Has your brake line sprung a leak? Before shelling out big bucks to replace the entire line, consider splicing it instead. Splicing lets you replace just the damaged section rather than the whole thing. Sound intimidating? It’s easier than you think when you follow this DIY guide to splicing brake lines.
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide:
To splice a brake line, first raise and secure the vehicle. Cut out the damaged section of brake line plus a bit extra on both ends. Flare the newly cut tube ends using a brake flaring tool to form a cone shape. Connect the lines by sliding a brake line union over one flared end, inserting the other flared end into it halfway, and tightening snugly. Finally, bleed the brakes to remove any air introduced during splicing.
What You’ll Need To Get Started
Don’t let the brake fluid leak for long! Once you’ve spotted damage to the line, gather up:
- Brake line flaring tool
- Brake line cutter
- Replacement brake line tubing
- Brake line fittings
- Safety glasses & gloves
This brake line repair toolkit contains the essentials for making secure, leak-free joints by flaring cut tube ends so they seal tightly.
Inspect Damaged Brake Line
Safely jack up your vehicle and secure it on stands before inspecting the brake line. Locate holes, rubbing damage or corrosion on the line. Use emery cloth to scrub corrosion off the steel brake tube.
Determine the length of damaged tubing that needs to come out. You’ll cut it out and splice the good brake line on either side back together.
Removing Damaged Section
With safety glasses on, use the brake tube cutter to cut out the visibly damaged length of tube plus a bit extra on both sides. Make nice, clean 90-degree angle cuts so the line splices back together straight.
Now use a file, emery paper or deburring blade to smooth out any rough edges on cut tube ends so they slide easily into fittings later on.
Flare Cut Tube Ends
Insert one freshly cut tube end into the brake line flaring tool. Flaring squeezes the end outward to a cone shape that seals against brake fittings. Apply pressure and make one nicely formed, conical brake line flare on each cut end.
Connecting Brake Line With Splice
Slide a brake line union over one flared tube end. Insert the other flared end into the union halfway and tighten it snugly in place with a wrench. Now you’ve spliced the brake line back together!
Reinstall Brake Line
Check that your spliced brake line runs smoothly without rubbing or kinking before reinstalling. Use brackets to secure along the original route safety stands before starting any brake system work.
Bleeding Brakes to Finish
Nearly done! After reconnecting the line, bleed brake fluid through each wheel to purge any air bubbles introduced during splicing. Air in lines causes brakes to feel “spongy” or weak. Follow a brake bleeding sequence to get each line fully primed.
Keep yourself safe by wearing gloves and eye protection when dealing with brake fluids and lines. And never open a hot engine’s cooling system when bleeding!
Make sure your brake pedal feels firm and high after bleeding, like it did before you needed this repair. Now go ahead and take your vehicle for an easy test drive in a parking lot. Check for leaks or dripping where you spliced to confirm everything is sealed up tight before hitting the open road again.
Still have concerns about tackling a brake line splice? Here’s help with some frequent questions:
1. Is splicing brake line safe?
Yes, a properly spliced brake line using the correct tube flaring procedures can be equally as safe and durable as a brand new brake line. Just make sure to bleed properly.
2. Can you drive with a spliced brake line?
Only once fully bled! Any air bubbles reduce braking capacity. If pedal feels at all spongy or sinks with light pressure, bleed brake system again before driving.
3. Why does brake pedal sink after brake line splice?
That likely indicates air remained trapped in the line. Re-bleed all wheels with helper carefully following proper brake bleeding protocol.
4. Brake feels spongy after replacing line?
Soft brake pedal even after thorough bleeding points to either air remaining trapped somewhere in system or master brake cylinder failing internally. Have a mechanic inspect.
Hopefully your DIY brake line splice went smoothly and braking feels normal again immediately after bleeding the repaired line. But if any doubt exists about brake system integrity or you lack proper tools for the job, always rely on a certified mechanic’s expertise! It’s not worth the risk to yourself and others to have compromised vehicle brakes out on the roads.
Stay safe and enjoy more happy miles in your ride!