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Air lines in steel?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by maddog, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. maddog
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 693

    maddog
    Member
    from So Cal

    I am at the point of running air lines before I put the cab on my 41 Chevy truck. I scored a whole bunch of 5/16" steel lines and would love to use them.

    Although very easy to use, I just don't like (trust) the plastic lines that came with the air bag kit.

    Anybody done this?

    This will be a "truck" and used as that, so a little extra durability built in doesn't hurt.

    What do you think?
     
  2. bcook07
    Joined: Dec 31, 2008
    Posts: 140

    bcook07
    Member
    from Illinois

    I would just wonder about the condensation rusting the air lines from the inside out. Other than moisture in the lines rusting/freezing/etc I would assume they would be just as good as plastic.
     
  3. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 7,185

    Rickybop
    Member
    from Michigan

    Your reasoning makes sense to me. If the 5/16" steel lines are larger dia than the plastic, maybe an added benefit will be faster filling...?
     
  4. Why wouldn't you trust plastic airlines, its the material used for air system plumbing on real trucks.
     

  5. heyitsnate
    Joined: Apr 8, 2004
    Posts: 1,717

    heyitsnate
    Member
    from tacoma,wa

    yes. you will need a water trap.
     
  6. if your going to use hard lines, i would recommend stainless and swage-loc fittings. most people hardline setups for the looks, because that dot plastic line is plenty durable when ran correctly and super easy to install.
     
  7. Special Ed
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 6,871

    Special Ed
    Member

    Freezing would not be an issue. He's in Southern California. :) Condensation? Hmmmmm.... I suppose it would depend on a lot of different factors, including how often the system is actually used....
     
  8. Insane 1
    Joined: Feb 13, 2005
    Posts: 973

    Insane 1
    Member
    from Ennis TX

    You can use the steel lines..sure why not. Only as others have said unless you use stainless you have the rust factor, but I will tell you that if you run the plastic lines correctly you will NEVER have an issue. I'm more worred about a bag failing than air line.

    Now there is reinforced air line that is what I've used for over 15 years which I like alot better than just the plain plastic line, and I really recomend running that. But I can say without a doubt you can run the plastic and that will be your least concern.

    The one thing I would not ever use though are compression fitting...garbage. Just garbage.

    Incase you are wondering, I'm only speaking of experience of installing air ride suspension since 1995. Show cars/trucks, to stuff that is driven everyday.

    Now... just don't get me started on shitty ass, fucking 2-link suspensions.........
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  9. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,476

    Engine man
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    I will only use compression fittings on plastic. Never seen a push lock that didn't leak.
     
  10. 58 Delpala
    Joined: Sep 25, 2009
    Posts: 334

    58 Delpala
    Member
    from NC


    I can tell you from my experience that compression fittings when used right are 100X more dependable and air tight then PTC fittings!!!

    As for the original question... Don't use regular steel line. Even if you have a water seperator all that does is stop the moisture from the compressor to the tank or from the tank to the valves. Compressed air will always develop condensation, even in the bags, and therefore you will have rust development. It might not cause a problem for a year or 2 or 3 but it will be an issue at some point.

    I have systems running that I installed 15 years ago that use compression fittings and the plastic lines with only minimal annual maintenance needed and most of them are daily drivers.
     
  11. maddog
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 693

    maddog
    Member
    from So Cal

    Once again I asked the question in the right place. Thanks for all the answers.

    Ok, I am not going to use the steel lines that I have so much of. I bet I have 70' of the stuff but I will just save it.

    I can do a "proper" installation, so I think I will use the plastic lines that came with the kit. I am interested in the "reinforced line" that INSANE 1 mentioned, I will look into that.

    I have the push in connectors but there is some disagreement on whether compression is better. The push in is so darn easy I just dont trust it.

    What is the failure/fix when they leak as ENGINE MAN has suggested?

    What holds the push in type together? Air pressure?
     
  12. garcoal
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 277

    garcoal
    Member

    i have worked for a kenworth dealership for many years. why in the he** would you use steel line when the entire trucking industry uses plastic lines.you can get a number of size lines go to almost any heavy duty truck dealership and get hose or fittings.
     
  13. maddog
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 693

    maddog
    Member
    from So Cal

    Its not for brakes, although that would be cool, its for air bags.:)

    and because I have them. = less $$$
     
  14. maniac
    Joined: Jul 11, 2005
    Posts: 539

    maniac
    Member




    The plastic DOT type air line isn't very expensive, I believe last time I bought a 25 foot roll of 1/4" it was around 20 bucks, just protect it from sharp edges and your good to go.
     
  15. maddog
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 693

    maddog
    Member
    from So Cal

    Yeah, I'm thinking after listening to all of you that plastic will be ok.

    I am still curious about the different fittings, push in and compression.

    I also have to run the front air line past the header. I am planning a heat shield and I am worried about that area.
     
  16. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy
    Member

    What type of compressor are you using on your truck?
     
  17. resqd37Zep
    Joined: Aug 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,217

    resqd37Zep
    Member
    from Nor Cal

    One that comes to mind is Rich's (Zephyr 3789) stainless steel lines on his Zephyr set up. [​IMG]
     
  18. maddog
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 693

    maddog
    Member
    from So Cal

    Its the one that came with the Air RideTech setup. Why do you ask?

    I am looking for an engine driven compressor like the ones used on big rigs because I want service air. The truck will be a light duty service truck.

    Thats a nice setup pictured above!
     
  19. il6dime
    Joined: Jul 18, 2008
    Posts: 24

    il6dime
    Member
    from oklahoma

    If you want an engine driven compresser I would suggest a York 210 a/c pump off late 60s thur early 80ish ford trucks and broncos I've gotten them for early 80s volvos as well for a $100 or less. Then if you have a serpentine belt or need one that takes up less room look into a sanden compresser 801. I think is what its called. They come off late 80s-late 90 jeeps I got one from pullapart for 50 bucks and put a v-groove pulley on for $25 off egay just google engine driven compresser and check out pirate 4x4 and s10 forum. For more info
     
  20. maddog
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 693

    maddog
    Member
    from So Cal

    Interesting. Thanks for that.
    You're talking Air Conditioning compressor, right?
    If you are, I have a couple AC compressors, is there something special about the York 210?
    Dont they need oil to run? (normally found in the closed AC system)
     
  21. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy
    Member

    If you want to use this for service air too don't use an AC compressor at all. Go down to your local truck scrapyard find an 75-80 International truck. They carry a small belt driven compressor that will handle whatever you need. A new air govenor is reasonal and the compressor is easy to set up an oil supply and return .Used one for years,truck tires,3/4 in impact,held good pressure and never got behind on the supply. No need for all the switch bullshit. You crank the engine and govenor controls pressure. Just be sure to install a dryer system.
     
  22. maddog
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 693

    maddog
    Member
    from So Cal

    I didnt know that the modern air brake compressor got its lube from the motor. I would think that could be done, correct?

    When I say service truck, I mean very light duty. Enough air to fill a tire, or run a die grinder for a couple minuets, not much more.

    More tanks is what I was thinking as well. Space is limited so I am thinking 2 freon bottles, converted to air tanks mounted just behind the front wheels under the huge fenders. They will fit and you wont see them unless you are looking in behind the tire. Even a propane tank would work.
     
  23. maddog
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 693

    maddog
    Member
    from So Cal

    Junk yard parts, now thats my style!
    If you would, tell me more about the dryer system.
     
  24. maniac
    Joined: Jul 11, 2005
    Posts: 539

    maniac
    Member

    I have both types of fittings on my KW and my trailer, never had problems with either, both the tractor and trailer have over 1 million miles and have 90% of the original plastic air lines on them. The plastic DOT marked line is rated at 200 PSI, more than enough

    As far as shielding the lines, run them inside of fuel line hose, should work perfectly and not look strange, the 1/4" inch line fits perfectly in 3/8" fuel line.

    Just remember to use the inserts if you use compression fittings, the parts guy will know what to give you.

    Also the air dryer that big trucks use are pretty large and would be hard to hide on a car
     
  25. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy
    Member

    Maniac you must drive them not work on them. The dryers they are making today aren't much bigger than a 55 Chevy oil filter cannister some even smaller. Very easy to hide . Even the new Govenors are only about 4 inches long. On most systems the first 24 inches of line coming out of the compressor are thick wall copper tubing or braided air line then plastic the rest of the system. Only place rubber lines are used is where you need room for suspension travel.
     
  26. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy
    Member

    Couple of small air dryers available. :cool:
     

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  27. maniac
    Joined: Jul 11, 2005
    Posts: 539

    maniac
    Member




    Yeah I work on em, but they ARE old, I still have the old AD-9 dryer on mine.

    My last new one is a 2000, an antique by today's standards.
     
  28. il6dime
    Joined: Jul 18, 2008
    Posts: 24

    il6dime
    Member
    from oklahoma

    You guys are making this all way to hard! A York a/c compressor can do anything you want it do the fact that its a sump style pump! Just pour a pint of oil in and start the motor flip a switch and pump up to 200 pis in 2mins! Hints why 4x4 guys have run them for years cheap easy! Air up tires run impact guns or ARB air lockers! I been building mini trucks for years (let the flaming begin). Be we all started some where. I've had a sanden on my s10 for 3 years without a single problem with a good dryer and check the oil and go. Runing at ideal 120 psi in just over a minute and a half to a reserve tank!
     
  29. il6dime
    Joined: Jul 18, 2008
    Posts: 24

    il6dime
    Member
    from oklahoma

  30. flatout65
    Joined: Dec 1, 2007
    Posts: 98

    flatout65
    Member
    from mid tenn

    dot air line and dot ptc fittings will last years and hold air for weeks. my last install would stay lifted in the shop over a month with just a few psi drop at a couple corners. cutting the line properly and using the good / right fittings makes all the difference! not all ptc's are made the same..

    here's a link to some good examples. note the inner "cylinder" in these fittings that fits the inside dia of the tubing, these are dot and dont leak
    http://www.auto-addicts.com/Fittings_DOT_Alkon_SMC_Air_Push_In_s/28.htm
     

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