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76 MGB Brake Overhaul

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76 MGB Brake Overhaul
#1
  This topic is about my 1976 MG MGB
flipton Avatar
flipton Fred Lipton
Philadelphia Area, PA, USA   USA
1976 MG MGB "Godfrey"
I'm about to embark on pretty much an entire brake system overhaul, something I've never attempted before despite a friend's admonition about being an amateur and messing with an essential safety system. I've received encouragement from my long time mechanic, watched more than a few vids and scoured these forums so I'm willing to see how far I can get with this project. While I'm at it I intend to replace the clutch cylinders too.

I'd like to post a rough plan of attack and ask a question or 2. I'd very much appreciate and value advice.

Basil provided me with a lot of new pieces/parts: MC, servo, calipers, pad kit, rotors, drums, brake shoes/springs kit, adjusters, cylinders and pipes/hoses. Pretty much everything but the pedal rubber. My shopping list still includes flare nut wrenches for the fittings and brake cleaner.

As of this posting I've jacked up the right side, removed the wheels and rear drum, took pix of the shoes/springs for reference.

The car: 76 MGB, tundra, original owner 133k miles. Engine rebuilt, new wiring harnesses, garage kept the last 40 years with body excellent shape.

Rough plan of attack:
Start with the rears drums, then the front discs/calipers, then the MC and Servo. I'm not sure why but that sequence seems to make sense to me.

A couple of questions have come up in researching and generally looking over the existing stuff.
The vids I watched replacing the rear cylinder all had bolts holding the cylinder to the plate but here it uses a clip that looks really hard to deal with. Is there a trick or special tool to handle this?

Brake fluid. Installing an entirely new hydraulic system would be a good time to consider using a higher DOT fluid than the DOT3. I never had to consider this before and know little about the choices. Anyone have experience with this?

Probably silly: SAE or metric fittings?

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Lotus Avatar
Lotus Silver Member Roy Hodgson
Villeneuve, VD, Switzerland   CHE
1974 MG MGB "Butterscotch"
Sounds like you are replacing all the "hardware" bits but not the brake lines themselves.Check them thoroughly as they can get pinched, especially at the rear. It does mean a lot of crawling under the car but it would be wise to replace the lines as well. You could then use neoprene seals which would allow you to use Dot 5 brake fluid (apparently it rots rubber). As to why you would want to use Dot 5 instead of Dot 4??? If you have a couple of months to spare, browse through the hundreds of threads discussing this. You will be no wiser afterwards but you can say that you have consulted the archives.

Replacing the brake system is fairly straight forward. The biggest problem will be fiddly little screws rusted in place. A good penetrating oil is your friend.

The clips that hold the rear cylinders on should slide off with a bit (a lot) of tapping and cursing. How are the new cylinders that Basil provided held on? If with clips, did he supply new ones? If so it won't matter if you wreck the old ones when getting them off.

Have fun, take your time and have a pack of bandages nearby.



We have two lives. The second one starts when you realize you only have one.

Defender405 Avatar
Defender405 Silver Member Chris B.
Des Moines, IA, USA   USA
1975 MG MGB
Sounds like a solid plan. Not really that tough of a job just time consuming.

The circlip on the rear wheel cylinders is a pain, I just used needle nose pliers and worked carefully, it can be done but take your time.

Inspect the hard lines while you are in there, especially the one that runs along the top of the rear axle. It can corrode easily and sometimes gets abuse if the car is jacked up incorrectly or when tow truck drivers install their hold downs.

Getting the rear drums off can be an adventure if they are corroded in place, I usually use some good anti seize when I reinstall drums. The parking brake can also be fun to get routed and hooked back up correctly, take good pictures and consult manuals. If all else fails leave the other side assembled so that you can compare the two sides to make sure they are the same.

Use the DOT 3 fluid. Your hoses and seals are designed for that and their is no good reason to change on a road driven car. If you are planning to race the car then you may want to go to a higher boiling point fluid.

All the fittings on the car are SAE, no metric stuff on the MGB.

Change the brake MC and the clutch MC at the same time, they are in the same area and there are some synergies to doing both jobs at the same time.

Bleed from the right rear, to the left rear, then the front right, then the front left, to get the air out of the brake system.

Bleeding the clutch is a pita and sometimes is easier to do with a vaccum system as a reverse bleed. if you do it the old fashioned way I found it easier to jack the front end way up to get the air out of the clutch circuit.



Chris AKA "Defender405"
1975 MGB
1979 Porsche 924
1999 Porsche 996
1987 Nissan 300ZX

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flipton Avatar
flipton Fred Lipton
Philadelphia Area, PA, USA   USA
1976 MG MGB "Godfrey"
Got it guys, thanks for your guidance. I'll post updates and maybe a pic or 2 as I make progress and/or run into problems [likely]. Likely a long, slow effort stopping often to allow wounds to heal.



When you're in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, 'Damn, that was fun'...Groucho

MGB567 Avatar
MGB567 Gold Member Barrie Braxton
Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia   AUS
1966 MG MGB MkI "Money Guzzler"
1979 MG MGB GT V8 Conversion "Darkside"
Re the "clips" I'm surprised nobody's linked this or this but then maybe you already saw them?



Convertible: CKD 11/66 first registered 8/5/67. Owned since 3/77. 90% original sheet metal. 18GB +40 balanced with almost all new internals. Peter Burgess big valve fast road head. Piper 285. Fidanza FW. Basil's followers and pushrods. TR7clutch. TT exhaust. ARP everywhere. 123 ign. Needham 4synchro c/r box.. Stock rebuilt/replaced suspension. Superpro bushes. New brakes all round including all pipes in SS flex. Interior redone. CAMS approved roll bar and side bars. Lots more. Hybrid of o/e and show/fast road car. Not for sale - it's my toy!

GT: UK car built/sold December '78. Stripped back to bare shell with VW Golf flared guards, flush fit front and rear valances with front guards immovable. Front and rear seams removed,Torana XU1 vents, frenched indicators front & Mk1 rear lights. Powered by 'worked' Rover 5 litre V8 (ex TVR Chimaera) with efi. T5 box. FC IFS. CCE rear attached to Salisbury axle with Quaife. All new interior with MrMikes covers on MX5 seats. Retro4 7x15 rims (zero offset) and 205/55 rubber. Colour: Jaguar Storm. Not for sale - it's my sanity!



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2019-01-16 02:45 AM by MGB567.

allanreeling ALLAN R
RANDLAY, TELFORD, Shropshire, UK   GBR
Which dot doesn't matter as long as NOT Dot 5, a silicone fluid which some people love and others, including me, hate, and it doesn't mix with the others. All the others mix, but the later Dot 4 and Dot 5.1 have a higher boiling point and are suited to your system.
I think you might be confusing the wheel cylinder attachment (awkward circlip) with the brake adjuster (2 nuts).
Taking a photo of the spring and lever orientation on the back plates is a good idea, assuming of course they are right. Have a look at Paul Hunts section on brakes on; http://www.mgb-stuff.org.uk/hometext.htm.



soonerv8

MGB567 Avatar
MGB567 Gold Member Barrie Braxton
Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia   AUS
1966 MG MGB MkI "Money Guzzler"
1979 MG MGB GT V8 Conversion "Darkside"
"Have a look at Paul Hunts section on brakes on; http://www.mgb-stuff.org.uk/hometext.htm.";

That confirms it it must be the way that I link things as in #5 (not that I'm suggesting I have a proprietary right). I see you've linked his whole site but.



Convertible: CKD 11/66 first registered 8/5/67. Owned since 3/77. 90% original sheet metal. 18GB +40 balanced with almost all new internals. Peter Burgess big valve fast road head. Piper 285. Fidanza FW. Basil's followers and pushrods. TR7clutch. TT exhaust. ARP everywhere. 123 ign. Needham 4synchro c/r box.. Stock rebuilt/replaced suspension. Superpro bushes. New brakes all round including all pipes in SS flex. Interior redone. CAMS approved roll bar and side bars. Lots more. Hybrid of o/e and show/fast road car. Not for sale - it's my toy!

GT: UK car built/sold December '78. Stripped back to bare shell with VW Golf flared guards, flush fit front and rear valances with front guards immovable. Front and rear seams removed,Torana XU1 vents, frenched indicators front & Mk1 rear lights. Powered by 'worked' Rover 5 litre V8 (ex TVR Chimaera) with efi. T5 box. FC IFS. CCE rear attached to Salisbury axle with Quaife. All new interior with MrMikes covers on MX5 seats. Retro4 7x15 rims (zero offset) and 205/55 rubber. Colour: Jaguar Storm. Not for sale - it's my sanity!

allanreeling ALLAN R
RANDLAY, TELFORD, Shropshire, UK   GBR
What harm to repeat stuff?, Many do it and Fred might find some of the other stuff useful.



soonerv8

lewisrn Avatar
lewisrn Gold Member Bob L
Danville, IN, USA   USA
1980 MG MGB "The "B"
In reply to # 3874757 by Defender405
Bleed from the right rear, to the left rear, then the front right, then the front left, to get the air out of the brake system.


I'm not sure how much difference it makes in the overall bleeding procedure, but if you want to go from the farthest away from the MC, that's the left rear brake, not the right.

flipton Avatar
flipton Fred Lipton
Philadelphia Area, PA, USA   USA
1976 MG MGB "Godfrey"
Repeat often, good stuff can be easily overlooked.

I hadn't looked at the Chicagoland site before, it bears further reading. That bit for working the cylinder clip is the first thing I've seen regarding this. Thnx! And all others who chimed in on other questions ;-)







When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro...Hunter S. Thompson

ozieagle Avatar
ozieagle Gold Member Herb Adler
Geelong Victoria, Australia   AUS
1958 Wolseley 1500 "Wooly"
1966 MG MGB "Bl**dy B"
Fitting the circlip was discussed in this thread

https://www.mgexp.com/phorum/read.php?1,3840791

where I showed my, easy, way to fit it.

Herb



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flipton Avatar
flipton Fred Lipton
Philadelphia Area, PA, USA   USA
1976 MG MGB "Godfrey"
Sorry 'bout the delay responding. I've had to divert my attention to a home/family issue. Nothing dire but distracting.

Going after the rear brakes this week. Shouldn't be too onerous, patience and penetrating spray stuff will win the day.


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badbadbernanke Palmer Smith
Rochester, MN, USA   USA
1: Take plenty of pictures of things before you rip them apart. If you get stuck or lost it'll give you a reference to work from, assuming it was assembled correctly before.

2: As Dan Savage says: It's amazing what you can accomplish with patience and lube.

3: Practice your sarcastic eye rolls. Once you figure out how work on brakes you'll be doing that at all your friends who say you shouldn't mess with them.
3.5: When you get good at drums, you'll be eye rolling at anyone who says: "I need to buy [expensive rear disk brake kit] because drums are too hard to work on."

Be careful though. Once you figure out brakes, you'll feel confident enough to try a head gasket. From there it can be a slippery slop to a Discovery Channel show where you're yelling at some tat'd up dude about impossibly short build times.

flipton Avatar
flipton Fred Lipton
Philadelphia Area, PA, USA   USA
1976 MG MGB "Godfrey"
progress, but in a different area as I ran into a problem with the rear cylinder retaining clip. I tried the Chicagoland method and failed, or rather, gave up after some *expletive deleted* attempts. There's a tool I saw on youtube that makes it look easier [search youtube for "brake cylinder clip tool" you'll find it] waiting for it to arrive, should be here in a few days. then we'll pick back up working on this wheel.

in the meantime and since the right side is up on stands I went after the front brake. probably should have started there as a confidence boost, as a physical effort it will prove to be the easier of the two. forced me to learn how to repack wheel bearings along the way. also as an excuse to buy another tool [torque wrench] for the castle nut. more tools, life is good.

thanks to John Twist's video's for proper handling of the hub components and repacking the bearings a few other youtube entries helped too. also thanks to every post on this site always relevant even after a dozen years or more.

once the cylinder tool arrives I'll complete the right rear drum and post notes on that.

nice, clean, shiny. oooh.





If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up. Hunter S. Thompson


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flipton Avatar
flipton Fred Lipton
Philadelphia Area, PA, USA   USA
1976 MG MGB "Godfrey"
eclip tool arrived today, reviewed the youtube vid, clip installed 10 minutes later. it really was that easy.

then came the springs ;-(

having pictures helped not only with how it looked before but in what order it came apart [thanks Palmer]. I cleaned up the plate before starting and re-assembling was just a reversal of dis-assembling. applied anti-seize on the emergency brake lever joint and the adjuster screw. took a while to recall how to get the shoes back on with springs in the right holes with the correct orientation. it all fit together nicely and the new drum slid on without difficulty.

now to do this all over again on the driver side.

the fluid lines will be replaced when I get to the MCs, brake/clutch. at the rate I'm going that'll be after the worst of winter is over and the promise of spring weather will up the urgency to finish this job.

question: how does one properly dispose of the old parts: drums, rotors, calipers?



"The problem with quotes on the Internet is that you never know if they're true" - Abraham Lincoln


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