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Technical Ref: the red/see through fuel line...need to know

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Thunder Road, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. Mike
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 3,531


    I ran that clear red fuel hose on a dual carbed flathead in a '48 Ford about 15 years ago. It looked great for about a month or so, then it faded to an ugly orange color and became gummy to the touch. It looked like crap and with the gumminess, I thought it was likely to fail, so I ditched it all and switched to the standard, black nitrile hose. I won't fool with that stuff again.

    I have a buddy who bent up some nice steel fuel lines for his flathead, and carefully covered them with the clear, red fuel hose because he liked the look. It looked good, and since it was not exposed to fuel, it did not discolor or become gummy. Though I think the plain, nicely bent steel lines would look better.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018
    Joined: Jun 15, 2006
    Posts: 3,385


    Another issue is the use of slotted hose clamps on a fuel line, should use a smooth "fuel Line clamp"!! Just pick in....
    5window likes this.
  3. after reading all the horror stories i decided to check out my fuel line. it was bought about three years ago and has a couple seasons of driving on it. car has a full hood so the hose did not see much sunlight, but was subjected to high under hood temperatures and is kept in an unheated garage, this hose has seen temperatures of -6° to 210°. first i tried to pull the hose off the barb. just pulling it would not release, so i gently cut with a razor knife, so as not to score the hose barb, i still had a heel of a time getting it to come off, best way to get it off was to score it and twist with a pair of pliers. DSCF0002.JPG DSCF0001.JPG DSCF0003.JPG DSCF0004.JPG
    Stogy and egads like this.
  4. this hose seamed fine and i don't think it would have failed any time soon but because of all the negative opinions i decided to give it a test. first i took the smaller of the two lines [rear carb] and put a gage in one end and a hose fitting in the other end, i then plugged it into an air line. over 110 psi held fine. DSCF0007.JPG
    Stogy, Surfcityrocker and egads like this.
  5. to test just how much tension i could put on it, i took the longer hose and put a hose barb in the end, slid a washer over and then put a clamp on it. i slipped this into the arm on my snow plow pump, put he other end of the hose through the plow chain and tried to lift the plow. at full height the hose had stretched but didn't fail. so i lowered the arm and pulled the hose tighter [pre stretching it]. i then tried to lift the plow [600lbs?] it still didn't lift, but had stretched without breaking. so i pre stretched it some more [as hard as i could by hand] and repeated with the same results. DSCF0008.JPG DSCF0009.JPG DSCF0010.JPG
  6. as i was looking around the shop for some other way to "test" the hose i decided to run it through the slip roll. three or four passes through distorted and stretched the hose really flat but it looked fine. i then spotted the sheet metal break and adjusted it "tight". even after bending it over 90 degrees it looked fine. DSCF0011.JPG DSCF0012.JPG
    J.Ukrop, Stogy and egads like this.
  7. would it still hold pressure? i hooked the gage up and plugged it in.
    compressor has kicked the pressure up to 125 psi................. DSCF0013.JPG
    J.Ukrop, Stogy and egads like this.
  8. the only failure i observed was one of the hose clamps broke when i was taking it off, but to be honste i do not believe i even needed the clamp.
    ordering more red fuel line with confidence........... DSCF0014.JPG
    J.Ukrop, Stogy, egads and 3 others like this.
  9. fordf1trucknut
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 1,117


    Wow a lot tougher than I would have thought!!!!
    5window likes this.
  10. mountainman2
    Joined: Sep 16, 2013
    Posts: 322


    Thanks for the testing. Results would undoubtedly vary with the brand/source of hose. So.......????????
  11. i bought it from Speedway.
    Stogy and dana barlow like this.
  12. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,977


    Now you are confusing things with factual data. Thanks for running the tests. Maybe at least some of it is a lot better than the stories would have us believe.
    tb33anda3rd likes this.
  13. Now tb33anda3rd when do we get to the part where you busted out in flames though ?

    Sent from my SM-J727T1 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    tb33anda3rd likes this.
  14. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 14,634

    from oregon

    Never used it, don't ever plan on using it, still gotta ask what's the attraction to this stuff?
  15. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,887


    I think one of us Hambers has a saying by an old engineer as a signature, something like:

    One test result is worth more than a hundred opinions.

    Excellent testing TB33.
    tb33anda3rd likes this.
  16. clem
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 3,223


    Warm in hot water, approximately 65-80 degrees celcius. Only put the amount of fuel line in the hot water that needs to be on the fitting .
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  17. clem
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 3,223


    Guess you can put it back on your car now that it has proved to be ok.
  18. i still want to see what it takes to make this fail. plastics/vinyl have come a long way. most all cars built today use plastic fuel lines under high pressure. when i removed the hose from the car it was about 40°. i think i will leave the hose outside in the weather and do more testing when it is colder.
    i put it on the car because that is what my dad used when he built it. i think it looks way better than a plain black line. when i was a kid i ran the Russel stainless braided line. at two years old, i smelled fuel while driving the car and pulled over to find, that despite looking perfect, the rubber under the braid had broken down and was seeping. i will never use something that i can't see or feel the condition of, again. within the last 10 years i have seen black rubber hoses fail, after only a couple years time.
    i am not pushing anyone into using it, i needed to sleep at night, and feel comfortable driving my car. make your own decision.
    like everything sold today, i am sure there are good and bad.
    like every rumor out there, there are good and bad..........
    Stogy and egads like this.
  19. Did my own test!:p
    Jet96, blowby, Surfcityrocker and 3 others like this.
  20. Some random thoughts:
    >I'm foggy on this, but it seems like I remember the red hose way back then having a ribbed or fluted outer surface.(?)
    >It has to become brittle and fail to be considered "traditional". If it's surgical grade and holds up, it's not.
    >I do recall one positive use for the "see through" factor. I had an acquaintance with a stumble-and-die issue with his '62 Chevy. It had lots of engine chrome and the red hose (And a chain and padlock hanging under the front [remember those?] to advertise to friendlies and thieves alike that he had goodies under the hood.) An extra long length of the red stuff ran from somewhere out of sight, low on the driver's side firewall, all the way to the fuel pump. We were eyeballin' the idling engine and scratching our heads when I took a close look at that long run of hose. I could see a series of small bubbles in the fuel flow start to develop at the back of the block and grow to a chain of connecting, 6" long bubbles by the time it made the turn to the pump at the front of the block. The moral of the story was Hey, Bardahl Breath! Don't run the fuel line next to the hot exhaust manifold! You'll get vapor lock. Sub-moral: In this case, the transparent hose made diagnosis simple.
  21. badvolvo
    Joined: Jul 25, 2011
    Posts: 472


    Never leaked on me, can't say that for the strombergs it's feeding.
  22. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,801

    from Zoar, Ohio

    I have both heard and seen these fail.
    No rumors. Fact.
    Your test seems good but I don’t think I’d base using it on a few tests when years of time tested failures speak differently.
    I would have never have posted your test for fear others may be misguided.
  23. Dan Timberlake
    Joined: Apr 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,304

    Dan Timberlake

    Hi tb33anda3rd,

    Just to be sure, the fuel line you tested went from red to yellow in about 2 seasons. Did you mention where you bought it, and if there are any markings on the fuel line itself?


    Dan T
  24. it went from red to yellow/orange, in the first season.
    i bought it from speedway and it has no markings.
  25. i showed the results because of the insults that were flying around, i did the test for me, not for a bunch of grumpy old bastards. you stated you used it until some old guys told you it was a problem [that by definition is a rumor] and didn't state you "seen" it till late in the discussion. was it actually the hose that failed? how old? was it damaged at one time? was it installed wrong? without this info, it is rumor that the hose failed. read what you quoted from me: "there are good and bad". my idea was not to call anyone a lier and forgive me if you took it that way. i did state that i believe plastics have gotten better, lots of things have. rumor in the '60's cigarettes are good for you. except for hrp no else actually seen it happen. most that replied said they used it but didn't have a problem and changed when they heard a story, a couple guys even said they never used it, never seen a problem and would never use it.
    i have seen the braided line fail, i have seen rubber line fail, recently and many times.
    please do not use the clear red hose, it will break and catch your car on fire.
  26. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,801

    from Zoar, Ohio

    Hold on there. No need to be defensive. I’m all for testing and spent most of my life doing just that in quality control. I think your test was thorough, the only other test that could help would be a durameter reading.
    So good in fact I fear it may persuade those who haven’t had bad experiences to try it.
    Yes, just because I didn’t mention my personal experience doesn’t mean I wasn’t audience to a failure. It scared me enough to hope no one ever uses it.
    Yes there may be new materials being used. But I won’t take chances on my personal property.
  27. I have used the Coloured fuel lines for 25 years on vintage scooters, bikes, cars. They never failed.
    On the other hand I had problems with the black "better" ones twice.
    On one car they started to crack at the bends, luckily I found out early enough.
    I also had the black ones on my 50 Merc. Three years ago I drove the car out of the garage after hibernation , when suddenly the fuel line broke and fuel was sprayed over the engine. Luckily the engine was still cold, if this happens 30 minutes later .....kaboom Batman.

    The coloured ones always lost the colour after a while and got hard as wood, but they never broke on any of my vehicles. That's just my experience with fuel lines, but that does not mean the coloured ones are always better.
    tb33anda3rd likes this.
  28. stay tuned for further testing.
    egads and ct1932ford like this.
  29. hose has been sitting out in the weather since sunday. pulled it out of a snow bank and decided to fill it with water and plug the ends. i then threw it into the bird bath. to be continued..... DSCF0008.JPG DSCF0009.JPG
    ct1932ford, egads and Surfcityrocker like this.

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