Tech | MMF Hose/Fluid Line Replacement
For classic Ford projects...
For classic Ford projects many vendors now offer complete brake line kits for cars that have been out of production even for 40-plus years. These kits come with lines cut and shaped to the correct length and have the double flare and fittings already installed. This kit from Classic Tube is for classic Mustangs. The main line is shown with a 180-degree shipping bend. This kit is OE steel and we found it for $109.95. Believe it or not, even Fox Mustang brake lines are being reproduced now too, great for V-8 conversions or to repair damage from previous owners.
When we stop to think about it there are a lot of different types of fluid transfer processes that keep our Ford vehicles moving. Reliable function of these processes is imperative and any malfunction, however brief in any of them, can be catastrophic. We don't need to elaborate about what's at stake if fluid transfer for your brakes is interrupted. Almost as important are the engine oil, engine coolant, and automatic transmission fluid. Any prolonged interruption in these systems will fail the affected component.
Problems with the fuel system of course will stop the engine, but the chance of a leak is of far more concern because of the possibility of fire. Besides a careful routing plan that keeps any fluid transfer lines away from heat or moving parts, it's also important to understand that the requirements for lines and other components differ according to application. For example it would be a mistake to use low-pressure welded fuel line as brake line. Even though the system might be made to work, the fuel line won't have the same bursting pressure threshold as will purpose-designed seamless brake line, and could fail suddenly, resulting in loss of braking power.
Before this 8-inch axle was...
Before this 8-inch axle was sent out for rebuilding, a trial fit showed how accurately the new lines are formed and how well they will fit. Prebent lines have become a real time saver in our hobby, but often a custom bent and flared line will be required due to aftermarket suspension or brakes, but fear not, it's not that hard to do. For those of us making a custom line, it's imperative to acquire the correct type of brake line material and also to make sure the line ends are flared in the correct manner. Any deviation from correct procedure on the flaring of line ends could result in a leak and complete braking system failure. Don't make any substitutions in the selection of materials and seamless tubing is always a must.
The good news is that there are more choices than ever before when planning fluid transfer aspects of your next project. Many of the components you'll be after are now specifically made for your car. For example, if you're restoring a '68 Mustang it's possible to acquire a complete set of brake lines pre-bent specifically for your job in a choice of OE finish or stainless steel. It's also possible to find new transmission lines for popular conversions or upgrades. If you've decided to install an AOD transmission into your first generation Mustang a complete set of transmission cooling lines is now available pre-bent to the custom application and ready to bolt in. The advantages available in modern materials make other fluid transfer upgrades possible. Many classic Ford enthusiasts we know have replaced their OE-style rubber flex hoses on their brake systems with lines having a braided steel jacket. The result is less line expansion under pressure and a firmer brake pedal with more solid response.
Let's break down our discussion into some of the major categories present on any Ford vehicle. We'll then discuss options that you may wish to pursue during the fluid transfer phase of your next Ford vehicle project.
For those of you determined...
For those of you determined to make your own custom lines, this brake line tubing is specially made with seamless walls and is the correct raw stock for a custom brake line job. The handheld tubing bender will be handy for making the lines conform to the required contours of the installation. Measure and cut all lines with a little extra length to allow for the flaring process at the ends. Don't forget to install the fittings onto the tubing before creating the flare. This 20-foot coil of brake line is from Inline Tube. This line is OE steel and costs $25. Stainless steel costs extra at $59.
One of the most popular areas to address on many Ford projects, especially those of a vintage nature, is brakes. Besides eliminating drum brakes in favor of disc, most brake system refurbishment projects include replacement of rusted or otherwise damaged brake line. Often custom brakes lines will need to be fabricated as well.
Manual transmissions usually don't have external coolers but automatic transmissions almost always do. Whether the transmission fluid is routed to a heat exchanger inside the vehicle radiator or to an independent cooler, not to mention the line pressure and heat from automatic transmissions, demands a failure proof system. Besides the potential for a huge mess from a line or connection failure, the transmission fluid also poses the danger of fire if sprayed onto a hot exhaust manifold. The procedure for creating your own transmission cooling lines will be the same as shown for the brake line flaring formation but using larger diameter line. As is the case for brake lines, pre-bent transmission cooling lines are very likely available for your application.
There are several types of...
There are several types of tube flaring kits available. This set comes from Great Neck. This kit will handle the whole procedure resulting in a perfect 45-degree flare, which is the industry standard. Now let's go over the process in a few short steps.
We're working with 3/16-inch...
We're working with 3/16-inch brake line, which is the most common size on Fords. First, insert the line into the correct opening in the bar. It should protrude about one half the diameter of the tubing as shown. You can also use the tool's die as a measuring device. Be sure the brake line tubing is cut square by using a tubing cutter and not a cut off wheel or hacksaw.
With the die in the tube end,...
With the die in the tube end, install the screw cone as shown. Next drive the cone home until the die rests against the tool completely. (Apparently someone has lost the screw cone's handle, please don't use a screwdriver for this folks!-Ed.)