Long story short, proportioning valve or something in my master cylinder broke. Since it’s so old and unknown I’d rather just replace it all and while I’m at it I’ve always wanted to learn how to make brake lines.
The only thing I can’t really find a definitive answer about is if there’s any restrictions on making them. I don’t want to follow the original path that the front brake line is on because I don’t think it’s stock and it seems like it’s in a lot of places that could cause a lot of friction if it moves too much.
Are there any common rules about something like length, being next to exhaust or bends? Or can I just do whatever I want with wacky bends and paths?
Stay away from exhaust! Hot is bad! That is key.
Length is not an issue. Use a bender for all the tighter bends, you hands can make gentler bends. If you kink it, scrap it. Do NOT use compression fittings. Buy a roll of tubing and tube nuts, don’t piece it together from lengths from the parts store.
Use clamps to secure the lines. The best are the rubber lined ones but the factory just used metal on metal. Metal lines don’t flex, rubber lines do. Leave a little extra tube at the ends.
Typical is 3/16 lines all around. Every flare should be a double flare. Buy or rent a quality tool. Practice on scrap tube. Try not to forget the tube nut before you flare.
There may be general kits available from Speedway Motors, CJ pony parts, and others. Many others
Search for videos on making brake lines, good luck
Forgetting flare nut till after is a good life learning experience.
This sentence tells me that your current technical understanding isn’t up to the level of doing major brake work with safe results.
Why , most vehicles seldom need brake lines need replaced very often . Brake shops have the equipment to do this . If you want to know how to do this then a part time job at such a shop will let you learn properly. Plus the questions you are asking make me think like another poster that this is out of your ability range.
Specifically the fitting between the flare nut and proportioning valve was leaking slightly before this. Very slight leak. One day I look inside and it looked like something shot brake fluid everywhere and I didn’t really care about doing any deep dives since I have no real information on how old they are. Plus the previous owner didn’t seem to put their best effort into everything. One of the front brake lines had a kink even. I probably could just do a proportioning valve and get away with it but because it’s so unknown I’d rather replace most of it.
Well you’ve told me that before, so I guess we’ll find out. I’ve tried to get jobs, didn’t work out. I’m just trying to learn because I enjoy working on cars and hope to have more projects throughout my life. I’ll eat my words if I fail lol
A few other pointers… Since your F-car has a rubber mounted subframe holding the front brake lines a little flex is involved. Any line running to the solid mounted uni-body should have a couple extra bends for a small bit of flex. Not sure how this car was originally routed but the left front line might be run forward and under the radiator core support to the passenger’s side. Many times it is routed along the crossmember under the engine. That crossmember is part of the floating sub-frame so consider that if you run the lines under the engine.
Ok I was planning on putting a few coils near the master for that reason. The drivers side front just went straight down to the caliper hose, very few bends and the passenger went under the engine like you are talking about. I don’t think I understand what you mean when you say to support the passenger side.
I said “core support”… That is the front panel that the radiator is attached to. The line to the passenger side might be routed under the radiator.
Egg on my face, I read that wrong. Thank you for the help
A metal brake line with a flare fitting will normally never fail except for corrosion if it’s done correctly. The previous brake line install must not have been done right. Replacement brake lines can fail due to rust in something short like 5 years, since the coating gets damaged during bending, and the line isn’t mounted in the special plastic holders to protect it from rubbing on things. Lines can be painted after bending or put inside shrink tube for protection.
Folks here say they good pretty good results using nickel-copper brake tubing, rated for brake use. A little more diy’er friendly. Not sure what @Mustangman above means by “a roll of tubing & tube nuts”, but from what I understand brake connections – to hold the high fluid pressures during hard braking – require a special sort of flare fitting, called a double flare, and this requires a double flare capable tool. Don’t use a single flare type of connection. Should be a fun project, like said above, best to keep brake lines away from high heat sources and areas they might be pinched.
I would find another identical car and copy its brake lines. Somebody who knows what they are doing took the time to design this when the car was new. The results of a poor guess might not be pretty.
I always install the replacement brake line along the same route as the original.
That way, you can use all the brake line retainers and clips that were installed at the factory.
Brake tubing generally comes in 25 ft coils of tubing rolled into a coil about 15 inches in diameter.
Tube nuts are the flare fittings that screw into the brake hose or tees or master cylinder. The master cylinder nuts always have bigger threads.
I’ll be dealing with this myself. My Ford truck MC is bolted to fire wall, from there the lines go to a pressure sensing gadget bolted to inner fender, then to the wheels. The lines b/t MC and pressure gadget are rubber sheathed, and rubber deteriorating. Someone here suggested to just use a short coil of tubing instead of rubber sheathed, to allow for a small amount of movement b/t firewall and fender. Don’t think I need 25 feet of tubing though.
I have to say I’m happy for the 25 ft rolls, I can get lots of practice in first. I already picked up from what I can tell a decent double flaring tool.
And thank you guys for the other suggestions. I’m definitely not copying what the last guy did, not sure if the routing is why it kinked or if it’s poor installation but I’d rather not find out. Also the other line was uncomfortably close to all the steering. I’ll do my best to find some original diagrams or pictures because I don’t know anyone with a camaro or firebird.
Once FedEx stops cancelling the delivery on me this will hopefully be fast.
Happy to report the first thing I did was start bending my one piece of pre flared line. It came with the flare nuts on it already so of course I get straight to bending and learned that not only does the nut have to be on the line but also in the right place.
lol … first attempt at something like this, yes, good learning experience. When I bend copper tubing (for plumbing projects) I use a gadget that’s sort of a long expansion-type spring, put unbent tube through the hole, then it bends by hand in gentle curve without pinching. Not sure if that technique works w/brake tubing though. I’ve bent sturdier pipe by constructing a home-brew form using scraps of construction wood. Have to figure out a way to hold the form in place when bending so it doesn’t move with the force of the pipe leverage.
If a chart of my “cuss word output vs time” were made, you’d see a lot of sharp spikes during periods of plumbing … lol