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View Full Version : Brake line woes (long!)



trevc
01-01-2013, 01:44 PM
A while back I purchased a set of stainless steel brake lines from Way Motor Works for my Abarth.
The kit consists of six lines - two for the front calipers, two for the rear calipers and two for
between the hard lines and subframe at the rear.
The price was good and the parts are very good quality. I purchased them because I Autocross my Abarth and am
hoping to take some NASA HPDE classes in 2013 as well.


I finally had time this weekend to fit them.
I am lucky enough to have a Bendpak MD-6XP scissor lift that makes jobs like this a lot easier.
I have worked in the IT business for 30 plus years but started working on cars as a hoby 4 years ago.
I have a number fairly complex jobs under my belt (timing belt change, cylinder head replacement,
drive shafts replacement, bearings, hubs, rotors etc.) and so felt confident this job was within my skills.


So Saturday I swapped out the front and rear caliper lines with no real issues.
Unfortunately the structure of the lift blocks good access to the rear lines that go to the subframe from the
main hard lines so I decided to leave those until Sunday.


On Sunday I put the rear up on jack stands on the garage floor and slid under there. Changing the right side was
a little tricky - the line didn't seem to want to separate from the main hard line.
A little maneuvering and it came apart and the new line went in smoothly so I thought nothing more of it.
Next, I went to the left side. I started unbolting the flex line from the main hard line. The fitting unscrewed so
far and then just started turning round and round but it would not disconnect no matter what I tried.
It was like the threads had stripped but something was still keeping the parts together.


I called my stepson (a certified Aircraft Mechanic) and he came over, got under the car and tried. No luck.
We tried bolting the fitting back up but it would not tighten either.
We tried outward leverage on the connector while unscrewing; still no joy.
After much struggling we decided the only thing we could do at this point to stop the flow of brake fluid was to
cut and then crimp the hard line, a drastic measure. We thought we might have enough hard line left to put a new
fitting and flare on the end and fix it that way.


Looking at the fitting we cutoff, we were finally able to get it apart with one half in a bench vice and levering
the flex line fitting with a pry bar. What we found was that it looked like the fitting had been over tightened
causing the tip to flare out so much that it was binding in the threads of the flex line female fitting.
Hindsight is 20/20 and knowing this now, if we had applied a LOT more force we may have been able to get the
fitting off while under the car. Hard to do though when you are on your back with little working room and brake
fluid running down your arms and dripping on your face!


So, Monday morning (after a very sleepless Sunday night) I went to Harbor Freight and got a brake line flaring
tool. I went to Autozone and got some 3/16" brake line to practice on. After a few minutes at home I realized that
with the size of the tool and the amount of force required there was no way I could do this in the garage
on my back with limited space around the line and be confident in the finished joint.


So, at this point I decided I had to swallow my pride and call the FIAT dealership for help.
It was time for a professional with access to the right tools and parts to take over.


I have had great experiences with the local FIAT Studio in the past, from placing the original deposit to taking
delivery and having a few minor cosmetic issues (badges peeling, paint peeling) fixed under warranty.
It was an embarassing call for me to make, having to admit I had broken my car and needed help but the service
advisor was great.
He told me not to worry and said I should call Fiat Roadside Assistance and they would arrange to get it towed
in for free. He even gave me the number to call.


So, I went back into the garage, put the wheels back on, removed the jack stands, cleaned up and then called Fiat
Roadside Assistance. They were extremely helpful and efficient, and with 45 minutes there was a tow truck at
my house.


We loaded up the Abarth and headed to the dealer (about a 20 minute drive).


So, the car is at the dealer and they will look at it on Wednesday (Today being New Years Day)
to see what needs doing and at that point they will give me a call.


At least I got some sleep last night knowing the car is with the right people.
I have my fingers crossed and am hoping this is not going to cost me a fortune! I suspect they will change the
hard line that runs from the engine bay to the rear of the car. I just hope these are available without a
long wait.


Lessons learned? Not really. This should have been a job within my skills. It appears the two rear hard line to
flex line fittings were both over-tightened at the factory. I was probably lucky to be able to get the first one
off. If I knew then what we learned after I got the fitting on the bench I may have been able to avoid cutting the
line but as I said hindsight is always 20/20.


I doubt warranty will cover the repairs and I really don't expect it to. I am prepared to pay to get it fixed.


I will update the thread when I hear back from the dealership.


I would be interested to hear if anybody else has had issues with their Abarth brake lines.
My car was one of the first off the line; I took delivery in April 2012.

I decided to post in case my experiences help somebody else avoid having these issues...




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trevc
01-01-2013, 01:45 PM
4642

msjulie33
01-01-2013, 02:49 PM
4642

Poor Fiat... thanks for posting. Very interesting if not unfortunate experience, once or twice I've run into something that should have been straightforward but fouled me up big time. Only time I disabled the car was when trying to swap the pulley on my MINI Cooper's supercharge w/o using the right tool (bone head move on my part). Had to wait a couple days 'till the right tool arrived...

Good luck getting your baby back on the road on it's own wheels :)

redred
01-01-2013, 02:59 PM
Wow that sucks, but thanks for taking the time to post about your experience. It's always helpful to learn from other peoples mistakes ;)

Lord knows I've made more than enough of them myself!

FTY
01-01-2013, 03:00 PM
That sucks there's nothing more frustrating than getting stuck on something that should be very straight forward. I've suffered the same sleepless nights and pure frustration!! Its a part of wrenching...learn and move on.

Fiat500USA
01-01-2013, 05:32 PM
It's the little things that will get you every time!

On my first car, I wanted to change the belts. They were fine, but I was a kid and wanted to do the maintenance. HAHAHA yelrotflmao-vi Taking the belts off, I slipped with a wrench and tapped the radiator and it sprung a leak. Replaced the radiator and then the power steering belt kept flinging off! I drove that car for like three months without power steering (V8 Duster) and put on an inch of muscle in my shoulders! Lesson learned. nutkick

Abarth Phreak
01-01-2013, 10:13 PM
I always go into a job expecting the worst to avoid the sudden frustration or disappointment..then celebrate and party when the job is done. I'm fast at filling the washer fluid...and parties last awhile!!!

Trevc, don't worry....it will all come out good. Thanx for sharing the experience.

Robert Nixon
01-02-2013, 02:37 AM
Sorry to hear about this, that's one of the things I'd like to do with my Abarth also.

trevc
01-03-2013, 09:58 AM
First, thank you for all your support and kind words. There is a great group of folks on this forum!

I got the call from the Service Adviser yesterday evening. They will replace the brake hard-line that runs from the master cylinder to the rear (they will not splice hard lines to repair).
My price on the line will be $130 and FIAT parts has told them 3 to 5 days delivery which is good.
With labor, shop supplies, consumables and taxes my total is going to be $608. I was hoping for less but realistically, with the price of dealership labor, this sounds right.
I just hope the part arrives in the estimated time frame - I am missing my Abarth. There is something about these cars that gets you very attached to them!

My RRM Big Red rear sway bar upgrade is scheduled for delivery by UPS Friday so that will go on as soon as the car gets home. Looks like that will be the last upgrade for a while as these repairs have eaten up my budget.

Fingers crossed she will be home within a week.

Robert Nixon
01-03-2013, 10:04 AM
Thanks for the update, hope that's all there is to it!

msjulie33
01-03-2013, 11:19 AM
My RRM Big Red rear sway bar upgrade is scheduled for delivery by UPS Friday so that will go on as soon as the car gets home. Looks like that will be the last upgrade for a while as these repairs have eaten up my budget.


My little Pop should have it's RRM bar this weekend as well... Pop-sized coolness I'm hoping..

trevc
01-03-2013, 12:09 PM
From everything I have read we are both going to enjoy this mod immensely!!

My little Pop should have it's RRM bar this weekend as well... Pop-sized coolness I'm hoping..

trevc
01-05-2013, 03:34 PM
Big Red arrived from Road Race Motorsports yesterday. This is a very nice piece. I can see that a lot of machining went into this. Can't wait to get my Abarth back so I can fit and test drive!

4670

msjulie33
01-05-2013, 07:43 PM
Big Red arrived from Road Race Motorsports yesterday. This is a very nice piece. I can see that a lot of machining went into this. Can't wait to get my Abarth back so I can fit and test drive!

4670

Mine's on - I replied to one of the threads about the bar. Waiting for drier roads to really play with it :)

trevc
01-10-2013, 02:20 PM
Dealer is still waiting on the part to arrive :cussing:

trevc
01-15-2013, 03:26 PM
So, got told today the part shows shipped by Fiat yesterday. Holding out hope I may get the car back this week. Taking a lot longer than hoped.
I really miss my Abarth - I am having to drive my Wife's 06 Trailblazer right now!

WMWFiat
01-16-2013, 01:02 AM
Sorry about the trouble, but glad your liking our brake lines. Your pics of them turned out great, If you want to email them to me I may use them on our website.

trevc
01-16-2013, 10:21 AM
Yes, your brakelines are great quality and fit (and a good price). Once I get the car back I will take a few more pictures and email them to you.

Sorry about the trouble, but glad your liking our brake lines. Your pics of them turned out great, If you want to email them to me I may use them on our website.

trevc
01-18-2013, 09:58 AM
Just got the call that the brake line came in yesterday, it is installed and ready to go! Just wish they had called me yesterday......
So excited I can't see straight! Keeping my fingers crossed they fixed it right. Just need to get a ride to the dealership after work.

The RRM 'Big Red' uprated rear swaybar will be going on this weekend!!

trevc
01-19-2013, 07:44 PM
A happy ending. Car is repaired and looks great. They only charged my 3 hours labor so the bill was less than expected. Took 2 weeks to get the part from Fiat which was long but not the fault of the dealership.
If you are in the Memphis area and need Fiat service, I thoroughly recommend Gossett Motors. Knowledgeable people in Sales and Service.

Abarth Phreak
01-19-2013, 11:41 PM
A happy ending. Car is repaired and looks great. They only charged my 3 hours labor so the bill was less than expected. Took 2 weeks to get the part from Fiat which was long but not the fault of the dealership.
If you are in the Memphis area and need Fiat service, I thoroughly recommend Gossett Motors. Knowledgeable people in Sales and Service.

EXCELLENT!!! I LOVE HAPPY ENDINGS!!!!:lol:

nilfinite
07-04-2014, 01:36 PM
Trevc, did the brake line fitting and your brake lines easily separate when you installed? I'm trying to install the front and rear brake lines and everything I've read online is that it shouldn't be hard to separate the two. :(

trevc
07-04-2014, 05:30 PM
I think they were all over torqued at the factory causing the hard lines to flare out too much. Was a hard job. Got them all done except that one left rear. Had to get the hard line from the master cylinder to the rear replaced.
Trevc, did the brake line fitting and your brake lines easily separate when you installed? I'm trying to install the front and rear brake lines and everything I've read online is that it shouldn't be hard to separate the two. :(

docron
07-04-2014, 06:08 PM
Thanks for the information Trevor. I have yet to replace those brakelines under the car as I found them while installing the exhaust this past week. When i did replace the 2 fronts and the 2 rears, there were the other 2 left and i couldn't find where those went....lol. Someone I asked for help said those are "extensions" and were not necessarily needed which I didn't question until later b/c i was obsessed at the time about not messing up the master cylinder during the bleed process....lol. Still have to install those other 2 brakelines on either side of the gas tank area. Thanks for the information and heads up though...

nilfinite
07-05-2014, 02:59 AM
On Sunday I put the rear up on jack stands on the garage floor and slid under there. Changing the right side was
a little tricky - the line didn't seem to want to separate from the main hard line.
A little maneuvering and it came apart and the new line went in smoothly so I thought nothing more of it.
Next, I went to the left side. I started unbolting the flex line from the main hard line. The fitting unscrewed so
far and then just started turning round and round but it would not disconnect no matter what I tried.
It was like the threads had stripped but something was still keeping the parts together.


I had this exact same experience today with the front left brake line fitting. Future warning to others replacing their brake line, if the brake line fitting (the black metal piece that freely spins on the hard brake line) doesn't easily come off with just hand force, don't bother trying to take it off.