It's typical for these aging cars to have components that are either barely functioning or practically turning to dust. Case in point, the factory brake lines found on our project El Camino were in no condition to use. While a portion of the rear brake lines were present, the lines to the front were completely missing. Additionally, the lines that were left behind had been rusted through and the end-fittings were completely unusable.
Several months ago, we replaced the entire brake system with one from Master Power Brakes ("Brakes In A Box", page 40). It came with new 11-inch discs up front and a rear drum assembly with a power booster and master cylinder. What we didn't show you until now is that we never replaced the brake lines. Since the rear lines were in no condition to function properly and we were missing the front lines, it was obvious we needed a complete kit down the road.
The good news is that our search for new lines was an easy one by simply calling Inline Tube. If you weren't aware, Inline Tube specializes in factory-correct OEM or stainless lines for nearly any application you can think of. Their kits are manufactured with a CNC-bender and computer cut to ensure a guaranteed fit. If new brake lines are what you need, Inline is sure to stock them. While Inline Tube offers the standard OEM lines which would have sufficed, we upgraded to the stainless kit for a few extra bucks to resist potential corrosion. Our kit came with everything we needed, including nine stainless pre-bent brake lines, all of the necessary clips, unions, and a new rubber line that runs over the rearend to feed fluid to the rear brake lines
Unfortunately we were unable...
Unfortunately we were unable to remove most of the old lines by loosening the hardware. We ended up cutting most of the rear lines away with a set of wire cutters. This saved us time since we weren't going to be using any of the old hardware with the new stainless kit.
If you're worried about this job being a bit overwhelming and difficult to tackle; don't be because in reality, it's rather quite simple. Take it from us; while it's always a good idea to have the original components to guide you, we unfortunately didn't have that luxury. It's straightforward though and a little common sense can go a long way.
We started at the rear of the El Camino and worked our way forward to the master cylinder. Space is tight under the car, so any way of getting the car up will help when installing the new lines. It's also a good idea to start by laying out the each line underneath the chassis to help get a better visualization of where each line needs to be installed. All said and done, we only spent a couple of hours removing the old lines and running the new stainless kit, so follow along as we show you how to get the job done.
What We Did
Replace the entire factory brake lines front to back with a stainless kit from Inline Tube
No need to worry about stopping pressure
Using a 1/2-inch socket we...
Using a 1/2-inch socket we removed the rearend cover bolt which fastened the rear brake line union bracket to the rearend.
Fortunately it was easy for...
Fortunately it was easy for us to determine which lines attached to the rearend housing. Out of the box, they were zip-tied together and it was only a matter of threading the fitting of each line into the rear of the drum brake housing. For now, we left the fittings handtight.
We used the original T-union...
We used the original T-union bracket that attaches itself to the rearend cover and mocked up the new rubber line, bracket, and T-union. We tightened the T-union to the rubber line with a 5/8-inch wrench and a set of pliers. We then placed the bracket and rubber line above the rearend. We ran the rubber line through the rear crossmember. Again, we left the whole assembly loose for now.