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Replacing Main brake line

Countryboy276

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Hello,
The main brake line that runs from the front to the rear wheels has developed a leak on my 98 explorer. The whole thing is pretty rusted, as a result I am planning to replace the entire line. Can anyone give me tips on this?

Thanks
David
 


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96eb96

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Hello,
The main brake line that runs from the front to the rear wheels has developed a leak on my 98 explorer. The whole thing is pretty rusted, as a result I am planning to replace the entire line. Can anyone give me tips on this?

Thanks
David

I sure can. I had the pleasure of replacing all of them. You should probably replace the one on the differential axle too.

- Get a double flare tool and tubing cutter and learn how to use it. You will need it for one flare.

- You will reuse the compression fitting on the ABS block, don't lose it. You need not remove the nipple in the ABS unit. Use a backup wrench.

- Use greenish AGS polyarmor tube, it is resistant to corrosion and bends without a tubing bender. Very good stuff. Advance and I believe Autozone have it. Take a sample of the old line to the store to get the correct diameter. I believe its 3/16"
6' length in the back (ends after the gas tank where brake lines emerge)
40" intermediate (I believe so, not written in stone, see where the union will go. Mine was by the fuel filter)
5'-6' in the front (read on for instructions)
Also you will need 2 brass unions for brakes.
DO NOT USE COMPRESSION FITTINGS.

-Starting with the back, remove the old line from the hose fitting(I changed my rubber hoses) and break off the line somewhere before it starts going into the frame. Do not remove any of the old brakeline in the frame. Ford knew its going to rust out and left extra brackets for the new line. Get a good pair of mechanix gloves for this job.

-Use the old brakeline as a model to bend the end of a 72" inch of brake line into that shape, and snap the tubing onto the clamps that are visible and the clamps that are hidden by the gas tank. Mechanical sense will tell you how to position the line. You may have to stretch your hand into the frame to get one, and others you can do by sticking your fingers between the tank and frame. You can bend this hose on the fly, there are some hidden curves. Tape ends of the line so no crap gets inside.

-Now bend the intermediate portion. You can use a wire hanger as a model. This tubing can be adjusted as you install it, so it don't have to be perfect. Connect the unions. Secure the union with some wire ties, a good idea to reduce vibrations.

-The front portion is a bit tricky. Remove the fitting from the ABS module, and break off the line up until it enters the frame. You will notice a braided flexible portion of the line. You cannot get this anymore. You do not want to reuse any of this line due to rust.

-Instead of the braid, you will create coils. Get a 2-3" diameter can, and wrap a few coils of brake line. This will allow for body-frame movement, and is what you have to do. I suggest you make a model from wire, run it from the intermediate union, make the coils under the hood about a foot from the abs unit. You do not have to follow the stock tubing route under the hood. You will cut the remaining tube at the ABS end, slip the fitting over it (DONT FORGET THAT STEP), double flare the leftover tube and fasten it to the ABS unit. Look for a web tutorial on flaring lines. I like to file my edges a bit before I flare.

I ran my line above the metal shield, installed a stud thru an existing hole in the shield, put tubing protector on the brake line, and double wiretied the line to the stud. Here is where your creativity can come in as to how you run/secure the line. Just be sure you are away from anything that can abrade the line, exhaust, etc.

Also use wireties to support the union connections thru the line. You can always wiretie it to something (old brake line, fuel filter, etc).

Then bleed your brakes. I replaced ALL the lines on the truck, because its just a matter of time...The differential one is easiest (just use the old one as a model and flare one end - if you bend it in a different shape you may be able to use a stock length and not have to flare!)
 




96eb96

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Countryboy276

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Thanks!

96eb96,
I really appreciate the insightful information you gave me. Last month, after replacing the rear brake line I had put this brake line on my mental list of things that needed to be done. It just went out before I got too it. I have unbelievably fortunate in that I had just returned from driving both times each one of the brake lines when out. As a result, I am going to systematically replace the remaining brake lines since I do not want to tempt fate any more.

Thanks again!
David
 




96eb96

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96eb96,
I really appreciate the insightful information you gave me. Last month, after replacing the rear brake line I had put this brake line on my mental list of things that needed to be done. It just went out before I got too it. I have unbelievably fortunate in that I had just returned from driving both times each one of the brake lines when out. As a result, I am going to systematically replace the remaining brake lines since I do not want to tempt fate any more.

Thanks again!
David

Yes, its a terrible feeling when they go. When mine went I asked shops for prices, and they some said they strongly suggested doing all of them. At first I thought they just wanted the business, but I looked at the front lines and they almost seemed damp and were swollen with rust. My rear axle line broke in two when I tried to remove it. I did an extra step and put a thin layer of anti seize on the exterior all the new brake lines, that plus the polyarmor should be permanent. I called AGS and they said these lines are used on salt trucks in Michigan where they are, and normal steel lines barely last 2 years. The polyarmor + antisize never corrodes.

The price for all 4 lines, bleeding, etc was almost a grand in some shops. It cost me less than 75$ to replace all the lines AND the rubber hoses too.

Honestly, everyone with an older ex should consider doing this job, especially if there is any salt around. You would not want this to happen on a long trip. If you see scaling on your lines its not a matter of if but when!
 




Countryboy276

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I'm in complete agreement with you that this is something everyone with older x's should be replacing or inspecting especially if they live in the Midwest or Northern states. Indiana like other neighboring states use their fair share of salt on the roads. When the first brake line blew out, I had been pulling a trailer home and was hooking up to my cargo trailer. It definitely would not have fun if they had went out on the way home..

Take care,
David
 




BBQ Bandit

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Thanks for the excellent descriptions... it too is on my "must do" list
 




ASK3XD

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if the line is not rusted all the way up to the flare you could just make to cuts before and after the rust. Buy two compression fittings and cut your new line and put it in with your compression fittings. That way you dont have to buy the flare tool. Its what I do if I can get away with it at work, and it works just as good with no worries. GL!
 




Countryboy276

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Murphy's Law

Well I got the new line installed. Murphy's law raised his ugly head to give me an additional challenge. In the course of breaking loose the rusted /corroded connection where the rubber and metal lines meet, I knocked off the vacuum line for the rear axle. It is located on the left side of the axle. I would really appreciate it if someone would check theirs and let me know where the darn thing connects. Both my father-in-law and me have looked without any success. Below is a link to a picture of the vacuum line.

http://picasaweb.google.com/davidv276/DropBox?authkey=Gv1sRgCPrFzdLpqM74Dw&feat=directlink#5309766578660414290

Thanks
David
 




marragtop

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I believe that is just the rear axel vent line that doesn't connect to anything other than the rear axel. I think there is a bracket on the body that it clips into.
 




Cobraguy

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That's what it is! No harm no foul. Just refasten it up by the body. Be sure to leave enough slack for full suspension drop.
 




Countryboy276

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Thanks! I am learning something new each time that I work on my truck...I appreciate everyone's help.

David
 




Four0Sport

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if the line is not rusted all the way up to the flare you could just make to cuts before and after the rust. Buy two compression fittings and cut your new line and put it in with your compression fittings. That way you dont have to buy the flare tool. Its what I do if I can get away with it at work, and it works just as good with no worries. GL!

In many states (and by many i think ALL), compression fittings used on brake lines will fail a state vehicle inspection. Compression fittings are not rated for brake system pressure, it says so on the back of the packages.
 




96eb96

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if the line is not rusted all the way up to the flare you could just make to cuts before and after the rust. Buy two compression fittings and cut your new line and put it in with your compression fittings. That way you dont have to buy the flare tool. Its what I do if I can get away with it at work, and it works just as good with no worries. GL!

whoa...i didn't see this one..that is HORRIBLE advice that may end up in sudden loss of brakes or life. It does NOT WORK JUST AS GOOD. Compression fittings are designed for relatively low pressure, great for household plumbing, trans cooler line on a car, etc. Comp fittings also suck when there are vibrations or sudden high pressure changes. They are known to pop in houses as the weakest link where water hammer from faucets is an issue.

Issues will definately not happen right away but during a panic stop on the highway from 70 MPH in a few years. Pressures can reach 3000PSI in a brake system, especially with ABS hammering away. Sure some fittings may be ok, but do you want to take such a chance?

A double flare tool is $10 at harbor freight, $20 at pepboys. you would have to be insane not to buy it. Jeez..if its that bad return it after one use, or rent it free at autozone.

Don't tell me you do this to customers cars! This is why I like doing everything myself. If they ever investigate the accident and find this you could be in big trouble.

Also, the ex lines have rock guard (spring coatings on the line). This exacerbates rust and usually means the entire line should be replaced.
 




BBQ Bandit

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Thanks for the excellent descriptions... it too is on my "must do" list

Oh well... the procrastinator in me won... and the smarter side lost.

True story... just after I came home late Sunday night... driving 450 miles... and towing a 3,000 lb. trailer. The second I dropped the trailer, disconnected the WDH, and electrics... climbed back into the truck... stepped on the brake pedal intending to drop the trans into drive to pull away... and the pedal dropped to the floor!!!! My rear brake line ruptured...

Talking about... a heart-stopper!!!!

Called my mechanic... and a flatbed... out $125 later.

Just another heads-up for preventive maintenance...
 




ASK3XD

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So yeah...

I know what your saying (anyways found this old thread looking through old stuff) about the dangers, but all the ones I have fixed like this have not broken, and been fixed properly once the customer had the time to fix it.

So far it has been about 5 years working as a mechanic and no comebacks for brakes due to compression fittings. My boss has been a mech. for about 30 years and he has never had one pop yet.

Either way you are all right about the brass fittings you are not supposed to use them if you can do it properly, but if you cant get the right tools at the time then YOU CAN USE FITTINGS TO GET SOMEWHERE TO DO IT PROPERLY.

tHANK yOU,

ASK3XD
 




hasoan

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Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but creating a new one asking the same question seemed silly too.

I have consulted this and a few other threads, and got ready to change the ABS to rear line like this thread instructs (96eb96) but I am a little confused.

On my 96, There don't appear to be any unions in the original line, but 96eb96 talks about finding them... does that just mean that only the NEW line has to have unions, and I'll find out where to put them once I route the line?

I may have deviated from the instructions already because i just bought a 25' coil of line, not individual sections. but i have the flaring tool so that just means more of that i guess.
 




marragtop

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It doesn't really matter if you use a union or not. You just need a straight run back to the rear axle. Most people that replace that line have to put a union in since they are using after market straight lines that aren't long enough. Since you have a roll and a flare kit, you should can make a straight run.
 




hasoan

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marragtop said:
It doesn't really matter if you use a union or not. You just need a straight run back to the rear axle. Most people that replace that line have to put a union in since they are using after market straight lines that aren't long enough. Since you have a roll and a flare kit, you should can make a straight run.

Ah, I figured I just kinda misunderstood it the first time but I think I'm getting it sorted out. I will just run a piece of wire through the whole thing first to see how complex that will be, and save some abuse from the new line. and perhaps the wire can help guide the line too.

Thanks :)
 


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Cobraguy

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You have a roll of line? What are you using exactly?
 




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