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Brake lines - dealing with rust by br1anstorm
Started on: 07-14-2015 08:01 PM
Replies: 10 (731 views)
Last post by: 84fiero123 on 07-17-2015 07:58 PM
br1anstorm
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Report this Post07-14-2015 08:01 PM Click Here to See the Profile for br1anstormSend a Private Message to br1anstormEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Can anyone give me some simple details about the brake lines (over here in UK we call them brake pipes) in Fieros?

I have a 1988 Fiero Formula, and I am trying to keep everything underneath clean, protected and rust-free as far as possible. Right now I have the car on stands and am doing some serious chassis-rustproofing and painting.

The original brake lines/pipes are covered by some kind of spiral-wound protective "wire". I presume this is largely to protect from impact damage from stones?

That spiral stuff goes rusty. If there is any doubt about the integrity of the brake-lines themselves (and it's part of the annual roadworthiness tests in UK) then the standard reaction of any garage workshop mechanic is to remove and replace - fabricating replacement lines from copper (or actually I think it is some sort of cupro-nickel) tubing. This is normal, legal, and pretty much rust-proof. But replacing the entire brake-line system takes time, trouble and money.

Sooner or later I suspect that's what will have to be done. But meanwhile, some questions:

i) what material are the OEM brake lines of the Fiero (inside that spiral stuff) made from? Stainless steel? ordinary steel? Some other alloy? Are they susceptible to rust?

ii) what exactly is that spiral protective winding made from? It does go rusty, although in less exposed areas it almost looks galvanised. Are there any sensible DIY ways of cleaning, derusting and proofing that spiral covering so that it continues to shield the brake lines themselves, but doesn't cause them to corrode?

iii) is it possible to remove - cut off? - the spiral winding while keeping the original brake lines in place? Is there any point in doing so? My thought is that getting rid of the spiral stuff would at least enable me to see and check the condition of the pipes themselves.....

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notwohorns
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Report this Post07-14-2015 08:45 PM Click Here to See the Profile for notwohornsClick Here to Email notwohornsSend a Private Message to notwohornsEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The brake lines are made of ordinary steel and will rust through. I'm a mechanic and I live in Illinois and being in the rust belt we replace the rusted brake lines of vehicles a lot. The spiral around the lines is called "armor" and is there to protect the lines just as you said. Copper lines should not be used. They are too soft on not strong enough for the pressure in a brake system.. You can buy brake lines in bulk, lengths in different sizes, or the Fiero Store sells premade sets in stainless steel

[This message has been edited by notwohorns (edited 07-14-2015).]

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olejoedad
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Report this Post07-14-2015 09:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for olejoedadClick Here to Email olejoedadSend a Private Message to olejoedadEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Copper is commonly used in Europe for brake lines.....

The stainless steel set from the Fiero Store is a good investment.
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bigdust80
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Report this Post07-15-2015 06:22 AM Click Here to See the Profile for bigdust80Click Here to Email bigdust80Send a Private Message to bigdust80Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I just put a stainless set on my 86 because some of my lines were on the side of rusty. I had hell snaking them up to the master cylinder. Had to do a little bending to get them there.
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rogergarrison
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Report this Post07-15-2015 10:41 AM Click Here to See the Profile for rogergarrisonClick Here to Email rogergarrisonSend a Private Message to rogergarrisonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
They make a new brake line material (dont remember what its called) that is corrosion resistant and very easy to form and bend. Other than that, Id use stainless.

All these rusty brake lines seem to start in the 80s...maybe from thinner or cheaper material to cut costs. Ive bought many 50s/60s cars with original brake lines that were in excellent condition. I never had a brake line fail in over 150 cars I owned prior to 80s models. In the last 5 years Ive had at least 4 cars that did fail. ODOT should require manufacturers to install stainless from the factory as a safety requirement like airbags.
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tebailey
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Report this Post07-15-2015 11:09 AM Click Here to See the Profile for tebaileyClick Here to Email tebaileySend a Private Message to tebaileyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The new lines are a nickle alloy, just had to replace one on my truck. Hold on to your wallet because they cost A LOT more than the old steel ones, however they are cheaper than stainless. Good investment though for those of us that live in the rust belt.
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Jason88Notchie
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Report this Post07-15-2015 11:14 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Jason88NotchieClick Here to Email Jason88NotchieSend a Private Message to Jason88NotchieEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
What are you using to coat the chassis? If the brake lines appear in good shape, a good rust encapsulator like POR 15 should get you by the inspection nazis I would think. But if you want to tackle the job (its not as easy as some say) stainless steel would be the way to go.
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thesameguy
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Report this Post07-15-2015 01:35 PM Click Here to See the Profile for thesameguyClick Here to Email thesameguySend a Private Message to thesameguyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by olejoedad:

Copper is commonly used in Europe for brake lines.....

The stainless steel set from the Fiero Store is a good investment.


The copper stuff is an alloy - copper-nickel-iron, sometimes called CuNiFer. Volvo and Porsche use it on production cars, amongst others. It's not terribly expensive and very easy to deal with, plus it doesn't rust. I replaced all the brakes lines on my '62 Falcon a couple years with this stuff and it was nice to install and has been flawless since. I wouldn't hesitate to use it again.

Edit: I bought mine - and almost all the brake stuff I've ever bought - from these guys:

http://www.fedhillusa.com/

Edit 2: Also be aware this tubing is not suitable for petroleum products, like gas. Use steel for that. This stuff is only suitable for brake fluid.

[This message has been edited by thesameguy (edited 07-15-2015).]

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Gandalf
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Report this Post07-15-2015 04:14 PM Click Here to See the Profile for GandalfSend a Private Message to GandalfEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
br1anstorm, if you want to replace the lines on the car, you could do worse than getting reels of the normal stuff we get here - they even sell it in Halfords - and a suitable flaring kit. The connections to the master are imperial (someone here will be able to tell you what type of end they need) and the connections to the flexi hose and distributor on the rear passenger side are metric I think.

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br1anstorm
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Report this Post07-16-2015 04:51 PM Click Here to See the Profile for br1anstormSend a Private Message to br1anstormEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Thanks to all for info and comments.

Short term, I have wire-brushed the spiral-wound "armor" and treated it with a rust converter. As far as I can tell the actual brake lines inside are still sound. But long term, I will have to replace them - and the obvious way to go is to fabricate them from the standard (CuNiFer) tubing which all cars use in Europe.

It really does seem pretty dumb to manufacture cars with ordinary steel (rust-prone) OEM brake pipes enclosed within ordinary steel (rust-prone) protective spiral sleeve. The risk of failure through corrosion has to be much greater than the risk of stone-damage. A hard ribbed plastic sleeve would have been just about as effective as impact-protection, without the risk of rust.

One more task to add to the "to-do" list!
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84fiero123
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Report this Post07-17-2015 07:58 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 84fiero123Click Here to Email 84fiero123Send a Private Message to 84fiero123Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by br1anstorm:

Thanks to all for info and comments.

Short term, I have wire-brushed the spiral-wound "armor" and treated it with a rust converter. As far as I can tell the actual brake lines inside are still sound. But long term, I will have to replace them - and the obvious way to go is to fabricate them from the standard (CuNiFer) tubing which all cars use in Europe.

It really does seem pretty dumb to manufacture cars with ordinary steel (rust-prone) OEM brake pipes enclosed within ordinary steel (rust-prone) protective spiral sleeve. The risk of failure through corrosion has to be much greater than the risk of stone-damage. A hard ribbed plastic sleeve would have been just about as effective as impact-protection, without the risk of rust.

One more task to add to the "to-do" list!


One more vote for the copper nickel lines, if you do a Google search of copper nickel brake lines you will find they are stronger than steel, practically rust proof and a breeze to bend by hand, a great thing with all the bends aren't quite right.

http://www.copper.org/appli...rake-tube/brake.html

Sometimes newer is better, but you didn't hear that from me.

Steve

------------------
Technology is great when it works,
and one big pain in the ass when it doesn't



Detroit iron rules all the rest are just toys.

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