cricketkj26

Cleaning out copper brake lines ?

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How does one go about cleaning out copper brake lines ? The master cylinder, reservoir and all 4 wheel cylinders have been removed and brass sleeved.  I need to flush out all the lines before reinstalling all these parts. There was a fair amount of sludge in all the wheel cylinders, a good bit of water and very small bits of rust particles in the brake fluid when I emptied the reservoir. From that, Im assuming the lines and fittings have sludge in them too. Car is 1925 Chrysler with exterior band brakes. The exterior of the lines and fittings appear to be in good condition with no leaks. All The wheel cylinder seals and a couple of the banjo connections were leaking.  Also, what is the  band lining thickness suppose to be ?   

Thanks,  J K Jordan (Cricket)

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I always thought brake lines needed to be steel for strength! I clean brake lines inside with denatured alcohol. Personally I would recommend replacing the lines. It would be cheap and easy insurance.

Edited by JFranklin (see edit history)
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I would never trust any hydraulic brake system with copper lines. Replace them all with Cunifer lines, easy to work with like copper but much safer.

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My 1928 Dodge Bothers 2249 Senior 6 has copper brake lines original ones at that I cleaned them degreaser firstly to remove gunk from the outer protective covering and then a good wash in metholated spirits (same stuff as denatured alcohol) I have had no leaks or failed lines

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All the really old MoPars used copper lines and special brass fittings. I just worked on a 1929 DeSoto with the original copper lines.

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My 1967 Ford Transit van had copper brake lines.
 
My 1930 Dodge Brothers has brass sleeved brake cylinders, with aluminium pistons. If I don't use it for a while, the pistons corrode and jam in the cylinders (Al is at the top of the galvanic series, brass is half way down or lower).

You will need to use the car reasonably frequently to keep the brakes working. Mine stick on the corrosion after a few months.

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I second replacing the lines.  Copper can become brittle after years of flexing and vibration.  I did keep the copper lines on a 29 Plymouth I had years ago, but I was young and foolish back then.  My 32 Dodge had what appeared to be copper lines, but when I got all the crud off them they turned out to be steel with a copper coating on the outside.  I replaced them with Cunifer lines, and, as stated above, this material is very easy to work with.  You can bend it with your hands and it forms easily.  It also has a coppery shade that resembles the original copper lines.  It's used on many European cars and meets all standards for strength and durability.

 

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Thank you all for responding. Im a newbie. Prior to this 25 Chrysler the oldest thing I worked on was 1960's Volvos.

I will take all into consideration. Is anyone knowledgeable about the brake band matl thickness ? THis car has 4 wheel exterior band brake bands. Thanks, Cricket J K Jordan

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My 1931 Reo Royale had corroded copper brake lines and I replaced them . I figured if I ever had a car accident some insurance guy would focus on that point .

My gas line is brass but rotted out . Aircraft Spruce sells the line if you need it also clevis and odd small parts .   https://www.aircraftspruce.ca/

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I would recommend replacing the copper pipes if you think they are cruddy (technical term) inside. It is not a difficult job and new pipes look very smart whilst ensuring that no hidden muck will make it`s way into your wheel cylinders. 

 

Kunifer (copper-nickel alloy) is very strong and a good product, but I must say I use copper tubing because it is so easy to work with. Actually I will use either. The issue with copper tubing is that CU can work harden and become brittle, but provided it is well supported in clips on the chassis, I have never encountered any problems. Either material satisfies the annual UK road worthiness (MOT) test.

 

Adam..

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You may need a special flaring tool for modern brake line. The first step creates a ball end which is inverted by the second operation. Steel line (Bundy tube)

can fail due to rust on the outside. I once lost brakes on an older GM Holden on a freeway in Melbourne. I blocked the connection with a brake rivet, and drove home very carefully without rear brakes. The contracting band brakes have several issues that you can correct or improve. The drums are steel, which is not a good brake material; and if it has lost significant wall thickness due to wear, its capacity for heat will be impaired. Do not let anyone build them up by welding or weld on a steel ring. Steel does not have good friction properties as a brake drum. A wire-feed thermospray coating of Metco Spraysteel LS has similar brake characteristics to the best cast drums. You have to machine it carefully with tungsten carbide. It has about 7% molybdenum content, and it is work-hardening.

You use any good modern brake lining with it, and you will have better brakes than Chrysler built for it. You use whatever thickness of lining the space will allow. I will measure the rebuilt drum thickness of the Roamer Duesenberg for you as a guide after breakfast. Now, to expel water, which is a problem with external band brakes, you cut a series of grooves across the lining at about 45 degree angle. You decide whether you prefer to wash the outside of the wheels or the underside of the car. The original cast iron brakes of my 1911 Napier have such water expulsion angle grooves, about two and a half inches apart.

Chrysler's high compression Rickardo patent combustion chamber engine in that car had high power output in terms of horsepower per cubic inch piston displacement than any car of 1923 except the A Duesenberg and Lexington's push-rod OHV Anstead six, according to Keith Marvin's book "Cars of 1923". I admired most the early Model B, before the "ribbon radiator". A friend of my father left his touring parked in his garage after he stopped using it. I could have had it for the asking about 1960; but I had no garage for it, and it vanished. Soon after, a young bloke I knew who was a ratbag destroyed a good and complete roadster. He thrashed it round the local rubbish tip, discarding doors, fenders, and rumble seat lid, and running over them and bulldozing saplings. He killed a series of cars on the road, then killed himself in one. Sadly, he killed a young couple travelling in the opposite direction; and only his German Shepherd dog survived the accident. You can find my description of the method of applying that Metco coating in several of my past posts.

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Pressure pack Brake Clean is available cheaply at most auto stores and would work very well to clean out the lines if you want to re-use them. Spray it in, shake them around and then blow the them out with compressed air.

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Thank you all for responding. Im a newbie. Prior to this 25 Chrysler the oldest thing I worked on was 1960's Volvos.

I will take all into consideration. Is anyone knowledgeable about the brake band matl thickness ? THis car has 4 wheel exterior band brake bands. Thanks, Cricket J K Jordan

Got a part number from the original or reprint parts book?

 

The external contracting hand brake band material thickness is listed in the Plymouth parts books for '28-'33 and it would not surprise me if that info is in the earlier Chrysler parts book(s). And even if they don't list the thickness, the part number will help in seeing what else used that lining and the other references might then list a thickness.

 

I believe various lining materials have specifications on how soft or hard they are (how well they grip). I've not seen that specification in the official parts books but perhaps some period aftermarket supplier's catalog would list that.

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Mr. Franklin - What book is it that has this information  in it ?  Where might I get a copy of it if possible ?   Again - thanks everyone for all the input. Cricket

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Mr. Franklin - What book is it that has this information  in it ?  Where might I get a copy of it if possible ?   Again - thanks everyone for all the input. Cricket

It is the "Chilton  Multi-Guide, spring 1931" It has a lot of specifications and cross references. It has been reproduced but I don't know where to find one except maybe a bookseller or EPay.

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The copper brake lines are an alloy designed to take the pressure. If your line are in good shape, I see no reason to replace and re-design  the brake system.

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It is the "Chilton  Multi-Guide, spring 1931" It has a lot of specifications and cross references. It has been reproduced but I don't know where to find one except maybe a bookseller or EPay.

Here is the above mentioned book....

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Might think about using a Hoppes Bore snake in the correct caliber

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A trick the electrician's trade performs when pulling wire through conduit is use a small shop vac to suck a light string through the line. once the light string is through, use heavier lead with a wad similar to gun cleaning technique. However, i too would opt to replace copper with steel in the interest of safety.

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