Now that I lifted my
Bronco 4" I needed to swap out the stock brake lines with
extended ones. I've had a week to let the many bumps on my
head heal from the lift install and just about have all the
grease and grime out of my fingernails. It's time to get dirty
I bought 1 quart of brake fluid, new front brake pads and a vacuum
pump to self bleed the brakes.
jack up the Bronco and put good jack stands under the frame.
With the lift it is surprising how much flex you get. Even
lifting the frame about 6" just in front of the skid
plate where the frame is flat the tires will still touch when
you let the jack down. After placing jack stands on both sides
of the frame jack the front axle up just enough to remove the
front tires. I had two jacks so I could remove both at the
most important item to check - recheck - keep checking on is
the fluid level in your brake fluid reservoir. If you overflow
it you will make quite a mess and if it runs out, well that
requires another write-up. Just keep track of the fluid level.
It's easy to do when the brake fluid is this dirty.
3 ton Jack
3 ton Jack Stands
Large Hex wrench (to remove the springs holding the brake pads)
Large Channel Locks (to squeeze in the caliper piston)
Metric & SAE socket set and wrenches
Needle Nose pliers Long straight and 90 degree bent
Brake Line Wrench (Should have used)
Vacuum Pump Self Bleeder
to have on hand:
Extended Brake Line Kit
At Least 1 Quart DOT 3 Brake Fluid
Carb or Brake Cleaner
I had the tires off anyway I decided to change the front brake
pads so I will include it in the write-up. First use a large
pair of channel locks to slowly but firmly press the piston on
the caliper in enough to take the pressure off the brake
you will have to bang out the two retaining pins holding the
caliper in place. Use a pair of pliers to squeeze them and tap
the end in with a hammer. "The Book" says to use a
punch to drive the pins out but the pliers with the 90 degree
bend made it easy to grab and pull them out.
the pins removed pull the caliper out and remove the brake
pads. The inside pad stays by the rotor and the outside pad
comes out with the caliper. Next use the channel locks to
firmly squeeze the cylinder until it is completely seated in
the base of the caliper. Remember to check the reservoir fluid
in the new pads, slide the caliper in place and re-insert the
pins. Use a hammer to bang them into place. Do the same to the
other side. Congratulations, you now know how to change your
on to the brake line replacement. The drivers side brake line
is slightly different than the passenger side. It has one
additional line connected at the top. Otherwise they are the
same. Unless you want brake fluid all over the place (
you will anyway) get something together to plug up the brake
lines while you have them disconnected. I used the tips of a sharpened
pencil. I kept sharpening it and cutting off the tip until I
had a half dozen.
remove the top 11mm brake line(s) from the line you are going
to replace. It is recommended that you use a brake line wrench
since they are soft metal and can strip very easily. I didn't
and did strip one on the back - more later. Definitely spray
some rust remover beforehand. Carefully plug the lines to hold
the flow of brake fluid from ruining your favorite
the fun begins. There is an "easy clip" that is
anything but easy to remove. It holds the brake line you are
replacing in place. You can't hardly get to it to see how to
remove it but you need to pull one end over the end of the
brake line and slide it strait out. The pictures included
should help a lot since the camera will go where the body
wont. Plus having it out helps. It helps to remove the
retaining clip on the outside to relieve pressure on the
"easy clip" but leave it installed on the new brake
line when replacing the "easy clip". I learned this
with trial and error so you don't have to.
remove the lower end of the brake line with a 14mm wrench.
This is easy compared to the previous part. Place the bottom
of the new brake line making sure that the crush rings are
removed and replaced (copper washers) tighten it down. Next
reconnect the 11mm brake line(s) on top.
that fun? it's time for a break, and oh yeah, have you been
watching the break reservoir to make sure it didn't run dry? I
know you have.
now on the the back line. Since you worked so hard Ford
thought you might need a break. First there is only one line
to replace and second the "easy clip" is really an
easy clip. The replacement is pretty much the same as the
front but slightly different. The top is the familiar 11mm
with the easy clip that pulls straight out. It is easiest to
do this from the front of the axle. Plug it and move behind
the axle to remove the axle breather. I'm sorry I don't know
the nut size since previous owner stripped and broke the bolt
then siliconed it back on. Use a large pair of vice grips to
hold the center section at the end of brake line steady and
remove the 11mm brake lines at either end. This is where I
stripped one of the nuts and had to get another pair of
channel locks to remove and reinstall it. Re-install the top
brake line and call this part done.
there is a lot of air in your brake lines and you can't drive
to Jiffy-Lube to have them bled. You can have a friend play
the old game of pump - pump - hold for hours while you try to
get the air out or do it the new way. Buy a $25 vacuum pump
for bleeding brakes. If you are unfamiliar with bleeding
brakes, start from the rear passenger side, rear drivers side,
front passenger side and last front drivers side. This is the
most important time to keep track of your brake fluid reservoir
level. While you might not pull out that much fluid, you are
pulling out a lot of air that is being replaced by fluid. I
also wasn't happy with the dirtiness of the current brake
fluid and kept pumping until the new clear stuff was showing.
I used the full quart and had a second standing buy but didn't
need it. The back bleeder valves are 3/8" and the front
ones are 11mm. When you feel you have all the air out pump the
brake petal and if it feel good and stiff you should be done.
drive it a few feet and check the brakes before going full
the write-up I have been asked how well the vacuum pump worked
and where did I buy it. I purchased it from Autozone for $25.
I have also seen a similar kit at Harbor Freight Tools for
$29. They sell it online. The one I purchased has a few more
connections to do other things vacuum pumps do but this is
what I purchased it for.
the past I have bled the brakes on many cars and it can be a
chore making sure you and a second person coordinate your
moves and it takes a while to get it just right. I was a
little skeptical about using this contraption but I can say it
worked out perfectly. I was able to bleed the brakes solo and
it only took about 1/2 an hour to not only bleed them but
completely flush out the old brake fluid.