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Brake lines

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by ratherbfishin, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. ratherbfishin

    ratherbfishin Senior Member
    Messages: 201

    Well... 2nd storm in a row I lost a brake line. Time to change em all ! Truck is a 2004 3500 HD,in mint shape I must say. Question is, should I buy the factory bent line kit? Some have said they are a real pain to fit in the given space and get beat up doing so.

    Should I just buy the coils and make my own?

    Is nickle or stainless a good choice?
  2. mrv8outboard

    mrv8outboard Senior Member
    Messages: 197

    Stainless is nice if you have the time and money. I use the poly armor coated brake tubing and make my own.
  3. mikelawtown

    mikelawtown Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 424

    My bud ownes a trans shop and has done a few. He did mine last month with classic tube stainless.I lost a line the morning of the 27 inches we had. Kit was 350
  4. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    ^I'm with this guy.

    Stainless pre-bent lines cost too much and I imagine they're tough to snake into place. Then I wanted the Ni-Copp stuff but it wasn't in my budget and its legality is questionable; the factory service manual says to ONLY use steel and the law wasn't clear but if it ever failed and there was a crash I'd hate to think they'd blame me for disobeying the manual. So, coated steel Poly-Armour PVF coil it is. Works fine and bends much easier than expected.

    I used an OTC 4503 double flare kit and it seems to work well.

    I found this good Youtube video demonstrating/elaborating on the instructions:
  5. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

  6. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    I saw that before, but when the factory service manual (which could be used to blame me) clearly says no and the local laws are unclear, I'm not going to bank on what the seller tells me. Factory service manual:
    (Color and emphasis duplicated from manual.)

    If there is ever a failure resulting in a crash, the investigation would show that I used unrecommended parts. I'm not interested in taking that risk for so little reward...the PVF stuff should have better corrosion resistance than the uncoated OEM crap and bends easily enough, not to mention being less expensive.

    I'm not saying anyone else shouldn't use Ni-Copp, my research indicated that it's safe enough in practice, I'm just saying it wasn't worth the risk and cost to me without any real gain.
  7. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    My only directive was you stated Ni/Copp has a questionable legality, and that is untrue. There is no question it is 100% DOT approved thus a 100% viable upgrade from steel. Which it most certainly is an upgrade.

    Obviously DOT uses their own rules and specifications, not that of a service manual and as long as the manufacture of a replacement product specially states their product meets all DOT specs that apply liability for it's allowable use based on the passed specifications doesn't fall on you.

    Do you bend and flare your own tubing?
  8. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    It is questionable on some levels. Just because one organization approves it doesn't mean some other idiotic law won't nab you.

    Yes, I bend and flare my own.
  9. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Then you're instantly liable regardless of the type of product you use if/when the worse happens. So while there's certainly nothing wrong with being conscious (have to be in this day and age), you're being conscious over the wrong thing.
  10. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    Sure, if the failure is in the flare or from a bad bend. That's going to be the same no matter what material I use. I can't help that any more than by using the care that I already exercise. I can help what material I use.

    It's not a huge risk. If there was some compelling reason, I'd brush it aside and use the other material. There just wasn't any compelling reason for me, leaving me only to consider cost and obedience to the manual vs. a level of corrosion resistance that I don't think I'll ever need.
  11. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    And you're no more at risk using DOT approved nickle/copper line either. Which was your original comment of concern thus my directive to assure it meets ALL qualifications in all 50 states (as per FMVSS) and therefore shouldn't even be a qualifying factor in a decision. Not so much for you specifically, but for anyone else who may see your original "questionable legalities" statement as it pertains to nickle/copper brake tubing. Which once again is untrue.
  12. lilweeds

    lilweeds PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,178

    B&B, plan on doing my 06 and 02 soon. What size and which fittings do I use?
  13. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Most of the lines are 1/4" Rich except for the two on the rear axle, which are 3/16". And generally many of the tube fittings can be reused. Or I should state to reuse the ones still in good shape once you dig into it. Usually those at the master cyl are reusable and the five on the ABS module usually too. Otherwise, buying 28 fittings (14 per truck) you'll spend more on fittings than tubing.
  14. ratherbfishin

    ratherbfishin Senior Member
    Messages: 201

    B&B is pretty much spot on with his suggestions. Finished my lines yesterday;used copper/nickle. They worked out great. Also, the fittings,like B&B said,some were reusable, some needed replacing.

    Now the next hurdle is the annoying ABS activation @ low speeds. First attempt will be a through cleaning. I priced the bearings....big bucks! Any suggestions??
  15. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    Do you have access to a scanner that can pull ABS codes? If so, you'll save a few minutes identifying which sensor is at fault.

    If not, according to the GM service manual and my own experience, you can easily test it with a multimeter. Reach behind and unplug sensor from harness near frame/upper control arm. Connect multimeter set to AC millivolt range. Jack that corner and spin the wheel by hand as fast as you can. You should get at least 350mv (I got 1.5v on a brand new sensor). If not, you've found the guilty wheel...first try cleaning the corrosion at the mounting surface and test again (per GM's TSBs on the issue), if it still fails then replace the sensor. If it still fails with a known-good sensor then the hub/bearing is bad.

    For your thorough cleaning instructions:

    I haven't seen a good source for new sensors. When I do see them, they are as expensive as a new hub. I went to a self-service junkyard and harvested a bunch. 3 came out intact, and 2 were good when I got them home. Because of how seized they get, I wouldn't recommend trying to swap sensors on your truck from one side to the other.

    Don't worry about the rear wheels, ABS gets its data for them from the VSS. If your speedometer is accurate then ABS is getting good rear wheel data.

    Above information based on a 2002 1500, but I don't think it differs for a 2004 3500HD.
  16. tuney443

    tuney443 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,847

    I use either Big Hog Customs or GM Parts Direct for the sealed hub assemblies.Clean the sensor mounting pad with a NEW razor blade to get rid of all corrosion and debris,likewise of course with the underside of the sensor and use just a slight amount of grease to ward off future rust.You do NOT want to change the clearance at the mating point there--extremely critical for correct ABS operation.The rust buildup is most likely causing you your low speed issues.
  17. lilweeds

    lilweeds PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,178

    Use a cotton ball to keep the crud out of the hole. Wire wheel the rust off and reinstall. I purchased new bearings for about $160 from Amazon.... Timkin ones.
  18. lilweeds

    lilweeds PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,178

    How many feet of line have you guys been using?
  19. Clint S

    Clint S Senior Member
    Messages: 280

    You can pull the ABS fuse until you get to it and stop the low speed activation. New sensors from NAPA are about $60 for the fronts , but I too often just replace the whole hub especially if there are quite a few miles on it
  20. Dr_Goodwrench66

    Dr_Goodwrench66 Member
    Messages: 39