Ranger Front Brakes, Bearings, and Brake Line
I took a couple of days off work this week to finish off the repairs on the truck. The final tasks included replacing the pads, rotors and wheel bearings. I also decided to replace the calipers and the two front brake hoses.

Lastly, I replaced the brake line on the back left that I cut when I was doing the drum brakes. Ford used a large, 7/16 brake fitting on a small 3/16 brake line for the '90 Ranger, and it took me about a day of trying different things to make the repair with parts available.

Table of Contents
Cracked Brake Hose

Caliper and Brake Hoses

If you remember from the original diagnosis, the caliper-pins were rusted in, fusing the assembly together. I also think the caliper and pads had rusted partially to the splash shield where the v-grooves meet. To pull them apart, it took some beating with a hammer and a little bit of penetrating oil.

When I pulled the caliper out of the way, I noticed that the brake hose was pretty rotted as well. The ends where it meets the fittings is very worn and brittle, but there is also a chunk of the rubber missing from the middle. You can see in this picture how the hose kinks right at that chunk.

Ranger Caliper Pines Old vs New
Here is a picture of one of the rusty caliper pins along side the new ones. The inside rubber is all rotted out, and the pin is pretty well rusted. I had to use a couple of long bolts as punches to hammer the caliper pins out because I didn't have a punch the correct size. Once they started moving, they came out pretty quickly.
Ford Ranger Brake Hose Clip
I wanted to show this clip that goes between the front brake hose and the brake line. This was not an easy clip to remove, and it is hidden behind the strut mount. I didn't really find anyone in any forums that discussed how to remove the clip, though a couple people also had trouble removing it.

The brake line connects to the hose through the hole in the center of the clip. To remove it, you have to first disconnect the brake line from the hose. Then the tab can be pulled over the fitting while the clip is hammered out.

 
Packing Wheel Bearings

Bearings and Rotors

It's my first time looking at bearings, but they didn't look too bad. There was plenty of grease in the cage, and I didn't see any shavings. However, the bearings were cheap and the new rotor came with the bearing races already pressed. It seemed like a waste not to put in new bearings.

Packing the bearings is something that I've heard both positive and negative comments on. Personally, I thought it was kind of fun. Of all the things I've done on this truck, packing the bearings is about the simplest, most mindless task I've had to conquer. My only complaint is that every hair, scab, and bug bite on your body itches the second you cover your hands in the grease.

Once the inner bearing was packed, it just dropped into the race and the seal went on pretty easy with some light taps around it with a hammer. Not having to worry about hammering in and out new races really makes the rotors worth the $35. It may not be the right decision if you have quality rotors on a heavy loading vehicle, but I really appreciated that part being taking care of, especially since I had never done it before.

Ford Ranger Lifted with new Brakes
Here is a final after picture with everything reinstalled per the Chilton manual. I even bought a new grease cap for the passenger side since the old one was dented in pretty badly. I didn't pack the grease cap full of grease like the last owner had. I just tried to coat everything and made sure there was a bead of grease along the mating services of all the components.
 
Tries at replacing the brake line

Brake Line Replacement

I had to cut the brake line when I was replacing the wheel cylinder on the back left because I rounded over the brake fitting. Finding off-the-shelf brake lines with the correct fitting was pretty challenging, and I really didn't want to use a compression fitting. I tried several things replace the line.

Plan A was to put a flare on what line was left on the truck and use a union to connect in a small patch. I had a lot of trouble, however, getting the flaring tool to hold the brake line tight enough that it wouldn't slip. I finally broke off one of the ears on the wing nuts trying to cinch it down.

For Plan B, I found a 3/8-to-7/16 adapter at O'Riely. That adapter almost worked, but the head on the fitting bottomed out before the flare, and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't hold. All it needed was maybe a 3 or 4 more threads and it would have been a perfect solution.

Bending Brake Lines
Plan C ended up working. Advanced Auto parts carried an 8" piece of line with a 7/16" fitting one end and a 3/8" fitting on the other. I was able to bend and connect a 30" piece of line to the short piece to make the total length. The 8" piece is shown here being bent across a large socket locked in my vise. Below is a picture of the final connection installed on the truck.
Brake Line Replaced
 
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