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Copper lines

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by, Apr 21, 2009.

    Joined: Nov 27, 2007
    Posts: 542
    from New Jersey

    I know copper brake and fuel lines are a no no. I did a HAMB search and some said there were copper plated steel lines available.

    Can't find them anywhere...any ideas?

    I love the look of copper but not at the expense of safety.

  2. AstroZombie
    Joined: Jul 17, 2006
    Posts: 1,788


    I was looking at these lines for my last build, they are copper/nickle. I'm not sure if they have the "look" of copper though. From the pics its unclear exactly what they would look like.

    Here are copper lines, but I don't think they are DOT legal..

    Good luck, I'm glad to hear you aren't willing to throw safety out the window!
    I think copper (plated) lines on a black frame would look beautiful.
  3. 53sled
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 5,818

    from KCMO

    I remember reading something about lines available in the UK that are copper alloy but don't work harden like the stuff in US hardware stores.
  4. S.F.
    Joined: Oct 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,894


    Didnt know you could get that stuff. I know on my hot rod (built in 1959) all the brake lines and fuel line was ran with copper line. I replaced all of it.

  5. C-1-PW
    Joined: Jun 11, 2006
    Posts: 357


    Cunifer is good stuff. Safe. Strong. Looks like copper, but a little less reddish and slightly more yellow. To the casual observer it looks like copper.
  6. fridaynitedrags
    Joined: Apr 17, 2009
    Posts: 402


    I wouldn't use pure copper for brake lines, but for E85 fuel, copper is the only metal that is corrosion resistant to ethanol. Any line will work harden and crack if you let it go flappin' in the breeze, but if you secure pure copper fuel line with rubber-insulated Adel clamps every 12 inches, it'll still be there after the rest of the car has disintegrated into dust. I don't know how the copper/nickel alloy linked here would hold up to ethanol.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2009
  7. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 28,819


    I've always felt that copper plumbing belonged on a house or water cooler and didn't have any place on a car. to me running copper lines shows me that the guy who built the car was too damned lazy to do it right.

    I've pulled some scary copper tubing installations off cars I have worked on and they were always put there by someone trying to do things the easy way or cut a corner.
  8. model-a-fan
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 842

    from Kentucky

    I like the look of copper fuel line. But that's just me I guess.
  9. Any chrome plater set up for triple plating (acid copper) can put a nice thick layer of copper plating on your steel lines. If they are new lines and are a "plate only", (no polishing), it could be quite affordable, depending on budget. Just an idea.
  10. Personally, I feel that if you only have an opinion based on what others have told you you're a fool.

    This has been discussed many, many times. I get irritated when I hear peoples comments on things that they have no personal experience with.

    I have over 30,000 miles on my copper fuel lines without my car going up in flames. With everything you need to do it right. Steel lines will work harden also in case you didn't know.

    I just find it funny that this topic is brought up and the nay-sayers come out of the wood work to preach why it is so wrong.


    If you want the look of copper but are too afraid of what the skeptics say then I agree with Josh. That would be a good alternative.

  11. RocketGirl
    Joined: Feb 13, 2009
    Posts: 52


    I have to disagree with running copper is doing it the lazy way and not right. We have copper running to our radiator in the rear of our roadster and it took quite awhile to do it right and cost us alot more money!!!

    Attached Files:

  12. lostforawhile
    Joined: Mar 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,160


    of course copper is going to resist e85, what do you think e85 is? it's just moonshine. why do you think all the old moonshiners ran copper? i think on a low pressure fuel system it would be fine if it's secured right, not on anything fuel injected of course.
  13. mike bourg
    Joined: Dec 15, 2007
    Posts: 161

    mike bourg

    why would you not run copper on fuel injection, are you worried about pressure???, have you ever checked the burst strength of copper tubing?? If installed correctly it will take anything a injection system will put out..
    normal pressure in a house system is 75 to 125 psi. and they run soft copper line for sinks all the time..
    Mike B
  14. jmschristiansen
    Joined: Oct 22, 2008
    Posts: 15


    I lived a couple years in southern Argentina, and had a DKW (3 cylinders, two stroke, home-made ignition) All the brake lines on it, and the only available replacements, were copper. Never had any problems.
  15. dave lewis
    Joined: Dec 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,367

    dave lewis

    NAPA sells cunifer brake line in bulk.. Do a search, we debated it to death here.
    It is great looking, easy to bend and flare, and is DOT approved..
  16. dbradley
    Joined: Jan 6, 2007
    Posts: 1,036


    Its not the pressure, its the vibration. If you work copper back and forth it will harden and crack........
  17. Shifty Shifterton
    Joined: Oct 1, 2006
    Posts: 4,964

    Shifty Shifterton

    Those chrome holley feed lines that they've been selling for decades? All the ones I've butchered up were either copper or brass across the cut line.........
  18. 54chebby
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 161

    from Ohio

    Napa has it. Its called EZ Bend. $40 for 25ft roll. Just plumbed my '30 Dodge with it last week. Bent every line by hand no bender.
  19. johnnykck
    Joined: Dec 22, 2005
    Posts: 1,025


    I use copper fuel line, vacuum lines on almost every car I build and I've used copper oil lines on harleys. Never had a problem with one breaking, if they are supported they will last forever. Some of the lines I've made have been in service for years. Have you ever seen old car engines and even old airplane engines, they usually have copper lines for oil and fuel and it is not the easy way out, copper kinks easier than steel lines because it is softer and polishing those lines after you've bent them isn't that easy either. Some pictures of the lines i did last week.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2009
  20. lostforawhile
    Joined: Mar 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,160


    i guess it's just me, as long as the lines are secured it's not going to break,needs flexible connections between the engine and line of course. my "project" runs factory steel lines inside of the car, so it makes me a little bit nervous and i will probably run steel.
  21. S.F.
    Joined: Oct 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,894


    Yeah, copper fuel line is totally fine. Steel line is just easier to find.
  22. Drive Em
    Joined: Aug 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,748

    Drive Em

    I have been using copper for years, and nothing looks more traditional than copper line with brass fittings:

    This car has copper lines, and a wooden frame!!
  23. 972toolmaker
    Joined: Feb 28, 2008
    Posts: 216

    from Garland Tx

    I think everyone is missing the point. Gasoline reacts with copper quickly ,damn near instantly. You get green crud stopping up those tiny passages inside your carburator. I luv it how the same idoits cuss the carb or person tagt built it,Bet hey those lines sure are shiny. Are we building hot rods or posers?
  24. johnnykck
    Joined: Dec 22, 2005
    Posts: 1,025


    Never had a problem with that, don't know what you mean. Been running copper fuel lines for a lot of years on all kinds of stuff. I check my fuel filter once a year and never had any green crud in it and just because I'm building a Hotrod doesn't mean I can't make it look nice.
  25. 1931av8
    Joined: Jun 2, 2008
    Posts: 389


    My 1962 Rochester fuel injection came straight from GM with copper lines from the fuel distribution spider to the injector. If it was good enough for the General, good enough for me. I have never seen these with internal corrosion.

    They make double wall copper tubing. Has a high burst strength. Seen it used for applications in excess of 1200psi. Should work at brake pressure? Might be difficult to plumb with ordinary double 45 flare fittings, however.

  26. If this was the case then my carbs after 30,000 miles should be a lump of green crud.

    Again, if your going by what others have said instead of actually having experienced it you're a fool.

  27. johnnykck
    Joined: Dec 22, 2005
    Posts: 1,025


    Volks Wagen (VW) also used copper fuel lines until 1960.
  28. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    from Texas

    I think the main thrust of this thread was NOT to use copper lines for BRAKE SYSTEM applications.

    Everybody and their brother has used copper for fuel and water lines on cars at some time in their lives...or they're fibbing just a little. Not that there's anything wrong with that or little fibs either.
  29. leon renaud
    Joined: Nov 12, 2005
    Posts: 1,935

    leon renaud
    from N.E. Ct.

    Warning !CT. Guys Ct. does not allow "copper "lines for brake or fuel lines!I'm talking true copper not the Cunifer stuff I bet that you would have to have a copy of the DOT papers to prove to the Composite inspectors that you have DOT approved lines.I'm betting that if it looks copper they would fail it. I'm going to check this stuff out at NAPA tomorrow does it flair with regular tubing flair tools or do you need that 375$ flairing tool?

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