[V6-12v] Stainless brake lines - what's the deal?

Elliott Potter mailinglist at eep.burdell.org
Fri May 14 16:48:11 EDT 2004

> > Folks,
> >
> > What's the deal with the stainless lines? It's essentially a rubber hose
> > with a SS braid on it. If the rubber disintegrates, the hose will fail. It
> > seems like the SS lines are more about hype and "looking cool" than about
> > performance...
> >
> *****************
> Can't say what the pros and cons are of the SS lines, but in two cases I know
> of the SS lines on the rear brakes broke apart prematurely. The cause
> appeared to be that the SS lines had less flexibility or play in them and
> this put more stress on the lines where the line mates with the coupling. In
> both cases the cars had lowered suspensions, used Eibach and H&R springs,
> which might have put more stress on the lines.

The idea behind SS brake lines is that the rubber hose gives a little
when you put your foot down on the brake, and the bulge reduces the
amount of braking force you can put down.  People with the lines claim
that the brakes feel stiffer and more responsive.  I can't say one way
or the other.

What I have heard about them, though, is that as they get older, road
grime and other grit can work its way between the steel weaving and the
rubber hose, and cause abrasions and premature failure.  As a general
rule, a high-quality SS braided brake line (such as an aeroquip line)
will have a layer of woven kevlar between the steel weave and the rubber
hose to prevent this.  Such brake hoses (aeroquip hoses are used in
aeroplanes, hence the name) are extremely reliable and will almost
definitely outlast the car.  "Cheap" SS braided brake lines are
definitely a mixed bag and I would be careful trusting so much to
a brake hose I wasn't sure about.

Having said all that, German Parts & Restoration (gprparts.com) used to
sell SS brake lines.  Don't know if they still do (this was 5 years ago
or so).

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