Bouncing off the wall - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-10-2018, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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Bouncing off the wall

My intent with this post is not to flame anyone; it is to check and see if my expectations are realistic or not.


Background: Purchase a master cylinder for my boat tail on Jan of 2017 from Centerline in anticipation of redoing the braking system later the same year. Self installed the master, speed bleeders, new flex lines around June July of 2017. January of 2018 the master springs a leak at the front cap area. I call Centerline and inquire about replacement. The gentleman on the phone (very courteous) looks it up and explains there is a 90 day warranty only but is willing to provide a rebuild 1/2 off. He does ask how many miles I have put on the new m/c and I say about 3000. He says that alot. I thought this was odd - do most owners not drive their cars regularly - because I do. Anyways I ask if he will provide two rebuild kits for the price of one and he agrees. Since I still have the old m/c that I replaced I figure I will rebuild both and have a spare just in case. The kits arrive promptly and the total cost after shipping is under $20.

Now here is my concern; and maybe I am wrong. A m/c is not something that you can "break" easily. Usually the seals wear out over time and from my experience this can take years and years. Honestly, I know that there have had to have been some that fail early (like mine) but logically its a question of wear on rubber parts or rust etc... In my mind if it fails within, even 12 months, I think there is a defect in the parts (most likely the rubber parts).

I am not looking for Centerline to step in and send me an new unit. That transaction is done and in the past. What I want to know is if my line of thought is in the minority or a common belief. Parts such as m/c should last longer than, in my case 6 months, though purchase date was 12 mons.
But I may not be aware of the manufacture process or basic issues with such hardware; I just know from experience I have never had a m/c fail in under 5 years that I can think of and I tend to keep my cars a long time.

[I]Sergio[/I]
95 164 LS red
87 Milano Verde Black - gone to pieces
69 Boat tail silver

"I dont' think it means what you think it means"
"it's not a question of where you grip it"
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-10-2018, 10:04 AM
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I had two new units leak (or seep) pretty quickly.

The third unit, I had bored and sleeved in stainless. No issues. I think the rubber parts are generally fine, but the barrels of the repops are crap cast, and don't seal well.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-10-2018, 10:10 AM
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I haven't purchased much from Centerline, but what I did worked out OK. However, I place a very high value on customer service. In this area, Classic Alfa excels. I've purchased stuff for future use, and when I pulled it out months, or more, later and found a problem, I got zero argument. Problem solved without complaint.

That said...

May we assume you used a DOT4 brake fluid rather than DOT3?
Do you live in a wet climate, and did the master cylinder sit on your shelf for a very long time?

A master cylinder should last decades, not months or weeks. In this modern world of "cheap at any cost" we see more and more crap being produced. I encourage buying for quality, and not for price.

Don P
Carson City, NV

Past Alfas...
59 102 Touring (first Alfa $500 running)
65 Sprint GT (2nd Alfa, $500 daily driver)
102 Sprint (never did anything with it, but wish I had)
74 Berlina (first new car - now certainly rusted into oblivion)
61 Giulietta Spider G-Prod Race Car (where is it now?)
84 Spider Veloce (rarely drove it, so sold it)
86 Quadrifoglio (Dull car - no more 115s for me)
1971 Montreal "The Full Monty". Fair winds and following seas

Current Alfas
59 102 Touring Roadster - restoration complete, enough Alfa for any rational man. Or irrational, for that matter
Oops. Add to the "present" list, 10204 01488, 2000 Touring Roadster project

And past...
Two 1946 Stampe SV4C (c/n 294 "Rocinante" - wife's favorite airplane. RIP), and c/n 235 "La Bon Temps Femme" (gone to a new home, but never forgotten)
Zlin 50LA (+9 -6 gees, titanium spar, 1200 lbs, 260HP rumored to now be in Brazil)
1946 Luscombe 8A
Starduster Too (recently spotted at the Nevada City, CA airport - over 20 years and an entire continent separating it from our stewardship in Binghamton, NY)
1955 Cessna 170B (wife taught me to fly tailwheel in this)

And present...
64 Mooney M20E ("Rambo". My faithful steed for over 40 years) Over 55 years old, and just returned from a trip to Argentina in him
Newest in the fleet
1967 Piper Super Cub on Wipline amphibious floats (a true "all terrain vehicle")
2010 Triumph Thunderbird


You can snap roll an Alfa only one time...
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-10-2018, 10:19 AM
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One bit of advice - even with new parts (especially hydraulic cylinders) I disassemble & clean them out. I've found swarf inside new master cylinders (MG, but the same caveat applies).

- - Eric
don't read this
~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
Mebane, North Carolina


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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-11-2018, 06:50 AM
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I've found that new production aftermarket hydraulic components are very much hit or miss - it's not unusual for one to start leaking in relatively short order. And in general aftermarket parts for vintage cars don't seem to have the durability of OEM. The stuff for vintage American iron is particularly bad - I'll never forget the brand new headlight switch in my old '60 Nomad kicking the bucket on a pitch black night about 100 miles from Reno. Managed to finesse it enough to get to the hotel then spent the $$$ on a NOS unit when I got home. I know Joe and the crew at Centerline do a pretty good job sifting through the junk, and if they get a lot of returns on something they'll switch to another supplier.

Back to the issue at hand. I assume this is the USA 1969-only MC? If so I know Papajam here on the BB has / had a bit of a cottage industry rebuilding the unique '69 MC, and if you know Jim you know that any work he takes on is done correctly. If I had a '69 I planned on putting some miles on I'd definitely drop him a note. In fact I did use him for a '69 MC I installed on a '67 Super I converted to dual circuit brakes and never had a problem with it.

Good luck!

Jason Arrington
1989 Spider driver
1974 Spider restoration project
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-11-2018, 08:55 AM
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This clearly is not a Centerline issue but one I've seen with some reproduction items from any of our GOOD suppliers.
The part may look ok, and even function all right for a while, but build quality, in both material and machine work deviates considerably from original equipment.
Another case in point, is the currently available, NOT from Centerline, studded oil pumps for "101-1300 and 1600" engines. Being a oil pump builder for the Alfa community, several customers have sent me these pumps with "take a look at this" questions. I have yet to see one I would install on any of my 1300-1600 engines other than for display. Ask Bill Gillham! Externally they look good, but machining of the relief valve/spring tower looks to have been done with a large, dull drill bit. Internal clearances vary and are incorrect. I did not do Rockwell testing of mainshaft, idler pin or relief valve piston, but bet they do not mimic original 101 pump components. One had the idler pin bottom knurled up to fit the pump bottom and I pushed it out with finger pressure. This is NOT good guys! These are not inexpensive replicas.
Other than "in-house" testing, our good parts suppliers are at the mercy of the market, and who ever might make reproduction components. We know some parts to be good, but how does a good parts seller know what might be a problem?
This, as usual, is ONLY my opinion from my own experiences.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
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In response to DPeterson3: May we assume you used a DOT4 brake fluid rather than DOT3?
Do you live in a wet climate, and did the master cylinder sit on your shelf for a very long time?


I do used dot 4 and the items in question where kept inside and the original packaging until time of use. I live on the west coast of northern Ca. So for 3 to 4 months the part sat in its original packaging and inside. So, Im not sure if that played a role.

[I]Sergio[/I]
95 164 LS red
87 Milano Verde Black - gone to pieces
69 Boat tail silver

"I dont' think it means what you think it means"
"it's not a question of where you grip it"
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-15-2018, 01:42 PM
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I too have had my share of early failures of these repro cylinders. Not to hijack the thread but 66Scalino where did you have your cylinders resleeved? I have been told that White Post is no longer doing a great job. Do you have a good source?

Dave De Rosier
1969 Spider, 1965 Giulia Sprint GT vintage racer
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-15-2018, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave De Rosier View Post
I too have had my share of early failures of these repro cylinders. Not to hijack the thread but 66Scalino where did you have your cylinders resleeved? I have been told that White Post is no longer doing a great job. Do you have a good source?
Unfortunately no. My mechanic knows a reclusive guy in Washington who does work periodically. Top notch quality, but I think he's retired.

That said... I think this was his website www.goldlinebrakes.com
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-15-2018, 03:20 PM
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Please read through the tech article I wrote a number of years ago. I looked into White Post and their brass sleeves and Karp's and their stainless sleeves. I went with a stainless sleeve from Karps. I was his first 69 dual circuit master cylinder.

Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums

As I understand it, prices have gone up at Karpsl.

Brian __________________________________
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