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Tips for installing new front flex brake lines
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shizzon
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:28 am    Post subject: Tips for installing new front flex brake lines Reply with quote

Perhaps my google-fu sucks, but I haven't really been able to find any tips on removal and replacement of the front brake flex lines on the van.

I attempted to remove my existing cracked lines, and quickly found out that they didn't want to come off!

Before rounding off the nuts, I at least asked a friend, who said that I needed a flare wrench -- something like this

http://www.sears.com/craftsman-5-pc-flare-nut-wren...ockType=G1

I bought a flare wrench set at my FLAPS, but I am somewhat afraid of wailing on these lines and breaking something -- hence my question -- Can anyone give me any tips:

1. For breaking these connections (and ways to not spill brake fluid everywhere?) -- i found one post here where someone used a torch i think. I'm kind of sketched out about doing that next to the gas tank though.

2. For reassembly with a new line (I bought GW stainless steel flex line -- I know some people will debate this, but I'm not looking to have that debate here -- mostly just looking for tips on cable routing)

3. For removing caliper (one caliper has a broken off bleed screw that i need to remove) -- is it best to just remove the hard "S" piece from the caliper directly, or from the other end since I will already have the flex line off?

thanks!
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insyncro
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since the caliper needs a little work, I would pull the piston and clean out inside the caliper while on the bench.

Flare wrenches make disassembly much much easier.

Depending upon the new lines and the bracket your van has, you may need to drill it out a little larger for the new lines, maybe not.

I do not connect the braided lines directly to the caliper as I have done in the past.
Making up a double loop hard line for that connection is optimal, especially on a Syncro that may see offroad use and chance having something yank on the braided line.
The coiled hardline will act as a buffer and if damaged is a less than $7 replacement.
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shizzon
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

insyncro wrote:

Making up a double loop hard line for that connection is optimal, especially on a Syncro that may see offroad use and chance having something yank on the braided line.
The coiled hardline will act as a buffer and if damaged is a less than $7 replacement.


Hmm... so are you saying that if I remove the hardline I would have to replace it? Does removing the fitting destroy it, or is it just good practice to replace the hardline. I was hoping to NOT replace that line unless necessary.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have a stock caliper and the parts are usable, just reuse them.

But if you are scared to try and remove them and other parts have snapped off due to age and decay...I would be inspecting, removing and replacing anything that is towards the end of its life span.

Especially with brake system parts.

Most of the brake work I do is upgrading and most new calipers will need new small hardlines to be able to mount the braided line where I want them.
So I make them up.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

having just done this, I think maybe you are talking about separating the flex line from the hard (solid) line?

If so, the angle is difficult at best.

I removed the clamp (?) that holds the union together from the body, its a small machine screw.

I then carefully pulled on the solid line and twisted the whole bit around to make the wrench fit better and have some leverage.

I also soaked it all really well with some rust buster stuff


and aside from having rages, the fluid goes everywhere.

peter
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

use QUALITY Flare wrenches

hose everything down with Kroil twice a day and then tap on each connection 10 times with something steel like a hammer - not super hard

repeat the above for a week and see what happens - if it won't some loose when you tap the wrench, repeat for another week


time & impact (tapping)
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

2Dokas wrote:
having just done this, I think maybe you are talking about separating the flex line from the hard (solid) line?


That's right, I'm trying to remove both ends of the flex line -- where it attaches to the solid line under the body, and where it attaches to the curved hard line that connects to the caliper.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

11mm and 14mm flare wrenches.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not to get too far ahead of myself here, but when tightening the new brake line down, is it important to torque it on there pretty hard? I'm wondering if these lines are so notoriously hard to get undone because the torque spec is high for having them on, or if it's just a matter of age and road crud.

thanks!
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Torque isnt the issue with brake lines not coming apart.
Galling and assembly without and thread locker is...I use Marine Green on brake lines and has no hold, but will lubricate the threads on removal
It is also designed for dissimilar metals in harsh environments.

Ask any plumber how tight to make fittings and the answer is usually, use pipe dope and not too tight.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Shizzon,

Those brake tube nuts are difficult to remove because they are corroded where the threads contact the fitting, and also corroded onto the outside of the brake line itself.

When you get to the point of re-installation, consider a dab of anti-seize both on the threads as well as around the brake line where the tube nut surrounds it.

Also ask about copper/nickel brake line if you are thinking about buying a coil, usually 25'. It is a treat to bend, flares beautifully with inexpensive flaring tools and best of all, it is superior material compared to traditional coated steel tubing and will not corrode in the future either internally or externally.

Good Luck.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AntiSeize is not recommend for compression type fittings and will allow them to loosen.
This is what I have been told and have seen first hand.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Insyncro,

The use of grease or anti-seize is recommended when installing and tightening brake tube nuts, both for enabling future removal as well as ensuring a smooth install and avoiding twisting of the Brake line. I usually just apply a little dab of grease using a match stick. Another tip that I got from an old hand is to use grease on the business end of the tube flaring die.

From the Fedhill tech help page.....

"Bend the nutted and flared tube carefully to shape, so that it will fit easily into position. Bends should be smooth and have as large a radius as possible. For tight bends on the larger sizes, a rolling die bending tool should be used. A minimum bend radius of three times the tube diameter is recommended. Tubing should not be kinked or strained into position. It should emerge cleanly from the nut without bearing against it. Lubricate the threads and the bearing surface of the flare with anti-seize compound to ensure that it and the nut will seat properly and the nut can be tightened without twisting the tube. Do not over-tighten the nut.

Tightening Torque
As a general rule from finger tight, continue tightening the nut until you feel it draw down tight, then tighten approximately 1/6 turn more. Do not over-tighten."

So that is what I go by, your mileage may vary

Good luck.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you replacing all the lines, flex and hard lines? Then cut then off at the fitting, put a socket on it (a 6-point), and wrench them off. Forget a flare wrench unless you are trying to save something, in which case, you would've just replaced that line and it should come loose no matter what. All the lines hard or flex should be replaced in a "new-to-you" van or your old van. You are doing the brakes, man. Replace it all. Not only are you putting yourself at risk if you don't, you are putting everyone else on the road at risk. Lines are cheap and easy to do. I live in the rustbelt and change the lines if there is any sign of fatigue on them. Word to the mother.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Front flex hose pointers (FWIW): http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=507663

My favorite: Physically REMOVE the sheet metal covering the flex union at the battery box...

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grease is great when forming the flare.
I prefer to assemble with a locker.

All good.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dhesq wrote:
Are you replacing all the lines, flex and hard lines? Then cut then off at the fitting, put a socket on it (a 6-point), and wrench them off. Forget a flare wrench unless you are trying to save something, in which case, you would've just replaced that line and it should come loose no matter what. All the lines hard or flex should be replaced in a "new-to-you" van or your old van. You are doing the brakes, man. Replace it all. Not only are you putting yourself at risk if you don't, you are putting everyone else on the road at risk. Lines are cheap and easy to do. I live in the rustbelt and change the lines if there is any sign of fatigue on them. Word to the mother.


That's a great point re: cutting the flex line. I am replacing with a SS GW flex line, so no need to save the old one. The rubber looks sketchy anyways!

I'm not yet willing to let this mission creep into a full fledged replacement of every hardline. I understand the sentiment in general of wanting to be safe, but my lines don't look too bad and I don't live in the rustbelt. That said, it may be in the cards for the future..
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One other question while we're on the topic... Will a normal hose pincher clamp (like one used to clamp a fuel line) work to clamp the rubber brake hose so that brake fluid doesn't come out?

My thinking in terms of order-of-operations is this:

1. Pinch clamp rubber flex line
2. Cut flex line between clamp and caliper
3. Remove nut on caliper side, and remove hard line going to caliper
4. Remove caliper from vehicle.
5. fix stuff on caliper, replace to vehicle
6. install SS flex line on caliper side
7. Then remove nut on "body" side of the clamped rubber line, and quickly install SS line to prevent brake fluid from draining

does this make sense?
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I doubt the pinch pliers will close the brake hose. Tough stuff.

Get the "upstream" end of the hose off as quick as you can.
You will lose some brake fluid; have a plan in place to catch/contain it.

Once the old hose is off, quickly cap the the hard line with the rubber bleeder cap.
No more drips as you work on the rest of the system...reattach last, bleed & go.

Git 'r done!

PS: If brake fluid replacement has been neglected, the hard lines can rust
from the inside out. Over time, atmospheric moisture collects in low points
of the lines suspended in the hydroscopic fluid, and starts rust spots from
the inside. CHANGE your brake fluid every 2-3 years, srsly!
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, that's a great tip re: using the bleeder cap!
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