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Old 10-03-2009, 11:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Rusty Brake Lines Question

How hard and expensive is it to fabricate new brake lines? The rear lines on my LeSabre are flaking rust instead of steel. And is it better to use longer runs of line, or more standard lengths?

It's something I'm kinda concerned over since popping a brake line is most definitely a safety issue. I've already had to replace the fuel sender because of a leak caused by rust.

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Old 10-04-2009, 12:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Make sure you get the PVF-coated brake line, rather than the cheap stuff that will rust out again in a few years.

For me, it's been "Oh, the pedal went down further. I have to fix this tonight or take the bicycle to work tomorrow." I don't mind the bike in fair weather, and I don't fix my brake lines until they fail.
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:49 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99LeCouch View Post
How hard and expensive is it to fabricate new brake lines? The rear lines on my LeSabre are flaking rust instead of steel. And is it better to use longer runs of line, or more standard lengths?

It's something I'm kinda concerned over since popping a brake line is most definitely a safety issue. I've already had to replace the fuel sender because of a leak caused by rust.
Lesabre? even the FWD ones do have big brake system, you could go longer lines slightly. analyze the old injury (rust is an injury due to error...stick to that and a decent car can emerge- always always always a weakness in structure somewhere nearby...), I did this for several vehicles, if it is a gear driven rear end or a lively lightweight wiggler due to FWD, there is always a spot to target in the brake lines in the back. I choose longer, even on a little subaru with its tiny master cylinder, it just needs more discipline in bleeding. you can buy sections and a pipe flanger all so cheap. that is another thought to ponder...intentional breaks in long runs with a connector, is actually the forgiveness that may be needed to insure longer duration.
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Wow, you guys are great! I'll have to look into this more.

Since nobody's telling me it's a killer, I'll look into doing this when a free weekend permits. It makes me feel a bit safer knowing there is new line instead of rust.
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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@99LeCouch:

I don't know what your calipers are like on the LeSabre, but since you're going to be playing around with the brakes anyway, I thought I'd mention: it is a popular mod for people with turn-of-the-century "W" Bodies (Grand Prixs, Regals, and Impalas,) to replace it with 2002 F-Body (Camaro/Firebird) calipers that are both bigger and weigh less (b/c they're aluminum).

This is the how-to: ClubGP Message Forum troubleshooting

Again, not sure it'll work with the LeSabre, just thought I'd mention it though.
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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jkp, it's been done before with lots of work. I'd have to swap knuckles to W-body knuckles since my calipers are completely different from W-body calipers. And W-bodies have rear disc, my H-body has rear drum. That's not getting into the struts and stuff either.

It's a good idea, just not something I'm interested in pursuing with this car. Maybe another, newer LeSabre.

I appreciate the mention, though!
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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to make it easy take both fittings from the line and an overall measurement in when you go to the parts store. there are different threads and most parts store cant look them up. some even GMs have metric threads and even bubble flares.
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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So if you lose brake pedal pressure and are leaking fluid, you probably have a rusted or broken brake line. It's a common problem on older vehicles that The first thing you need to do is have the proper tools. There are 2 popular types of brake line fittings. There are "bubble flare" and "double flare" lines and some vehicles will even use both types. I own both kits, but you can get away with just getting a "double flare" line kit.................



You will also need a small tubing cutter..................



After you locate your leak, you must determine if you can replace just the section that is bad or the entire line. Sometimes you can get lucky and replace a line from the master cylinder to the rear proportioning valve with careful measurements and a union or two and no flare tool is needed. When you locate your leak and have good line in front, you can cut the line in the good portion of line and carefully bend it down so you can flare it.

These images are kinda blurry, but oh well. I am demonstrating the repair on the bench, but this can be done on the vehicle. The most popular size line is 3/16" line and that is what we will be using. Cut your line with a tubing cutter and use sandpaper to clean up the cut. Slide over the fitting before you flare the line and clamp it in the holding tool so the the line end is level with the first lip on the crusher.....................



Place the crusher nipple into the line like so.............



Install the clamp and crank the clamp down until it stops..........



Remove the clamp and then remove the crusher. This should have rounded the edges of the line...



Now install the clamp without the crusher and get the pointed tip centered in the line. Clamp it down until it stops...............



Now you have a flared line end where you can install a union and then the new line.........



Run the new line along the frame and secure it where possible so they do not rub........



If there are proportioning valves in line, you must save them.........



I hope this helps anyone interested in saving expensive labor dollars for line repairs.
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:52 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I would recommend just buying the premade lengths, because I've heard that trying to flare the lines can be a pain in the ass, and sometimes doesn't work that well. The only issue with the premade ones is that they'll probably be too long, but you can just bend the lines a little more to take up the space.

I think most auto parts stores sell them by the foot, up to 5 foot lengths. Get more than you need, you can always return the extra ones if you don't use them.

If you end up doing a lot of brake lines, buying the flaring tools will probably be worth it, but for a one time thing, the premade ones will work out, since you don't have to worry about flaring them properly. Just bring the old line connection to the store to make sure you get the right one.
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Old 10-05-2009, 09:42 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99LeCouch View Post
jkp, it's been done before with lots of work. I'd have to swap knuckles to W-body knuckles since my calipers are completely different from W-body calipers. And W-bodies have rear disc, my H-body has rear drum. That's not getting into the struts and stuff either.

It's a good idea, just not something I'm interested in pursuing with this car. Maybe another, newer LeSabre.

I appreciate the mention, though!
No problem. And I am surprised to learn that they were still using rear drum brakes in the LeSabre as late as '99. I thought my '95 Beretta was one of the last holdouts (at least for cars.)

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