Rear Brake Cylinders for XK120DHC

I need y’all’s help… again!
As many of y’all know, I am in the Forty-Sixth Year of the nine month “Paint Job/Refurbish” of my 1953 XK120 DHC.
One of the problems I have encountered in the nearly half century of restoring my Jag is certain new parts tend to “go bad” for no reason!! Ex: Rubber that was soft and pliable turns into black, brittle sticks, etc. (even when kept Inside the climate controlled house!!)
I bought a brand-new rear brake cylinder some years ago and a new Lockheed “rebuild kit” to rebuild a (seemingly) VGC original rear brake cylinder… NOW that I am (Finally!!) fitting the Rear Differential Assembly, I am installing all the new/NOS Brake Components I bought over the years, as well… small problem… actually, a LARGE One!! The “new” rear wheel cylinder is all “gummed-up” with some pink crap I assume WAS brake fluid, at one time… The “rebuildable” rear wheel cylinder, while “dry” of any residual brake fluid, seems to have “areas” where some/old?? brake fluid etched the walls of the wheel cylinder… rendering said brake cylinder useless…
Now, I KNOW I can send-off the “hulls” and get them relined in stainless or brass, but I’d just as soon refit a proper set of new Jaguar Brake Cylinders… And HERE is my/a/the problem… I ordered a pair of NEW Rear Wheel Brake Cylinders for my 120… waited the seven days for UPS to deliver the parcel at 5:30pm on Monday!! (the former driver delivered ALL my stuff before NOON… I guess I’ve been demoted!)
Anyway, I take the box of new rear brake cylinders to the shop, carefully open said shipping carton remove one of the two Wheel Cylinder Boxes and Immediately noticed “MADE IN TAIWAN” printed on the part number label!!
Many of y’all know that I spent TEN YEARS ('75-'85) buying Genuine Jaguar “NOS” parts for my restoration… and I mean “MADE IN ENGLAND” parts!! I’ll be damned if I’ll bolt-on some “oriental-made” parts at this late date in my life!! Besides, a “trial fit” of these “off shore” items revealed the damn things don’t fit properly, as well!! The “lever arm” (besides being “stamped” instead of “cast”) actually HITS the rectangular bracket on the Rear Backing Plates (both sides!! The lever arm is longer than the originals AND fitting the original lever arms to the cylinders won’t work as the “geometry” is different, as well!!) NOTE TO VENDORS: If you are going to sell cheap-sh*t oriental parts (AND want to stay in business!!), at least make damn sure the cheap-assed oriental parts actually FIT AND WORK Properly!!!
To that end, do ANY of y’all know what vendor (if any) actually offers either New, Genuine Made-In-England Rear Brake Wheel Cylinders, OR stocks NOS Jaguar XK120 DHC (Tandem Master Cylinder) Rear Brake Wheel Cylinders?
Hell, if I wanted to restore a piece of crap car, I’d-a gotten a YUGO, instead!! (probably been cheaper AND easier!!)
Hopefully “someone out there” can help me with valid information!!
I’d really appreciate it!
Charles Ch# 677556.


Back in the mists of time when I acquired my DHC it had been sitting for months 'cos the owner had gone to Europe (a common activity in those days, did it myself). Nobody had instructed the owner’s father to pump the brakes periodically to keep them freed up so, as a result when I purchased the car from said father it barely stopped as the cylinders were all virtually seized. First task, was to replace all the cylinders with new ones purchased from the local Jaguar dealer (you could do that back in those days). Many years later one of those “made in England” rear replacements ended up shearing part of it’s mounting flange (the bit that slots into the backing plate). This past summer, while my gearbox was enjoying some hard-earned R&R in Blackfoot, Idaho I stripped the rear brakes and lines and rebuilt one cylinder, made up new lines/fittings and replaced the cylinder with the broken flange with one from one of the usual suppliers (in this case Welsh Ent.).

No idea where the “new” cylinder came from, possibly offshore, but I used the handbrake lever from the old cylinder in the replacement. Got everything bolted back up, including the gearbox, and she not only goes fine, but also stops fine. I understand your desire to replace bits with the NOS genuine item, however, I just get whatever I can, usually from whomever offers the best price. On the odd bit (the rubber seal that fits below the tail light assembly comes to mind) the fit is not always what it could be, but for the most part (other than a top rad hose that literally split apart dumping coolant onto the distributor after only a very short life, man, did that bring things to a rapid halt!) I have not experienced a lot of hassles. I use the usual suspects from the U.S. plus Coventry Auto Components in the U.K. You might try the latter as I was once told by one of their staff that, “A lot of the other suppliers buy from us.” I have no idea if that is true or not and have no interest in the company, just passing it on for what it is worth.

I certainly hope that this hiccup does not add another interminable delay in the much anticipated completion of your DHC as I have already primed the RCMP in anticipation of your eventual visit to the land of the maple leaf!



Reminds me of a stand-up comic when questioned at the border, “Do I have any guns? Of course I have guns, I’m from Texas. Oh, you mean with me in the car?”

Anyway, if your rear wheel cylinders look like this,
I cleaned my originals up and polished the bores with a strip of Scotchbrite wrapped around a brake cylinder hone in a drill, spraying in some WD40 occasionally so it made slurry rather than dust.
Rubber cups came from Napa Auto Parts.
I smeared the pistons with grease when I put them in so they shouldn’t rust again.

Upon noticing that the “new” rear wheel cylinders were, indeed, from Taiwan, I immediately set to “make” them look as if they were from “Jolly Ol’”… I tried fitting the e-brake lever (from a “real” Jaguar Rear Wheel Cylinder)… I don’t know which one, but either the “hole” in the rear cylinder itself, OR the hole in the lever is in the wrong place… In short, the two pieces will NOT fir together… And, as noted in my version of “War and Peace”, the e-brake arm (lever) on the Taiwanese imitations is “just enough” too long, thus hitting the rectangular bracket on the rear backing plates… Gotta love “high quality crap”!!!
Needless to say, I looked “on-line” to see who had (has?) the proper Wheel Cylinders… In fact, a year or two ago, I bought a full set of FOUR Front Wheel Cylinders from SNG Barratt… THOSE were Made In England!! The rears they sell are advertised as being “imported” from the far east!! I checked with another vendor, their rear wheel cylinders have the exact same (non-Jaguar) part number as the ones I just got from California (that are the Taiwanese imitations!!)
With respect to “The Men In The Red Coats”… more like you had better have them hide all those pretty Canadian Girls… You know the reputatation we Texicans have when it comes to wimmin!!..
Charles Ch# 677556

Rob R;
You stated: " if your rear wheel cylinders look like this"… Well… Sorta… I have the Lockheed Tandem Master-cylinder set-up, so my braking system is “a little different”… That said, Yes, my Brake Shoes are brand new and shiny (had two full sets relined several decades ago when brake shops STILL did that type of work… I have new Beehives AND “Let-Off Springs”, so that’s the same, as well… However, and as I noted, I have the Tandem set-up, so BOTH my Slave Cylinder and the Adjusting Cylinder are different… The really sad part about the “Tandem” brake set-up is the fact that the wheel cylinders are aluminum… NOT Cast Iron… The end result is, they are NOT truly rebuildable… They are either “New” or Relined"!! That said, I do have the proper Lockheed “cups” to rebuild my rear wheel cylinders… I also have decades of “experience” rebuilding those aluminum wheels cylinders (when I worked on Japanese cars)… I believe we offered a guaranteed 99.8% failure rate on our labor, back then!!! One cannot “hone” an aluminum wheel cylinder with any degree of success…
You wrote: “Reminds me of a stand-up comic when questioned at the border, “Do I have any guns? Of course I have guns, I’m from Texas. Oh, you mean with me in the car?”
In Texas, “certain folks” can obtain an “RTC License”… in Engrish that’s “Right To Carry”… Needless to say, I’ve had one since they were first issued (and called a “CHL”… Concealed Handgun License”) I “Open Carry” my “Hawg-Leg”… a Model 28 S&W .357 Magnum with a Six Inch Barrel… and the prettiest pair of Walnut Handgrips you’ve ever seen ;-} Point being, if I ever showed-up in “Chi-Town”, (I don’t believe Iller-Noise has a Reciprocal Agreement with Texas) I suspect I’d get one helluva escort right to the front door of the local “hoose-gow” (aka “Cross-Bar Hotel”!!)
Charles Ch# 677556

We both have the same Lockheed #25409 aluminum body in single or tandem systems.
I guess I was not clear in describing what I did. I did not use the hone stones in the traditional manner. I wrapped Scotchbrite around them, so the stones did not touch anything, the Scotchbrite did the polishing. The Scotchbrite strip was about 1" wide x 5" long or so. The spring action of the hone arms pushes the Scotchbrite against the bore. You only need to get a mirror finish in the bottom region where the rubber cup operates. Farther out small scratches don’t matter.

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Your last statement is a good point. When I rebuilt the one rear cylinder on my car last summer I used your method and got the lower part nicely cleaned up, the upper still had pits, but as you say it doesn’t matter as the rubber never gets that far. And the cups are standard inch and one eighth, readily available. On the other hand, I did get my front cylinders sleeved as trying the same method didn’t get them cleaned up enough for my satisfaction.


Rob R;
Yup… At first glance (and I DO mean “Glance”!), what I thought was a bolt fixing your wheel cylinder to the backing plate, turned out to be the “ratcheting adjuster” (I need to clean the crap off my glasses!)
So, YES! The rear wheel cylinders are the same on our respective models…
Now, all that said, I might give the “Scotchbrite” a try… If it works as good as you got it to, then I’ll have a “spare set” of rear wheel cylinders… I say “Spare” as I just ordered a pair of “Made In England” rear wheel cylinders… I assume these will have some brake fluid in them, so no letting them “sit around”… I’ll do your “Scotchbrite” trick on the one new and one VGC rear wheel cylinders, keep them “dry” and unassembled, but “with” the rebuild kit, and put them in the “just-in-case” box ;-}…
On my “original” front wheel cylinders, I forget how they looked but, if the bores appear smooth, but just have that “black band”, I’ll try the Scotchbrite trick on them, as well… might just be able to get a “full set” of XK120 Wheel Cylinders as spares… Worse Case, I’ll send the lot out to be resleeved, but NOT rebuilt!!
Charles Ch# 677556.

Chris & Rob;
Just an FYI… I just ordered a pair of new rear wheel cylinders that are stated to have been “Made In England”… We’ll se!! They should arrive this Monday (April 12th)…
Maybe I can finally get the brakes done and finish the “Rolling Chassis”!! (which isn’t “rolling” yet!!)
Charles Ch# 677556.

Hey Charles,

I don’t check in very often but I just did and see your posts about the rear brake cylinders.

You really should just have them sleeved. It is a big improvement actually. We have an outfit that does them here in Massachusetts for short money in SS and they come out beautiful. In fact we just had a full front set done for our Rat Rod XK120 project car.

I had mine done over 20 years ago by Apple and my tandem M/C done in brass by Whitepost. Had one seize up on the right front about 10 years ago. Took it off, cleaned it up, and put the same piston seal back and have had no problems since. The reason it seized was because of water and a bad brake adjuster link.

BTW, if you stay with original Lockheed rubber components and original tilt valves, you can use silicone brake fluid successfully as I have. They say it can’t be done, but it can.

John Brady

John B.
Appreciate the post… I have ordered a “new set” (of “Made In England”) rear brake cylinders… Those will be installed upon receipt (Monday the 12th)… That said, had correspondence with your brother Tom and decided that I will take all my brake cylinder “cores” and send them to Mark Fraper (the fellow who resleeved the “Rat Rod’s” brake cylinders)… not cheap at $300+ (short money??), but that will give me an “upgraded to stainless” set of cylinders… Tho I do have another set of new Lockheed Seal kits (all around), I’m not a fan of silicone (in my brakes OR my girl friends ;-} – old school, I guess) and I did fit “real” Lockheed Tilt Valves on my tandem master (bought them WAY back in the ‘70’s!) but I appreciate the advise.
To slide-over to a different subject, I believe, once I get my DHC “rolling” on all four wheels, that the “assembly process” of the chassis & body will progress at a more steady pace on to completion… maybe by years’ end?? I can hope!


Okay great. You will be very happy with them. But to me $45 per cylinder for fronts and $55 for rears is short money. What are you paying for repros?

Back to DOT 5 brake fluid, remember this does not strip paint and is non hygroscopic (doesn’t absorb moisture).