Good morning. I’m Saul Reisman here at Saul’s Automotive. Today, we are going to talk a little bit about rust, corrosion and how they affect not only your vehicle but your safety.
In the state of Colorado, we typically don’t see very many rusted-out or corroded-out vehicles. Because we use magnesium chloride rather than sodium chloride on our roads, we really protect our owners significantly better by doing such. However, many vehicles that are transplanted to Colorado, specifically from the East and West Coasts, have a lot of water moisture from ‘em. If are anywhere from Florida to New York, the underside of your vehicle could literally be red in color. We’ve seen vehicles as little as 36 months old that had rust damage so significant, bolts could not be removed from the vehicle and instead had to be cut out with a plasma cutter or torch to successfully pull them out.
Today, we’re underneath a 1990 Ford Bronco II. This guy has survived. A good life, 25 plus years, and has some great mileage on it. However, the rust and the corrosion has truly taken its toll. While many suspension components have been improved, replaced and upgraded over time to keep this guy on the road, one major component that may look small plays a big part and hasn’t been, and that’s your brake proportioning valve.
The way the brake system works on any motor vehicle, under the hood you’ll have a reservoir, a boosting device of some kind and then lines that distribute that hydraulic pressure to each of the four corners of the vehicle. However, because the front and rear of the vehicle have different brake systems, they don’t use the same volume of brake fluid when the pedal pressure is applied. As a result, we have what we call a brake proportioning valve. This valve differentiates pressure front and rear of the vehicle to help maintain even-controlled braking. However, as we’re gonna take a look on this Ford Bronco, this brake proportioning valve, currently sitting up here on this frame rail, has some pretty serious corrosion to it. It’s actually leaking the fluid through the surfaces of the brake lines going in and out of the unit.
Now, due to its location, it’s slightly difficult to access, but the real concern here is with the brake lines around it. The two brake lines that go into the front and out of the rear of it are very, very thin metal. The lines themselves are three-sixteenths of an inch in diameter and have a one-eighth inch inner diameter. That means that the wall of the tubing is less than a 32nd of an inch thick. That 32nd of an inch thick housing must maintain 3,000 plus pounds per square inch of pressure through that system for the life of the vehicle. Every time you hit your brake pedal, you are putting two to three thousand pounds of pressure, if not more, through that line. Over time, due to the corrosion, these lines have lost their strength and they’re starting to degrade.
Now, this Denver vehicle came in because this brake proportioning valve has failed. However, for us to disconnect the lines to and from that, the lines themselves will need to be replaced. Due to the corrosion on them, as soon as we put a wrench on those lines and attempt to rotate them, they will more than likely break in half.
Here at Saul’s Automotive, we have a couple of Denver Auto Repair solutions for something like that when it happens. We can replace the line with the factory replacement if it’s available. This vehicle’s 25 years old. As is the case with many vehicles with rotted-out brake lines, it’s beyond its service production. There are no parts available for it.
We can produce a brake line for it in the house. We manufacture hard and soft brake lines here in the house and we guarantee them for the life of the vehicle. We can manufacture stainless and braided stainless lines as well. If you have a vehicle that needs a rubber hose changed out, that’s a good time to upgrade such, and these are very inexpensive components. We’re literally talking pennies to dollars at most for something that could save your life.
Last but not least, we can repair the current brake line. If the current brake line itself, maybe a foot or two feet down the line, has good, solid steel to it, we can actually cut, flare, fold and recreate the flared ends of those lines to make a new junction and install a new line in the middle without disrupting the entire line at the other end of the vehicle. This can be made into a major cost savings for you as the owner.
At the same time, this is definitely, definitely a safety concern, and this is a vehicle that shouldn’t have driven in. While we tell all owners if you are leaking brake fluid at all, please have your vehicle towed, this is a case where we’re able to physically repair the line in the vehicle and we should be able to get this guy back on the road with just a couple of little hoses.
While the labor on these can be intensive to get proper and accurate and then flush the air from these systems to ensure there are no leaks, this is a significant cost savings over replacing the entire brake system. Many automotive shops would see a vehicle in this and simply say every line needs to be replaced. It’s a liability concern. There’s no way we can do it any other way.
Fortunately for us, because we can fabricate these lines here in house, we can show you the condition of your lines, explain which ones may or may not need repair or replace and address each line accordingly to most cost effectively suit your needs.
If you have any concerns about rust or corrosion on your vehicle, specifically in your brake system, please give us a call here at Saul’s Automotive. We’re open 365 days a year to help keep you safe and on the road. Give us a call at 303-919-7769.
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