Brake Down – Dave’s Garage

Five or six years ago the Jaguar XKE started to run rough, cough, belch black smoke, and backfire. This problem got worse quickly and the car ran so poorly it could barely move. Life got in the way, and the Jag was parked.

jaguar xke brake cylinderThis summer I decided it was time to figure out what was wrong with the car and fix it. I found a sunken carburetor float in the rear carburetor, a torn diaphragm in the front carburetor, a bad fuel pump and a dead battery. Once I got these issues sorted out, I began to tune the car and get it running again. It soon became apparent that there was an issue with the brakes. Both front and rear brakes were dragging, and the pedal did not feel right. I know that the brake fluid has not been changed in at least 15 years. When I removed the caps to inspect the brake fluid, I found a nasty surprise. We all know that brake fluid absorbs moisture. Due to some spring flooding this year, the building the car was stored in, had several inches of standing water on the floor of the garage.

The brake fluid actually had standing water pooled on top, and the fluid was starting to congeal. The aluminum caps for the fluid also have low level switches in them. The aluminum had rotted away, and the caps fell apart in my hands. I used a turkey baster to remove the fluid, then flushed fresh new fluid through the system and out the bleeder screws. It is amazing how corrosive contaminated brake fluid is. Look at these pictures. This damage could have been avoided if the fluid had been changed every two or three years.

An extra Tip……… I was recently shopping at Tractor Supply, and I bought a new battery cable for my tractor. When I installed the new cable, I noticed the diameter of the cable was much thicker than the one it was replacing. I realized that the cable I bought was suitable for a six volt battery. A six volt battery cable needs to be thicker, because it carries more amperage at a lower voltage. Six volt battery cables are hard to find at an auto parts store, but Tractor Supply has a large selection in stock.

Please email all inquiries to: Dave
or snail mail
32 Turkey Hill Road
Richmond VT 05477


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Mark your calendars! The Vermont Antique and Classic Car Meet is August 9-11, 2024!