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Y Type Brake Hoses

brakehose3b[1]The three flexible brake hoses in the braking system are an excellent  example of ‘out of sight-out of mind’. They have a life of about 8 to 10  years AT THE MOST; when did you last check yours?


The MoT man should be checking them, but from November 2012 here in the UK, there is no  mandatory annual check any more so some hoses might never be looked at.


If a hose bursts on a Y Type, you lose all your brakes, only the  handbrake will work. The YA/YT use a completely different braking system  to the later YB, so it is important you purchase the correct hoses.


People like NTG or the Octagon Car Club can supply the hoses. It is also  worth taking very great care to remember that BRAKE FLUID WILL STRIP  PAINT IN SECONDS. So do not touch your bodywork with fluid on your  hands. Water will remove it as it is water-soluble.


Use Dot4 or Dot5 fluid when you come to bleed the system and I recommend you bleed each  pipe individually as you fit them, otherwise you end up with a lot of air in a small system which could take ages to shift.


Hose cracked on the outside of a bend -- scrap.

Checking the hoses means having a close look at them, most often the  ‘outside’ of any bend will show cracks in the outer rubber covering, an  instant MoT failure point. The photo on the left shows a scrap hose.


Actually renewing the hoses is a simple job as long as you remember to  loosen the unions in the correct order. The diagram from the manual  shows the complex junction of four pipes on the RHD cars, RH front. The  other two are easy and obvious.


Undo the ‘pipe’ end of each hose first, then remove the ‘big’ nut that holds the hose to the chassis, (you will  need to re-use this and its washer), then unscrew the hose from the front brake cylinder/rear axle connection. You need to jack the car but do fit an axle stand AND chock a set of wheels. Use NEW copper washers  on the unions, or I can guarantee you will get a leak (unless you are very, very lucky and get the old washer exactly where it was when  removed, very unlikely indeed!!)


The photo of my RH front (below right) shows the new hose fitted, and I’ve sealed the area with under-seal as I use my car  all year round. I also put a little waxoyl on all the threads for easy removal next time. Do not let mineral oil mix with the brake fluid, it  will ruin the seals.


New hose fitted.


Bleeding the brakes; you need an assistant here. HEALTH WARNING; This is  a severe test for any marriage/partnership…to shift the air open the bleed nipple, get the ‘pedal operative’ to push the brake pedal down AND KEEP IT THERE until you’ve nipped up the bleed nipple. Repeat this closing the nipple when the pedal rises each time until you get a clear, clean stream out of the nipple. Wash the area down with water ASAP.


Top up the master cylinder between each hose and you will have completed another job; you have renewed your fluid. This should be done every 3 to 5 years, did you know that? Use a new bottle of brake fluid, not the one that has sat in the garage for years, it absorbs water from the air.




Problems? Yes, often the bleed nipples have filled with rust. Remove the nipple completely, and then use a 1/8″ drill bit to tease out the rust, and then a 1/16″ drill bit to clean out the small cross-drilled hole and check by blowing through it.

When you think you have finished use kitchen roll to dry off the unions you undid previously and then get your ‘operative’ to stand on the pedal for a few minutes whilst you check carefully for leaks.


Neil Cairns.