Repair or replace brake master cylinder

So I’ve got some brake fluid running down the brake pedal, and landing on the front carpet vinyl pad. So I’ve heard that the replacement master cylinders are junk, although labeled Lockheed. So I’m tempted to attempt to reseal the old one, but I know that too sometimes doesn’t last.

So what have people been doing?
Is there a source for new, quality, masters?
Or a source for quality rebuild kits?

Send to Apple Hydraulics or White Post and get bored to clean up the pits and brass sleeves inserted and rebuilt. Once the sleeves are in rebuild kits are cheap. White Post may only do the complete rebuild not just bore and sleeve. Might as well do the clutch while at it. If the pits are bad, might as well to the booster as well.


Agreed. Used White Post in the last century for a MC - sleeve only - in a Brand X car I still drive. Used Apple last year for my E servo cylinder. Had my Es clutch cylinders and MC sleeved in between by a retired outfit. Like Kris says the rebuild kits are cheap. And since the brass sleeves don’t corrode you may never have to rebuild them again depending on how long you have the car. Also no fitment issues when you are reusing a cylinder off the car.

I have had good experience with carpro Uk Lockheed versions… Chinese not so much… have also had resleeving of originals not work and leak… so can go both ways

I had my brake and clutch M/Cs and brake/clutch slaves done by White Post a couple months ago. They did a nice job including painting the outside to match the original cast iron color. Not cheap though.

I can’t vouch for performance yet though. I’m still assembling.

Rick OBrien
65 FHC in FL

On my car, a Series 1 3.8, I went with the aftermarket cylinders after agonizing the price of rebuilding my originals…about $1000 for the 3. That’s crazy IMO. Especially so in light of rest of the car that I am restoring. So I bought the unsatisfactory aftermarket MCs and Slave. On the Slave I also purchased the rebuild kit for an Isuzu (has a modern piston) and will install that in the new Slave.
I don’t know about quality as yet; I am months away from a startup of the car. But I will say these cylinders are incredibly simple. As in the type you could buy at JC Whitney for $9.99!

The problem with the replacements, at least for the Series one cars, is the casting of the MCs have the high pressure port rotated incorrectly. On the originals, the ports were vertical and the mounting ears were simply rotated 15 deg or so. On the replacements it looks like they rotated the casting’s location of the high pressure port relative to the mounting ears. Hence when mounted the H.P. Port is rotated 30 degs. All the usuals have the same source apparently, so you can’t find a new MC without this flaw.
Still $70 ea vs. $1000 for re-sleeving the 3 is not chump change. I’ll work on finding a re-sleeving source other than Apple and White for my originals for a future project.

With all due respect to my good friend Scot, I feel we continue to devalue hand craftsmanship as we compare pricing to mass produced stuff that doesn’t work. In a recent thread, we lamented that there are fewer and fewer craftsman left in the business. Well, try and encourage a motivated youngster to go into a business where their work is constantly being compared to what can be had at JC Whitney. Not a great motivation. I just had 3 MCs rebuilt by White Post. Turnaround was a few weeks, which means they had a backlog. A good sign. They machined the bore, installed a sleeve, installed the internals, and painted it with a good grade of epoxy grey paint. If they are clearing $75 an hour I’d be surprised. No mass production here. One at a time. I think its appropriate for us old farts to “pay it forward” if we want the craftsmen to be around for another generation. We are the caretakers of valued icons, not Toyotas.

Scot, you’re still invited to ride with me at the Higland Concours parade. My car will be the one stopping with confidence :slight_smile:


Being a person that appreciates originality and craftmanship I couldn’t agree more. Keeping Apple Hydraulics ,White Post and all others supporting this hobby busy is imperative.

My brake master and booster should be back today from Apple Hydraulics.

That’s too funny, Rick. I’m in the exact same boat. Nice, sleeved and rebuilt components from White Post, sitting in my office. Brake booster, brake master, and clutch master.

I added to that collection a couple of weeks ago, with the 8 front and rear brake cylinders that White Post returned to me after sleeving and rebuilding.

They’ll make it out to the car once I get my IRS rework “under control”.


My front calipers are at White Post too. We got ourselves a race!


I installed the the master from XKs and the servo from Welsh in 2018 - cost about $260 each.

No problems in the 10,000 miles since.

I have nothing against rebuilders, just noting what worked for me. DOT5 BTW.

I recently replaced the master cylinder, servo/slave cylinder and PDWA on my ‘72 S3. I suspect the old ones were the 49-year old originals with some serious and increasing leakage. I bought everything from Barrett. Some aspects of the installation were certainly tedious (see past posts) but in the end the system was easily bled and works fine now, excellent pedal feel. The new parts look to be oem quality but of course longevity still to be seen. But in general I’ve had no problems with parts from SNG Barrett.

I don’t know about the masters, but I’m pretty sure that all the servo/slave assemblies come from Liberty Brake, which is the successor company twice removed from Lockheed.

I also purchased the SNG Barratt brake master cylinder to solve my leak problem. If the bore is clean and rust-free, it’s worth trying a rebuild kit if you don’t mind removing the cylinder(s) again if they still leak.

The SNG item I received was not a “knockoff” insofar as it was made by 920 Engineering (Liberty), which is a descendant of AP Brake products, which in turn is a descendant of Lockheed Brakes. It’s worked for over a year and 700 miles with no leaks (including a 500 mile single trip.)


I bought both of mine new from Welsh 4-5 years ago. The only problem was a cracked plastic cover on the reaction valve, damaged in shipment, which Welsh immediately replaced at no cost to me.

When I had the 2+2 I sent the brake cylinders to a much recommended company for sleeving and rebuilding. Without going into detail let’s just say the results were not satisfactory. Probably an atypical experience but it’s put me off of having the things resleeved.

Yes, both the servo I got from Welsh and the master from XKs were from Liberty Vehicle Technologies in Warwickshire. I note that they ‘do not recommend the use of DOT 5’ in their products.

Ha ha…yes I’ll be there Harvey. You’ll need reliable brakes for sure on our mountain roads here in western NC.

I’m still going with the choice I made; its rewarding to hear of the reports stating their brakes work fine. My brakes are done. And, I wish to focus on things to get this car on the road. Maybe you can come down and help me put the headliner in while you’re close to hand Harvey? Shouldn’t take but 20 minutes with the two of us. hmmm hmmm!

You’ll notice my brake booster is yellow cad/chromate or some such thing. Is this an original color? If not, is it worth painting something like Eastwood Silver Cad?


This is the part I sent to White Post which has a yellow tint of sorts.

Rick OBrien

If the bore is not to pitted, use a brake hone to clean up and put new seals in. Been done this way forever.

You might wanna check out Karps in Upland, CA…they did my Datsun Roadster disc brake “turtles”…nice work and about $250 for 4 of them. Of course, this is a 10 or 12 year old price, YMMV.