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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, my name's John and I'm new to the novas.net forum- definately glad I found it though. I picked up a '71 Nova from a little old lady for $500.00 last thanksgiving when I was on leave and since then done a good bit of work to it, but having some trouble with the brake set up. Unlike most of yall I'm not a mechanic, just a 19 yr. old army guy so feel free to correct anything, but I'm keeping the drum brake set up, up front I've got all new assemblies and springs but snapped the line (really not even sure what the name of it is) thats where I need some help... I want to do all stainless steel brake lines front to rear, and I know "ground up" and some other mail-order's sell full kits but any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

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I'm not sure what you are really asking for here. The stainless steel brake line kits are just the hard lines. You will still need to get the one hose that goes to the rear axle and both front hoses. If it were me I would do a front disc conversion for the added safety. As far as putting all the springs back in, you need to get a manual on it. I would look into a 71 Chevrolet shop manual. You can normally get one off E-bay cheap. I think haynes makes a manual on brakes only also.

Hope some of this helps and by the way welcome to the board and thank you for serving!
 

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We will need to know exactly what snapped and where to be of any help.
Having a factory service manual along with asking questions here is the best way to learn how to keep your Nova running. Brakes are a common item. By that I mean all Chevy cars with drum brakes share the same type and operate the same way. I can post some photos of the arrangement of the parts on the backing plates if you need them.

The best deal going is manuals on CD. You can look up what you are going to do, print out the pages and take them out to the shop. No worries about getting grease and grime on a book and making it harder to read next time. Detroit Iron has a great selection and for the price you cannot buy used paper manuals any cheaper. Click on the link and if you want one find a dealer near you. I have one for both my Nova and El Camino.

Welcome to the site, glad you found us. Get some more info posted so we can help get your Nova back on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both for responding, ok... as far as the front I bought pre assembled drum brake set ups rather than doing a part by part on the stock. I've already installed the new springs and go the brake kits bolted on, there's a line from the back of the drum up to the master cylinder, is that just any old regular tubing or does this line have a specific name? If any of yall know of a site I can use for quick reference, as far as reassembling the rear brakes that would be awesome, thanks for you help!
 

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It is a very specific reinforced rubber hose, which apparently dry rotted enough to tear. It is the flex line that supplies hydraulic pressure to the wheel cylinder from the master cylinder. You will need to bleed the entire system now (master cylinder included as I will wager over the past 48 hours I have seen this thread all of the brake fluid has drained out of the system.

You will need an old Chiltons, or a newer Haynes manual to show the step by step procedures they are more general (covering all makes and models generically). The service manual, which is more specific in detail by model, assumes you are a service technician and know what to do when it says R&R a part. The service manuals, Fisher Body assembly manual, and electrical wiring manuals are all available as reprints on CD; or you can search for a real paper version which appear occasionally and can be had from e-Bay (both cost money, can not remember how much the CD is).

You may get by with the drum brakes on the front so long as it is a six cylinder vehicle but if you improve the vehicles performance, you need to seriously consider improving the brakes as well. I and most others recommend disc brakes on the front (stock 11" disc work fine 12" is as an upgrade off a Camaro) and at least 11"x2" drums in the rear (9"x1-3/4" is stock) available for sale as a complete kit in the back of most car mags.

Drum brakes are pretty universal in their installation and maintenance, and GM is prone to use parts off different vehicles to improve performance (the 11" rear drum brake upgrades are considered standard brake parts off of a Caprice Estate Wagon).

Single caliper disc brakes were standard on all high performance cars by 1969, and there are many donor vehicles to obtain parts from in wrecking yards. I would recommend getting a copy of ADP Hollander's Nova reprint book (about $40) to determine who is a good candidate for what parts. Most yards only have newer vehicles (seven years old is ancient in the recycler's mind) and if you call them asking about a thirty five year old part they will not likely be able to help you unless you can ask if they have a certain Hollander number in stock.


Big Dave
 

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Welcome to the site and Thank You for serving our country!!

One advantage you should have is most bases have a hobby shop (garage) where you can work on your car. The one in Norfolk sure was a help to me back when I was in the Navy there.
I was stationed in Charleston also but I know that base is closed now, I wonder if there is a shop out at the Goose Creek base. Might want to check that out.
Good luck
Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks again for the help, that's cool you were stationed at the Charleston Naval yard 71SS, my grandDaddy was stationed there for many years. I'll definately look into the disc brakes up front, seems like those kits arent as expensive as they used to be. I'm headin in the garage now though, sure I'll be back with a question some time soon. thanks!
 

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Now I don't think I served with your granddaddy but you never know. I was there from July '78 to August '80
JJD71Nova said:
that's cool you were stationed at the Charleston Naval yard 71SS, my grandDaddy was stationed there for many years.
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