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Technical Copper low pressure lines?

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by drew1987, Jun 12, 2020.

  1. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 620

    drew1987

    Hey all,

    I'm a big fan of the copper-nickle stuff for brakes. Bends easy, never rusts... but I was wondering, for transmission, fuel, vacuum, and anything else with very little pressure, how would regular copper tubing work? i've got a couple big rolls of it (for house purposes), and was thinking it would be great for under the hood.

    Any reason its a bad idea?
     
  2. Country Joe
    Joined: Jan 16, 2018
    Posts: 198

    Country Joe
    Member

    I don't think there would be a problem. Even high pressure. Copper water lines in the house can handle well over 100psi.
     
  3. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,533

    jetnow1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    Not good if subject to movement/vibration. Copper work hardens quickly. Ok if used in a fixed position
    but be sure it will not be flexing.
     
    rockable, trollst, Budget36 and 3 others like this.
  4. Country Joe
    Joined: Jan 16, 2018
    Posts: 198

    Country Joe
    Member

    Good point. Would annealed copper work for handling vibration?
     
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  5. wuga
    Joined: Sep 21, 2008
    Posts: 332

    wuga
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    To loose an engine or transmission because a line cracked isn't worth the cost of 25' of good line. The copper will crack!

    Warren
     
  6. jockeyshift41
    Joined: Mar 23, 2020
    Posts: 33

    jockeyshift41
    Member
    from Florida

    IMG_0005.JPG I made a copper oil line to feed my top end on my knuckle. Broke once in thirty years, about twenty years ago. I check it constantly since. Low pressure in Harleys though. Once in a blue moon I polish it up.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  7. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,345

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    Before the nylon line , most all mechanical oil pressure gauges used copper line , in both the engine compartment & the passenger compartment ...there wasn't as many lawyers then ....
     
  8. 67L36Driver
    Joined: Jun 1, 2020
    Posts: 67

    67L36Driver

    But, it’s out in front of god and everybody.
     
  9. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,101

    squirrel
    Member

    Some used steel, such as Chevy trucks that had mechanical oil pressure gauges in the 60s-70s.

    I've had copper oil pressure gauge lines crack. I also had an OEM steel gauge line crack, on my 66 Suburban.

    I would use steel or nicop for the fuel line and transmission cooler lines and brakes of course, but you can use copper for stuff like the radiator overflow, vacuum lines, etc.
     
    flatford39 and Desoto291Hemi like this.
  10. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 620

    drew1987

    Thanks all!

    Yes the oil pressure guage that came with my car (scared to use it cause 30psi is pegged and my SBC runs 35-40) had copper... good point!

    I tend to use rubber between moving parts... like for example, there is metal on my fuel pump and metal from my tank, but 10" of rubber mate them... same with the firewall mounted pressure regulator and the carb... all have rubber somewhere to take the vibration away. In light of that, should be fine, right? I would be most interest in using it for vacuum lines and tranny lines... stuff like that.

    That said, copper nickle... thats as durable is regular steel, right?
     
  11. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,533

    jetnow1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    I know of someone who had her Mercedes engine rebuilt, the garage suggested replacing the line for the oil pressure gauge, she thought they were trying to run up the already considerable bill, they refused to
    warrantee the motor when the line blew and she lost oil pressure.
     
  12. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,156

    BamaMav
    Member
    from Berry, AL

    I still do. Put a couple of loops in at the engine for the vibration. I’ve melted more than one nylon line, no more.
     
  13. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 620

    drew1987

    reminds me of sticking gas pedals... Toyota was crucified for it. Many, many throttle plates before that met me and a toothbrush/can of carb cleaner. Cant blame a car for being old, unless youve got a lawyer lol

    the nylon thing scares me, for sure. I've considered ditching my guage for a light. Worked fine for the hundreds and hundreds of thousand of miles i've put on modern crap.




    So for things like tranny and vacuum and such, is copper bad? cause i dont mind copper nickle if its superior, i am just sick of working with the steel stuff
     
  14. MAD MIKE
    Joined: Aug 1, 2009
    Posts: 494

    MAD MIKE
    Member
    from 94577

    I would not use CU for AT lines, epecially annealed CU.
    Have done some pressure checking on various transmissions, and under load it can be up to 200Psi and pressure spikes above 300Psi. ATF is quite flammable, don't risk it.
     
  15. krylon32
    Joined: Jan 29, 2006
    Posts: 6,280

    krylon32
    Alliance Vendor
    from Nebraska

    Some copper line is not designed to handle some of the chemicals involved in automotive fluids.
     
  16. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,345

    BJR
    Member

    I have used copper for gas lines, vacuum lines, transmission lines and oil pressure gauges. Like has been said, fasten it down so it doesn't move. For oil pressure gauges put a few coils or loops of copper line between the firewall and the engine for vibration. Been doing this for 55 years and never had an issue. :D Never use copper for brake lines. :eek:
     
    bchctybob likes this.
  17. I've had hot oil sprayed on my foot a few times with copper tubing... no more. Electric for me now.... LOL
     
    mrhp likes this.
  18. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,156

    BamaMav
    Member
    from Berry, AL

    Yeah, any of it can fail. At least the electric usually doesn't do more than smoke you out when it shorts out. LOL!
     
  19. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 2,147

    deathrowdave
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from NKy

    Sulfur is bad for copper , as in diesel fuel . It’s good for about 150 psi internal pressure
     
  20. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 620

    drew1987

    Thanks all. Now how about cooper nickel? None of the concerns of copper-only apply right? Durable as steel?


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  21. Nicop looks like copper but won't work harden and is easy to work with, seems to hold up good for me so far.
     
  22. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 620

    drew1987

    shawnsauto1 likes this.

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