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Old 11-16-2011, 10:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Open question on copper nickel brake lines.

Occasionally the subject of stainless steel brake lines comes up. From what I've heard, no personal experience, it's difficult to get leak free connections. My guess is the design of brake fittings relies on the flaired end of the tubing forming to the existing caliper, MS, wheel cylinder, dist block etc fitting. OE steel tubing is soft and yields to form to the receiving port. Stainless steel is relatively springy.

Copper nickel alloy is corrosion proof like stainless but forms more like soft steel. For concours application appearance would be an issue. Zinc plating would solve that problem. Obviously the cost/price would be higher.

Just wondering if any of you have tried or considered using this stuff?


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Old 11-16-2011, 11:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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IMHO, for a driver it would be "not-practical" because it is softer than steel or stainless and would be more suseptible to damage from road debries.
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Do you mean "Cunifer"? I used this stuff for all my brakelines. Very nice material to bend and flare your own brakelines. I double flared all the connections and they are all leak free! Only the color differs from the original brakelines. I paid about $ 35 for 3/16" OD and 25 feet lenght. Enough for one car....

Here's a picture of my MC with cunifer lines:

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Old 11-16-2011, 11:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Do you mean "Cunifer"? I used this stuff for all my brakelines. Very nice material to bend and flare your own brakelines. I double flared all the connections and they are all leak free! Only the color differs from the original brakelines. I paid about $ 35 for 3/16" OD and 25 feet lenght. Enough for one car....

Here's a picture of my MC with cunifer lines:


Yup, that's the stuff. They say it's DOT approved and is used OEM and replacement.
I'm interested that you DIY the double flaring with no problems.


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Old 11-16-2011, 12:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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NPD refers to the steel lines as carbon steel, which is the common line. Classic Tube refers to the line as OE steel. That's all I've ever used, getting sets at Classic Tube. Believe they are zinc coated. Yes, stainless can be difficult fitting
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yup, that's the stuff. They say it's DOT approved and is used OEM and replacement.
I'm interested that you DIY the double flaring with no problems.


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This is the tool I used:



And here is an interesting article about cunifer.....http://www.brakequip.com/pdf/ezibend_2.pdf
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I've been quite happy using steel lines for my replacement brake lines. Bending and flaring were never a problem, (but did reguire a bit of practice). Although the steel will eventually rust, so will the rest of the car.

I do have some stainless line that came pre-flared and bent with the master cylinder conversion kit. I never had any problems with the ends leaking, but trying to get the lines that are supposed to fit to actually fit was a real b***h.
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by yelostang View Post
NPD refers to the steel lines as carbon steel, which is the common line. Classic Tube refers to the line as OE steel. That's all I've ever used, getting sets at Classic Tube. Believe they are zinc coated. Yes, stainless can be difficult fitting

As I recall Carbon is one of the main components that makes the iron steel! Various grades of steel, hardenability etc. have different amounts of carbon. Think steel brake lines are required to be zinc coated.
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I've been quite happy using steel lines for my replacement brake lines. Bending and flaring were never a problem, (but did reguire a bit of practice). Although the steel will eventually rust, so will the rest of the car.

I do have some stainless line that came pre-flared and bent with the master cylinder conversion kit. I never had any problems with the ends leaking, but trying to get the lines that are supposed to fit to actually fit was a real b***h.

Never used anything but OE type steel (zinc coated). Flaring the steel is not a big problem.

I drive cars forever, not just my Mustang. In Wiscosin rust is a big enemy. Had several brake lines rust completely through taking advantage of the dual bowl system! Never had a rusted fender cause a stopping problem! Ha ha, LOL!
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Old 11-16-2011, 02:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I put stainless steel pre bent lines on my vert , had no problems with leaks and they still look new to this day .
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Old 11-16-2011, 02:42 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I put stainless steel pre bent lines on my vert , had no problems with leaks and they still look new to this day .

In the last couple years there has been considerable discussion about now to get stainless steel line connections to be leak free. I personally haven't tried srainless lines. Evidently many make them work or they wouldn't sell!

Just wondering about an alternative.



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Old 11-19-2011, 07:23 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 66candy View Post
Do you mean "Cunifer"?
Yes those copper nickel tubes is the only thing that's used for aftermarket brake lines on cars here i northern Europe and it have been that way as long as I can remember. They are actually very strong and will survive nearly forever, even in salty enviroment. No one here sells steel brake line, they will tell you it's a downgrade from the Cunifer lines and if you want steel, you have to import them your self from America.
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Old 11-19-2011, 08:46 AM   #13 (permalink)
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i have cunifer for my fuel lines mainly due to my concern of being able to bend 1/2 stainless. i wish i would have just gone with aluminum. in any case i wouldn't be concerned at all with the strength of cunifer. it's basically just like the copper tube you run in the house.

here is a picture of the color you can get out of cunifer with different types of polishing (hit the tube with three different methods here). it will probably need maintenance to keep that finish.

my main issue with it is that it still has a slight copper tint.



i did stainless for my brake lines about a month ago. it was a pain. it started as a prebent kit, but i had to make mods to install a proportioning valve, line lock and a residual valve. i ended up needing to make somewhere around 16-18 double flares. if you don't need to rework anything, then i wouldn't be concerned at all about stainless and leaks (once you get them tight).

i used a hydraulic flaring tool and even with that the tool was breaking down. i went through about 3-4 of the dies that clamp the tube. basically with a good double flare they will seal without much trouble. i had a lot of leaks but it was mainly due to not tightening down the fittings (mostly fittings and connections not related to the flares i made). everything was new or replaced on this car, so the odds of now leaks was slim. i used DOT 5 so i wasn't overly concerned about an leaks (peeling paint). i also had to remake the small curly fittings from the master cylinder. bending the stainless is easy with a torch (just don't cool the line quickly).

here is copies of posts i had recently made:






Mastercool kit 74175.





here is an example of the serrations breaking down. the one on the left was part of the first set where i did a lot of practice flares. the one on the right is after 2 flares (and tightening down the clamp more). The very first serration is showing signs of damage.
The more the serrations break down the more the tube is allowed to bubble up inside the grip area. this causes resistance in the tube nut or at worst case it won't even allow it too slide up the tube. It also causes the end to bubble less and have less material to roll during the last step.



on another note, i used a small torch to bend some of the tight radius on the tubes (where the small tube bender wouldn't work as well. that worked very well. some scotch bright and it looked like new. on one piece i did i put it under water to cool after heating and it seemed to become very hard. so basically if you heat with a torch, let it cool down on it's own. when i did they they still had a lot of give in the metal.

make sure the tube that's in the clamp is straight. if not the end of the flare won't be square.


i did several samples until i felt happy. i damaged two sets of dies during the learning curve. but it can be done. i had performed a lot of searches trying to find answers with an array of opinions rangeing from you can't do it to it's a piece of cake.

i probably did 10 or so flares before i almost think i know what i'm doing.

in any case here is what i did...

i start by using a fine hack saw and the back side of the die to cut off the line.



while it's still in the clamp i file it square and flush.





i then use about a 1/8" or so bit to debur the inside.


i simply used a piece of 220 on a D/A to scuff the outer edge. this is the result.




i then clamp it in. i used a piece of tape to monitor if it was being forced back out of the die. i think clamping it really tight might help prevent the clamps from breaking down so quickly.


it's then ready for the final step. i use just a little grease on the tip.


final result. i split the stainless on the very first two flares (careless prep, didn't know what i was doing, started adding grease, etc)


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Old 11-19-2011, 01:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
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It's been a while since I put my car together but I used stainless lines and haven't had any leaks. Been about 8 years now.

(I also remember them being single flare, I don't usually see a double flare on stainless stuff, brake line or otherwise)
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Old 11-19-2011, 04:17 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I don't usually see a double flare on stainless stuff, brake line or otherwise)
the prebent stainless lines i purchased for my 69 were double flared (Inline Tube?). the straight stainless lines i bought from Summit and Jegs to rework my stainless lines were double flared.
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