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Old 10-22-2010, 01:06 PM
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Flared Fittings vs Compression Fittings...

Auto inspection stations will tell you that the use of compression fittings to splice brake lines is forbidden and that flared fittings must be used. A comparison of the probable burst strength of a heavily rusted steel brake line by comparison to the strength of a properly torqued compression fitting seems like no contest at all.

I have never had a car fail inspection for rusted brake lines regardless of how crappy they may have looked since the undercarriage of older cars is seldom very spectacular. I have from time to time been reminded that places I have "cheated" and used compression fittings to avoid total removal of the brake lines as something not permitted. A bit of conversation generally turns the blind eye. I would gladly use a flared fitting if there were sufficient room to actually do a flare but that is likely to break the part of the brake line which still has years of service under its belt.

I have gotten away with compression fitting for years and never blew one out. I have had panic stops with cars with compression fittings seeded around and the places which blew out were anywhere but the compression fittings. The blowouts were generally the rust pin holes anywhere else and the vehicle came to a stop because there was still plenty of brake fluid in the system to get that stop.

It seems to me that car manufacturers should be obliged to use tubing which holds up a bit better than the raw steel which was pretty much standard on most US cars. I now see the green coatings and copper alloy tubing available at the automotive parts places.

I have never lost any sleep over the compression fittings and wondered if anyone can lay some horror stories on me to convince me otherwise. I'm not talking about cars that are doing 350 mph and having the brakes stood on. I'm talking your basic US passenger car which might see the occasional 70 mph on the expressway and does most braking around town where the car is under 50 mph.

My only alternative if the compression fitting is absolutely forbidden and the blind eye theory fails to keep working is to remove the entire length of brake line all the way back to the source and redo what is likely to practically amount to a trip from the master cylinder all the way to the wheel cylinder.

Any comments would be interesting but most of what I have seen so far is the rules and regs standard feedback without any rational basis to claim that the rest of the rusted brake lines are any better than a compression fitting.

It seems that the inspection rule needs some serious evaluation in terms of the real world which is a fundamentally corroded/rusted mess under the car.

I have always thought that manufacturers should build cars with all tubing runs in a covered pipe run. They could leave out the cup holders and other useless crap that doesn't keep the car from getting from point A to point B.

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Old 10-22-2010, 07:00 PM
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In my 57 years, I've never heard of anyone inspecting brake lines! We use SS compression fittings and lines in my workplace and they're rated to 10,000 PSI in the smaller "brake line" sizes...

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Old 10-22-2010, 08:04 PM
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Here in the northeast (pennsylvania) brake line fail if they leak or if they are spliced with compression fittings.If the flex hose has cracks or you can see the fiber weave inside ,it too fails.
I think the reason for compression fittings being outlawed is the fact that they are too easy for anyone to install and you can put one on a line that is in too bad of shape for a flare.that way you have to replace the line. Kind of like patching a bald tire. If its bad enought to leak then you are postponing the inevitable by putting on a compression fitting. No they dont fail. But how many times do you think the same rusty brake line should burst before you replace it? Fix it right and put on a new line... Pennsylvania has some pretty big mountains and brakes are quite important.
You can get the new corrosion proof coated and the copperized type that will live a good while.
Driving through the garage wall into the pool sucks worse than replacing a 5 dollar brake line
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:42 PM
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Brake line tubing is so easy to replace once you remove all the old stuff......

Latech, some of the roads here are so steep, you feel like your car is going to fall off the face of the earth lol..
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Old 10-22-2010, 09:16 PM
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I guess I fail to see the point in using compression fittings on brake lines. The cost of a 60" length of 3/16" flared brake tubing, terne coated, is probably a wash in comparison to the cost of a compression fitting. Then of course there is the fact that you need two fittings to splice that rusty piece of junk so your economies are wasted. I'm not talking strength of the splice either. Now, I understand that you aren't worried about a state inspection - but let's say you have an accident and a brake line fails - regardless of the fact that it wasn't the fitting but adjacent - you are at fault and a good lawyer (or even a lousy one) would make the cae that you were aware that the line had a problem. Lotsa bucks of yours you no longer have.

Now - brake lines that don't rust - my AVATAR car has some form of stainless for every brake or gas line on the car. It also uses AN fittings. Yep they are expensive, especially those special 37* fittings - phew. To build that brake system, my patterns for SS were a set carbon steel lines - with a total cost for everything of ~25 dollars. After I was satisfied with the fit, I then made up the SS lines which were LOT more then $25. BUT I never expect a failure. There are companies that will make up SS brake lines and at a competitive cost vs the terne carbon steel lines.

It just ain't worth it to splice good line into rusty junk - fix it right once
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Old 10-23-2010, 01:14 AM
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as an automotive engineer and tecnicion brakes are your life, any other cobbed together system may leave you broken down on the side of the road, cobbed hydraulic brakes can/will kill you. no offence is intended
compression fittings HAVE NO PLACE in the hydraulics of a brakeing system and are strictly forbidden by DOT for use. if you have rusty brake lines--REPLACE THEM!!! premade steel brake lines of all lenghts are cheap compared to your life. DOT steel brake are all double flaired and european cars use a bubble flair on all steel brake lines.
i restore old cars and have both double flairing tools and bubble flairing tools. any brake line that is even remotely questionable gets replaced with with a new steel line (mostly custom made by myself) i do custom stuff too which requier unique, one off steel brake lines.

along with the flairing tools, which are cheap, i have steel brake line bending tools (which are also cheap)
galvanized steel brake line in bulk is inexpensive as are the flair nuts.

i go like gangbusters building brake lines on a custom built car---> the only downside is---don't forget to slide the flair nut onto the line before doing the second flair, the brake line is junk after the second flair...
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Old 10-23-2010, 01:55 AM
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flared fittings vs compression

Which is cheaper replacing that rusty brake line or one of your kids.I also have my own flaring tools, and my tube benders are Ridged They only do one size and the small one starts at $75.00 or so, and the larger sizes up to about $125.00 If you are only going to use it once by a cheaper one. We don't have inspections here but I replace when they even look like they are rusty. Most street rods I do are inside the frame.

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Old 10-23-2010, 12:51 PM
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If you get a good flaring tool it is not any harder to flare a line than it is to put a compression fitting in. We don't use them, we flare everything. That being said in 30 years I have never seen a compression fitting fail but I have seen a lot of poorly done flares that were leaking.

With the variety of line that is available today there is no reason not to replace a line in one piece.
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Old 10-23-2010, 01:44 PM
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replacing brake lines #!#!

As a backyard mechanic myself, I've used comp fittings also (no problems)
But I don't let anyone else drive my junk either. As to replacing the entire line its not that bad if you get the ride up high enough to actually work under.
You may even find other issues that will scare you even more. I found that my trucks frame was rusted pretty bad on both sides just behind the cab.
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:34 AM
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IN my area all the repair shops use steel compression unions.I have been assured by the shops and the area parts houses they are dot legal.When I questioned several mechanics which brand of double flare tool they used they all said they don't if they can use these.A friend had a brass compression which failed inspection at a local inspection station.The same station passed the car after he replaced it with a steel one?Is this kind of a local thing or is everyone using them?About $6 for a 1/4".
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:56 AM
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Yeah, I am with the flares. I just replaced all the brake lines in my Rambler, geeez, it was a piece of cake. I found perfect length pre-flared lines at my parts store for every one on the car but one. So I only had to make one flare, done deal. One thing to do when you flare your own end is to make sure you put it in a good STEEL fitting and tighten it up to ensure it is perfect before you screw your brass (softer metal) fitting in place.

But honestly, had them all done in an afternoon, the whole car. I see no reason to try and save such a cheap and easy to replace part that has so much importance!

Brian
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR

But honestly, had them all done in an afternoon, the whole car. I see no reason to try and save such a cheap and easy to replace part that has so much importance!

Brian
There isnt any better feeling than being sure about your brake lines when your doing 125 down the strip.
Here in PA it is pretty much the same. If your brake line fails you will be doing 125 mph... down the side of a mountain
I watched a video of a blazer that went down a steep rock formation called the lions back. It was in arizona I believe . Part way down the brakes failed( may have been from fluid boiling due to hygroscopic degradation and hot brakes) anyhow the bloodcurdling screams from the occupants could be heard very well by the camera guy. The guys wife was driving. Poor girl, probably crapped her britches.
Point is, like was said before insurance is cheap, like new brake lines.
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Old 10-24-2010, 01:40 PM
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When I had to replace on already because the fitting was rusted to the master cyl I just figured what the heck, I am kidding myself thinking they are "good enough". When I cut the line that was rusted it broke SO EASY. I saw no reason in leaving any brake lines that "looked good" being the one I cut "looked good" other than the rust at the nut, the line looked fine. But it sure did break easy!

On that Blazer on Lions back, I have seen that to. I don't believe there was ANYTHING wrong with the brakes. The woman who was driving was inexperienced and should have NEVER been allowed to do it. She was in WAY over her head in just a hundred feet or so, she didn't keep the car at a slow enough speed for the brakes to do their job. The second she got over a certain speed there was nothing those brakes could do, locking them up would have simply let it skid down the hill on it's roof like it did. That was pure out and out ignorance that caused that crash.

Brian
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Old 10-24-2010, 01:43 PM
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I can't find the original video, but here is a short version. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W86HbUUAlMw

SCARY STUFF!

Brian
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Old 10-25-2010, 01:26 AM
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yes. steel compression fittings are DOT legal. as long as a shop is using steel compression fittings, they are within the law.. but you won't see my car at that shop...

yep. I'v done some stupid stuff, I helped my brother use compression fittings on his old VW Rabbit .. good thing the E brake worked.. the old repaired line blew out at 1 of the fittings from the stress on the compression fittings.. back to square 1.. new lines are not hard to make, and in most cases, pre flared lines are all that's needed..

I'v crawled under more than a few old rattle trap trucks that had crimped brake lines.. yea. that works too
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