How to Make Your Own Braided Steel Brake Lines
Braided steel brake lines function well when applied to vehicles or motorcycles. The reinforced construction of braided steel lines can hold very high pressures without flexing or bulging, and this aids with instant fluid travel in an enclosed system. Braided brake lines are heat and abrasion resistant, able to make tight turns in confined spaces without kinking. They also have a pleasing aesthetic appeal, in comparison to the stock or standard black hoses. A vehicle owner can install his own braided steel brakes lines, using a few basic tools and step-by- -step procedures.
Set the vehicle transmission in park or neutral, depending on your transmission type, if this is a car or truck. Apply the emergency brake and raise the hood, if installing lines from the master cylinder on down. Raise the vehicle with a floor jack and jack stands to afford easy access to the brake line system. For a motorcycle, set it on the kickstand and remove any fairing that covers the brake lines, with a socket and wrench or screwdriver.
Measure how much braided brake line you will need from fitting to fitting. Use string or a long piece of cord to follow the original path of the old brake line. Use a tape measure to measure the length of string, and temporarily mark the length on the braided line with a felt pen. Measure the brake line fittings at both ends and subtract their combined length, then readjust your brake line length by remarking the braided line. Allow 1/4 inch or so excess to avoid under-cutting the length.
Clamp the braided line in a bench vise, just tight enough to hold the line. Wrap the cut location with electrical tape to protect against fraying. Cut the line with a fine-tooth hacksaw, using light, even strokes. Use a center punch to gently pry the fitting hole open into an even concentric circle. If starting at the master cylinder, use a line wrench to remove the old line at the master cylinder, then at the caliper, or splitter block. Remove the banjo fitting from the caliper with a socket and retain the fitting for reuse, or purchase new ones if you need to. Place cans at the fitting locations to catch drippings.
Use a utility knife to scrape off enough clear coating on the end of the braided line to allow for the fitting — 1/2 to 1 inch. Insert a compression nut on the end of the line, about 1/2 inch back from the end, with the threads pointing outward. Use a slot screwdriver to pry back the braid on the line, enough so that it will fit inside the compression nut.
Install a new brake line fitting on the master cylinder, and tighten it with a line wrench. Use a 90-, 45-degree or straight-angle fitting, according to your preference. Insert the compression ring inside the inner bore of the braided line. Twist and push the compression nut over the excess braid until flush with the compression ring.