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Re: [T3] Stainless steel braided brake lines

The thing about braided stainless lines on the street
is that they can fail catastrophically.  Rubber lines,
as they age, swell internally or bulge externally, but
they generally give you a fair bit of warning before
they let go completely (which can take 10s of years to
happen) by cracking externally or going all mushy at
the pedal.  Stainless lines, as they get dirty, work
dirt into the braid which starts to wear at the inner
Teflon line.  When the inner line goes, no brakes (on
single circuit systems).  The dirt will often work its
way into the region where the line connects to the 
fitting, accelerating the process.  I have seen this
happen, and it's happened to me.  The line simply
parts internally, and the pedal drops to the floor. 
In my case, I simply sailed through an empty
intersection, and had to use the handbrake to get

The DOT version of the lines has a plastic collar that
inhibits dirt from getting into the area near the
fitting, and also prevents the line from being bent
too far at the fitting (which will badly stress the
inner Teflon line).  The DOT test is really a "whip"
test which requires the lines to be stressed very
substantially at the fitting w/o failing.

On a racing car, the stainless lines aren't much of a
problem, as they tend to run far fewer miles between
inspections.  On a road car that may go 10K miles or
more before you get around to looking at the lines,
it's more of a problem.  

I used to wrap all stainless lines in plastic tubing,
slit lengthwise, to prevent dirt from getting into the
braid.  This also protects everything else around the
line from being abraded by the rough braid.  Some
stainless lines are completely plastic wrapped from
the factory.

Braided lines can offer a small performance benefit in
pedal feel, but for me the big benefit has always been
that it's far easier to make your own custom lines
using the correct line and fittings from Earl's or
Aeroquip, than it is to make up rubber lines


--- John Fessenden fess <fess-vwtype3.org@fess.org>

> On Feb 9, 2005, at 12:35 PM, Iturzaeta , Joseph
> wrote:
> > Does anyone know where I can get some stainless
> steel braided brake
> > lines for a 71 square?
> CIP1?
> http://www2.cip1.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=1197
> I found the listings a little hard to interpret, as
> they don't 
> specifically
> say type III on all the parts,  but I replaced the
> way too long ones
> that were on my '67 square when I got it,
> and To be sure I measured a set of stock lines, and
> checked the ends.
> Jim says they're just for bragging rights,
> but I swear they make the brakes feel much more
> solid.
> [ my subjective opinion. ] either that or I'll have
> to find
> someone who isn't jim to brag to. *grin*
> --fess
> List info at http://www.vwtype3.org/list |
> mailto:gregm@vwtype3.org

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