left). Larry's answer, do it with a small vice-grip pliers and/or a screwdriver and/or whatever works. After many attempts, I got it: attach the pliers and rotate the clip about 30 degrees, use the screwdriver to pry it loose. After you get the clip out, pull the metal line down several inches so you can get the wrenches in.

Putting the clips back in is another challenge. Larry's answer was again, "whatever works". He showed me an arm-length pry bar and hammer, "and, put a little grease on the clip so it'll be easier to remove next time". The grease was key, but Larry has a lift and I have jack stands. You really have to get creative here.

I did all this pulling and prying of clips on the right side first, there was an accident before I could continue (*). It takes about as long to replace each brake line as it does to replace each caliper/rotor/pad assembly.

Time estimate: 8-10 hours (without the final "brake bleeding" step)

(*) Watch out for fuel lines (see next post)!

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