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Brake lines- clean or replace?

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  • Brake lines- clean or replace?

    Going through the brakes on the 57 Provincial. I have NOS wheel cylinders and oredered hoses, and am converting to dual M/C with Jim Turner's kit.

    I'm wondering, clean or replace the steel lines? She's a CO car that's been off the road and kept inside over 25 years. The lines all look clean and totally free of rust or corrosion. Is it possible to get them thoroughly flushed- or does it even matter? Or is it better to just replace them all? They're not that expensive or hard to replace, but no point wasting them if they're easily reused...

    Thoughts from the experienced?

    Robert (Bob) Andrews- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys)
    Parish, central NY 13131

  • #2
    Replace them, they are cheap and why take a chance?


    • #3
      If they are truly 100% clean flushing is fine. If there is any question replace them.

      BTW the stainless rear axle set that Classic (or is it inline?) Tube sells works on any Stude with a Dana 44.


      55 Commander Starlight
      55 Commander Starlight


      • #4
        They may be fine if the system has been periodically flushed and filled. Hygroscopic brake fluid can allow lines to rust from the inside out.

        The fact that you're asking means you're wondering. Wondering can grow to worrying. You said,"They're not that expensive or hard to replace."

        Will you be happier knowing your brakes are impeccable?

        I thought so.

        Brad Johnson
        Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
        '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight
        "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

        Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
        Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
        sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"


        • #5
          i would replace all the brake lines and i would use stainless steel lines. and always start with new brake fluid. never take short cuts on brakes.


          • #6
            Even if they do look good, remove the little clips that hold the lines to the frame. Inside the clip is usually where they start to rust out. If they're not rusty there, chances are that the lines are fine.

            But replacing them would indeed be cheap insurance.

            Matthew Burnette
            Hazlehurst, GA


            • #7
              Yeah, go ahead and replace those lines.You're knee deep into the brake system so you might as well!My Crapparo had been sitting for about three years before I got it,and the rear brake line was one of the first things to take a dump once I got it running.And while you're at it,check the condition of your FUEL line, too.Mine started leaking about a month after the brake line was replaced.Just do'll thank yourself later.Good luck with your project!!


              • #8
                What Brad Johnson (rockne10) said!! Replace those lines unless you are Superman with x-ray vision. It's not hard, use the originals as patterns and use a good double flare tool. (With your race car background, you most likely already have a good double flare tool.)

                The toughest one is the long one that runs down the frame rail to the rear. Studebaker must have put this on before the body, so it needs to be in two pieces instead of the one piece it was originally.

                Winston-Salem, NC
                Visit The NEW Studebaker Skytop Registry website at:
                Winston-Salem, NC
                Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at:


                • #9
                  Hey Bob,

                  You've got the car up in the air now anyway, why not replace those old lines? You will have that knowing feeling every time you step on the brakes that something is not going to go wrong. Do it once and right the first time.

                  I recently bought this double flaring tool from Rigid. It makes a perfect double flare every time.


                  Good luck with that Provincial. It sure sounds like you are doing it right anyway.

                  Best wishes


                  1964 R2 GT Hawk

                  1963 Daytona Convertible
                  Oakville, Ontario.
                  Hamilton Chapter
                  See you in Cedar Rapids Summer 2009
                  1964 GT Hawk
                  PSMCDR 2014
                  Best time: 14.473 sec. 96.57 MPH quarter mile
                  PSMCDR 2013
                  Best time: 14.654 sec. 94.53 MPH quarter

                  Victoria, Canada


                  • #10

                    If you buy a flaring tool take Allen's advice and buy the best you can find. The Rigid looks like a excellent choice.

                    If you can buy a spare 3/16" double flaring adapter with it, do so. They are brittle and will break if you get to much side force. A darn inconvenient happening when you are in the process of flaring lines. It the only size I would suggest having a spare.

                    I'll bet you are expecting me to say, "Don't ask me how I know" Yep, I know.



                    • #11
                      And FYI, very few flaring tools will do stainless.

                      I've read about an annealed stainless that's available. It's supposed to be easier to bend, but I'm not sure if it's any easier to flare.

                      Flaring tools rated to do stainless are usually not stocked by tool stores and can cost as much as a few hundred dollars.

                      Either way, definitely replace those lines. I had a front caliper line fail on my '63 Hawk once.
                      It was a CA rust free car. Went on my lunch break and noticed a pool of liquid under the car. Fortunately it failed in the parking lot and not while I was driving it[:X]



                      • #12
                        Thanks all. Being a proud NON-CASO, my first thought was to replace them; but then, there's no sense being purely wasteful if not needed.

                        For that little extra work and cost, I'll have everything new, which is good since Linda likes this one. Personally I'd much prefer to be working on a Lark

                        Next question is brake fluid, but that'll be a new thread... comin' right up!

                        Robert (Bob) Andrews- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys)
                        Parish, central NY 13131


                        • #13
                          Wanted to add my thanks for the flaring tool info. Living in central NY, we replace steel gas and brake lines for customers most every week; so everyone has flaring tools already. One of the joys of living here

                          I guess that's what made me think about saving the lines on this car; they've obviously never seen salt and still look new. Around here we never think about internal rust, because they rust from the outside in much faster[B)]

                          Thanks again!

                          Robert (Bob) Andrews- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys)
                          Parish, central NY 13131


                          • #14
                            Those old lines should be just fine. Just practice hitting the emergency brake and downshifting the trans and you ought to be okay as long as you don't drive too fast and live in an area with very few hills. You can always patch up any lines that do burst with a compression fitting repair kit . (keep a spare in your glove box; right next to your insurance card) I had a 57 chevy once that had old lines and it was just fine, cuz when they did burst I was able to stop it just fine with my feet cuz I wasn't going too fast so I was able to stop it before it slid completely thru the intersection past a cop who just looked at me in disgust. It was my own fault for not practicing with the e-brake and downshift technique that I have so graciously passed on to you.


                            • #15
                              Volvo started using a nice copper nickel or bronze alloy in the 1970s. No rust, easy to bend and flare-able.

                              One of these days I'm going to contact this guy.
                              I believe I met him a long time ago when he was an Aston Martin indie shop.
                              $2 or $3 per foot may not be that bad a deal.