Running Brake Lines
I decided I wanted new everything on my brakes, it’s the number one safety issue and I plan on having my kids in the truck from time to time, so safety is paramount. I purchased a ⅜ brake line pre-flared from my local auto store. The line already had the fittings on it. I started by laying out the line straight and running it to the about a foot past my rear end, leaving the extra length to the front. I then added the Spring Guard and worked the line through a hole in the top of the frame and started pushing it back, the first 3 feet or so are boxed, after that, I attached it to the frame with metal clamps and self-tapping screws. I followed the frame up and above the rear end. I also replaced the rubber hoses on all 4 wheels, two of these Here and one of each for the Ford rear end Here and Here.
I bought a Brake Bleeder Kit and bled them myself. I made sure the master cylinder was full of new brake fluid first. I started at the farthest wheel and attached the vacuum pump to the bleed screw. I pumped it to 25 and opened the bleed screw. I had a lot of air in the line and it took about 10-15 minutes of pumping before I started getting a semi solid stream. I closed that screw and moved on to the next. I used the following order: Rear Passenger, Rear Driver, Front Passenger, Front Driver. I had a heck of a time with the front passenger. I kept drawing air. I troubleshot every single connection and it turned out that my brand-new brake hose was leaking! Once complete, I put the cap back on the master cylinder and pumped the brakes, they were solid. I pumped and built up pressure, then checked out all the connections for leaks.
I went to a junkyard and grabbed a brake pedal, booster and master cylinder out of a Tahoe. The 5.3l has a vacuum tube that runs to the booster on some engines and mine was one, so I made sure to get a booster that would take it. I then climbed inside the cab and held my pedals up enough that it wouldn’t touch the floor and scratched the inside of the firewall on the bolt holes. I then took a piece of paper and traced the holes needed off of the booster bolts. I laid it against the firewall and started drilling. The 4 small holes were drilled, but the large hole I used a plasma cutter. I grabbed a 10” x10” piece of ⅛ steel plate and cut out the same on it. I placed it inside the firewall and passed the bolts through and tightened everything down, it’s pretty solid! My gas pedal also bolted right to the brake pedal assembly, like stock.
I grabbed a E brake pedal from a Tahoe for this for $10. I pulled a hood bar bolt from the inside and mounted my e brake bolt there, for the other 2 bolts, I just used a heavy self-tapping screw into the kick panel. I could have added a steel plate and really made it solid, but my truck is automatic, how often am I really going to use an e brake? I’ll just be careful and not stomp it hard whenever it’s used. I replaced the cables on the rear end Here & Here, I needed a few additional cables Here & Here to connect to the pedal. I started running the cables at the foot pedal and drilled a hole through the firewall. The cable comes with a rubber grommet, so I slid it to meet the hole. Some of the cable ends have a cable with ball on the end of them, others have a round part that’s meant to lock into a factory hole. I first tried to just use a few pieces of plumber’s tape screwed to the frame over the ends meant for a factory hole, but it didn’t work. I had some ¾ steel pipe laying around, so after measuring several times, I welded about a 1” long piece of pipe to the frame, passed my cable through and screwed a cable holder on the other side of the pipe to keep it in place (same clamps used on fuel line). For the ends with the cable and ball, they simply slide and lock into the receiving end of the next cable. I added metal clamps every foot or so, but make sure to use large clamps to just hold the cable, you don’t want to restrict its movement. I worked front to back, keeping it tight along the way. The rear lines that connected to the wheels were different lengths, so I held the cables in place so that the ends met the same length and then welded in 2 more pieces of pipe and passed the cables through. This setup worked great, cost little and is very solid.