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Brake line???

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Old 01-21-2014, 02:55 PM
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Brake line???

I see in mid50's they have a Brake line kit for $175... On a "project" truck, not going to original, what's wrong with buying brake line and bending it to fit my project. I have bent metal pipe for other projects in the past and know I will do a great job of it, I just haven't done brake line before.
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Old 01-21-2014, 03:04 PM
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Im planning on bending all the lines myself. With a custom truck, you never know if a pre bent kit will fit or not. Plus its probably cheaper to bend the lines yourself. Just make sure you dont kink any of the lines. I dont know if a hand held bender is the preferred way to bend lines on here, but thats what i use.
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Old 01-21-2014, 03:09 PM
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Have done a lot of brake lines, The hand held bender works just fine. Double flare the ends and make sure the fittings are in place and going the right direction before flaring.
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Old 01-21-2014, 03:13 PM
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I make all my own lines for all my cars. If you are starting with nothing look for the kits that come with a 25 foot roll of line and a handfull of different fittings. I normally use 3/16" and 1/4" line depending on application.
You will also need a double flaring tool, the cheap ones will work if you take your time, I make enough of them that I stepped up to a hydraulic mastercool tool after using a cheaper manual tool for many years.
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Old 01-21-2014, 03:42 PM
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I did my own and here is my disclaimer. Everyone said it was easy to do. While I consider myself mechanically inclined (I did the entire truck myself except for machine work like kingpin bushings, driveshaft shortening, and turning brake drums), I could not flare a brake line to save my life. I could double flare larger (5/16") tube, but the 3/16" would flare off-center every time. I filed the cuts flat, beveled them, tried 3 different flaring tools, still no luck.

My solution was that NAPA sells different lengths of tubing, preflared with the fittings installed, for fairly cheap (3-6 dollars each). I was able to use those for most of my lines. The ones I had to bend, I started with one of theirs, bent and cut it to fit, then took it to a parts house and they flared the last three for me for $10. It killed me to have someone else do it, but I had reached my frustration limit.

I didn't go with a prebent kit because I was converting to power brakes, discs up front, and a 9" in back. So I had to add in residual pressure valves and a proportioning valve to the system.

I would do it again, but it was frustrating.

Oh, and just when I was feeling good about having it all together, I applied pressure and, I believe, every junction leaked. After some judicious tightening, everything worked out fine.
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Old 01-21-2014, 03:55 PM
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Oh, and just when I was feeling good about having it all together, I applied pressure and, I believe, every junction leaked. After some judicious tightening, everything worked out fine.
I did the exact same thing when i did the lines on my moms thunderbird. Every single fitting leaked. You really need to crank all of the fittings.
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:26 PM
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I also used the pre-flaired NAPA lines. Using a double MC, the pre-made lines wouldn't work. I used a cheap hand bender to make everything fit. I had to cut and double flare two of the lines to finish it off. I think I have about $80 in materials and the bender.

To figure out how long the lines needed to be I used a piece of #8 copper wire. I bent it to the shape and location I wanted, then stretched it out to measure it. This way I could buy just enough line to get the job done. It worked pretty well.

The biggest problem I had was finding all the correct fittings to install the double MC using the original drum brakes all around.

Just a suggestion (for those doing a frame-off) when running brake lines make sure they're going to be serviceable when you're done. They might be easy to get to when it's just a frame, but what will it be like when you have running boards, cab, fenders, bed, exhaust system, etc. installed?
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:38 PM
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One thing I do with double flares is after the first stage of the flare is done (the bubble), check it and make sure the hole is centered. Then when doing the second stage with the pointed end dont crank the snot out of the tool when doing the second part. Tighten the tool most of the way but not 100 percent, then when you install the line the flare will compress the rest of the way and be fitted to the taper of the fitting you are connecting the line into. You can overdo it with the flare tool and then the line will leak no matter how tight.
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:43 PM
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I also used the pre-flaired NAPA lines. Made the job a whole lot easier. They come in two fitting size's/style so you need to know the size you are using. I used one long line which reach to the split in the rear to the connection on the firewall/master cylinder.
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Old 01-21-2014, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by drptop70ss View Post
One thing I do with double flares is after the first stage of the flare is done (the bubble), check it and make sure the hole is centered. Then when doing the second stage with the pointed end dont crank the snot out of the tool when doing the second part. Tighten the tool most of the way but not 100 percent, then when you install the line the flare will compress the rest of the way and be fitted to the taper of the fitting you are connecting the line into. You can overdo it with the flare tool and then the line will leak no matter how tight.
By golly, I do believe he's on to it!
Amen, Dave. I second that. And third.
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:54 PM
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I will echo what others have said here. I had never run brake lines before. I bought a cheap double flare kit and bought straight lines with ends already on them. I had to cut a couple of lines and flare those ends but not too many.

I ended up filling the lines up with sand and bending them. It was SO much easier bending them with the sand in the lines, there was no kinking of the lines. Just be sure your sand is good and dry. Someone one here gave me that suggestion.
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Old 01-25-2014, 11:37 AM
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Droptop's right about the flares. I bought a roll of tubing and all the fittings from speedway. I also bought the bender and flare tool from them. OK quality. The hardest thing is to get the rolled tubing nice and straight so it looks good. AFA Napa pre flaired lines, I've had those leak more than my own flares. When you're done. prime and paint them like anything else. Mine are yellow like the frame is, but I've seen them in contrasting colors too. Sometimes the "busy" look of mechanical things is a welcome change from the hidden look.
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Old 01-25-2014, 12:06 PM
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I made all my brake lines from steel line I got from AutoZone. I flared all the ends and shaped the lines to match the old ones I took off. It's not a perfect match, but I have good brakes and no leaks (after re-tightening almost all of the fittings).
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