Whilst I had the MK 1 radiator out I was having a serious look around for rust and any other problems prior to painting the general area surrounding the radiator. I had a close look at the steel brake line that feeds the left front wheel brakes from the hydraulic distribution block just after the power booster. Overall it looked pretty good however there was one spot where there was some rust for about 10-mm. When I touched this the line started leaking hydraulic fluid. This spot is actually hidden from normal view as a U shaped bracket below the radiator supports the brake line in this area.
I went to make a new line but found that parts of the flaring tool were missing and suspect they were in eldest sons toolbox as he was the last to use it. I was also very busy with work and decided to outsource the manufacture of a new line to Stopmasters in Brendale. They made a new line complete with new fittings for the grand sum of $18 and at that price I have decided that I shall no longer persist in these sort of minor repairs with all the running around to get line, fittings and a working flaring tool all together at the same time.
I also enquired about the possibility of using copper line rather than steel but they informed me that Queensland Transport has ruled copper line as illegal because of problems of work hardening and cracking around the end fittings. That is a little strange as all of the Pommy restoration magazines seem to recommend copper brake line as a solution to their never ending corrosion problems.
Club member and friend Ben Stafford had just returned from Papua New Guinea and dropped in for a beer. I told him of this brake line problem and he said that he had had precisely the same problem in the same line in his 420. i.e. under the radiator. It appears that this "sleeper" corrosion problem may exist in MK1&2, S type and 420 cars, which share fairly similar engineering in their front ends. I'd suggest that next time you have the radiator out of one of these cars a close inspection of the brake line would be in order. It is relatively easy to replace the line with the grille and radiator removed.