Thursday, April 19, 2018

Odyssey rear brake line replacement

The Honda van failed the state motor vehicle inspection on several counts . 
 So I figured I might as well start with the easy bit . Light my home built wood stove and back the car in the garage .
Seems the rear brake lines have succumbed to seventeen years of  winter road salt and calcium chloride. These are the short hard lines that goes from the flex line along the rear swing arm to the brake cylinder .
Easiest way to get them off is just snip them with a pair of dykes . That way you can get most of the rust off the fitting with a steel brush , as well as crimp the line shut so it don't leak all over the place and . . .
. . .  get your ten millimeter socket to fit . If you try removing it without cutting the line you can only use an open end wrench and that will usually mangle the fitting and then it will never come off . A bit of PB Blaster helped loosen things .
Once I had the offending piece on the bench I taped the fittings back on just to have an example of what I needed . Purchased some new 3/16 line but of course the offering from NAPA was too long .
After some measuring with a piece of wire, I determined the necessary length and cut the new pipe .
And deburred the inside edge of the cut pipe .
Then we need to add the flare back on the cut end . Traditionally we use one of these tools to do the job .
But for once I got lucky and found this splendid and rather expensive looking, Eastwood brand pipe flaring tool, among dad's arsenal . Truth be told it was a bit puzzling as I had never seen such a device ever . Hmmm , I think I can figure this one out .
After a bit of head scratching I selected the right size mandrel to fit the 3/16 pipe .
And setting the mandrel in the tool affixed in my bench vice , I set the pipe to the appropriate depth .
And clamped it all down tight . The idea here is to do a double flare. The first step should crush the pipe down on itself and effectively fatten up the end so it has a shoulder around the outside perimeter. So you select the correct mandrel from the rotating turret, and swage the captive pipe back on itself .
So that it looks something like this .
Then you rotate the turret and select the mandrel to swage the inner bevel on the pipe .
End result is something like this on the outside of the pipe .
And the conical bevel on the inside of the pipe . So far so good .
Then using this handy pipe bending tool I bought for fifteen dollars . . .
. . . we need to bend the pipe into some semblance of the original .
Kinda , sorta , like that ????
Hey that's not so bad , and it might just work .
After some further persuasion and a few choice words, it looks like it might do the job . Note this is the left side of the car . So this is the first side I actually did and the learning curve was a bit steep , thus the brake fluid over the back side of the backing plate .
As the brake shoes were a bit worn . . .
. . . I replaced those as well while I was at it .
I taught myself the easiest way to deal with those pesky springs is to put them on the shoes and then fit the shoes to the hub .
Not bad for a hack . I even remembered to take photos before I dismantled the brakes so I had evidence of how it all was supposed to go back together .
Then you bleed the brakes to get the air out of the line . Real handy with the one man brake bleed device . A bit of fiddly work to adjust the shoes so they are tight and the emergency brake actually works .  But I got it sorted after a couple tries . Next chapter we deal with replacing a broken engine mount , worn sway bar bushings , and a minor patch on an otherwise solid exhaust system .

Saturday, April 14, 2018


Micarta is a composite material typically made up of fabric or paper , bound together with two part resin like polyester or epoxy . The material was invented around 1910 and is used  mostly as electrical insulators and aircraft or marine pulleys . I have been tempted to experiment with it for a while .
Not half bad for a first try .
Started with a cheap three dollar knife from Wallyworld . The scales are cheap hollow plastic though the rest of it is not half bad . It could be improved by replacing the scales .
 So, some cheap burlap from an Indian rice sack .
Once layered up in epoxy  . . .
. . . and cured it results in something like this .
The basic idea is to lay up some pieces of the fabric on plastic or wax paper . . . .
. . . and using some polyester resin  . . .
. . . mixed to the right proportions of ten drops of catalyst to one ounce of polyester resin . . .
. . . you layer up the fabric with the resin . 
Once you have as many layers as you figure you want for your finished thickness , you wrap it up in your plastic sheet, and clamp it together for a couple hours between a couple pieces of wood .
And a couple hours later the results once trimmed on the table saw .
Experimented with a few other pieces of fabric remnants we had . . .
and even just some resin mixed with some of that paint flake used for finishing cement floors .
The possibilities are endless .
Final results here require a bit more sanding but it all makes for a much more solid and comfortable grip .