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Replacing Rusty Brake Lines #5391282 04/01/20 08:08 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
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92saturnsl2 Offline OP
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I have a bit more time on my hands now that overtime has pretty much evaporated at work for the time being so I'm going to tackle the few remaining issues on my '96 Grand Prix. One of them is that one or more brake lines underneath the car is rusted and leaking. I plan on replacing any that look suspect, but this will be the first time I've done brake lines.

I've read a fair bit about it, but curious if anyone has any links or suggestions on what tools I will need for bending / cutting / flaring the lines. Links to good deals on the tools and/or the lines would be helpful. I plan on using the alloy (forget what it's called) that doesn't rust as opposed to steel lines, unless there's a gigantic cost difference. We don't generally have problems with rust here, I think this was a car from further north judging by the moderate amount of rust it has underneath. Thanks in advance.


96 Grand Prix SE (project car)
04 Odyssey EX 205k Shell Rotella T5 10w-30
96 Maxima GLE 275k Mobil Super HM 5w-30
07 Chrysler Pacifica Limited 4.0L 151k Mobil1 EP 0w-20
Re: Replacing Rusty Brake Lines [Re: 92saturnsl2] #5391287 04/01/20 08:11 PM
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Imp4 Offline
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Ni-copp lines and a tube bender from Napa, AZ, Amazon, etc...
Maybe the flaring tool as a loaner from AZ will save you a few bucks...

Re: Replacing Rusty Brake Lines [Re: 92saturnsl2] #5391299 04/01/20 08:22 PM
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14Accent Offline
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You should be fine with a loaner set and the Ni-copp lines, as mentioned. Just watch videos and take your time. The big thing with brake lines on a beater is don't try to make them look pretty. Just make sure they're secured out of the way and won't rattle around and you'll be fine.

Does your GP have the ABS unit mounted right to the master cylinder? That could throw a curve-ball in the flaring, GM liked to do goofy things with bubble flare's vs. double flare's on some of those units, and they liked to use odd-sized fittings. Since I recommend running all new lines front to back, that could come into play. Bleeding the ABS unit might prove tricky, but you could get lucky and sneak by with a regular bleed.


2013 Chevrolet Volt - Saves enough in fuel to pay for itself!

1980 Honda CB900C - 15k mile cream puff
Re: Replacing Rusty Brake Lines [Re: 92saturnsl2] #5391301 04/01/20 08:26 PM
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atikovi Offline
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Tubing bender: https://www.amazon.com/SUR-Auto-Parts-Multi-Size-SRR-TP3153/dp/B00UF4FBJG

I've used the $40 flaring tools and they never seem to work right. Bit the bullet and bought: https://www.amazon.com/MASTERCOOL-72485-PRC-Universal-Hydraulic-Transmission/dp/B06WD86RLH

Re: Replacing Rusty Brake Lines [Re: 92saturnsl2] #5391329 04/01/20 08:52 PM
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kschachn Offline
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1994 BMW 530i, 252K
1996 Honda Accord, 288K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 434K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 284K
Re: Replacing Rusty Brake Lines [Re: 92saturnsl2] #5391535 04/02/20 05:38 AM
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Lubener Offline
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How long do you plan on keeping the 96? I would go with coated steel lines. They likely will outlast the car. I would take measurements of the run needing replacement. Then buy a few pre-made lengths to equal your measurements, bend with a bending tool or you can carefully do it by hand and join them together with the proper unions. No flaring, just start assemblng the formed pieces and should only take an afternoon to finish everything. That's what I did with my 97 Lesabre which isn't much different from yours.

Last edited by Lubener; 04/02/20 05:48 AM.

The "thinking" man's friend.
Re: Replacing Rusty Brake Lines [Re: 92saturnsl2] #5391567 04/02/20 06:53 AM
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andyd Offline
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What is the intended use of this project? You may be able to get factory lines for about the same as the copper/nickel and fittings. the original lines. Are you gonna be driving the GP in 2040? That said, I replaced the Rat's rotten brake lines with home made lines that I made from a 25' roll. I have an el cheapo double flre tool. Don't lose the directions, its a process, you'll also need a tubing cutter and a file.I hand bend the lines,by holding the line in both hands. I use my thumbs to make a gentle radius to prevent a kink, using the old line as a pattern. I don't go nuts forming tight bends. I do reclip the lines to the original spots, addIng more as needed.


'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 Rusty Brake Lines [Re: Lubener] #5391571 04/02/20 06:57 AM
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GON Offline
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Originally Posted by Lubener
How long do you plan on keeping the 96? I would go with coated steel lines. They likely will outlast the car. I would take measurements of the run needing replacement. Then buy a few pre-made lengths to equal your measurements, bend with a bending tool or you can carefully do it by hand and join them together with the proper unions. No flaring, just start assemblng the formed pieces and should only take an afternoon to finish everything. That's what I did with my 97 Lesabre which isn't much different from yours.


Second this post, except the NiCop bend so very much easier than the steel, well worth the few extra bucks to go NiCop.

Re: Replacing Rusty Brake Lines [Re: 92saturnsl2] #5391798 04/02/20 11:40 AM
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HangFire Offline
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I have the midrange OTC set, which is fine for NiCopp when I redid the Dakota. Make sure you have the right fittings and flare, could be ISO bubble flare or double flared ends, SAE or Metric fittings.


Various musings: http://hangfire.net
Re: Replacing Rusty Brake Lines [Re: HangFire] #5391943 04/02/20 02:56 PM
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Lubener Offline
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Originally Posted by HangFire
I have the midrange OTC set, which is fine for NiCopp when I redid the Dakota. Make sure you have the right fittings and flare, could be ISO bubble flare or double flared ends, SAE or Metric fittings.

My 97 Lesabre had bubble flares and European fittings. I would think his 96 Pontiac would be the same.


The "thinking" man's friend.
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