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replacing all brake lines: need advice #4488134
08/14/17 08:05 AM
08/14/17 08:05 AM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 210
NY, USA
windeye Offline OP
windeye  Offline OP
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 210
NY, USA
Car is 2000 Mazda MPV. There are rust on hard lines undercarriage, and at wheels. The rust does not inspire confidence, though there has been no leaks (knock on wood). I am seriously thinking about replacing all the hard lines as well as the flex hoses (don't want to fight the connection). I have never done this before, and nervous about the ins and outs of doing this job. Please could I have your advice?

1. I can find all pre-bent lines (except for left rear) at dealership (and online sources), the left rear long line is NLA (no longer available). Using pre-bent lines is currently not my option for reasons a) they are steel lines with a coating, and I live in Albany, NY; b) it does not appear to be possible to put the pre-bent lines in without tearing the car to the bones, and this is the primary reason.

2. I read good things about the copper-nickel lines, and currently thinking about going this way, and do flares and bends by myself. NAPA sells a single size flare tool that seems to be a good one, and I think I can practice and get good flares. Also will get the OEM flex hoses.

3. My biggest concern is how to get the new line in place. I am thinking about using the old line as template for one end to get it started, and leave the other end straight so that I can thread it and bend it inline as I reroute the lines... but again, this is just thinking.....

Please let me know if I am on the wrong path. Thanks.


2000 Mazda MPV LX, 202,500 miles
2007 Mazda 3 Touring, 112,800 miles
2013 Toyota Camry XLE, 100,800 miles
Re: replacing all brake lines: need advice [Re: windeye] #4488142
08/14/17 08:18 AM
08/14/17 08:18 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,714
N.Ohio
Lubener Offline
Lubener  Offline
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,714
N.Ohio
To answer your questions:
1. yes you can get pre bent if available but I wouldn't. They are expensive and will be difficult wiggling into place. I always bent them myself with straight lines which I previously measured.

2.I would go with the copper nickle lines too and you shouldn't have to do it again. They bend easily for installation. Just make sure you are using the correct flare for your car and mating connections.

3. I have done entire lengths in 2-3 sections (pre-flared sticks)and coupled together with the proper unions. If you buy a coil, you will have to get fittings which added up can get pricey.I was able to bend these lines both by hand and using a tubing bender working along. It is not a very difficult job when you are replacing everything. Spray the connections with PB Blaster and let work overnight. Remove the old and put the new in the existing hangars.

Last edited by Lubener; 08/14/17 08:29 AM.

The "thinking" man's friend.
Re: replacing all brake lines: need advice [Re: windeye] #4488153
08/14/17 08:41 AM
08/14/17 08:41 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,518
Marshfield , MA
andyd Offline
andyd  Offline
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,518
Marshfield , MA
The original lines have lasted 17 yrs already. Just saying. Replacing with copper lines should be easier than working with steel lines. I've never have used copper, but I never had any trouble with steel line replacement either. I know the hose /steel line can be a a pain. Then, I started cutting the lines flush with the hoses That way I could use a 6 point socket on the BL fitting. Lines are typically clipped to the underside at regular intervals. Use these to secure the line as you form it by hand. Will the lines be as uniform as factory? Probably not. As long as the line functions and is secured in place that is good enough. One snag is that, you dont want to let air into the MC or the ABS pump. I suggest starting out with plugs and line caps of some sort. I solved the problem by constantly topping off the MC.I wasted a qt of BF this way. a few plugs and caps would save money and mess. In addition to the flaring tool, get a mini tubing cutter and a file to remove the sharp edges of the cut. Best of luck. Please post your progress. TIA.


'16 Camry LE STP synth 0w20 and STP filter. the Fridge

1994 Ranger ,the Rat, 5w30 dino, STP filter

'16 Camry SE, Valvoline HM 0w20 and OEM filter
Thick oil is better grin2
Re: replacing all brake lines: need advice [Re: windeye] #4488181
08/14/17 09:04 AM
08/14/17 09:04 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 7,635
Toronto, Canada
KrisZ Offline
KrisZ  Offline
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 7,635
Toronto, Canada
I would inspect the lines all the way to the front. Chances are that the lines going from the MC and at least past the fire wall are good and this is usually the portion that is the hardest to do. Going all new sounds good on paper, but why make more work for yourself, especially on such an old vehicle, than you have to?
If the lines up front look good, there should be no problems with splicing them.

IMO, I would only do the whole thing if the front also shows signs of corrosion.


2015 Dodge Grand Caravan-27k miles.
2006 Mazda 3-163k miles
Re: replacing all brake lines: need advice [Re: windeye] #4488198
08/14/17 09:18 AM
08/14/17 09:18 AM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 279
Sav ga
NStuart Offline
NStuart  Offline
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 279
Sav ga
Just so you know Parker stores sell a flexible coated steel braided line that's pretty amazing to work with


Detroit14l 1m75k mi bp schaffer9k 30k oil
96 ram 5.9 gas 80k built tranny 5k m1
85 cj7 4.2 performance build. Schaeffer 9000
08 cbr600rr graffiti. T6
08 husky sm610 t6
Re: replacing all brake lines: need advice [Re: windeye] #4488200
08/14/17 09:19 AM
08/14/17 09:19 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 7,966
Cincinnati, OH, USA
bullwinkle Online confused
bullwinkle  Online Confused
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 7,966
Cincinnati, OH, USA
I would add a power bleeder to the list, it makes it a lot easier to get the air out of everything than relying on gravity or the 2 man bleeding method.


06 Ram 3500 CTD 4X4(FG Venturi), 93 GMC C3500 6.2, 89 F-450 7.3, 98 XJ 4.0(XG8A), 05 xB(XG3600), 18 Transit 3.7, 03 Merc Grand Marquis 4.6 2V(XG2)
Re: replacing all brake lines: need advice [Re: windeye] #4488234
08/14/17 09:56 AM
08/14/17 09:56 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 9,884
Upper Midwest
kschachn Offline
kschachn  Offline
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 9,884
Upper Midwest
I replaced all the fuel, fuel vent and brake lines on my old E34. I bought BMW fuel and fuel vent lines, those were not pre-bent and required cutting and splicing to install without dropping the rear subframe. One of the other issues is that unless you have the car on a lift it is difficult to swing around long lines with limited clearance.

After that silliness I bought cupro-nickel brake pipe from a place online. I bought only enough for the long lines that ran to the back, the shorter front lines I got from BMW as they did not run anywhere that wasn't accessible. The cupro-nickel lines are amazing to work with and can be bent and unbent very easily to get into position. It is also easy to flare, but make sure you're getting the correct tool for your Mazda. My BMW for example is not a "flare" as such but is an ISO bubble flare.

The worst problem on my BMW was getting all the clamps undone. They are held together with a single screw going into a stud welded to the body, and after 20+ years some were rusted pretty good. Amazingly though most came apart with some help (I Dremeled a slot in the Philips head screw) but some were beyond that and twisted off the head. In typical BMW fashion though there were more clamps than were needed so I only had to improvise attaching a couple.

The worst looking lines on my BMW were the fuel vent lines, but when I had them off there was still a lot of meat left to the metal. They looked a lot worse than they actually were. But as a comparison, the brake and fuel lines on my almost as old Japanese cars have no rust whatsoever.


1994 BMW 530i, 228K
1996 Honda Accord, 263K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 400K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 271K
Re: replacing all brake lines: need advice [Re: kschachn] #4488266
08/14/17 10:29 AM
08/14/17 10:29 AM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 210
NY, USA
windeye Offline OP
windeye  Offline OP
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 210
NY, USA
Thanks for all your kind responses. The Mazdas use American standard flare, which is a double flare or inverted flare, but with metric thread on the fitting, M10x1.0. I checked the car, all the lines from ABS out are the same size.

The lines going to rear drums are from a fitting that was mounted on the firewall, they are good till the bend going to bottom of the car, but it's about 6 inches of line before the rust starts, so I'd think not to do splicing.

Good advice on not getting air in the ABS unit. I'll look for suitable plugs and get more brake fluid. My thinking is to do one line at a time, 1st remove line from ABS for front wheels, and firewall fitting for rear wheels, then plug the hole ASAP. Then remove the whole line to front flex hose and rear drum cylinder (thanks for the advice on cutting it flush and using a 6-point socket). Then work/connect in the new line from wheel back to the ABS unit and reconnect there. This may not work for all 4 wheels, esp front, I'll then need to start new line from ABS, and plug the other end. I'll need to have a good estimate for the length of each line, planning on using a string to follow the old line once I get it out.


2000 Mazda MPV LX, 202,500 miles
2007 Mazda 3 Touring, 112,800 miles
2013 Toyota Camry XLE, 100,800 miles
Re: replacing all brake lines: need advice [Re: NStuart] #4488273
08/14/17 10:33 AM
08/14/17 10:33 AM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 210
NY, USA
windeye Offline OP
windeye  Offline OP
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 210
NY, USA
Originally Posted By: NStuart
Just so you know Parker stores sell a flexible coated steel braided line that's pretty amazing to work with


Hi, Stuart, you are talking about the flex hoses, right?


2000 Mazda MPV LX, 202,500 miles
2007 Mazda 3 Touring, 112,800 miles
2013 Toyota Camry XLE, 100,800 miles
Re: replacing all brake lines: need advice [Re: windeye] #4488297
08/14/17 11:09 AM
08/14/17 11:09 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 20,747
Upstate NY
Donald Offline
Donald  Offline
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 20,747
Upstate NY
If you do not mind doing it again in a few years use steel brake lines. If you never want to worry about rusted brake lines use copper-nickel.


2015 Subaru Forester 2.5 engine/CVT
2015 Ford F250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
Re: replacing all brake lines: need advice [Re: windeye] #4488298
08/14/17 11:10 AM
08/14/17 11:10 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 20,747
Upstate NY
Donald Offline
Donald  Offline
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 20,747
Upstate NY
Originally Posted By: windeye
Originally Posted By: NStuart
Just so you know Parker stores sell a flexible coated steel braided line that's pretty amazing to work with


Hi, Stuart, you are talking about the flex hoses, right?


My boat trailer brake upgrade kit included a long 20' flex line.


2015 Subaru Forester 2.5 engine/CVT
2015 Ford F250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
Re: replacing all brake lines: need advice [Re: windeye] #4488324
08/14/17 11:39 AM
08/14/17 11:39 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 9,884
Upper Midwest
kschachn Offline
kschachn  Offline
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 9,884
Upper Midwest
Originally Posted By: windeye
Good advice on not getting air in the ABS unit. I'll look for suitable plugs and get more brake fluid. My thinking is to do one line at a time, 1st remove line from ABS for front wheels, and firewall fitting for rear wheels, then plug the hole ASAP. Then remove the whole line to front flex hose and rear drum cylinder (thanks for the advice on cutting it flush and using a 6-point socket). Then work/connect in the new line from wheel back to the ABS unit and reconnect there. This may not work for all 4 wheels, esp front, I'll then need to start new line from ABS, and plug the other end. I'll need to have a good estimate for the length of each line, planning on using a string to follow the old line once I get it out.

On my BMW you can block/hold the brake pedal about halfway down and that will keep the master cylinder and reservoir from draining. But on that car you can manually energize the ABS solenoids and allow it to be bled properly. It would have been too much work to try and keep the thing from bleeding out completely, more work than just hot wiring the solenoids.


1994 BMW 530i, 228K
1996 Honda Accord, 263K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 400K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 271K
Re: replacing all brake lines: need advice [Re: windeye] #4488351
08/14/17 12:12 PM
08/14/17 12:12 PM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 12,515
The Motor City
Kestas Offline
Kestas  Offline
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 12,515
The Motor City
I've done a number of complete brake re-line jobs on rusty vehicles. A good double flare kit and tubing cutter will make yourself an expert. Most auto supply houses carry a good set of stock lines that you can bend, trim, and couple to match the lines you remove. You can buy a tubing bender; but for the tighter bends I use a steel bar mounted in a vise to bend tubes without kinking.

Re: replacing all brake lines: need advice [Re: Lubener] #4488391
08/14/17 01:15 PM
08/14/17 01:15 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 4,452
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
zzyzzx Offline
zzyzzx  Offline
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 4,452
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Originally Posted By: Lubener
To answer your questions:
1. yes you can get pre bent if available but I wouldn't. They are expensive and will be difficult wiggling into place.


Maybe for a Mazda, but for the 2000 Dodge truck I used pre-bent ones from the dealer and they were cheap and easy to install. Dealer had them the next day too.

Re: replacing all brake lines: need advice [Re: zzyzzx] #4488396
08/14/17 01:22 PM
08/14/17 01:22 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 210
NY, USA
windeye Offline OP
windeye  Offline OP
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 210
NY, USA
Originally Posted By: zzyzzx
Originally Posted By: Lubener
To answer your questions:
1. yes you can get pre bent if available but I wouldn't. They are expensive and will be difficult wiggling into place.


Maybe for a Mazda, but for the 2000 Dodge truck I used pre-bent ones from the dealer and they were cheap and easy to install. Dealer had them the next day too.


The brake lines, along with the fuel lines (larger diameter), run along the driver side of the car, and above the fuel tank. no wiggle room there. Plus I have to make one line by myself, might as well do them all, and the copper-nickel's resisting road salt is good, and easy to flare and bend. I do need to get a good bending tool, have a cutter already. Thanks.


2000 Mazda MPV LX, 202,500 miles
2007 Mazda 3 Touring, 112,800 miles
2013 Toyota Camry XLE, 100,800 miles
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