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56 brake line replacement


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Hi all

 

I want to replace all hard brake lines on the car. Was looking at buying a kit that comes with straight lengths I then bend by hand to suit. Will likely have to pull the old lines out one at a time and bend the new lines to suit away from the car but I am intetested to know whether anyone has had experience with this and what problems arose. I am especially interested to know whether this can be done without a hoist, that is using only jack stands? Thanks, Drew

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I have done this many times over the years using the generic pre-flared steel lines sold in most auto parts stores. I have done it using jack stands. There is no real need to go the extra money for a kit.

 

You need to remove each section of old line individually and match up new line as needed. You need to be patient in doing the bending by hand. The lines are cheap enough that if you ruin a piece, you can try again. You can buy unions to join up pieces as necessary. A 1956 Buick should be fairly simple as far as fitment of the lines.

 

I can recall doing this on three Cadillacs, 1950, 1951, 1969, and a 1950 Chevrolet. By the way, I have found that I am not good at making double flares. This is much easier.

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Consider nickel-copper tubing, bend and flare yourself (search it).

If yours is like a 55, the only hard part would be at the junction block where all the lines come together with the brake switch.  Last week it was hard enough to just change the switch with the car up in the air.

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10 minutes ago, old-tank said:

Consider nickel-copper tubing, bend and flare yourself (search it).

If yours is like a 55, the only hard part would be at the junction block where all the lines come together with the brake switch.  Last week it was hard enough to just change the switch with the car up in the air.

 

Willie speaks truth!  The junction box on my 54 is buried under the steering gear.   Replacing an original switch required me to remove all the hard lines at the junction box  and junction box due to the switch not budging. Securing the hard lines  when done took some care as to not cross thread thus creating more issues!  It was fun while hanging over a fender. 

 

Anyway, bending and flaring is easy with the correct tools to do the job!    

       

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I went with the copper nickel lines a few years ago when I switched to a dual master on my '54. Bending lines is super easy. If you go this route buy a decent flaring tool. I did it in the garage on jack stands.  I managed to screw up the threads in the junction block when removing the old lines, so be careful there.

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I have installed several complete sets of lines.  Once, I tried the kit of straight lines.  Twice, I bent and flared myself from a roll of tubing.  Once, I bought the the pre-bent kit.  Here's my takeaway:

 

Bending using pre-fab straight lines was a disaster.  The lengths were not exactly correct and this impaired the fitment.  I stopped short and didn't even use them; a waste of time and money if doing all lines and you want it to look nice.

 

Bending from a roll is tedious but if you take your time it will come out nice.  Be sure to buy the protective coiling (made of same type of metal as lines) to install where it was originally.

 

Most recently I purchased pre-bent stainless from Inline Tube.  I'll never do it any other way.  The final look and time savings way more than made up for the extra cost.

Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, lancemb said:

I have installed several complete sets of lines.  Once, I tried the kit of straight lines.  Twice, I bent and flared myself from a roll of tubing.  Once, I bought the the pre-bent kit.  Here's my takeaway:

 

Bending using pre-fab straight lines was a disaster.  The lengths were not exactly correct and this impaired the fitment.  I stopped short and didn't even use them; a waste of time and money if doing all lines and you want it to look nice.

 

Bending from a roll is tedious but if you take your time it will come out nice.  Be sure to buy the protective coiling (made of same type of metal as lines) to install where it was originally.

 

Most recently I purchased pre-bent stainless from Inline Tube.  I'll never do it any other way.  The final look and time savings way more than made up for the extra cost.

Okay, I was thinking of going the route of a kit of straight lines. There is no opportunity here to easily buy prefabricated lengths at auto store. Given your comment regarding line lengths in those kits not matching up is making me rethink.

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Thanks all.

 

I did already buy some NiCopp tubing to give it a go but it appears, like 5219, that I am no good at doing flares albeit I think it has a lot to do with the cheap flaring tool I bought.  Anyway, rather than spend the money on another tool that may or may not turn me into an expert, I have come to the conclusion to use pre-flared lines.  The question will be whether to hand bend straight lines or instead use preformed lines.  I did remove the junction box the other day and it may be a bit different to the other year cars because the brake light switch is instead up on the MC but man, the junction box was a real pain to get to and then also remove from the car!  I plan to take the junction box apart to see whether the check valve inside is operating as it should and clean everything up.

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29 minutes ago, 56 Buick said:

Thanks all.

 

I did already buy some NiCopp tubing to give it a go but it appears, like 5219, that I am no good at doing flares albeit I think it has a lot to do with the cheap flaring tool I bought.  Anyway, rather than spend the money on another tool that may or may not turn me into an expert, I have come to the conclusion to use pre-flared lines.  The question will be whether to hand bend straight lines or instead use preformed lines.  I did remove the junction box the other day and it may be a bit different to the other year cars because the brake light switch is instead up on the MC but man, the junction box was a real pain to get to and then also remove from the car!  I plan to take the junction box apart to see whether the check valve inside is operating as it should and clean everything up.

The straight pieces of lines that come with flares and fittings on them come in only certain sizes.  Unless you get extremely lucky, no combination of lengths will add up to the exact lengths you need to make it correct.  If you are okay with having it straightened in places where it wasn't designed to be or putting in extra loops or bends where there should be none to compensate for the wrong lengths, go for it.  But, you'll end up with a subpar fit and extra fittings (opportunities for failures) just to save a hundred bucks or so.

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I have used both. I know for a fact they have brake line kits for your car. I usually use SS for brakes and OE for fuel. I don’t really know why. 

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If you are keeping the car, go with SS.  Brake fluid traps water.  If you buy pre-bent you will only have to straighten a couple large bends necessary for shipping, and it's quite easy.  I've learned my lesson; this is not an area worth trying to save a few small dollars on.

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I did the lines on my 51 Chevy using the straight lines at the auto store, I bought a bending tool and flaring tool.  I practiced making the double flares and then went to town bending and cutting one tube at a time.  Was super easy and I did it with the car on jack stands.  Just remember to put the fittings on BEFORE you flare don't ask me how I know this.

 

Mark

 

PS I bought lines longer than I needed and cut them to size once the bending was done.  I think with the shorter lines that I got two out of the longest length.  So a tubing cutter was also used.

Edited by M1842
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