Lancia Montecarlo Technical Tips
The Montecarlo brakes were never very good. When the brakes are strongly applied some of the vehicle's weight transfers to the front wheels. These front wheels do not have very much grip as there is no engine in the front to keep them on the road.
The series 1 Montecarlo had a brake servo to assist the front brakes, and this only compounded the problem.
Twenty five years later, brakes are still a major issue with Montecarlos. There are five sections to this page:
The pedals were different in the two series of the Montecarlo. The series 1 arrangement was inferior and there is some flexing of the pedals under heavy braking. Some owners believe this makes the brakes less responsive, and they have installed series 2 pedals to overcome this problem.
Brake master cylinder
The master cylinder arrangement in the series 1 Montecarlo and Scorpion has an inherent weakness. Both front brakes operate off one circuit, and both rear off another. Should one circuit fail, you will loose either both front or both rear brakes. This setup is shown in the diagram below:
I was unlucky to suffer a complete failure of the master cylinder, loosing all my brakes in the process!
Fortunately new master cylinders are available and can be easily fitted. Nearly all new master cylinders now have a minimum of three outlets and this requires an alteration to the brake pipes. Use two of the outlets for the front brakes (one near-side and one offside) and the third for the rear. This will require an additional hole to be drilled through the front bulkhead for the additional pipe. Take care in locating this hole if you ever wish to install a series 2 pedal box in your series 1 Montecarlo.
Brake booster (servo)
The series 1 Montecarlo was prone to having the front brakes lock up in the wet. This is an inherent problem with a car that has no weight in the front of the car.
This problem was solved in the series 2 Montecarlo when Lancia decided to remove the brake servo. The brake servo only ever provided assistance to the front brakes and not the rear. Some owners of series 1 Montecarlos have also chosen to remove the brake servo.
Series 2 Montecarlos sold in Japan apparently had a brake booster installed to assist the rear brakes. This is totally different from all other Montecarlos, and was done by the Japanese importer. This was probably done as the Japanese tend to like their cars with better brake assistance.
Brake pipe corrosion
If your car still has the original brake pipes and hoses, these will almost certainly need replacing. There are a couple of areas to be careful of when performing this operation. The original hoses have 2 flats on the union which align with the brackets on the car. This stops the hose union turning when you tighten it up. Most replacement hoses do not have these flat pieces and require you to file open the bracket on the car to allow them to fit.
Also check the hoses you have been supplied to ensure that the union is the same length as the original. If it is shorter you may have to stretch the existing pipework to fit them. The rear brake pipes are very prone to corrosion. If you are changing the hoses, replace the pipes at the same time. For a small cost (less than £30) you can replace these pipes and not have the worry.
Obviously when replacing brake parts, always use new copper washers (where fitted) and only reuse banjo bolts if they are completely clean. When refilling the fluid after a rebuild, some people advocate using DOT 5 as this helps inhibit any further internal rusting of the pipes.
Last updated: 2002-09-01