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Brake Lines - Bent On Perfection

Installing brake lines

By , Photography by The Author

There are a few things on a car that serve a critical purpose, yet are almost forgotten. The brake lines are on that list of parts. Those little tubes running under the car transfer our foot pressure to the brake components at each wheel to stop our pride and joy from smashing into stuff. These become the forgotten soldier in the brake system because they do their job quietly while the other brake components like the pads, rotors, shoes, and drums usually get all the attention. Without the lines, these components would be nothing more than paperweights. You try stopping 3,000-plus pounds of Chevrolet like Fred Flintstone and let us know how that works out.

We were having trouble with the brake system on a '70 Camaro, and more to the point, getting the rear drums to work. The fronts were working okay, but the backs had no pressure. After changing the master and investigating just about everything, we finally popped each end of the main line and blew air though it. The main line was definitely clogged and was the root of our problem. Since the car has been sitting dormant for over 28 years, who knows what caused the clog or how long the rest of the system would hold up. Instead of changing just that line and hoping for the best, we decided to change all the lines along with the calipers and wheel cylinders.

Even though we could have sat down and bent up lines on our own, it just wasn't the best option since they are staying in the stock location and size. Instead, we decided to pick up preformed lines from Classic Tube (CT). The company was founded in 1989 and over the years has built a complete inventory of original replacement steel, aluminum, and stainless steel lines for all kinds of classics and muscle cars.

Not that the '70 Camaro is a rare vehicle, but we were surprised to see that a complete set of brake lines for the car was only 165 bucks in steel, and the stainless versions only $34 more, and both were in stock. Since stainless line doesn't rust, corrode, or tarnish like its steel counterpart, we decided stainless lines would be the best option for us. We asked Tim Slattery at Classic Tube how they can offer stainless so cheap and he said, "We buy so much stainless material here that we get it for a discounted rate that we pass directly on to our customers."

No matter if your order is steel or stainless, the lines are formed with computer-driven CNC tube benders and the patterns come directly from documented factory lines. CT has many factory lines in stock, but if you have an application it doesn't offer, it will duplicate your OE line or pattern or even create full custom lines to your specifications. CT not only has brake lines waiting to be shipped out, the company also has fuel, transmission, carburetor, vapor, choke, fuel injection, and vacuum lines, along with just about anything else you may need to plumb a vehicle.

Part's and Prices

Part Number Price
Complete Brake Line KitCA1021-SS$199.00
Rubber Hose KitCustom$89.85
Silicone Brake Fluid, DOT 51103$18.00
Calipers 2eaAAZ-18-4059$39.90*
Wheel Cylinders 2eaBEN-33469$9.40*
Total$356.15
* Summit Racing Prices and Part Numbers

SOURCES
Summit Racing
Akron
OH
800-230-3030
330-630-0240
www.summitracing.com/
Classic Tube
Lancaster
NY
800-882-3711
716-759-1800
www.classictube.com
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