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Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines?
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vwhammer
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:35 am    Post subject: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

With all the worry over the failure of the rubber fuel lines on the Vanagons I am surprised that more people don't take the leap and upgrade to some stainless fuel line to replace most of the rubber bits.
Obviously you would keep some rubber in some of the needed flex areas and would likely need some rubber bits to adapt to all the stock components but why not get rid of as much of the rubber as you can?

Just thinking about doing this myself and didn't see much out there about anyone else doing it.

Is it just a time and fabrication thing?
It appears that plenty of people on this site would have the skills to do such a thing.
Just curious.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:49 am    Post subject: Re: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

Rubber is very durable when the right hose is used and it is replaced when too old. Adding hard lines imho just increases the amount of connections and the connection points are what usually fail first. YMMV.
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:36 am    Post subject: Re: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

vwhammer wrote:
With all the worry over the failure of the rubber fuel lines on the Vanagons I am surprised that more people don't take the leap and upgrade to some stainless fuel line to replace most of the rubber bits.
Obviously you would keep some rubber in some of the needed flex areas and would likely need some rubber bits to adapt to all the stock components but why not get rid of as much of the rubber as you can?

Just thinking about doing this myself and didn't see much out there about anyone else doing it.

Is it just a time and fabrication thing?
It appears that plenty of people on this site would have the skills to do such a thing.
Just curious.


On my last WBX I used these:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


to make these:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


and used the steel line in the top of the first photo for the lines between. I was left with rubber to connect to the fuel supply line and to the fuel pressure regulator. I wrapped the steel line with this insulating wrap in order to avoid any heat/vapor lock issues.

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/vpe-25830

I considered going with an aftermarket fuel pressure regulator in order to eliminate the rubber there as well, but the stock FPR worked.

The setup worked great until the head gasket blew and I pulled it for a TDI install.
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vwhammer
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

Yeah this is what I am looking into as well.
I think I am going to build steel lines for most lines in the engine bay and eliminate as many rubber hose connections as possible.

Of course there is a Subaru swap in the near future if I would ever get off my butt and get the engine out of the donor car.
Maybe I should not waste my time with too much fancy fuel system work.

Bbut then there is the fact that when I say near future that may be 3 months or a year.

Honestly, other than the time it would take to fab all this stuff up the cost for metal lines would likely be pretty close to what some places charge for all the fuel line kits.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

I think I saw a post on here where someone did what you're describing. If you have the stuff to do it, I would think the only trick would be building in some flex to account for engine vibrations.

I do wonder how many additional junctions, if any, you would be introducing.
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vwhammer
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

Yeah I am trying to work out the best way to do this to eliminate as many of the joints as possible.

I don't think the flex joint at the firewall will be too tough to sort out. could just use a small section of rubber there or get a little more fancy and run some braided stuff or something.

There are a lot of options for building this system.

I also bought a new tank so I can braze or weld some fittings into that to get rid of all of the grommets and plastic stuff there as well.
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

vwhammer wrote:
Honestly, other than the time it would take to fab all this stuff up the cost for metal lines would likely be pretty close to what some places charge for all the fuel line kits.


It was ~$40 shipped for the fittings I used. The manifolds were $4 each shipped off ebay. The steel lines were $10 and the insulation was $25. So all in was ~$85. It took a couple hours of bending and I had to remove alternator and A/C compressor (left hoses attached).

I used mild steel as opposed to stainless because it is less likely to work harden and crack. The end result was 3 short rubber hose sections that were under fuel pump pressure (1 supply and 2 at regulator) and those were all very visibly located.

I considered braided hose, but it is really just rubber hose in a sheath which just masks any issue. I opted for properly rated hose and good visibility of the remaining sections. I felt very good about eliminating the plastic fuel rails and the hoses that run between them.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:01 pm    Post subject: 'Why, Indeed?' Rob Growled Reply with quote

They have been perfect, and except for the novice mistakes I made, described and fixed, they have been less than no trouble for nearly four years, now:

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=605792

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

Has anyone replaced the hard plastic lines going to and from the gas tank with hard lines? I bought a coil of the steel copper lines for that very purpose, just haven't done it as of yet.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

Steel copper?
I can tell you that you want to avoid plain old copper lines at all cost.
The work harden and fatigue crack pretty readily in high vibe areas
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calo1956
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

My bad, its copper nickel, its used for brake lines, tranny lines and fuel lines, heres the link, like i said i haven't installed them yet, but i have to figure that its a lot better option than the plastic factory lines. I could be wrong, it wouldn't be the first time. All opinions welcome, its a area i don't see discussed when it comes to fuel lines..
Marsflex 25' of 1/4" Copper Nickel Tubing Coil for Brake, Transmission and Fuel Lines
by Marsflex
Link: http://a.co/d/8vQIHdl
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

vwhammer wrote:
With all the worry over the failure of the rubber fuel lines on the Vanagons I am surprised that more people don't take the leap and upgrade to some stainless fuel line to replace most of the rubber bits
.....
Just curious.


I think its because once you delete the faulty items, and replace them with the proper materials that all the other vehicles in the world use, your vanagon will resemble the other vehicles ---- in that way.

= not a firebomb.

So then its time to ask yourself what problem are you trying to solve?
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vwhammer
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:
I think its because once you delete the faulty items, and replace them with the proper materials that all the other vehicles in the world use, your vanagon will resemble the other vehicles ---- in that way.

= not a firebomb.

So then its time to ask yourself what problem are you trying to solve?


I am trying to solve the issue that seemingly no other vehicle has, new or otherwise.
In my 40 ish years on this planet dealing with cars of many makes and ages I have never dealt with any other car that is as fire prone as this one apparently is.
It seems strange to me that all of this is due to fuel lines.
I don't recall ever having to change fuel lines on any other car simply because they could fail and burn it to the ground.
If I did have to change them it's because one of them rusted out... because it was steel.
Also, it never caught anything on fire.
Couple this with the fact that they expect someone to replace these rubber lines every 3, 5, 8 or 10 years makes this all that much more ridiculous.
Fuel lines are not a routine maintenance item.
It seems that there, clearly, is or should be a better solution.


Last edited by vwhammer on Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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vwhammer
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

calo1956 wrote:
My bad, its copper nickel, its used for brake lines, tranny lines and fuel lines, heres the link, like i said i haven't installed them yet, but i have to figure that its a lot better option than the plastic factory lines. I could be wrong, it wouldn't be the first time. All opinions welcome, its a area i don't see discussed when it comes to fuel lines..
Marsflex 25' of 1/4" Copper Nickel Tubing Coil for Brake, Transmission and Fuel Lines
by Marsflex
Link: http://a.co/d/8vQIHdl


Yeah after a little googlin' I assumed you meant something else and copper nickle was the first thing that popped up that seemed logical.

In other news I think I came up with some lines that were meant for something else that will work to solve the steel to rubber connection issue.

I am going to the local parts store tomorrow to see if it is what I think it is and I will get back with more info.

Also, after sorting through some of the stock fuel parts I removed from my other Vanagon, which I bought some Gowesty stuff for, I think I have several of the connections sorted which will eliminate a couple of the clamped connections both under the van and in the engine bay.

It will likely involve some brazing to whip up some custom connections but I think it will work.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

vwhammer wrote:
...I am trying to solve the the issue that seemingly no other vehicle has, new or otherwise.
In my 40 ish years on this planet dealing with cars of many makes and ages I have never
dealt with any other car that is as fire prone as this one apparently is...

FWIW...let's compare a couple real-world examples:

I once owned a 1987 Nissan that developed fuel delivery problems due to fuel
line degradation from ethanol blend fuel, similar to the stories we hear about
our vans. This was in 1993 when the car was just 6 years old.

Leaking fuel at the carburetor essentially evaporated almost immediately from
heat near the top of the engine bay, plus ram air & the radiator fan basically
dispersed vapors with little/no danger of accumulation or unintended ignition.

If the carb hadn't also clogged because of fuel lines disintegrating from the
inside I might never have had the car in the shop & found out about the leak...

OTOH, one of our vans with a similar leak tends to drip fuel from a fuel injector
directly onto a 1000-degree(F) exhaust header... Shocked ...or at the fuel pressure
regulator immediately next to the high current sparking of the distributor... Evil or Very Mad
...or from a failed plastic "firewall" fitting which, at 35psi fuel pressure... Rolling Eyes
...can spew a lot of fuel in a short time, and compared to a front-engine car,
much less air flow through the engine bay to disperse accumulated vapor...

Anyway, sounds to me like potential for trouble...

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:15 am    Post subject: Re: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

Old cars burn up due to neglect and age, Vanagons no more than any other.

A hard line with chafe relief from fuel tank to engine is a nice thing though.

You can provide vibration management by putting a DNA spiral into the line, just like Rosalind Franklin discovered. Ok, itís just a single helix.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 4:59 am    Post subject: Re: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

When I was in the first day of orientation at my current job, I had two voice mails when we took a break- both from campus police (federal employee). The first was them screaming at me to get out to the parking lot "right £#cking now" because my car was on fire. The second was them much more calmly apologizing for the first voice mail, it was the car next to mine, but I should come look at my car as it was covered in extinguisher dust .

Anyway, the other car was a pos 90's Oldsmobile- another older car that just decided it was time to burn. That's the first main reason for the fire fears- age and rubber hoses not designed for ethanol. The second- and the one that is relatively unique to vanagons- is having the entire very hot exhaust in the engine compartment. It's crowded back there...
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:45 am    Post subject: Re: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

Rubber fuel lines ARE a regular maintenance item that get neglected by many owners of multiple car lines. Having Exhaust parts in close proximity to multiple lines on a boxer style engine ramps up the drama level since our injectors are so close to the heat.
9 years spent as a BMW tech saw me changing multiple rubber lines due to leaks, fuel line recalls, upgrades and very upset customers who could smell gas in the morning with seeping lines/hoses.
BMW had no boxer designs to worry about , so fuel was generally routed on the cooler and somewhat safer Intake side of the engine for the Inlines, and handled as best as possible on the V-engines.
Could be worse, Google Ferrariís 512 Boxer from the Ď80s.... Find an image of where the stock/original Ignition Coil was mounted until the cars started catching fire and burning spectacularly by the side of the road..... How THAT detail got out of an engineering committee blows my mind
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:08 am    Post subject: Re: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

So basically you want to convert your Van to the fuel line setup that Buses had from '49 until the introduction of the Vanagon.

I fully approve and now I'm a little remorseful I bought the plastic lines from GW.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Fuel line fix. Why no metal hard lines? Reply with quote

Then again it doesn't hurt to have a backup plan
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