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Double flaring brake lines

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by bobj49f2, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,791

    bobj49f2
    Member

    I am in the process of plumbing the brake system for my '37 Buick. I've done my share of brake work but I'm not an expert. Usually if I needed to replace a line I'd buy a premade piece and install it and if I needed a longer run I'd buy two pieces that made up the length and joined them with the proper brake line union. On the Buick I decided I want to run solid pieces of brake line from point to point. This is the first time I've ever made my own double flared ends. Before starting I searched the HAMB to find out how the "experts" did it. I found some very helpful posts.

    I started by borrowing a double flaring kit from Advance Auto, the place I bought my line from. I attempted about 10-15 times to do a double flare and I wasn't successful at any. The groves in the clamp were pretty smooth and I didn't think they were gripping the tubing properly. I borrowed a kit from a friend and my luck changed. After doing about 5 crappy flares I hit on how to do them. I still didn't do them 100% but I got decent. I even had my 17 year old son doing them, he did about as good as me. After I did a successful flare I cleaned it off and inspected it under a magnifying glass for any flaws or cracks. I did this with all of the "good" flares. Of the flares I thought looked good from just casually looking at them about 25% had minor flaws I found under the magnifying glass and I rejected them. I don't think I was being too picky, I just wanted to make sure they were as close to perfect as possible.

    I got to thinking, how many people who do their own lines ever really closely look at their finished product before threading them on and tightening them up? Even the pros, do they closely scrutinize their flares before installing them? I think this is a very important part and it wouldn't take much of a flaw in the system for a catastrophic result.
     
  2. Jason Vohland
    Joined: Mar 26, 2011
    Posts: 23

    Jason Vohland
    Member
    from Reno, NV

    Good loking out
     
  3. old lady's mad
    Joined: Mar 18, 2007
    Posts: 173

    old lady's mad
    Member

    ill tell you i work on cars everyday. ive tried before several times to double flare and i cant. ive heard the hydrolic tools are the best way to get a good flare. some people can do it some cant. i just buy several diffrent lengths and do it that way. for one thing if you ever have a problem you can just replace that peice.
     
  4. Willy301
    Joined: Nov 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,426

    Willy301
    Member

    I have run numerous brake lines while double flaring them and I have to admit that I do not scrutinize them to that extent. I do make sure they tighten down and even a small seep after seating them gets them rejected, but if there is no leak detected, they stay, and I have never had a failure.
     
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  5. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,791

    bobj49f2
    Member

    Like I said, I read many HAMB posts before starting this stage of the project. Most, if not all, had posters recommending the hydraulic tools and I've looked at the ones suggested but for the guy working on his own car those are just not feasible. I don't plan on ever doing another restoration after this one, well, after the truck I have to finish after I finish the Buick, so I'm not going to dish out $200-400 for a tool. Like most, I have to do with the lower priced tools. I'm not looking for an easier way to make the flares, I read all the suggestions, I was only wondering how many people really scrutinize their flares. I don't think there is a more important part of a car than the brakes. I always tell people it's more important to stop than to go.
     
  6. TooManyFords
    Joined: May 21, 2008
    Posts: 553

    TooManyFords
    Member
    from Peotone IL

    Been flaring lines for 30 years. Do them almost every week. I bought my Imperial double flare tool in the early 80s and still use it now. I am not sure why people have all these problems. As long as you use a sharp tubing cutter, measure the correct over hang and have the line straight it is fairly simple. Really dont give it a second thought. Maybe you are trying to hard? Cant remember the last bad one I made.
     
  7. SuddenDeath
    Joined: Apr 23, 2010
    Posts: 186

    SuddenDeath
    Member
    from Florida

    Not long ago I had to make new brake lines for my car. What a pain. Like you, I couldn't see spending $300-400 on a hydraulic tool. I checked my flares against store bought ones and it took me a couple of days' practice to get them right/acceptable. The bar clamp supplied with the tool just wouldn't hold the line tight enough while doing the flaring. It wasn't readily visible, but it was slipping, causing my flare to be off center. I finally found that by setting it up, clamping it tightly by hand, then locking the entire assembly in a vise, I got perfect flares! After making countless failed flares, it felt good to find a method that worked with the tools I had.
     
  8. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,791

    bobj49f2
    Member

    That's a major part, I found once a got a better tool from my neighbor the flares improved a lot but what seemed to help is not going full force in making them. My flares got a lot better but I still looked at every one under the magnifying glass just to make sure they didn't have a slight flaw. The magnifying glass I am using it the large type mounted on a flexible shaft with a florescent light.
     
  9. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,791

    bobj49f2
    Member

    Blasted, I agree with your suggestion but instead of using a bolt I am using a sturdy C clamp to bring the middle closer together. I realized after I got my neighbor's tool that there was a small gap in the middle of the clamp. The tubing I am using would slip out. I also am using the more flexible type of line with the green coating. After cutting the tube to length I buff off about 3/4" of the coating, bevel the outer edge slightly, clamp it in the tool and then use a reamer to bevel the inside of the tube. I also apply a small amount of brake fluid to the first flaring die to make things go smoother. I got pretty successful at double flaring for a beginner.
     
  10. Triggerman
    Joined: Nov 18, 2006
    Posts: 578

    Triggerman
    Member
    from NorCal

    To answer your original question, I have never inspected my flares with a magnifying glass and I finally popped for the Mastercool hydraulic flaring kit when faced with building all the brakes lines for 56NoBrakes Model A. Maybe, with my eyesight diminishing, I should look at them that way though.
     
  11. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,791

    bobj49f2
    Member

    Triggerman, same here, I don't trust a casually visual inspection any more. I don't use a super high powered magnifying glass, just something that magnifies the part 10 times the size. It helps to have it around for many other projects and to read small lettering on things like small drill bits.
     
  12. Vergil
    Joined: Dec 10, 2005
    Posts: 783

    Vergil
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I found when you do the final step on the flare don't crank it down tight, when you install the fitting let the male seat finish the flare seat when you tighten it. Oh and no I don't inspect the flare other than a quick visual to see if it is concentric.
     
  13. rynogeezy
    Joined: Feb 28, 2011
    Posts: 55

    rynogeezy
    Member
    from seattle

    never had to check mine.... just dont tighten till it bottoms out and gets hard to turn,its not really rocket science once its torqued on,main thing is consistency in the surface area.you dont want one side flared and the other to only be half a flare etc.my two cents.
     
  14. rynogeezy
    Joined: Feb 28, 2011
    Posts: 55

    rynogeezy
    Member
    from seattle

    and what he said lol.also from what i found using one that is intended for satainless line makes things so much easier.
     
  15. Crease
    Joined: May 7, 2002
    Posts: 2,879

    Crease
    Member

    I have never been able to get the cheaper flaring tools to double flare. As a last ditch effort before buying a high dollar flaring kit, I went to Sears and picked one up. Looks just like the cheapo ones, but gives me excellent results.
     
  16. rynogeezy
    Joined: Feb 28, 2011
    Posts: 55

    rynogeezy
    Member
    from seattle

    i had to use a ridgid one after the harbor freight one fell on its face! im thinking im gonna spend the loot and get a nice classic tube kit,it just screams get it done
     
  17. Vimtage Iron
    Joined: Feb 28, 2010
    Posts: 503

    Vimtage Iron
    Member

    The imperial tooling is what I use also and seems to work very well, the starter buttons in the kit for each size line used are important, put the tail end of the clamp tool in a vice put your line in the correct size grip hole, using the starter tool turn it with the point up and use it for a measure of how much tubing sticks thru the grip hole,the height of the flat part of the button is all that is needed for tubing to stick thru the grip hole, tighten both clamps tight, of you notice on one end of the handle of the flaring tool it is notched, use this handle to finish tightning the grip tool the notch keeps the lever from slipping out of the wing nut, put a couple drops of oil on the starter tool, both sides, this helps the tool bend the pipe and the hand tool to tun easier in the cup, once that starter button is flat on the grip tool remove it and use the flare tool to finish the flare, another drop of oil on the end of the flare tool helps it also.
     
  18. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,476

    Engine man
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    I have an old set that I bought in 1971 that works great. I was at a friends shop and he was trying to use a new kit and couldn't get it to work. The tubing cutter was leaving the cut too pointed so the insert wouldn't set it properly and the clamp would slip. I used a step drill to clean the cuts and put the clamp in a vise and got good results. They don't use stiff enough metal in the clamps. I ground off the chrome on the outside and ran a flat bead of weld with 7018 rod on it. It still fit the flaring tool but had a slight curve out at the end. Tighten the nut nearest the tube first then the one at the other end. Stiffened it right up.
     
  19. nexxussian
    Joined: Mar 14, 2007
    Posts: 3,231

    nexxussian
    Member

    "Traditional" double flaring tools have always given me fits for having a good double flare (sometimes it wouldn't happen).

    I've noticed that the older kits seem to be easier to ues, regardless of brand.

    But I found a new tool that I have yet to make a bad flare with (I've plumbed the brakes on two cars.

    http://www.tooltopia.com/mastercool...tm_term=MAS71480&utm_campaign=pricegrabber_r1

    It's the same one, but I remember it being cheaper, it would be worth shoping around.

    I've also read there is a mechancal one that goes in a vice that make the flare and "bubble" (upset, whatever you call it for the "double" part) all in one step, but I haven't actually seen one.
     
  20. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 26,238

    The37Kid
    Member

    Eastwood makes a great double flaring tool, I just wish I was better at bending lines and having them wind up how I want them the first time.
     
  21. 32ratsass
    Joined: Dec 14, 2007
    Posts: 258

    32ratsass
    Member

    Only one thing I would add to this post is, to avoid using a tubing cutter as it will "work harden" the end of the tube, and greatly increase the possibility of cracks in the flare. Cut the tube with a hacksaw, cutoff saw, Dremel, etc. De-burr inside, and outside of tube, and use lube. Imperial heavy duty flaring tool has worked for me for years, with very few failures, including stainless steel lines. The biggest problem I've had is forgetting to put the fitting on before flaring the tube, and that's easily seen without a magnifying glass.:eek:
     
  22. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,476

    Engine man
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    Always nice to get that perfect bend and double flare only to have forgotten the fitting:eek:
     
  23. JEM
    Joined: Feb 6, 2007
    Posts: 1,041

    JEM
    Member

    I'm quite happy with my Mastercool as well, though it's a bit heavy/bulky for doing position work on the car, and it'd be nice if the die blocks keyed into the end of the tool, or at least keyed together, so that you didn't need five hands to get everything lined up while you're trying to snug the dies down onto the tube.

    Now that I think about it, it ought to be possible to put the die blocks together, drill a couple holes outside the tube area, put a couple small rollpins in one side, then drill the holes in the other side out to make a slip-fit...

    When doing a flare with this thing, you do not need to use your superhero powers pumping on the handle, it's powerful enough to squash most flavors of brake and fuel-line tubing so flat against the die that it expands and won't fit inside the tube-seat fitting. Clark Kent effort works just fine.

    Also, if you're doing a push-connect fuel-line flare, put some lubricant on the forming die that slips over the end of the tube or you may be wrestling with the thing for ten minutes, heating the die with a torch, anything to get it off the tube, possibly wrecking the tube in the process, once the flare's complete.

    When in doubt practice on a scrap first.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2011
  24. Blown Mopar
    Joined: Oct 14, 2009
    Posts: 272

    Blown Mopar
    Member
    from abc

    I have never performed the quality control that you feel is necessary. I've been double flaring for a life time, never had one fail. If you can tighten it down and bleed it and it doesn't leak it would seem to me to be good. If it causes you that much concern, there aren't that many flares to be done. Take them to some one you trust and have them do them. The cost shouldn't be all that great.
     
  25. Idaho/Dave
    Joined: Jul 22, 2007
    Posts: 465

    Idaho/Dave
    Member
    from Idaho

    The Eastwood flaring tool also gets my vote, a great tool for the money, Dave
     
  26. striper
    Joined: Mar 22, 2005
    Posts: 4,482

    striper
    Member

    I use a KD tools hand flaring tool. I'll occasionally get a dud flare but they usually come out pretty good. I'll always look at them, sometimes give them a light file if needed or a buff on the wheel but never use a magnifying glass. I've done a couple of my own cars, a few for friends and lent the tool to another couple of friends. I don't think I've ever had a flare fail beyond needing to be cranked up a bit tighter.
     
  27. Sheep Dip
    Joined: Dec 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,572

    Sheep Dip
    Member
    from Central Ca

    I can remember the last bad one I made.......forgot the nut....Shit!!:mad:
     
  28. I did all the double flares on my 31 pontiac with a newly purchased Harbor Freight tool, the simple old fashioned one. Had no trouble. If you are using an old clamp that won't hold you are asking for trouble. That said, if you have the line sticking out to far you'll have issues too.
     
  29. bob giles
    Joined: Dec 4, 2007
    Posts: 147

    bob giles
    Member

    If you don't go the good tool route, get the line thats on the market now. I believe its called Cunifer. Its DOT approved and much easier to work with. 25 feet cost me $40.00. I believe its copper-nickle. Do a search on google
     

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