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How long should stainless-steel, braided brake lines last?

How long should stainless-steel, braided brake lines last?
I put a set on 4 yrs ago and I still feel fine.

Thanks
Christian
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Old 03-15-2005, 04:08 PM
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Pretty good question. How long do some use their rubber ones? I'll bet there's a fair share out on the road at 20 years. The ss lines should go at least that far, don't you think?
Old 03-15-2005, 04:12 PM
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They cannot be checked for damage like the rubber ones, so you should throw them away every year. Put on rubber...

If you don't care about a catastrophic brake failure, then just keep them...

If you still _have_ to have SS, at least get DOT ones.
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Old 03-15-2005, 04:13 PM
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I don't know I read this on TRE web page.

"BRAKE LINE KITS
DOT legal stainless brake line kits. If you are not changing out your brake lines every two years, then you are overlooking an important part of your brake system! "

Made me think when was the last time I changed mine.
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Old 03-15-2005, 04:16 PM
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Agreed on the DOT SS, Randy. And I have rubber. I have a good firm pedal. Maybe not AS firm as some, but if I stand on them any harder, I'll lock them up. I don't need that much pressure at this point, but when I do, I'll look for new ones.

I've really not had a chance to abuse my brakes, so I don't know where the limit is AFA smoking them. I suppose the SS lines might help a little in the range just before the fluid boils. At that point, I think it's time to rest 'em up anyway.
Old 03-15-2005, 04:36 PM
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Funny, I was just in a conversation on the urq list about such things. I put on uncovered SS lines about 3 years ago for a set of 996tt calipers and this is about when I figured on replacing them. There are lines with protective sleeves to keep dirt out of the braid where it can cut the teflon, I probably will get OEM-style rubber lines if I can work out the fittings. Here is the story that made me decide that the SS was only temporary (just to get the brake upgrade installed and checked out).

The whole story: http://www.quattro123.com/MPTSNeqWatkinsGlenAug2003.htm

<>



This is what appears to be a stainless steel brake line.



With the end fitting worked loose.
** A MAJOR PROBLEM ! **



No tech inspection is going to discover this.

The result of the fitting coming loose is this:



and that's just the least of this owners troubles.
The result on the track was the brake pedal went to
the floor at the end of a 100 MPH straight!

<>
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Old 03-15-2005, 05:13 PM
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Are they not more resistant to off track excursions and debri ripping them? I think its a trade off of mileage and wear versus traumatic insult. I can cut rubber hose with a piece of sheet metal, but have to use a hacksaw on the SS. Not suggesting its better, just offering an alternative view to the above opinions.

What do Race Cars run? Yes they are preventatively maintenanced, but that refers to my above statement.
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Old 03-15-2005, 05:31 PM
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Some say they give a firmer pedal feel - I'v enever seen real data on that - and it may just be that a fluid flush is giving the firmer feel....
Zeke's point is that they might help a bit at high pressures.

The bottom line is that they can't be checked for damage like rubber ones can, and usually they are installed just for the bling effect.

We all need to beware of advertising that appeals to a racer image -- as opposed to parts that are truly useful in racing.

Now, what does PAG put on the GT-3R? on the C-GT? on ....

I dunno - but it would be interesting to find out.
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Old 03-15-2005, 05:32 PM
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Everyone will have an opinion on this subject, much of it hearsay and horror stories that have been told and retold.

2 issues are the ends and dirt between the PTFE tube and ss sheath

Some reading for you

from an NSX board but good

StopTech

I use them, Never had an issue w/ them. I like the 4 layer STOPFLEX® hose. It starts with a Teflon PTFE core which is wrapped first in a Kevlar braid, followed by an elastomer barrier and then by the outer stainless steel braid. also available with a final coat of clear vinyl for a great look and easy clean up.

But Goodridge and Stoptech also have superior products.
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Old 03-15-2005, 06:08 PM
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Since BILL stood up in front of the guns, I'll throw my hat in and say that I've had good luck with Goodridge and have them installed on four cars (all low mileage special interest, outside of 911 which had them when purchase) without issues.

I've had stock lines blow from inernal rust of the steel lines...just something else to chew on.
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Old 03-15-2005, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
How long should stainless-steel, braided brake lines last?
Getting back to the original question & mine too... if there's no reliable way to check the SS lines, how can one determine "its time to change them"?

Obviously I'm in the same boat - its about 4 years
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I have used them for as long as 6yrs, inspected regularly, changed only out of guilt.

I would say that if it's a concern change them, maybe to stock rubber.
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Old 03-15-2005, 07:54 PM
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They can't be checked for damage like rubber ones can, so you really can't determine this.

A good bet is that better quality ones will last longer than the cheapo "race-boy" bling crap.... BV lists some better brands above. DOT appoval is a good thing.

This is like the danger of having a nuke plant in your neighborhood. The _chance_ of failure is not high. But the _consequence_ of a failure is extreme. Ultimately, you have to judge your degree of risk aversion, will asking yourself "what am I really getting from these things."

When I bought my '73 they had non-DOT SS hoses on them of unknown age. Guess what the first thing I did was?
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Old 03-15-2005, 08:19 PM
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from BV's NSX site
" But it means that any hose assembly which uses the very best fittings available -- like the nipple-and-cutter Aeroquip Super Gem or Earl's Speed Seal -- is non-conforming and CAN'T be DOT-approved."

fwiw,
I've had Earl's for 40k mi. I don't know much about comparisons of diff mfg. When I saw Earl's I didn't blink.. screw DOT
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Old 03-15-2005, 11:19 PM
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Do our cars have dual brake circuits? If a fitting fails, do we lose ALL brakes? Yikes.
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I have been told by a Porsche rep long ago that the regular rubber brake lines start to expand and flex giving the signal of a mushy pedal when they are time to change. The ss lines do not have the ability to expand due to the ss sheath. Thus, when they go, it is unexpected and they just explode. Bye bye brakes. I have been using the ss lines in DE for 7 years and have swapped them for new ones every other year for safetys sake. I installed them along with a turbo master cylinder and get a rock hard pedal perfect for the track.
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Old 03-16-2005, 12:02 AM
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I've had rubber (1 set) and SS (1 set) in 26 years. No failure ever. But then I rarely have to stop from over 135mph.
Last weekend for example I never even exceeded 125.
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Old 03-16-2005, 06:21 AM
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We should simply understand that the original use of SS lines was for race cars that get frequent...maybe even weekly....tear-downs and inspections....

How will you inspect internal rubber collapse or trauma? For rubber lines, there is the usual admonition to change "at least" every ten years, since the evidence suggests that's the time line where internal swelling causes problems like "non-release" of brakes that cause drag, etc....

- Wil
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Old 03-16-2005, 07:26 AM
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Bill,

I don’t remember if you and I (and others) have had this discussion but here goes.

I think there should be some flex in the hydraulic brake system. As each tire rotates, the grip isn’t perfectly consistent around the perimeter. The road surface isn’t perfectly consistent. The grip of the pad on the rotor isn’t perfectly consistent.

When braking at the limit you want to control the tire slip at, say, 98% of road speed. As the combination of factors conspire to lock up a tire, you have to modulate the brake pressure. Your foot is capable of perhaps 2-3 Hz max – certainly not high frequency. Some flex in the hydraulic system will tend to “average out” the imperfections.

I will assert that a perfectly rock solid hydraulic connection is more prone to tire lock-up at the limit of braking than one with some “sponginess.”

I feel this equally applicable for a track 911 with race slicks or DOT track tires as on the street when a soccer mom pulls out in front of you with a mini-van full of little girls.


On race cars there is the issue of exceedingly high temperatures at the caliper causing sponginess. Anything that can be done to maintain the brake function is good. Porsche works the issue with bigger and better brakes. Yes, Porsche uses covered SS hoses on the race cars.


I am in favor of OEM rubber hoses for the above and other reasons. I think the most important are in the links that Bill listed above. To summarize:
Dirt getting between the Teflon tube and the SS braid.
Failure at the connection between the hose and fittings.
Inability to inspect for kink damage.

I have never seen a failure of a rubber brake hose other than from old age or from crash damage.

The best reason to stick with OEM Ate rubber hoses is they work just fine and are inexpensive. Available from our host.


Best,
Grady
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Old 03-16-2005, 09:23 AM
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Wil - I didn't get the context of the comment re how to check. For rubber hoses, I just squeeze them several times up and down the length.

Grady - are you saying that the rubber hoses give the "right amount" of flex for a 'moderate,' street car type braking situation? And that the steel covered plastic hoses do the same under racing conditions?
- both determined just before lock-up
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Old 03-16-2005, 12:18 PM
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