I wouldn’t classify this as a step-by-step, but rather an enlightenment and tips/tricks narrative on replacing your rubber brake lines with stainless braided lines. My dealer wanted about $325 to do this.
I take no responsibility or liability if you follow this procedure and something bad happens. It is just what worked for me.
· 10mm wrench
· 12mm wrench
· 14mm wrench (If using Goodridge SS lines)
· 18mm socket
· Blue Loctite (or equivalent med strength thread locker)
· Two 32 ounce bottles of new Dot3 brake fluid
· Small funnel
· Shop rags and latex (or similar) gloves – several pair
· 2 drainpans ( I did two wheels, same-side at a time)
· Vice grips – I found needle nose to work well
· Rubber hose to fit inside banjo-bolt connector (don’t know the size offhand)
· I consider jack stands a requirement – be safe!
· Mighty Vac (or similar) vacuum device
· 5 gallon bucket
· Brake anti-squeal lube
Time of repair:
· Difficult to judge, but I would say about 45 minutes per wheel. (I had painting time, smoke breaks, coffee breaks, lunch break, internet breaks in my project)
Difficulty of repair:
· (Scale of 1 – 10), I would put it at 2 for technical, and 3 for being a mess
· Cussword usage rating = 2
Link to Goodridge stainless steel braided brake lines from TireRack.com (This link takes you to the ones for '07 Armada)
Photo and procedure credits:
This isn’t technically difficult, but for someone about to attempt it, these guidelines and tips should prove to be beneficial. The how-to looks long only because it is detailed.
Brake fluid is not paint friendly. Your hands are going to have brake fluid on them. Make it a point to not be touching painted surfaces. Brake fluid and moisture do not go together well. Keep your containers closed when not in use, as well as your reservoir.
Note – if you keep the reservoir lid on tightly after each refill during this process, you will have less of a fluid mess as you disconnect the calipers and hoses, due to the vacuum. If you just lay the lid in place, you will basically have free-flow of fluid when you disconnect stuff and it will be a royal mess..
First thing I did was to break out my trusty Mighty Vac. Opened the hood and cleaned any dirt/grime away from the brake fluid reservoir lid. When you take the lid off and look inside, you should be looking at a plastic debris catcher in the opening. Reach in with a finger and lift it out. Have rags close at hand to catch any drips. Set the catcher aside until the end of the entire procedure. Here is a pic of the catcher:
Next, I used my Mighty Vac and vac’d out the nasty fluid from the reservoir. You can’t get it all, so don’t worry about air entering the system. Fill the reservoir with new fluid.
There is no point in leaving that old fluid there. That will be all the less old fluid you will be pushing through the system when you bleed it.
Here’s a pic of the fluid I vac’d out of the reservoir:
And here is a pic of new fluid:
I use an impact wrench. If you are doing it the old-fashioned way with a lug wrench, then break your lugnuts before jacking. Jack up an entire side of the vehicle and put your jackstands in place. Remove both wheels.
You are going to want 4 pieces of rubber hose to insert into the banjo bolt connector to control dripping/leaking while you have the calipers disconnected. Take one of your new brakelines to an auto parts store and get 6 inches or so of rubber hose that fits snugly into the opening as pictured below. This will block fluid from leaking while the calipers are disconnected.
Cut the hose into about 1 inch (or larger) pieces so you have 4 of these.
Note that caliper assembly removal is not necessary to replace the brake lines. But since you have the hoses disconnected, it is a great opportunity to give your calipers a cleaning and a tune up. If you do not wish to remove your calipers, simply ignore the directions below that pertain to that procedure.
Ok, time to remove the banjo bolt from the front caliper. Now you should have a drainpan under the caliper, latex gloves on and rags nearby. Here’s where the mess starts. Have one of your 1” pieces of hose handy as well as rags.
Here’s a pic of the banjo bolt. Just follow your brakeline to the caliper, you’ll find it.
Undo the bolt. As you start to unscrew it, brake fluid is going to start leaking out of it. Don’t worry if any washers fall off, your new lines should have washers in the kit. Once you have the banjo bolt free, place that 1” piece of hose into the connecter where the bolt was. Hopefully this stops any dripping. Most of the brake fluid in the caliper will also run out. This is good. It went into the drainpan, right?
The original hose should now be hanging above the drainpan and looking something like this (and not dripping much):
Remember, your brake fluid reservoir is lowered by whatever amount of brake fluid leaks during this process. You do not want that reservoir to completely empty or you will get air in the system. Check the level occasionally
And here is where the 5-gallon bucket comes in handy. Turn the bucket over so you have the flat surface up to support the caliper when it is removed. There is room to slide into the wheel-well. You only need to remove 2 bolts to take the front caliper off. When you look at the backside of the caliper, you will see 4 bolts. 2 bolts have rubber boots on them. Do not remove these bolts. Those are your slider pins. Instead, Remove the 2 bolts that do not have rubber boots. Remove the bottom caliper bolt first. When you remove the top one, support the caliper with your hand, it will come free of the rotor.
Once the caliper has been removed, turn it over above the drainpan to get the rest of the old fluid out of it, then lay it on the bucket. You will want to wipe all that fluid from your hands/gloves before you continue on. Wipe off any residual fluid from the caliper. You don’t want any of that getting onto the brake pads.
You can take this opportunity to inspect your pads, lube your slider pins, put anti-squeal on the shim-side of the caliper that contacts the pistons as seen below. Take care not to get any contaminants or brake fluid on the braking surface of your brake pads when handling them.
(That was a little heavy on the lube. I wiped some off after the pic was taken)
Brake squeaks and chatter generally come from the area of the pistons contacting the shim, that’s the only point that really needs any anti-squeal lube applied. Lube, grease and oil are dust and grime attractants, so don’t go overboard. An optional method is to apply it to the piston contact surface to reduce the amount used.
Inspect the hole that the banjo bolt goes into. Look for a copper crush washer to be sticking to the hole. If there is, remove it. They usually fall off when you disconnect the hose from the caliper, but not always.
Now that you have the caliper up to par, mount it back onto the vehicle. Use Loctite or an equivalent on the 2 rotor mounting bolts. I just put a ½” band of it around the threads starting about ½” up the threaded end of the bolt: (Simulated pic)
Time to remove the old brake line and replace with the new line.
The new Goodridge lines are ¾” longer than the stock lines. Also, the lines that go to the front are longer than the lines that go to the rear. Make sure you use the correct lines front/rear. Put a piece of rubber hose in your new line as shown here. Note the 2 hose lengths.
First thing you want to do is break the 10mm nut free at the top of the line, then tighten it again just enough to stop any leakage. If you try to break it free after you remove the retaining clip, you will be putting a lot of torque on the hard-tubes, and you don’t want to do that. Next thing is to remove the retaining clip. The SS lines I installed came with new clips, so I discarded the old ones. This is where I used my needle-nose vice grips. You can work the clips left-to-right to break it free of any grime, then it should pull out fairly easily.
Here’s a blurry pic of the retaining clip:
With the clip removed, gently jiggle the connector where that 10mm nut is so the connection starts to drop down through the hole. Unscrew the hose and lay it to drain into your drainpan.
A few notes on the new hoses. The Goodridge lines come pre-marked with black lines on them as seen below. These are indicator lines that will show if you have the hose twisted when you mount it. If they are not lined up, you have stress/twist on the line. Not good. On my mount, the lines weren’t visible because they were positioned towards the frame.
You can pretty much tell if the SS line is laying naturally or if there is stress on it.
Also note that you will use 2 crush washers with the banjo bolt. One goes on each side of the banjo bolt connector.
Connect the new hose to the 10mm nut. Here is where you should do a little planning. I wanted my hose loop to go towards the rear of the vehicle. This is the same direction the loop of the stock hose goes. The fixed 14mm hex head on the new line locks into place as seen here:
You can see how the tab locks that hex head into place and prevents it from turning, so plan it for the banjo bolt connector where the hose comes out, to point towards the rear of the vehicle. It may be easier to secure the banjo bolt into the caliper before securing the top of the hose, but either way, you don’t want stress on the line when all is secured.
You will have to jiggle the top connection a bit work it completely up through the hole. Put the new retaining clip in place. If you have the connection all the way up through the hole, you should be able to push that clip on with both thumbs. If it is taking more force than that, you are probably not all the way through the hole.
Here’s a look at the new clip properly in place:
Secure both ends of the hose into place – caliper end and hard tube end.
Front line is done except for bleeding. Again, if you are dripping a lot of fluid during the process, occasionally check your reservoir and keep it full.
Here is the passenger front side finished. You can tell that the line is laying naturally with no twists or stress on it.
Go to the rear wheel and repeat the above process. Everything is the same except for caliper removal. (Again – caliper removal is not necessary but I like inspecting and cleaning them)
For the rear caliper, there are only two bolts on the back side, and these two both have rubber boots. Remove those 2 bolts. You will see a spring-type clip that you have to push down on to release the caliper. Pull out on the caliper as you push down on this clip.
Clean up your caliper, inspect the pads, lube the piston-contact area, etc.
When you re-install the rear caliper you will have to pull on the slider pins where the rubber boots are to get it past the mounting holes. It should go into place pretty easily when you do this correctly. I do not use Loctite on the rear caliper bolts. Just make sure they are torqued to spec.
Again, when installing the new lines, make sure there is no stress or twist to them. Secure your connections and you are done except for bleeding.
At this point, I bled both the front and rear where I put the new lines on. I am not going to describe the bleeding process here. This is already long enough. You should be able to find that process easily enough with a Google search. Just be sure to frequently check your reservoir when you bleed. Don’t want it going empty.
After bleeding, put your wheels back on and repeat the entire process on the other side of the vehicle.
If anyone notices anything glaringly wrong in the how-to, let me know and I will correct it.