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Correct Brake Lines ???

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:16 am
by Famous Frank
Replacing all the brake lines on my 66 S2 SE, isn't one of the more enjoyable jobs I'm looking forward to. History: the brake lines came off my frame in sad condition, ......... like the rest of the car. Where the car had accident damage and repair, the lines had been bent and re-bent numerous times. They had primer paint on them and of course the rattle can restoration black finish. I've tried to sand off the paint but have found they are severely pitted on the outside. Thus I want to replace all the lines.

Brake lines are available in a number of different materials and finishes. I want mine to look like factory originals. The problem is all the local auto parts stores carry lines that don't look like factory originals. I believe the lines are 3/16th inch in diameter. The local stores carry zinc plated steel lines or PVF (Poly Vinyl Coated Steel Lines). The Zinc coated steel lines have a metallic blueish hue and the PVF lines look black. Neither of them have the correct look to my eyes.

I then looked at ebay and found someone selling something called: "CUPRO/NICKEL made of 88% copper, 10% nickel and 2% iron extruded from an ingot seamless, meeting SAE standard 1677 for brake lines on surface vehicles." Unfortunately, I can't tell by an ebay picture if these have the correct look, although it seems to in the picture.

While trying to clean my original lines, it appears they are some sort of plated copper as I can almost see a copper hue after scrubbing with a steel wool pad.

Does anyone really understand how the original lines were made and what they were made of? Or better yet, any recommendations on where to purchase lines that will look like the factory originals?

As always, Many Thanks!

Famous Frank

Re: Correct Brake Lines ???

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:18 am
by reb53
Kind of obvious I know, but have you spoken to Susan Millar ?
Made up sets would be all the correct length and save you a lot of hassle.


Re: Correct Brake Lines ???

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:02 am
by garyeanderson

Hi Frank
Kind of a lot of money for the tool but it is a good tool that will last a life time and is easy to use with out the do-overs of the cheap versions sold at auto parts stores.

I don't own one but have used two different ones (its nice not to have to mooch off the same friends) and its pretty sweet. I bought 2 cheao flaring tools that broke before I bought something else that works BUT no where near as nicely. In the past I bought prefabbed brake lines that are longer than needed at napa and cut them leaving the double flair ends in place, taking off the threaded stock ends and refitting the original threaded ends onto the new lines after wire wheeling them clean. Once they are cut to length and the correct ends are on, I complete the one Bubble flair. The usual suspects have new threaded ends if that is needed. The front to rear brake line is longer than 60 inches which is usually the longest of the pre-made napa items and I either reuse that section or get some from a friend that buys the coils of bundy tubing. The Cunifer is nice stuff and it bends and the ends form easier than the napa crapa but I haven't done lines in a while. I have a couple of frame builds planed for this year and will probably re-use the best lines I have pulled off in the past for at least for one and if I can find two sets then I won't be redoing any.


Re: Correct Brake Lines ???

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:43 pm
by prezoom
NAPA has bulk steel brake line in coils 25 feet long. Eastwood has a variety of different flare tools, some getting quite expensive. I bought the combination kit, which will do both 45 and 37 degree flares. Over the years, the tool has done about 15 cars and has paid for itself in my mind.

Cunifer line, copper in color can be clear or yellow zinc plated at a nominal cost. The clear zinc coating gives the line a silver color, similar to the coils of steel line. I have used the clear and yellow zinc coatings on steel lines on a couple of cars. But the Cunifer is much easier to work with. I have only done 37 degree flares in this material, and have never tried to do the bubble style flare of the original lines.

Classic Tube may make replacement lines for the Elan, that will match the factory originals. I have several friends who have used them for various cars. They got them in stainless steel.

Rob Walker

Re: Correct Brake Lines - Measuring the old bundy lengths

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:05 pm
by garyeanderson
Ok folks, I need to do this job soon too so I rounded up a few set of brake lines for the Elan. These are just the 5 hard lines that are used with a single master cylinder. I just want the ones that go on the chassis for the time being so thats the left front, right front, left rear, right rear, and the front to rear that connects the 5 way union and the three way union. I have 2 sets of good lines except the left rear, the two I have are still solid but pitted badly so I think that I will replace that one at the minimum. I have tried to use a tape measure in the past and to wrap the tape in and out of the various angles is a bit of a bitch and yes I can get close but I figured there was another way so I pulled out some mono filament fishing line but to push it through the bundy tube was not working so I looked in my Lucas wiring bucket with every cut off piece of wire that has been scrapped and saved for a shorter length runs and found some that looked suitable and pushed that in the tube. I needed to use plyers as it made its way inside the tube to force it thrugh the last foot but it went through.
brake line measuring1.JPG and

When it came out the other end I stopped and pulled it back to within a 1/16 of an inch (just showing) and got out the sharpie permanent marking pen and marked the other end.
wire marked with perminate ink pen.JPG and

I then pulled it back out and laid it on the tape measure flat
wire pulled out of line.JPG and

and read the length.
Left rear brake bundy length 30 and a half.JPG and

Sweet my guess is it will be dead nuts when I make up a couple


Re: Correct Brake Lines ???

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:58 pm
by holywood3645
Frank I bought the fittings and tubing from Burtons in the UK. Could not find what (copper/nickel) I wanted in the US. ... ft14m.html

Then I went round and around on the correct tools discussion. I tried 3 different types before spending a lot of money on a FACOM setup.
You can borrow the kit if your willing to pay shipping both ways.


Brake line has been in about year (the color has dulled somewhat) see pic

Re: Correct Brake Lines ???

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:03 pm
by Famous Frank
Per Gary's response (oh I'm sorry, I mean Piss-ant), I contacted Fed Hill. Very nice folks and their tech person Tim was very helpful. I'll probably buy their lines and fittings, even if it is the wrong color. Probably the easiest lines to bend. And per their recommendation, I'll also replace all the fittings. I'll keep everyone informed.

I have a decent Flaring Tool. It's a Blue Point made for Snap On. I've included some pics.

Gary, if I can get a wire thru my lines, I'll try your method of measurement! Great idea, ................if the wire will go thru.

Re: Correct Brake Lines ???

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:10 am
by Galwaylotus
Famous Frank wrote:Gary, if I can get a wire thru my lines, I'll try your method of measurement! Great idea, ................if the wire will go thru.

If it won't I've tried the following with some success. I've used some solid core cable like the earth (ground) lead in heavy duty house electrical cable. If you have the old pipe out, you can carefully run the electrical cable bit-by-bit alongside it, forming it to the same shape. When both ends are marked, straighten the cable and measure its length. It's not as accurate perhaps as Gary's method but it's pretty close.

Re: Correct Brake Lines ???

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:42 am
by Tonyw

I think this is what you are looking for; ... 35b88b0e16

Although I would re0use the fittings if they have not been rounded off etc. In Australia we call it Bundy tube it is steel but quite malleable for bending. Some people use a thick wall copper but some jurisdiction will not allow it.

Hope this helps.


Re: Correct Brake Lines ???

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:56 pm
by RogerFrench
I put new lines in my Europa, and got the fittings and Cunifer pipe from FedHill. I'm very pleased with the results, and it's really easy to work.

Re: Correct Brake Lines ???

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:27 pm
by dpchamp87
I used the cunifer line from FedHill and found it very easy to work with and it takes a complex bend easily. Their tool for flares is nice too and I ended up buying it for the next restoration


Re: Correct Brake Lines ???

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:16 pm
by rodlittle
Mig welding wire should go through the tube easily!

Re: Correct Brake Lines ???

PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:14 am
by Famous Frank
Well I've ordered 25' of 3/16th tubing along with new nuts and fittings from Fed Hill. Tim the owner is extremely helpful. The tubing may not be the exact color I was looking for but the product seems to be superior to any other brake line on the market. An added plus is it is suppose to be easy to bend and work with. I will let everyone know.

Thank you everyone for all of your assistance.

Re: Correct Brake Lines ???

PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:28 pm
When doing the brake pipes I find it far easier and neater to do away with the bubble flare/male nut at the master cylinders and spiltter unions and use a double flare/female nut at those points on the line and use a crush washer and male/male 3/8 (AN-3) adapter in the port. No more buggered bubble flares and messing around with trying to align the male fitting in to the ports with the hard line.

Re: Correct Brake Lines ???

PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:50 pm
by Famous Frank
Thanks Jeff! That reminded me of when I bought my white 66 S2 SE from Carl Grabowski in 92. He did that modification to the car but instead of a hard line used Stainless Braided lines from the two Master Cylinders. I think I'll do that again. Does JAE hae the parts in stock needed to do that?

Many thanks, Famous Frank