As expected, I was able to spend yesterday working on the Chevelle, with the intent of finishing the brakes. I did just that, though I’m not sure if they need bled out more or if the drums in the rear just need adjusted. Pedal is kind of soft until mid-travel when it becomes a rock (without vacuum, haven’t tried it with).

First up I removed the old drums and hubs to remove the steering arms, then put that all back together (to keep it orderly) then removed the whole spindle. New spindle went on, caliper bracket, backing plate, bolted the (cleaned up) steering arm to the new spindle, etc, packed some bearings, on with the rotors, calipers, fastened the flex line, and hey it’s done.

The wheel wells were clean and the suspension in fresh paint when I put this in storage, but that’s what sharing a dirt floor with chickens will do over the years... nothing a hose shouldn’t fix though.

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Who doesn’t love packing bearings?

Then... I did it all again on the other side, which genuinely took half as long now that I knew exactly what needed to happen and in what order. I also didn’t have to look up torque specs again which saves time.

As a disclaimer to the first picture - There are jackstands under the frame, the jack is just holding the suspension in not-full-droop.

With that taken care of, the master cylinder (which, having been in the open air for 7 days, has already begun to rust...) was bench bled. The little kit that came with it was awful and leaked air back into the cylinder so I ended up making some hard lines for it. That took way longer than it should have.

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Then the MC was bolted to the booster, the lines all connected and sufficiently (probably overly) tightened, and it was time to bleed (I recruited help for this step).

I tidied up the lines a bit later on. Pretty bummed about the surface rust already appearing on the MC.

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After many many pumps to the right rear yielding no fluid, I decided to blame the prop valve. We bled the fronts (right then left) so there’d be some pressure and went back to the rear.

After an excruciating amount of “open” “ok” ... “close” “ok” ... “open” “ok” ... “close” “ok” ... “open” “ok” ... “close” “ok”a little fluid finally made it to the right rear wheel cylinder. Not much though.

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It was then noticed that the left rear was pouring fluid onto the axle, and I discovered that I never tightened the hard line into the wheel cylinder on that side beyond finger-tight. Tightened it up and the rest of bleeding went pretty normal, completing the cycle RR->LR->RF->LF as it should be. Five (5) pumps of no bubbles from each was considered a sign that we were done (I also was almost out of fluid and didn’t want to open another can).

In the spirit of odds-and-ends, when I went to connect the booster to the manifold, I also replaced a 45-year-old vacuum line which was disintegrating and wrapped in tape. I then used the old T from the PCV line to T-in the vacuum line to the brakes where the interior-stuff connects. When I replace the intake manifold, this will get its own port either on the manifold or the carb.

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The left part is the old line that was wrapped in tape, I replace that. On the right is the new T to feed the booster. There was a plug screwed in the back of the carb but I don’t know if it is manifold or ported vacuum so I didn’t use it. If there’s a lack of brake-boost, I may look in to it.
Pictured: not-great vacuum line routing; paper towel to catch possible prop valve leaks; 710; intake manifold that I swear is orange... if you dig through enough grease.

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Finally, I investigated if my original 14" drum brake wheels would clear the new discs, which the internet says they shouldn’t. The internet was wrong, they do clear.

I then put on my new wheels, torqued the lugs, and set the car back down. It looks good.

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Again with the dirty wheel wells (and dusty car). Even without the caps and rings, I really like these wheels.

What’s Next?

The plan has shifted slightly, since I now own a house (with garage) I’m going to bring the car here before I do the intake/carb/ignition/etc, which means it’s almost road trip time!

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Before then, I need to verify the brakes work, re-tune the carb since I’ve fixed several leaks, change the oil & filter, re-check the trans fluid level, top off the coolant (probably), get a new battery, replace a headlight (and verify the rest still work), get new windshield wipers, and sort out insurance.

So close!