Sunday, November 08, 2009

In the pipeline

This week I've been learning about how to flare brake pipe. Actually, what I've mostly done is learn how NOT to flare it! As the GT6's being converted to right hand drive, and I plan to fit a booster to the front circuit (just as Triumph did), it will need some new brake pipes made up. At the same time, I figures I might as well replace all the original pipework. New is better, right?

Step 1 was to buy a Sykes Pickavant tool, 20' of pipe and some unions. The tool's the sort where you clamp it in a vice and pull a lever to press a boss into the end of the pipe. I found it takes quite a bit of force to make an impression in the pipe, in fact I nearly pulled the workbench over! It worked slightly better when I unbolted the vice from the bench and parked my 4WD in top of it, but still not good enough - I'd probably bend the lever before getting a nice flare! In hindsight I suspect the tool is designed to work with softer copper pipe - which isn't legal here. To be fair, copper pipe can fracture if it's not well supported, and steel pipe won't rust fast in Australia.

On to Plan B - I found a cheaper tool which uses a screw to apply much more force to the end of the pipe. It works far better , so I've been practicing how to make single and double flares. Both require skill, so of course I instead have a collection of lopsided, skewed and bent flares instead. The success rate's going up though, with the help of a few 'how-to' websites.

Even my best flares aren't as nice as the factory's though. In fact, after comparing my flares with Triumph's, I cleaned the crud off the pipes and found that most are in perfect condition. No rust, no cracks and the union threads look mint. And so to Plan C - reusing as many as possible! It sounds dodgy, but they don't appear to have been bent or bashed, and were removed carefully so I could use them as patterns.

The less I change on this car, the easier the restoration seems to be. There's a lesson here somewhere...


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