Brake line routing DIY - completed update

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notoptoy
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Brake line routing DIY - completed update

Post by notoptoy »

I admit, I'm impatient! So while I wanted to hear from the experts, my car is apart now, and "while I'm here" I decided I would re-route the brake lines myself.
Here are the results, so far. I've only done the front brakes so far, and have not decided how I want to attack the clutch and rear brake lines yet.

Remember, should you try this on your own, these are your brakes that you are playing with - do you trust your life to your work? Check, double check and check again to make sure the bends are good, no kinks, no rubbing or chafing of lines, no oher hazards - sharp edges, heat, children, pets, etc. Proceed at your own risk! Also, I don't claim this is the best way, or safest way or the way you should do this - it's just what I chose to do!

Goal: a simple re-route, using the existing distribution block, and without drilling new substantial holes all over the place.

Materials:
a) 1 each 8 inch long piece of 3/16" bendable steel line, Standard flare with US Thread on each end. STANDARD FLARE IS VERY IMPORTANT (ask me how I know this one)!! $4
b) 1 each 30" long piece of above $6
c) 1 each 72" long piece of above $11
d) Tubing bender ( I already had a nice one - about $20 at Harbor freight)
e) A couple of forms of wire clamps, and sheet metal screws or clips to hold the lines securely - I had some on hand, so no cost to me, but no more than a few bucks I would imagine.
Tape measure, sharpie, and stiff bailing wire, lots of patience.

I used a nice long piece of stiff wire, and bent out the planned route for the lines, then straightened the wire to get the measurement of the length I needed, that's where I came up with the above lengths. NOTE the tubing shown here is the WRONG FLARE, it is a BUBBLE flare, and will not work with the standard Roadster fittings.
Bending guide.jpg
To bend the tube, I use the sharpie to mark where the bends start, middle and end, then put the line in the bender and bend. It is not hard, just be patient and MAKE SURE at all times, before you make a bend, that the fittings are in the right place. Otherwise you'll make the perfect bend, only to have to straighten it back out to move the fitting past the bend!! (Yes, of course I did this!)

1) Decide where to move the distribution block. The easiest, most convenient, out of the way place, was on one of the existing clutch stud.
- Advantage, no need to drill, or otherwise mount the block, as it fits right on and has plenty of threads to hold the nut securely, even with a few washers as a spacer.
- Disadvantage, it's a TIGHT space to work in, and my first shot with getting the angle correct was tough. Plus replacing the clutch master will be a little tougher in the future.

-Thoughts for future: Use an in line coupler to extend off of the clutch stud another inch or two, or drill a hole and mount somewhere different altogether.
P5270029.JPG
2) Use the 8" line and bend to go from FRONT brakes port (The BACK or firewall side) of the Master cylinder to the bottom of the distribution block, leave plenty of clearance for the metal seam that juts out. This is a pretty simple piece to make and a good place to start.

3) Route the passenger side line. Use the 72" piece. I chose to go along the inner fender, down to the frame, and across the cross member to the other side. Many older GM cars used this routing, and my '65 impala is one.
-Advantage, mostly out of the way, no moving parts to interfere, plenty of clearance throughout.
-Disadvantages, close to the exhaust at the inner fender, but I don't think heat will be an issue. Complicated, and time consuming job of bending. Requires several anchor points to eliminate any chafing from vibration - I cover this later.
Routing of pass side.jpg
Here is where I drop down to the crossmember
Drivers side at crossmember.jpg
Then across the crossmember.
Crossing the crossmember 1.jpg
And finally up, back across the frame and over to the passenger side brake line attachment piece. The black and copper line is the fuel line the PO put in made of a copper line. I'll re-do and re-route that one later.
Pass side overview.jpg
OK, more next post.
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Last edited by notoptoy on Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:24 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Brake line routing DIY

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So once the passenger side is hooked up, I routed the drivers side.
I chose to simply parallel the passenger side line I just made, running just above and to the right, over to the drivers side brake hose mount. Use the remaing 30" piece here.
I started at the distribution block, and route down.
Moved Block passenger line in.jpg
Then across, and up to the brake hose (Stainless steel now). Also shown is the first of several line clamps I will be putting in. This necessitated drilling an 11/64" hole for the stainless steel sheet metal screw.
Secured lines.jpg
NOTE: This is where I chose to change to Stainless steel brake hoses - while I'm here....... $82 on E-bay includes the rear, which I'll do later (I'm not there yet!)
NOTE 2: Also, while I am here, and have the wheels off, I also chose to grease the 14,000 grease fittings

Here is where the two lines meet before going to the drivers side brake hose, and for the crossmember.
Routing on inner fender well drivers side.jpg
Here is a shot of the Drivers side end of the line, though it's hard to see, as you see the passenger line going down:
P5270053.JPG
Another view of the passenger side at the "end of the line"
P5270050.JPG
I have yet to put the last 2 or 3 securing clamps, but it is very secure.

Now to figure out what to do with the clutch and rear brake lines!! But that'll have to wait a week or two, darn it.
Ok, so let the comments and tips begin!
I put fluid in, and though I haven't bled them (the backs are still open) they are not leaking.
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Re: Brake line routing DIY

Post by windy311 »

Well done DIY.nice looking bay too.
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Re: Brake line routing DIY

Post by Chris66 »

Tom, your work looks good and it's a nice writeup, routing over the cross member is a no go, what if you want to lift the body off the chassis, then the brake lines have to be disconnected, in order to do so.

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Re: Brake line routing DIY

Post by notoptoy »

Chris66 wrote:Tom, your work looks good and it's a nice writeup, routing over the cross member is a no go, what if you want to lift the body off the chassis, then the brake lines have to be disconnected, in order to do so.

Chris
Good point, thanks. However, if you are lifting the body off of the chassis, the brake lines need to be disconnected anyway. Since these are bendable lines, it doesn't bother me too much. One could always put couplers at each side of the frame rail to easily disconnect and leave the portion across the crossmember in place, similar to the connection to the rear brake lines.
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K1200 GT
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Re: Brake line routing DIY

Post by K1200 GT »

Nice job Tom...you didnt use made up lines. With the fitting already in place? All looks good.

Richard
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Re: Brake line routing DIY

Post by notoptoy »

K1200 GT wrote:Nice job Tom...you didnt use made up lines. With the fitting already in place? All looks good.

Richard
Thanks Richard. I did use pre-made straight lines, just because the lengths were close enough to what I measured. I will not use pre-made lines for the Rears and clutch, as those are currently too long for a standard length, and the clutch has an odd fitting on one end. I bought a 25 foot roll for $20 at Advance auto, and will re-use the fittings I have as they are in excellent shape.
Tom
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Re: Brake line routing DIY

Post by Lee2000 »

Nice write-up. You CAN use off-the-shelf brake lines for the rear IF you move the axle housing-mounted junction block about 2" toward the driver's side. I just redid my rear set-up by making a bracket which allowed me to use 1 PA-330 and 1 PA-320 AGS brake line. The 30" one is 2 inches shorter than stock, while the 20" one is 2 inches longer. Worked out just fine although you could also install the same off-the-shelf lines without moving the junction block but you'd have to make the driver's side one straighter than stock, the pass. side one "curvier"(?) than factory. This small mod also helped a little with the 77-002 brake hose as it's about 2 inches longer than stock.
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Re: Brake line routing DIY

Post by GeoffM »

I used standard lines for the rear as well. I'll have to check the lengths I used and post them when I get back into town.
Basically I used a straight length from the fitting just behind the passenger wheel well, along the frame rail , with a slight bend up to meet the next joint. I eleminated the factory "clip" style joint and went with a simple female/female adaptor. I then bent the next line up and into the flex line connector. I had to make this one extra bendy as lee says because the stock length was a bit too long. I kept the distribution block on the axle in the same spot and found the two 'off the shelf' lengths to be just right, although my bending skills aren't that good which may have contributed to my need for some extra length.

I'll add the lengths I used when I have access to the info.
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Re: Brake line routing DIY

Post by notoptoy »

My comment on non-stock link for the rears was from the Master cylinder to the frame rail connection below the normal placement of the front brake distribution block. If I keep it where it is (doubtful) it'll have to go across the firewall and down. I will check the measure with the bent wire method to see. I bought non-terminated line for the clutch anyway, so I may as well use that up!

Thanks for the feedback!
Tom
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Re: Brake line routing DIY

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Ok, so now I am back onto this project to finish up my routing of the brake and clutch lines. All of my previous disclaimers are still in effect, this isn't the only or right way to do this, it's just the way I did it!

While I ultimately want to move the rear brake line under the car on the drivers side so there is no cross-engine compartment brake lines, I am for now, simply routing a cleaner path back to the existing rear brake line connection.
I started with a 25 foot roll of 3/16" brake line from Advance Auto for $20. Pictured below are the tools, and the left over line after creating the rear brake line and clutch line.
NOTE: These each could probably be created from a single, 72" pre-formed and terminated line, however, the clutch requires one end to be changed, and the brake line would not have the nifty stone-guard spring on it. I re-used these from my old brake and clutch lines.
tools needed.jpg
You first need to salvage the old fittings and spring stone guard from the old lines. Use the tubing cutter to do this, if you try to cut with anything like pliers, you'll deform the tube and never get the fittings off!
Cutting off old fittings for re-use.jpg
Clean up the old fittings and have them ready for re-use later - if they are not in excellent shape - buy NEW ONES. I do not recommend putting all the fittings onto the new pipe at this time.
Fittings for brake line cleaned up.jpg
I used a piece of flexible but ridgid wire to run a test route of the lines. I then straighten it out, and measure to determine how much line to start with. I used 74" for both, being generous so that I can cut the excess off prior to terminating the lines. Then I put one fitting (master cylinder or clutch cylinder) on first. Make sure to put the fitting on the right way, and then use the flare tool to put a good flare on the tube. NOTE: I recommend that you practice a few times on a scrap piece of line prior to putting the fitting on your new line. It takes a bit to figure out how much should stick out above the tool to get a strong, even flare.
put fitting on proper direction.jpg
Here is the tool in use.
Flare nut tool in use.jpg
So now we are ready to start bending. I used the wire bending method to determine how and where I need the bends. However, note that the first bends are pretty critical, as they determine how close to the fuse box you will be (clutch) and your brake and firewall clearance (brake line). I am not completely satisfied with some of my bends and will be cleaning them up later - it is much harder to clean them up than to get it right the first time! Patience and careful measuring are the keys. Here you can see that I'm pretty close to the fuse box - but it does open just fine.
Close to fuse box.jpg
More in next post
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Last edited by notoptoy on Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Brake line routing DIY

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So once I have started, I use the tubing bender and wire method to make the approriate bends. This involves lots of trial and measure and error and is still not a perfect science but with a little effort you can make some nice bends. I chose to route behind the master cylinder, along the lip of the hood/firewall line. NOTE: it is a tight fit behind the Master Cylinder - do yourself a favor and loosen up the mounting bolts to give yourself plenty of room.
Brake master area complete.jpg
I then went behind the hood latch to keep the lines out of sight as much as possible. There is plenty of room here, but you'll need your bends really neat and tidy here to keep them from rubbing the hood latch cable or anything else.
Routing under and behind hood latch a.jpg
I then went down the passenger side firewall.
Routing down pass firewall A.jpg
And finally curve around the frame to use the existing attaching "straps" (pieces of metal to hold the line in place). Note that I replaced the plastic covering on these metal hold down straps with 1/2 inch vinyl tubing. In the picture below, the fittings and spring are back in place.
Before putting these last fittings on, make sure that you have about 2 inches of STRAIGHT TUBE -STOP BENDING THE LINE before you get to the end - so that you can put the fittings on. I cut the lines to the approximate final length, and then put the spring and fitting on, with the flare - and THEN make the final bends. You need at least and inch or so of straight tube for the tool to fit on the line!!
Final bends.jpg
Finally I put a few pieces of the vinyl hose, and some wire ties in strategic places along the line. This is to reduce the possible problems of vibration, and to try to keep from rubbing away anymore paint from my firewall! I have to do a lot of touch-up after this. I only use one zip tie on about a 1 inch piece of hose, which is split down the middle, so I am not concerned about water and potential rust build-up ala the front coated brake lines. By the way I strongly recommend bending the brake/clutch lines prior to cleaning up and painting the engine compartment!!
Zip tie protection from rubbing.jpg
So here is an overview pic to see the final results more in another post:
Finished overview 1.jpg
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Last edited by notoptoy on Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Brake line routing DIY

Post by notoptoy »

And lastly, a few more overview pics for your viewing pleasure and critique!
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Re: Brake line routing DIY - completed update

Post by Linda »

Very nice Tom and thanks for sharing the plan.
How long would you estimate it took you for this project?

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Re: Brake line routing DIY - completed update

Post by exit64 »

Nice clean work there, Tom. In the past, I have used a dremel with a cut off wheel to get the old ends off of the tubing to reuse. For some reason I can't resist power tools.
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