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Poor brakes - and how to get to them

Subject: Poor brakes - and how to get to them
From: "Gosling, Richard B" <>
Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2005 10:04:00 -0000
Still trying to sort my brakes out to get Sammy II (formerly Nancy) MOT'd
and on the road.

The problem seems to be that the first few inches of pedal travel are doing
nothing - the only resistance I'm working against is the pedal return
spring.  Then finally I actually start pumping brake fluid, and the brakes
work fine.  But I shouldn't have that initial free travel.

I had suspected massive slop in the connections - possibly even the piston
for the cylinder disconnected from the pedal, so the pedal could push
against the piston but would not pull it all the way back out when the pedal
was released.  However, I (partially) removed the pedal box cover late last
night, so I could watch the mechanism working, and there is no slop (at
least not enough to worry about), the piston is moving during the "free
travel" period.

So this has to be a Master Cylinder problem, right?  Anyone care to hazard a
guess as to what is actually going on?  More to the point, any opinions on
whether this is likely to need just a re-build (#11) or should I just get a
replacement M/C (#45)?

Other problem - getting to the damn thing!  Firstly, the pedal box cover.
Held down by 4 screws, all so badly rusted that a) they won't move, b) a
screwdriver can get no purchase on them whatsoever.  3 I drilled through,
but the one closest to the wing is completely inaccessible!  I had to bend
and lever the cover just so I could get a glimpse of the piston end so I
could rule out slop in the linkage, but I may have trouble deforming it
enough to enable me to disconnect the M/C from the pedal.  Any ideas?  I
guess I could cut the old one to bits to get it out, and get a replacement,
but that's #35 I'd rather not spend if there's an alternative.

Second, I haven't tried it yet, but at first glimpse it looks like getting
to the upper bolt holding the M/C on is no problem, but getting to the lower
bolt will be completely impossible.  Others must have done this before, so
there must be a way, please enlighten me!

Specs:  Unmodified UK-spec '73 BGT - single circuit brake system, remote

Richard Gosling & Sammy II (whose MOT suddenly looks not quite as imminent
as I'd hoped...)

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