The MK1 was inclined to pull itself into the middle of the road and make a Kamikaze attack on any oncoming traffic whenever I hit the brakes. It was definitely not the best way to drive and tended to worry oncoming drivers. After some serious analysis over a 6 pack I went after the possibility of failure of the left front calipers, however my mind said both left front calipers were rebuilt to new specification and a double failure/freeze up would be most unusual.
A simple check by cracking the brake bleed valves while my “dearly beloved” pressed the brake pedal showed little flow or pressure to the pair of LH front calipers. Further investigation revealed that the left front brake hose was blocked. When I put the brake system together a couple of years ago I had checked the hose was OK by passing a piece of wire through it. I had no knowledge of the history of the hose but it had looked and checked out OK. In fact due to age it was developing a severe case of a blocked artery over a short time period.
The offending hose was extremely difficult to remove especially at the body bracket end of the system. I resorted to the “hot spanner” i.e. oxygen/acetylene torch and after successfully setting the MK 1 on fire three times finally resorted to grinding through the retaining nut with an angle grinder. That got it off the car but my problems were not over. I then had to get a replacement hose.
Every retail source was checked and I kept getting the reply “not in stock”. Interestingly enough all the suppliers could quote me prices between $59.00 and $67.00. In desperation I contacted Graham Deahl who is the Victorian MK 1 register giru and explained my problem. He advised that they had similar problems with brake hoses and I had best contact a hose manufacturer.
I approached BPA and put the problem to them. The reply was laconic. Gary their technical fitter said
“ They had never been stumped by a brake hose” After examining the remains of the MK 1 hose said it was no problem to make me a new one with all new fittings. He also said that they had never had a hose returned after failure as their equipment was checked regularly by [transport?] authorities.
I asked what was the price?
He answered ” $60.00 - that is the standard price for a one-off hose”.
Me: Does that include GST?
Me; Are you approved to manufacture brake hoses?
He; “Yes” [and proceeded to show/tell me about the certification]
Me; How long for delivery? [Believing fittings would be a problem and may need to be ordered in]
He; “about 15 minutes or less if you are in a hurry”.
I said, “I am in a hurry but I’ll wait - make me two of them”
“OK” sez he
And that readers was what took place. About 10 minutes after the start of the conversation I had in my hand two brand new brake hoses to the exact and original specification for a MK1. I might add that I had spent almost two weeks trying to source a replacement brake hose.
I dropped in next day as I had a problem with the 5/8 inch 26 TPI nut at the body end. I had destroyed the original with the 4-inch grinder just to get the hose off the car without destroying the mounting bracket. Nobody could supply a nut however Gary sorted this out by re-cutting the inner hose retaining thread for a SAE national fine] NF] nut. I noticed about 150 new [after market] hoses he had just turned out for distribution into the retail market. He remarked that the hoses had been ordered the day before and he expected pickup at any time. In other words this company was seriously involved in after market supply.
Somehow I think we Jag owners believe that English magic is used to produce parts for our cars and it must be “original” to be any good. After market organisations like BPA turn out a product standard which is controlled by Australian government authorities and are more than willing and able to support our old car cause. The important thing for we restorers is that they can supply “one off” requests at short notice and within the normal retail price range.
I don’t apologise to our normal retail suppliers. Having copped the trauma of “unable to supply” or “not in stock” it is only fair that alternatives should be readily available to club members.
Brake Boosters Another issue came out of my visit to BPA. They are equipped to overhaul brake servo power boosters. This was qualified by remarks that parts are difficult to obtain on some types but the customer should liaise with them and they would make recommendations on the best course of action i.e. repair or replace with an Australian made product.