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Old 04-16-2018, 04:25 AM   #1
Matt_50
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Brake lines

I need advice on brake lines. Aside from a class several years ago... I've never needed to make custom lines before.

In my 50 I used 84 c10 MC, front disc and rear drums.

1st option, make my own. Is this an ok beginner project? I'll have to buy or rent the tools. Loan a tool is free if you bring back tools. Does it cost less overall? I like the idea of making my own.


2nd option, local auto place said they have pre fitted lines of various sizes I need to bend myself. Starts to add up but seems ok for a one off project.

Lastly, do I need the proportioning valve from c10 too? I talked to two guys who used c10 MCs, one did without it and used a splitter. The other used it.

I'm thinking I'd need it right? So I tried to find a good spot for it and I came across this pic. I would need to make or buy 5 lines. If I make my own can I reuse the old fittings?

And... the wire on top of valve is supposed to be a warning light right?
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:23 AM   #2
Erics51chevy
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Re: Brake lines

i think brake lines are pretty simple if you plan everything out and use common sense. A good flare tool is priceless. But if your only using it for one project i would rent it no doubt. Remember brake lines are double flared. You can watch youtube videos all day on double flaring brake lines and be an expert. Buy all the neccesary nuts and a 25' roll of brake line and go to town. Follow the original brake line pathing and practice a couple times before you do it. Lastly, it may say dumb but anyone who says they never forgot to put the nut on before they flared the end of the brake line is a liar!

Sorry, cant help on the brake prop valve. But from what ive read if using disc/drum combo you need it. Ive also picked up 2 residual pressure valves that keep slight pressure on your brake so you dont have to push all the way to the floor to get the truck to brake. 2 pound residual for disc brakes, 10 pounds for drum brakes.

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Old 04-16-2018, 01:08 PM   #3
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Re: Brake lines

Yea it seems simple enough. I know for most things there are good and bad copies of the same thing, but is that a problem for brake lines? Can I just buy some anywhere? Or do you guys recommend certain brands or types of lines and fittings?
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:46 PM   #4
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Re: Brake lines

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Originally Posted by Matt_50 View Post
2nd option, local auto place said they have pre fitted lines of various sizes I need to bend myself. Starts to add up but seems ok for a one off project.
if your going to use steel lines i'd go this route, wouldn't need to flare anything
straight lines lay flat on the frame vs coiled tubing that looks like granny's saggy you-know-what's
you can get 6'' to 72'' premade lines at the local parts store
buy 2x more than you need and return what you don't use

imo... more important is the bender you use
line specific benders get close and make tight radius that look good
3/16'' bender with 7/16'' radius and approx 7/8'' to fittings
very important for working around the mc, valving and brakes



universal benders can't get close to fittings and make large radius bends
this style has 15/16'' radius and approx 2'' to fittings

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Old 04-16-2018, 01:50 PM   #5
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Re: Brake lines

This is the tool I bought from Eastwood. Great flaring Tool and easy to use.

https://youtu.be/gGEav7_y9Xg
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:09 PM   #6
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Re: Brake lines

The guy giving the tutorial even forgot to put the nut on before flaring the line haha. Cracks me up

Whenever i went to the parts store i could never find the length i needed, or the correct nuts on either end. Maybe its just my luck.

I would not buy a cheap flaring tool. I had one laying around and it did a horrible job, the flare was crooked and the whole tool bent when i was tightening it.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:26 PM   #7
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Re: Brake lines

first, yes you need a proportioning valve but as this picture shows, it is not mounted. For appearance purposes mount the valve to the side of your inner fender. Secondly, yes the valve on top is for a light, but most don't use them. Next, after measuring your line from the MC to your valve and from the proportioning valve to both front and rear wheels, head to NAPA. They have them in many sizes already with the threaded nuts attached. you can bend them with the tools as shown and when you get to the front wheels and to the rear wheels, you can measure and buy a length a bit longer than needed and put slight bends to the lines (to reduce the overall length) so they fit from fitting to fitting, this will work perfectly for you. I actually bought mine from NAPA and had pipe laying around that I bent mine over and they look good.
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:23 PM   #8
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Re: Brake lines

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Originally Posted by Erics51chevy View Post
Lastly, it may say dumb but anyone who says they never forgot to put the nut on before they flared the end of the brake line is a liar!
I did it twice on the same line!
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:25 PM   #9
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Re: Brake lines

There are new lines available at the parts store that doesn't even need a bender! You will know them because they are black. I forget what it's called, but I have done a few cars with them and never had to get the tool out.

They come in many different lengths and you can usually do a whole car or truck without having to do a single flare. I think I had one that I had to do on one of the cars I recently did. But you need a 10 footer, put two fives together with a connector fitting between them. It's so damn easy these days it's crazy.

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Old 04-16-2018, 09:24 PM   #10
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Re: Brake lines

If you haven't forgotten to put the nut on before you do a flair you haven't flaired enough tubing to talk about. It will happen sooner or later.

There seems to be a big difference in quality for the tube benders of the design that Ogre showed in post 4. I had one that was rather sloppy in the frame and had so much paint on it that the tubes wouldn't fit in the grooves well. I've actually got so many different tube benders of different designs that I lost count that I have bought in the past 50 something years and still don't have a favorite. I have the big Eastwood flair tool that works great but is rather expensive but works great but a guy has to have a lot of lines to flair to make buying one viable. I also have my SnapOn set that I have had since I was in trade school and it was one of the first things I bought off a tool truck. I've pretty well worn it out in the past 50+ years though.

As far as tubing goes right now I have different size rolls of tubing in the garage. I don't want to spend the money to buy a tube straightener but think I can make my own reasonably simply. I haven't had a lot of luck making tight bends in the green coated stuff from O'Reilly's and prefer the old cad or what ever plated stuff.
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:57 PM   #11
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Re: Brake lines

Yes, making brake lines is a good beginner project. It's fun and easy. And yes you'll throw away a bunch of tubing when learning, but the stuff is cheap - much cheaper than taking a class or paying someone else to do it. The biggest pitfall is forgetting to put the nut on the tube before flaring - even experts do that. I use a cheapo Harbor Freight-style flaring tool - built four cars with it.

Practice bending a couple of tubes and figure out exactly how much length that both inside and outside bends will add or subtract from the length. Forget doing a coat-hanger pattern - just measure the distance to your next bend, add or subtract the bend radius, mark your tube and bend. Example: my bender does a 5/8" radius bend, so I measure the distance to the next bend, subtract 5/8" from that (inside bend), mark the tube and bend. The outside of the tube will then fit perfectly at the right spot.

The secret to a good flare is preparation of the tubing end. Cut tube with a tubing cutter, then lightly file the outside edge and buzz a drill bit into the center hole to remove any burrs. INSTALL THE NUT! Oil your flaring tool liberally where it enters the tube end. Flare slowly, allowing the metal to conform.

BTW, "pre-fitted" brake lines are not pre-fitted; they are just manufactured to specific lengths, all of which will be very unlikely to be the length you need. Yes, you can re-use most of your old brass fittings, but new fittings cost just pennies so you won't save much. Sure use the C10 prop valve; should work good for a similar weight vehicle.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:20 PM   #12
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Re: Brake lines

I would like to try and make my own. On eBay I see rolls of lines. That's why I asked if there are good or bad brands. If steel line is steel line no matter where I get it, seems like I could get a lot done and a lot of practice with a big roll or two.

Miraclepieco, would you recommend using HF tool?


Are there certain brands of fittings I should look for?
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Old 04-17-2018, 02:32 AM   #13
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Re: Brake lines

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt_50 View Post
On eBay I see rolls of lines. seems like I could get a lot done and a lot of practice with a big roll or two.
Yes, the big rolls are economical. A little time-consuming to perfectly straighten, but it can be done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt_50 View Post
Miraclepieco, would you recommend using HF tool?
That's what I use, but you'd probably have better luck by going one step up - maybe a NAPA unit. Seems like most are made in China anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt_50 View Post
Are there certain brands of fittings I should look for?
Something like this will do a complete 4-wheel brake system, and have everything you need and more - 25' steel line, 3/8-24 fittings, T's, your MC fittings and lines to calipers.

https://www.speedwaymotors.com/Mild-...e-Kit,999.html
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Old 04-17-2018, 02:41 AM   #14
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Re: Brake lines

Good DIY artlicle here:

https://www.speedwaymotors.com/the-t...line-diy/28779
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Old 04-17-2018, 03:02 AM   #15
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Re: Brake lines

I think I got my last rolls of brake tubing off Amazon. Or From Eastwood. I seem to be on the Eastwood list of suckers who spend a chunk of change lately.
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:31 AM   #16
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Re: Brake lines

Well, I have rubber lines to front brakes and my rear axle is stall all there just need a line to it. That kit might be a bit much.
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Old 04-17-2018, 09:52 AM   #17
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Re: Brake lines

i have done many reworks or line replacements in my time. the easiest and best looking jobs come from te
he premade lines from the parts store. they come straight-bonus-and the flares are done properly-another bonus because they don't usually leak-and they don't suck up time that could be spent doing something productive on the project. honestly, it is like sanding the whole project with a hand sander, start to finish, because the hand sanding paper is cheaper. it's your truck and you do what you want but the prebuilt lines are so much easier to use and look much better usually. I say usually because there are guys with their back up already that have spent the TIME to make it look good and they deserve the kudos BUT, there are also the backyard jobs that look backyard whether home made or bought lines. it depends what you want. the other thing is, home built or bought lines, use fittings that will enable you to replace a line easily if you are on the road somewhere. you won't have the rented flaring tool with you.
if it is me, I buy the lines and spend the time to bend them correctly. sometimes a flare needs to be done because the line is an odd size or has 2 different sized nuts on the same line but otherwise just buy them and use the time for something else.
up to you
try to have the lines all run so you don't have a low spot to trap air when bleeding
use rubber insulated frame clamps
keep the lines away from exhaust heat or areas prone to mechanical damage
always test the fittings for leakage. have your biggest buddy stand on the brake pedal and then look for any weeping or wet spots
torque all the fittings correctly, especially at the calipers and wheel cylinders
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:18 AM   #18
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Re: Brake lines

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Originally Posted by dsraven View Post
i have done many reworks or line replacements in my time. the easiest and best looking jobs come from te
he premade lines from the parts store. they come straight-bonus-and the flares are done properly-another bonus because they don't usually leak-and they don't suck up time that could be spent doing something productive on the project. honestly, it is like sanding the whole project with a hand sander, start to finish, because the hand sanding paper is cheaper. it's your truck and you do what you want but the prebuilt lines are so much easier to use and look much better usually. I say usually because there are guys with their back up already that have spent the TIME to make it look good and they deserve the kudos BUT, there are also the backyard jobs that look backyard whether home made or bought lines. it depends what you want. the other thing is, home built or bought lines, use fittings that will enable you to replace a line easily if you are on the road somewhere. you won't have the rented flaring tool with you.
if it is me, I buy the lines and spend the time to bend them correctly. sometimes a flare needs to be done because the line is an odd size or has 2 different sized nuts on the same line but otherwise just buy them and use the time for something else.
up to you
try to have the lines all run so you don't have a low spot to trap air when bleeding
use rubber insulated frame clamps
keep the lines away from exhaust heat or areas prone to mechanical damage
always test the fittings for leakage. have your biggest buddy stand on the brake pedal and then look for any weeping or wet spots
torque all the fittings correctly, especially at the calipers and wheel cylinders
Yep, the funny thing is, they make so many different lengths there is probably the perfect length for every piece needed.

All the flares are there, perfectly done without any issues.

I have made them from scratch, and I have used the pre-made ones at the parts store, and there is very little difference in the finished product, the process is just much easier.

Brian
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Old 04-17-2018, 11:11 AM   #19
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Re: Brake lines

for the flexible lines there isd usually a hydraulic shop nearby that can make you the required flex hoses if you can't source an OEM hose somewhere that will work. they can usually make a nice looking stainless flex hose as well if you like the look.
some guys will use a flexible stainless line from the master to the prop valve, mounted under the master, so it is easier to install, remove the master.
nice looking install miraclepie. great attention to detail.
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:15 PM   #20
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Re: Brake lines

Another option is to get already flared straight lengths from either Inline Tube or Classic Tube. They are available in just about any length up to 6', even in ss.

Cheers, Jim
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:26 PM   #21
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Re: Brake lines

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Originally Posted by bowt1ed View Post
Another option is to get already flared straight lengths from either Inline Tube or Classic Tube. They are available in just about any length up to 6', even in ss.

Cheers, Jim
Yep, that is what a few of us have been saying. 8" to 60" is found in all the different diameters.

Brian

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Old 04-18-2018, 01:38 PM   #22
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Re: Brake lines

One last thing that might be mentioned if lines are bought at auto stores. Speaking from experience. All the steel lines are also made in metric thread sizes. Be sure to check before buying.

Earl
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Old 04-18-2018, 03:01 PM   #23
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Re: Brake lines

I've tried using the tubing sections before but they never seem to put the bends in the right locations!
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