22 July 2015

How to - stainless brake lines

Crossing over into the street rod world
usually involves stainless steel brake lines.
Whether or not you go with a double flare sae end,
or the 37 degree AN fitting route,
stainless tube bending is much more precise then a  traditional steel tube.
The sharper bends needed 
have no leeway for bad measurements.
The easiest way is to do it twice,
basically bending up a cheaper steel line,
and copying the angles to the SS line. 
That's after you straighten the coiled length of tubing.
What a pain in the but.
There may be special tools for this,
but the easiest way is slowly by hand.
Now for the flare.
It's important to knock it out the first time.
Cracking the surface or forgetting to slip the nut on,
will shorten the length by 1/4" or so,
making all that bend work look funky.
This time I used my Uncle Steve's Ridgid flare tool,
I think the 377 ratcheting model.
Fortunately it came with his detailed instructions,
on how to use this borderline inferior tool.
Maybe it's not the tools fault,
geared toward mild steel not stainless steel.
First off the cut must be square.
A normal tube cutter wears out quick on SS,
I uses a hack saw,
then filed the end flat.
A rotary file deburrs the inside,
lessening the chances of cracking.
Dab some light oil like wd-40 to smooth the compression spot.
The screw clamp is questionable,
the tube may push through.
Actually the ratchet will give way before the clamp fails,
so using a vice helps,
along with about 1.5 turns with a wrench.
The sealing surface is a very thin ring,
the flare is mainly to keep it from pulling out.
Yes I forgot to put a nut or sleeve on at least once.
Here's the mocked up cheap steel lines.
A sharpie definitely helps here.
I reused the same steel tube as much as possible,
straightening it back out for each section.
Without the mounting clamps it's a little rough,
but don't worry it'll look sharp when it's done.

No comments:

Post a Comment