Anyone replaced steel brake lines in late C4 with ABS?
I had a bit of a misfortune the other day when fitting braided lines in place of the rubber hoses to the calipers.
Front went OK but on the rear I inadvertently twisted a steel line. I thought the nut was turning but the line had rusted into the nut so I was turning the brake line at the same time...
Actually this line was very corroded which is a mystery as most of the steel lines are in great condition.
Trouble is now I have to replace the entire line from the flexible hose at the caliper to the other end which I have traced runs right into the ABS box.
The line I need to replace is the passenger side so it's a pretty long run!
My car is a 96 and as far as I can see there isn't a replacement available for this year. It seems you can get line kits for all C4s up to 94!
So my choice is to fabricate a new line. It looks like I can follow the whole route of the old line though getting into the ABS housing looks a bit tricky as so many lines run together.
Anyone have any tips for this great job?
Help and tips much appreciated!
There is no reason to replace the whole line unless the whole line is damaged.
Originally Posted by LT4_UK
You need a tubing cutter, flare tool, the correct size fittings (union, end connection) a section of tubing and a tubing bender if you want to get fancy . Not a big financial investment.
Find a good place in the mounted tubing where you will have room to do the work and cut the damaged end off. Always use the tubing cutter to get a clean, square end.
Slip on the union or splice pieces, flare the tubing. Connect the new section to the old after you have bent it in approx the correct shape. The parts store has 36" sections (1m in your neighborhood) or longer, of the tubing and a wide selection of fittings.
The auto parts store will have everything you need.
If you do a Google search on Brake Line repair you will find something with pics and probably even a YouTube video on "how to".
Thanks for your reply - I bought all that gear
with exactly that intention. However trhe pipes on the Corvette are steel so my flaring kit won't cope.
I made a lovely repair section, bending it very close to factory dimensions but the pipe I bought is nickel / copper alloy which flares OK but the flare tool isn't man enough for steel.
My investigations point to the flaring tool for steel being hydraulic rather than the hand tool I bought, as steel is harder to work with?
Somethings not right....I've never run into that before. Did you get these supplys from an auto parts store or hardware store?
Originally Posted by LT4_UK
The auto parts store should only be using steel line for replacement & repair, so they should also have the correct fittings and tools.
I've never repaired a Corvette brake line but have done others and it was not a big deal. I think a lot of it has to do with the size and angle of the pintle in the flare tool. Some are designed for copper or other alloys that are softer with others made specifically for steel. There is also a "double flare" that is used, that I am not familiar with. With tubing that small, it can;t take all that much pressure to shape the end, just the correct tool. I looked in the FSM and the only reference is to a "flaring tool"...with a description of the process. There was no mention of a special tool. ISO flaring tool.
The tubing might be metric, with different wall thickness but that should'nt be a huge problem.
Tools & lines
I bought the tools from a performance auto specialist. The brake line I bought is copper & nickel alloy and is the same OD and ID as the Corvette line (3/16") and the metric fittings I bought fit the Corvette flexible and Goodridge stainless lines exactly.
I am likely to use a garage now (I have used this guy before as he also has a Mustang GT, as do I...) and he also said you need heavier duty tools for steel.
I know this doesn't seem 100% right. On youtube there are plenty of tutorials which I followed exactly when I attempted the repair the other day. I thought I had done a good neat job until brake fluid leaked out of the fitting I used!
I took the fitting apart and the steel line has definitely not taken a flare the way the copper/nickel line has.
The original Corvette line also has a big well-defined flat flare that obviosly does the right job (i.e. makes a good leak-free seal that takes a lot of pressure).
Yes youtube shows hand tools being used for steel that look very similar to the tool I bought.
It seems also very difficult here in the UK to obtain steel brake lines. Everyone seems to sell the copper/nickel type though that appears strong as is about as hard/easy to bend as the stock Corvette steel.
One good thing - now I have traced the line all the way to the ABS module the route doesn't look too bad to run the new line through. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to remove the driver's seat for access to the ABS module though...
I also think it may be a good idea to make up a new line for the driver's side line as that looks a bit corroded too and that's only a short run of pipe.
I did a quick search for flaring steel and everything that I saw in kits was the same thing, varying by quality from $25 to $250....
Originally Posted by LT4_UK
So I would have to believe that the kit that you bought just was'nt designed for steel tubing, rather the alloy that you've found there. I do know the bevel of the pintle and the threads on the tool make different forces on the tubing.
Before giving up on it, are you certain of the way the holding tool had the tubing? I have made the mistake of having the tubing in the tool the wrong way, so the flare was not able to take shape. One side of the holding bars with the several hole sizes, is beveled so the tubing end can be forced into the flare shape.
Most brake lines are double flare. This takes a special insert to get it started , actually folds it in first. Then you take the normal tool and finish the job. There is also another flare used ,which I can't remember the name of,that is hard to discribe but is similar to the double flare. If you do not use the proper flare it will NOT seal.The double flare is a bit of a trick to get right. Also the line should be steel. The lines do seem to get harder with age and exposure.
Almost all GM brake fittings are metric starting in the 80s.
Also the cone for flaring in steel should not rotate with the handle as they do for copper. I found this out the hard way.
I think you have a point about the toolls looking similar but widely varying in price. My auto store only had one tool set (cheap one) and I did a google search and found someone else used a similar one and produced inadequate flares no matter how much they tried.
In fact their results looked identical to mine, right up to the same galling visible on the outside of the pipe.
I think this is where it pays to spend towards the higher end of the price scale.
It seems overe here at least (UK) the copper/ nickel alloy material has largely replaced steel for fabricating brake lines.
D*mn I just wanna be back on the road...!
Got it done and am back on the road
Had a garage (friend of mine) do it. He said it was a pig getting the new line into the ABS module as the module had to be dropped down but first the handbrake cable had to be removed as well as other bits so the job just went on and on apparently.
Anyway that completes my brake overhaul / improvement. I have new discs front & rear, EBC "yellow stuff" pads, my brake lines flushed and the fluid replaced with Dot 5.1.
Will have to bed that lot in but it stops OK now anyway!
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