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Thread: Stainless Brake Lines

  1. #1

    Stainless Brake Lines

    When I first bought my 73E, I was told the car had Stainless Steel Brake Lines. Now I am told that they aren't stainless, but are new rubber, put on about 2 years ago when the brake system was totally overhauled. (all new rubber brake lines, new master cylinder, rebuilt calipers and new pads all around.)

    My wrench said that since he said that they were stainless, he would do that if I wanted. But, he said that new rubber is more original, and that there is always the chance that the stainless will get kinked, dented or damaged. He suggested leaving it rubber.

    What do you guys think? Should I leave it Rubber, or have him change them out for stainless?

    larry
    Early 911S Registry Member #537

    73 - Viper Green 911E Targa - Kermit - Gone but not forgotten

    Kermit's Short Story and Pix on the 911E Website

    06 - Lexus IS250 MT6
    98 - Volvo 70V XC

  2. #2
    Originally posted by GeorgeK
    My $.02
    George:

    I have always found your advice worth a whole bunch more than just $.02 - thanks.

    larry
    Early 911S Registry Member #537

    73 - Viper Green 911E Targa - Kermit - Gone but not forgotten

    Kermit's Short Story and Pix on the 911E Website

    06 - Lexus IS250 MT6
    98 - Volvo 70V XC

  3. #3
    This one made me smile. Not long ago at Rothsport this discussion came up...I'd already done stainless, but was thinking of going back to rubber. Gordon Ledbetter, a mechanic I have a lot of respect for, preferred the rubber lines. Jeff Gamroth, the owner of Rothsport, and race car mechanic/builder of some renown, favored the new DOT approves stainless lines. Based on this, I'd surmise that your car will work either way....
    Paul D. Early S Registry #8 - Cyclops Minister of West Coast Affairs
    "Now, to put a water-cooled engine in the rear and to have the radiator in the front, that's not very intelligent." -Ferry Porsche (PANO, Oct. 1973)

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    2,689
    When you buy stainless steel braided brake flexibles from a reputable maufacturer there is usually a note enclosed to state that they're not recommended for road use for the reasons George states.
    Andy

    Early 911S Reg #753
    R Gruppe #105

  5. #5
    Somebody correct me if I'm wrong. Both types of brake lines you're talking about are rubber, and both are reinforced, either with fiberglass or steel. It's just that the 'rubber' lines have internal reinforcement, and the 'stainless' ones have external reinforcement.

    Replacing old brake lines with new will be an improvement, no matter how you slice it.

  6. #6

    Brake lines

    I agree with you Jack. Virtually all automobile manufactures recommend brake line replacement every ten years due to deterioration of the rubber both on the inside and outside.
    The braided steel outers were originally used on aircraft hydrolic
    pressure lines for added safety. The Hot Rodders in the late fourties, who many were ex WW2 aircraft wrenches. Were building cars from war surplus.
    As far as I know and have ever seen, Porsche has never used braided steel brake lines on any of its cars from the factory. But, many race teams have installed them after receiving their cars from the factory. Just as they did with the braided fabric oil lines
    when making their own modifications to the cars.
    After seeing some of the road debris damage to rubber brake lines on cars coming into the shop for repairs. I have used the braided steel line on all my cars for a little extra safety.
    My .02 worth.

    All the best!

    Roger Grago
    PORSCHE Newport Beach
    R Gruppe #27
    73 RS-T
    70 2.4 MFI Bus
    86 Mercedes SEL

  7. #7
    I like stainless braided PTFE hose, because it results in a better brake modulation.

    Doing it right:
    There are not a whole lot of no-no's in the actual installation of flexible plumbing runs. About the only things that can be done really wrong are to install a hose under tension (either axial or radial, and that should be pretty obvious when you go to hook up the hose) or to install a hose in such a way that it will interfere with something (or be interfered with) under some combination of dynamic conditions. It is not unusual for a really neat and convenient hose location to suddenly become all wrong when the suspension travels; or the front wheels turn; or the exhaust gets hot and boils the brake fluid; or the car gets off the road and tears off whatever hoses were dangling (even a little bit), leaving you with no brakes.
    The no-no's include:
    a) Leaving insufficient clearance between each hose-end and anything that it might contact or vibrate against. While the hose is flexible, the hose-ends are not.
    b) Allowing a hose to come in contact with a sharp corner, a nut, a bolt or anything that is not perfectly smooth. This one includes failure to install a grommet at each point at which a hose passes through a panel or a bulkhead.
    c) Allowing a hose to rub against anything, even when the surface against is flat and smooth. The stainless braid makes a very efficient file and will abrade through anything that it moves against. In this case, encase the hoses in a thin-walled aluminium tube. Spiral wrapping is a neat and convenient way to prevent chafe damage under normal conditions.
    d) Kinking the hose, either by bending it too tightly (manufacturers includes minimum bend radii tables in its catalogue) or by placing the hose in a torsional bind.
    e) Overtightening the hose-ends onto their adapter fittings. Both the seal and the self-locking feature are provided by design, not by sheer muscle.
    f) Allowing things to hang by their hoses. This is particularly true of brake calipers. It is the single most common cause of failure in brake system hose-ends and is the main reason that 90 degree hose-ends should not be used at the caliper. What happens is that the hose-end gets bent at its weakest point and, sometime later, it fails at the stress raiser from fatigue. Not pleasant at all! Use banjo hose-ends on all calipers.

    Plumbing systems require virtually no maintenance at all. What maintenance there is, is largely a question of preventing abuse:
    a) Inspect the whole system occasionally for signs of chafing, abrasion, crushing or seepage.
    b) Before removing any hose-end from its adapter, wash the assembly with solvent or even with petrol and blow it both clean and dry so that no grit or dirt can find its way into the threads or sealing surfaces.
    c) As soon as the hose has been removed install a clean protective plug into the hose-end and a clean cap over the adapter.
    d) Always inspect both the hose-end and the adapter for damage or dirt before reassembly.
    It also makes a lot easier to support the hoses. Hoses, flexible or not, are meant to carry fluid not hang something from. They are not even self-supporting. In fact they need a lot of outside support about 18 inch intervals.


    Earl's

    Aeroquip


    I agree with GeorgeK that it looks weird on an original car, but you can sheath the hoses in black heat shrink tubing.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    1,008

    Re: Stainless Brake Lines

    Originally posted by larry47us
    When I first bought my 73E, I was told the car had Stainless Steel Brake Lines. Now I am told that they aren't stainless, but are new rubber, put on about 2 years ago when the brake system was totally overhauled. (all new rubber brake lines, new master cylinder, rebuilt calipers and new pads all around.)

    My wrench said that since he said that they were stainless, he would do that if I wanted. But, he said that new rubber is more original, and that there is always the chance that the stainless will get kinked, dented or damaged. He suggested leaving it rubber.

    What do you guys think? Should I leave it Rubber, or have him change them out for stainless?

    larry
    Larry,

    Recently on Pleican there was thread on this topic.

    Part of the decision rests in what you like to see.

    Stainless Steel gives you a racer look, but the percieved performance enhancement is debatable. Some will argue that SS lines do not swell as much and give a better brake pedal. The concensus view is that, unless you are Michael Schumacher, you probably can't tell.

    As noted by others, SS lines require more "maintenance" in the form of frequent inspection and replacement. All Teflon tubing is extremely "kink" sensitive. If you kink the line, the tubing becomes very weak at that point and is prone to catastrophic failure. As a result, routing becomes critical and you need to support the tube as well.

    If it was me, I would stay with the rubber, and spend my money on somethng truly useful.
    Harry

    Member #789
    1970 VW Sunroof Kombi Bus - "The Magic Bus"
    1973.5 911T Targa for fun - "Smokey"
    2009 MB C300

  9. #9
    Harry, Ian, Jack, Roger, PWD et al:

    Thanks for the information and the advice. Seems that the consensus is that I should stick with the rubber lines. That's great, and I didn't have to make the decision in a vacuum.

    On to the next question . . . . . . . . . .

    larry
    Early 911S Registry Member #537

    73 - Viper Green 911E Targa - Kermit - Gone but not forgotten

    Kermit's Short Story and Pix on the 911E Website

    06 - Lexus IS250 MT6
    98 - Volvo 70V XC

  10. #10
    There's nothing like the look on someones' face who has lost their brakes, much less, the soiling that occurs in the briefs.

    Tom
    "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss
    "Experience is the mother of wisdom" - idiom
    "Let them that don't want none, have memories of not gettin' any"- Brother Dave Gardner

    Early S Registry #235
    rgruppe #111

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