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Simple repair went South. I guess I'm replacing the brake line then?


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11-12-17, 10:02 PM   #1 (permalink)  
Simple repair went South. I guess I'm replacing the brake line then?

92 Ford Ranger XLT with 2.9 V6. I was trying to replace the flexible brake line that feeds the front brake caliper. But I ran into a big hassle with the brake line tightening nut getting stripped. So I assume replacing the entire brake line is the easiest thing to do? I traced the line to a junction fitting under the master cylinder. I attached a photo. I had to cut away the old flex line with a Dremel tool. (Yep, Finally took the plunge and purchased a Dremel)

What about just snipping off the damaged nut and re-flaring the original brake line already mounted in the truck......out of the question? I'm not crazy about flaring anyway. Never done it.

I have speed bleeders installed . So I can do a one man brake bleed. If I replace the brake line, I'd like to use the poly coated line pre-flared with fittings. I watched a guy in the parts store bend it by hand without tools.

I measured about 60 inches straight line distance from master cylinder to right front flexible brake line. I believe 72 inches is the longest brake line available in the parts store. Will that be enough with the turns brake line has to make?

I can't believe they even put out those cheesy little brake line tightening nuts. Of course, those things will strip eventually.. Make them bigger and thicker.

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11-12-17, 10:17 PM   #2 (permalink)  
I just did brake line work on a friends 99 Ford van. Two things with those fittings.

1) Spray them a day in advance and then a second time before trying to loosen them with Liquid Wrench or PB blaster rust dissolver. Don't use something like WD-40.

2) You must use line or flare nut wrenches. They are designed to encompass those small nuts. They come in metric and standard. I have a set of both. They also fit the bleeder screws. When you remove the fittings.... tighten them first and then loosen them. Keep rocking the wrench to break the fitting free.

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11-12-17, 11:22 PM   #3 (permalink)  
I tried everything including line wrench. I PB Blasted a couple months in advance. I have bleeder wrenches too.

Geez, I wish I knew before about the back and forth rocking motion with the wrench you just mentioned. Might have saved myself some grief.

You think installing a new brake line is the only thing left to do then at this point? Might not be too difficult for a first timer like me.

 
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11-13-17, 03:40 AM   #4 (permalink)  
IMO replacing a brake line isn't a big deal. I always remove the old one first so I can be sure of the length. That also insures that you get the rise size line/fittings. I have had to connect 2 lines together before to get the needed length but I can't imagine that being necessary for a front brake. You have to be careful bending brake line by hand. I always try to use a bender although you can use a spray can or something to bend the line around.


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11-13-17, 06:47 AM   #5 (permalink)  
When all else fails buy yourself a little 6 or 8 inch pipe wrench, it will grab it. I had to do that a hundred years ago on a bleeder.

 
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11-13-17, 08:40 AM   #6 (permalink)  
Some connections are reverse flare, or double flare ... especially the ABS module area... Make sure you have a look see..

I did my s 10 on numerous occasions... A small bender is invaluable too..

You can rent the flare tool from most auto stores..


Im cheap so I use the small bender types like this pic


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11-13-17, 09:43 AM   #7 (permalink)  
It doesn't look like I will be re-flaring the original brake line, unless I can do it while it is still attached in truck. Probably not enough space to work in if you look at attached photo. I heard that the cheap bender types such as in Lawrosa's photo are best for the softer poly armor lines.

 
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11-13-17, 09:47 AM   #8 (permalink)  
How do you know if it needs to be reflared without removing the end of the brake hose first?


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11-13-17, 09:48 AM   #9 (permalink)  
I normally buy a piece of line and splice in my own repair... Using couplings where needed..


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11-13-17, 09:53 AM   #10 (permalink)  
I can't remove that torn up piece of brake hose off the line. I tried locking pliers and vise grips. Besides, it doesn't look like the brake line tightening nut can be re-used. It's chewed up pretty good.

 
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11-13-17, 10:01 AM   #11 (permalink)  
When the brake line fitting gets chewed up enough to need vise grips I normally go ahead and replace it but as long as the threads are good, the fact that a wrench no longer fits doesn't make it completely unusable.


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11-13-17, 10:30 AM   #12 (permalink)  
One of my pet peeves around here is mechanics who feel obliged to put 500 or 1000 lbs of torque on all Brake Components and Wheel Lug Nuts and Lug Bolts; as if they're doing you some kind of favor by making them virtually unremovable using hand tools.

 
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11-13-17, 10:43 AM   #13 (permalink)  
I know what you mean. I had a similar situation when the brake line fitting nut for the master cylinder became rounded off. I was able to file off the rounded parts and restore the straight edges to the nut. So in that case, I was able to reuse. But this one may be too far gone.

No second car available. It's the shoe leather express to the auto parts store for now.

I don't believe the old steel line is close to any major sources of heat. Should I consider using something to protect the new poly armor pliable steel line from heat?

I can remove the old brake line sometime today and take it down to the parts store.

 
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11-13-17, 10:46 AM   #14 (permalink)  
I hear you Vermont. This is one of the reasons I do my own work now.

 
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11-13-17, 11:50 AM   #15 (permalink)  
Should I consider using something to protect the new poly armor pliable steel line from heat?
Generally if heat is going to be an issue the factory will have a shield in place to protect the line. If you bend/route the new line somewhat close to the old you should be fine.


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11-13-17, 12:19 PM   #16 (permalink)  
There's a stiff wire coiled around the old brake line. Not sure what that is for. I suppose to protect the brake line from being punctured or damaged.

 
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11-13-17, 12:47 PM   #17 (permalink)  
It's probably to keep the line off off of the frame or whatever it's next to that it could rub up against and wear thin/thru. Since they are hard to put on the new piece unless you're custom cutting/flaring I generally leave it off. You can split and tape a piece of vacuum hose over that area if needed.


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11-13-17, 01:14 PM   #18 (permalink)  
Absolutely......................insert the new brake line into some type of tubing or hose for protection. I use split loom tubing in my engine compartment all the time. It looks like my make/model uses 3/16" line SAE double flared. I better get started. Might take a couple days to get back.

 
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11-13-17, 05:21 PM   #19 (permalink)  
The last few repairs I did I used the copper/nickle lines.
Will not rust and is easy to bend. I didn't have to use a bender.


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11-13-17, 10:48 PM   #20 (permalink)  
Thanks Pete, I'll ask about the copper/nickel option at the parts store tomorrow. I removed the old brake line today. I need my truck badly. But I might have to wait a day or two for new brake line at NAPA. They don't always stock a good selection. Already struck out at one parts store.

 
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11-14-17, 04:00 AM   #21 (permalink)  
I've always found brake lines in stock at our local auto parts stores They come in various standard lengths and a few different sizes. I have had to add a 2nd length before to get the desired length and have also needed to put an extra coil/bend in them to shorten it up a tad. Prebent brake lines are normally special order and very pricey.


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11-14-17, 04:35 PM   #22 (permalink)  
I won't be able to pickup the two pliable poly steel brake lines till tomorrow morning. What is the best way to bend and shape these by hand? Start at the ends and work towards the middle? Or start in the center portion of the line and work outward?

 
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11-14-17, 04:39 PM   #23 (permalink)  
I work from end. Be sure to use tubing bender.

 
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11-14-17, 04:40 PM   #24 (permalink)  
If they're one long line... you either start at one end or the middle. I just installed nine feet of line. It was a 5' and a 4'. I attached the 5' line to the rear brake block..... ran it into place and fastened it. Then I worked from the middle to the front fitting.

What you do is based on how complicated the end bends are.


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11-14-17, 05:05 PM   #25 (permalink)  
It will be one 72 inch line with some excess. The kind I'm getting can be bent by hand. Although I'm not sure what the method would be for that. I think you use your forefinger as a guide or something. I already rented a tubing bender seen in the photo below. But I wonder if it will get in the way.

 
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11-14-17, 07:51 PM   #26 (permalink)  
I woulnt bend by hand... They kink easy IMO.. The small bender I show fits in palm of hand...


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11-15-17, 03:46 AM   #27 (permalink)  
I almost always bend the line prior to installing it. I use the old line as a guide and try to bend the new line to match it. I always use a tubing bender although will tweak it a little by hand.


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11-15-17, 07:00 PM   #28 (permalink)  
Ok. Thanks. I'll look for an online video on brake line bending. Then I'll be ready to do it.

Added a couple more line wrenches to my arsenal. Really hamstrung without a car.

 
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11-16-17, 03:47 PM   #29 (permalink)  
I got the new brake line and brake hose installed. But before I bleed the system, I have a question. I attached photos below. The new hose came with two copper washers. And two copper washers fell off the old hose too when I removed it from the caliper. If you look close, you can see where I used a copper washer both inside and outside the square shaped brake hose piece that bolts to the caliper.

Is that correct?

Little bits of poly coating scraped off the new line during installation. Difficult for a beginner to avoid that. I suppose that will shorten the life of the brake line.

Also in the other photo the brake fluid will have to travel upward from that junction fitting which the new line attaches to. The fluid is under pressure so that won't be a problem will it?

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11-16-17, 04:03 PM   #30 (permalink)  
Those are crush washers (because they "crush" or mash out when you tighten them, ensuring a tight seal), and yes, they go right back where the original ones were. Speaking of those, is the right one in your picture up against its' mating surface, and not hung up on the threads? Probably is right, but I'm seeing a bit of a gap on the back side of it. And you're right, the system is under pressure, so vertical runs are not a problem, except that the more high spots you have the longer it can take to bleed due to the air wanting to stay above the fluid.

 
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11-16-17, 04:24 PM   #31 (permalink)  
I believe those copper washers are wide enough that they won't get hung on the threads. But I'll double check. I did not bolt that new hose very tight because I was not sure if I placed the washers correctly. That would probably explain the gap.

To be honest, I don't know how the washers were placed on the old hose. They just fell off. So did I do the right thing placing washers on both sides of that square piece?

 
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11-16-17, 05:33 PM   #32 (permalink)  
Ok. I checked my Chilton manual. I was correct in placing single washers on both sides of the square brake hose fitting. But now I heard I should also check and make sure washer grooves (if any) are facing inside of banjo bolt towards threads.

 
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11-17-17, 03:20 AM   #33 (permalink)  
If I remember correctly there aren't any grooves in the washer until after it's been installed.
Skinning the coating off of some of the hard line shouldn't hurt anything ...... might be a slight issue if you are in snow country where a lot of salt is put down. I've replaced a few brake lines that had rust holes but they were on old vehicles.


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11-17-17, 07:02 AM   #34 (permalink)  
Crush washers? I put new on my old 96 s10 when I did the rear.. Those factory GM lines back then had metal coil reinforcements that were problematic IMO.

I didnt take good pics at the time but I had to rent a reverse flare tool as all points had this type of flare.

Common block on rear differential...

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11-17-17, 12:21 PM   #35 (permalink)  
Yeah. Like you said I figured out later the crush washers don't have grooves until after it's been installed.

I bled the system and I'm up and running again. After a couple days or so, I'll slide split loom tubing onto the new brake line.

My front speed bleeders weep or ooze around the thread. But it was like that when I installed these two years ago. So something is out of spec. Doesn't make sense replacing them unless I do the calipers at the same time. Brakes work fine anyway and the oozing seems to stop on its own

What about using teflon tape on the outer speed bleeder threads?

 
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11-17-17, 02:32 PM   #36 (permalink)  
Bleed screws do not need any tape. They seal in a taper to stop fluid leak.

 
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11-17-17, 05:29 PM   #37 (permalink)  
OK. I generally don't worry about the oozing fluid. I just check the MC level and speed bleeders periodically. It can be easily remedied if I decide too later. Thanks for the photos posted also. My old brake line has the spiral or coiled wire just like Lawrosa's.

 
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