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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am about to start the installation of the IPD stainless brake line kit on my '73 ES and was hoping I could get some advice as to how to proceed from this vaunted assembly...!

Thank for any help or input.
 

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I assume you are talking about the flex lines to the calipers. Not particularly hard; but, time consuming.

You need to make arrangements to have all four wheels off at the same time. I did this on a 142; but, I am guessing that the 1800 also has to have the two flex lines to the rear axle and that those are part of the IPD kit?

The original flex line connections are likely rusty. Spray the fittings on the ends of the existing flex lines with penetrating oil and let sit. A couple of applications won't hurt. Spray around the bleeder valves also as these will also likely be sticky.

Match the new replacement lines up to the existing lines. The top and bottom lines on the front calipers are different and the end fittings are different. It is possible to switch the bottom and top hoses by reversing the caliper and hard line ends; but, they won't seal and you risk damaging the fittings and will end up with a perpetual leak. If you are not confident, do a remove and replace one hose at a time rather than remove all the hoses and then install all the new hoses.

As I recall, I think you can probably do the work with conventional open ended wrenches; however, flare wrenches make the work easier. If you go for the flare wrenches, get really good quality. I think I paid $20 - $25 for each wrench. Only buy the sizes you need. The cheap ones are useless because the jaws flex open when you apply torque on the bolt resulting in rounding off of the bolt.

The bleeders can be difficult to loosen. Make sure that you have the correct sized wrench. On my 142 with rebuilt rear calipers, I had a mix of bleeder wrench sizes on the calipers. Be careful and check. If you round off the bleeders trying to loosen them, you will be cursing. I suggest making sure that you can loosen all the bleeders as a first step. That way, if you bugger one or more up or break them and they require extraction, you can get on the phone to Iroll or whoever and have some replacements on the way.

Before proceeding to disconnect the old hoses, spray the fitting area with brake cleaner and wipe down to remove as much in the way of contaminants / dirt as possible. You don't need contaminants dropping into the caliper. Cleanliness is next to ....... in this particular case. Make arrangements to catch what should be relatively small amounts of old brake fluid when you disconnect the lines. Assemble new lines in reverse order.

The brake system has to be completely bled. Bleeding is a little extra work on the Volvo dual diagonal system. Get a copy of the service manual which sets out the procedure for bleeding. I am a big fan of using a pressure bleeder to bleed the system. If you don't use a pressure bleeder and are going to do it using the foot pump method, use short strokes on the brake pedal. If you do a full stroke to the floor on an old master cylinder, you will likely damage the seals on the MC and have to replace it.

Since it is a complete brake bleed, you may need a couple of cans of brake fluid. I use DOT 5 fluid because I am an infrequent driver and the car spends a lot of time in storage (winter). Dot 5 does not absorb moisture and has the great advantage that it does not damage paint if you spill it. It is not a good choice if you intend to take your car to the race track on a regular basis. It is also more expensive, about 3 - 4 times the cost of regular Dot 3 or 4 fluids. If you switch to Dot 5, it doesn't mix with Dot 3 or 4 so you need to do a complete flush and you can't top up DOT 5 with Dot 3 or 4. Good quality DOT 4 or 5 fluids are also perfectly acceptable. Just be careful when poring as they are not kind to paint, particularly old paint.
 

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I ...
The original flex line connections are likely rusty. Spray the fittings on the ends of the existing flex lines with penetrating oil and let sit. A couple of applications won't hurt. Spray around the bleeder valves also as these will also likely be sticky.
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The bleeders can be difficult to loosen. Make sure that you have the correct sized wrench. On my 142 with rebuilt rear calipers, I had a mix of bleeder wrench sizes on the calipers. Be careful and check. If you round off the bleeders trying to loosen them, you will be cursing. I suggest making sure that you can loosen all the bleeders as a first step. That way, if you bugger one or more up or break them and they require extraction, you can get on the phone to Iroll or whoever and have some replacements on the way.
Definitely agree about the bleed screws. Here are my tips on that:

1) If the little rubber caps are still there, you're in luck and the bleeders will probably budge without too much effort.

2) Even if they are, pull the caps off, wire-brush around the base of the bleeder and use a drill bit /compressed air to clean out the center channel by hand. Do all the bleeders on all calipers.

3) Each day, shoot a little squirt of penetrating oil into the center channel of each bleed screw.

4) The day you start, and before you commit to the job, use a closed box wrench on each bleed screw, to see if they'll move. Don't unscrew them, just see if the threads crack without breaking or rounding off the bleeder.

5) If they all move, go for it.

6) If not, at least you can drive the car somewhere to execute Plan B. :D

You might want to remove the bleeders altogether and clean up their threads before reassembly. Don't use any product on the threads (don't contaminate the new fluid), but do try to find new rubber caps to prevent them from seizing in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both for your advice; I took it to heart and gor through the installation with no hiccups.

As for the bleeding...

I was able to use the Mityvac to successfully bleed the front DS (both upper and lower bleeders) and the rear PS. However, the front PS (upper bleeder) is absolutely dry and I cannot get anything to come out of it, even at about 20 psi of vacuum on the Mityvac. Same with the rear DS. Both bone dry.

I removed the new SS line that I had just installed on the rear DS and I cannot entice any fluid to come out there either; again, even with negative pressure.

I tried pumping the brakes softly 100 times and it had minimum and on temporary effect at the front PS, nothing at the rear DS.

Now, I did start the car and pushed the pedal softly and it was completely soft.

Not too sure where to go next here and was hoping for a sympathetic voice, please!
 

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You need to confirm this by referring to the service manual for the 1800; but, I expect that the 1800 will probably be the same as my 142. On the 140 series, the rear driver side caliper and the upper bleeders on both front calipers are on the secondary circuit. The lower bleeders and the rear passenger caliper are on the primary circuit.

The fact that you can pull a 20 psi vacuum suggests you have a blockage somewhere in the secondary circuit. However, the mystery is that you are getting fluid out the top bleeder on the driver side which suggests that the secondary circuit is not completely obstructed. What is particularly strange is that on the 140, the upper pistons / bleeders on the driver and passenger front calipers are supplied by a common line from the brake failure switch fitting which then goes down to a dual T fitting somewhere down on the front of the car. From this dual T fitting hard lines split to the Psgr and Dr upper pistons. What is odd is that you are getting fluid out the Dr upper piston but not out the Psgr upper piston.

The first thing that I am going to suggest is to check the brake failure warning switch fitting. The two hard lines from the Master cylinder go to this fitting and four lines come out (two to the front and two to the back). There is a piston in this fitting that is normally centered if the primary and secondary brake circuit pressures are balanced; but, if pressure drops in one circuit the piston moves actuating the warning switch. If for some reason the piston moved during this process, it is likely obstructing the flow of fluid in the secondary circuit. If the warning switch was activated, then it remains stuck in the activated position. You should be able to deactivate the switch and allow it to return to the unactivated position by unscrewing and removing the switch (the part with the wire connected to it). There are internal springs in the pistons which return it to the balanced / unactivated state when the switch is pulled out. Emphasis on the word 'should'. I have heard stories that once activated the balancing piston will sometimes stay stuck in the activated position.

You could normally check to see if the switch is activated by checking for a ground connection on the switch. The switch should normally be open circuit. However, sometimes these switches fail so that may not be a reliable indicator. The ultimate test would be to pull the hard line that goes to the rear driver side caliper out of the switch block. Have somebody gently press down on the brake pedal (do not press to the floor - otherwise you will be purchasing and installing a new master cylinder). You should get good brake fluid flow out of the open fitting if everything is OK. This is an easy test for me because I have DOT 5 brake fluid which is harmless to paint. If you are using conventional fluid, you will have to make some arrangement to protect the paint from the inevitable spillage that occurs when you do this type of test. If you are getting good flow, then the switch is probably unactivated and the blockage is someplace else!

REPEATING MY VERY FIRST COMMENT, EITHER CONSULT THE 1800 SERVICE MANUAL OR TRACE OUT THE BRAKE LINES ON YOU CAR TO MAKE SURE THAT THE CIRCUITS ON THE 1800 ARE SET UP THE SAME AS ON THE 140 SERIES. if IT IS SET UP DIFFERENTLY, YOU NEED TO REVISE YOUR TROUBLE SHOOTING PROCESS. I think they should be the same or pretty close as I believe the design for the dual front piston diagonal brake system originated with the 140 series and migrated to the 1800.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I will check that out, certainly. I fear my MC may be toast, however. I was able to finally entice the front PS upper to flow and there was significant crud in the thick brown fluid that came out. Eventually new fluid did trickle but it wasn't impressive at all.

I was able to get some similarly thick brown fluid out from the rear DS after repeating the following cycle several (SEVERAL!) times:

-Pump brakes halfway 100 times
-Place heavy weight on pedal to hold it half way down, with wood block behind pedal
-get under rear PS and pump Mityvac to 25psi
-open bleeder
-get out from under car and crack open reservoir
-get back under rear DS and repeatedly close/pump Mity/open bleeder
-REPEAT!

For this I was rewarded with about 20cc of heavily contaminated brown fluid that had chunks of what I guess is rust in it. After that 20cc, it wouldn't give me anymore and fresh fluid from the reservoir never flowed.
 

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Been a while since the brake system was last flushed?

Based on your description of the crud coming out of the brake bleeders, your brake failure switch may not be the problem. It may just be solids / sludge impeding the flows in the lines. If as you describe you have a lot of solid contaminants in the brake system, I would be inclined to disconnect the lines from the brake calipers and let the stuff drain out. There is no point in pushing contaminated fluid with solids into the brake calipers which have orifices that can get blocked. Detaching the lines from the calipers will also reduce the restriction to the flow of your high solids brake fluid. Flush the lines out until you have clean fluid coming out of all of the lines and then reattach to the calipers. Then start the bleeding process.

The process you described is not going to be particularly successful. You will have a lot of air in the system which means that the pedal pumping action is not generating much fluid pressure to move the thickened fluid. I suggest that you consider getting a pressure bleeder. I have one which operates off my large air compressor and it makes bleeding the Volvo's complicated brake system fairly easy. There are versions that do not require an external air compressor such as this one (says it fits Volvo's from 1972 - 2001)

http://www.speedwaymotors.com/Motiv...ake-Bleeder-Wilwood-Master-Cylinder,5790.html

This style takes a little more effort than mine; but, it will be mind bendingly fast for a complete brake system flush compared to doing it with a Mighty vac. I have a Mighty vac which is a useful tool for checking for vacuum leaks and such. Its also useful for vacuuming the old fluid out of the MC reservoir when doing a brake system flush so that you reduce the amount of old fluid you have to pump through the system. Aside from that, it is not an efficient tool for bleeding the rest of the brake system.

Edit:

I noticed you refer to pulling a vacuum of 25 psi. That is not possible. The maximum vacuum at sea level would be around 14.7 psi, less at higher elevations. You are probably reading the inches Hg scale. 25 in Hg would be around 12 psi. The pressure bleeder can easily give you around 20 + psi to move brake fluid - more if you are prepared to strap the adaptor lid and MC reservoir to the master cylinder body - without the retaining strap too much pressure can actually cause the plastic reservoir to pop out of the MC body - its only a press-in fit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@142, thanks for that link and your sage advice. I ordered that pump you suggested and will try it out when it arrives Tuesday. I will implement your suggestions and update here.

Again, many many thanks!
 

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A couple of pieces of advice from when I completely rebuilt my car (including the brake system).

If you can avoid it, do not disconnect hard lines. Based upon my experience, the flares on the hard line ends can become slightly deformed during reassembly and will weep small amounts of brake fluid. They won't weep enough to prevent bleeding; but, will weep enough to result in eventual fluid loss. I found that around 15 - 20% of the flare fittings on my hard lines would weep after reassembly. Sometimes the flares on the ends of the hard lines will develop cracks in which case the line needs to be replaced. However, if it leaks because of a slight deformation in the flare, there are things called copper flare washers that do an excellent job of sealing (the copper is soft and deforms to seal up the deformation in the flare fitting). With luck you can do your flush without removing any hard lines and if you do need to pull off a hard line it will go back together without weeping.

If the car spends time in extended storage (winter storage?) or you want to extend the time between brake fluid flushes, consider silicon (DOT 5) brake fluid. Unlike conventional brake fluids DOT 5 does not absorb moisture so it does not turn into the lumpy like stuff that you are experiencing. DOT 5 also has the wonderful advantage that when you spill it or develop a leak, it does not wreck the paint. If you regularly get the brakes stinking hot (as in you participate in racing or like to plunge down mountain roads) then DOT 5 is not a good choice. The other disadvantage is that it is about 3 - 4 times the cost of conventional fluid. Replacing conventional fluid with DOT 5 requires a complete brake system flush.

When refitting flare nuts or flare fittings I like to smear a little anti seize compound on the threads. It helps to insure that the fittings go on square and don't get cross threaded. Small amounts are better than too much. You don't want it getting in and contaminating the brake fluid.

If it turns out that you do need to replace a damaged hard line, a brake system specialist should be able to make one up relatively easily using the old one as a pattern. Do not get stainless steel lines. They look nice; but, way to hard to bend nicely to fit. Do not get the conventional steel or galvanized steel lines, instead spend the extra $5 or so to get the lines made out of a relatively flexible copper - nickel alloy brake lines. Much easier to install!

Good luck with the flush and repairs!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Again, 142, thank you for all of your help and advice. Those copper washers are on my list of near-term purchases since I experienced exactly what you said with one of my flare fittings.

Undortunately, two problems I am facing have me ready to flatbed my ES to someone smarter than me (which is pretty much anyone). First: Even after using the power bleeder, the DS rear won't flow. My assumption is there is a blockage somewhere in the last hard line after the flex line, or in the caliper itself. I took the bleed valve completely off and pumped the power bleeder to 15 and...nothing. I then vented the power bleeder and repeated the process but still no love.

Second: there seems to be a small leak from the junction between the reservoir and the MC because it is veeeery slowly dripping fluid, even under no pressure. I hope I didn't deform the seal between the reservoir and the MC when I pumped up the power bleeder; I took your advice and only pumped it up after I had zip tied the reservoir to the MC.

So, I may be waving the white flag here soon.
 

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If the 1800 master cylinder is similar to my '71 142, the white plastic reservoir just pushes into the master cylinder housing. I am guessing that it may have become dislodged slightly. Trying pushing the reservoir straight down into the MC to see if that reseats it and seals the leak. 15 - 20 psi on the pressure bleeder should not be capable of doing damage to anything. The other possibility is that one of the little plastic nipples on the bottom of the reservoir may have developed a crack if the reservoir got hit from the side. The good new is that the reservoirs should be available separately from the MC itself.

The 1800 like the 140 should have a brake valve in each brake line that goes to the rear wheels . The hard line from the front goes into this brake valve and the new flex line that you installed should connect to the other side. The other end of the flex line should go to the rigid line on the back axle which connects to the caliper. Try disconnecting the flex line between the brake valve and the rear axle and then pressurizing the brake reservoir. If no fluid comes out, then the brake valve may be plugged up. Disconnect the hard line from the front of the brake valve and pressurize the reservoir again, just to make sure that fluid comes out. If it doesn't, then the blockage is forward of the brake valve.

If the blockage is in the brake valve, they can be pulled apart and cleaned / repaired (I am assuming that parts are still available). If the blockage is in the valve, you should refer to the service manual for disassembly. It is not hard; but, there are certain things you must not do (adjust the spring in the valve assembly) and its best to read over the procedure first. There is a link in this forum to a webpage with .pdf versions of the 1800 shop manual if you don't have one.

I can understand that at some point you may want to bail on this due to frustration. If you are in a part of the US (just guessing) that has easy access to a vintage Volvo specialist, you are good to go. Volvo dealerships are not a shoo-in. Volvo ditched the split dual front diagonal system when they introduced ABS in or about 1987. If you can find a Volvo shop where the mechanics have worked on a 240 or earlier cars which have dual diagonal with the 4 piston front calipers, then you should be good to go. The 1800 will not be anything strange for them. The early 740s had the split dual front caliper arrangement; but, they went to a 2 piston instead of 4 piston caliper so it may be a bit strange for 740 specialists; but, should be doable. If you can find a good brake shop that has worked on a vintage Volvo with the dual diagonal system, that might be an option also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
@142

Well, I thought I traced the problem Back to the rear DS compensation valve. I bought a new pair from ipd and installed them, pressurized the reservoir and...still nothing out of the DS caliper. Nada.

Is there some specific process for installing the new compensation valves because, after installing them, I cannot get any fluid flow out of the port that goes to the flex line. The hard line going to the valve flows great, however...
 

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There is not some odd chance that you got them in backwards? Are you getting flow to the passenger side rear caliper? If so, and they are both installed the same way, then the installation is probably OK. If the driver side is getting flow, try switching the valves (that will require removing the four mounting screws and flipping the bracket. That will give you a clue as to whether the problem might be someplace else or a faulty valve. However, before doing that, IPD used to be pretty good about responding to technical questions (maybe less so now that they have less vintage Volvo stuff). Try sending them an email. They may have some odd trick for dealing with the problem. There is an odd chance that the valve might be faulty

When I completely redid the brakes on my car, I pulled the valves off, cleaned them up and repainted them, re installed them along with everything else. Other than taking forever to bleed the system because it went together totally dry, I don't recall doing anything special to get fluid to flow through the valves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I was worried that I would put them in backwards inadvertently so I was pretty diligent about working them with an arrow facing forward before installing them. Anyway, I employed my 10y/o son to help me by pressing the brake pedal and it seems I'm getting fluid to flow that way. So much for that power bleeder... Sucker made quite the mess, too; leaked fluid like a sieve from the reservoir cap when pressurized.

Chilton's showed me that the bleed sequence I used was wrong (I was using the furthest to closest method) and even showed me that there is an outboard bleeder (for a total of 3) on each front wheel. After we get back from a weekend Disney trip I will go through and rebleed the system using the Chilton's sequence and my boy on the pedal...
 

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If the reservoir cap adapter for the pressure bleeder leaks, I would complain to Speedway and see if they will give you a refund, or the correct adapter cap. The pressure bleeder was listed as fitting 1973 Volvos. If the reservoir cap is leaking, the pressure bleeder will be ineffective. My reservoir cap adapter seals effectively and 20 psi of pressure has no problem getting good flow out the back caliper bleeder valves.

The correct bleed sequence is absolutely necessary (as noted back in post #2) to getting the air out of the system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yes, you did definitely say that! Hopefully I paid enough attention to you and the manual to get this done right... I'll let you know.

Thanks again, 142.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@142 I cannot thank you enough for your advice and hand-holding through my ordeal/learning experience with my brake adventure.

Well, it looks like I finally got them all bled, and was able to test drive today. The lead feels very firm (a good thing) and the brake power seems very strong. Two issues, though: 1) there is the slightest pull to the left on hard breaking, almost too little to notice and, 2) the brake warning light remains illuminated at all times.

I thought that the warning light issue may be related to the switch you mentioned early in this thread...
 

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Progress is good.

Pull the wire off of the brake failure switch assembly. If the light goes out then you know that the problem is with the hydraulic brakes. It could be that one of the brake circuits still has air in it causing the switch to operate, the electrical switch itself has failed (check this by unscrewing the switch itself and operate the little plunger on the end to make sure the light goes out) or you need to manually reset the switch because the piston moved during your bleeding process. If the light does not go out when you pull the wire off the switch, then the problem is likely due to the parking brake switch which may be out of adjustment (Volvo cheaped out and used one warning light for both functions) or there is a unexpected ground in the circuit some place (faulty insulation)

Some things to consider. If one of the hydraulic circuits still has some air in it, you will get less than effective breaking from one of the rear brakes (both circuits go to both front calipers so both front brakes remain operational in the event of a single circuit failure). If there is still some air in the circuit that connects to the right rear caliper, this would reduce its effectiveness and I think the unbalance on the rear would cause the car to pull to the left during hard braking. You may still need to do a little more bleeding.
 
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