Big Hairstyles to Bullet-Proof Hose

That hair, like stainless steel hose, is so 80s!

That hair, like stainless steel hose, is so 80s!

I plumbed the front brake, rear brake and clutch reservoirs today. I upgraded the supplied Wilwood master cylinders and remote reservoirs with ones from Tilton. Amongst other benefits, the Tiltons feature -4 AN outlets rather than push-on barbs. Having made that change, I needed to figure out what type of hose to use because brake fluid is highly toxic and eats through all types of things including most types of automotive hose. This usually means that you need to use Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) hose jacketed in stainless steel.

I used to love stainless hose, but that was in the 80s when I was in high school. IMO, stainless steel hose is as dated as 80's big hair... well, at least the music has stood the test of time! Beyond dated looks, it's heavy and real pain-in-the-ass to install. I will use it where lines are exposed to road debris, but no where else. If you're wondering, I do have the Koul Tools which makes it much easier to install hose ends, but installation goes pretty much like this; I get stabbed, I bleed, and then I swear like a sailor.

In any event, the Aeroquip Startlite hose that I'm using elsewhere isn't compatible with brake fluid and Aeroquip's PFTE hose has a stainless steel jacket... what to do? I found some really nice aramid-braided PFTE hose from Goodridge which can be bought from Pegasus Auto Racing. It's not cheap, but it has lots of benefits; it's:

  • Extremely easy to install; no special tools, no bleeding, and no profanity
  • Lightweight; about 43% lighter than stainless
  • Very flexible; 2-3 times smaller bend radius than standard hose
  • Bullet proof; the aramid sheathing is ballistic-rated for body armor, I have no plan to test that!
  • High-pressure rating; the -4 AN hose is rated to 1,320 psi

In the picture below the foremost object is the PFTE liner with the sheathing removed. This exposes the convoluted outside diameter which is what provides the super-flexible bend radius. Note that the interior diameter is completely smooth. The middle objects are the hose ends. The silver part simply slides over the hose and the black part threads into the hose. The top object shows how flexible the hose is.

The installation instructions suggest that you wrap the point to be cut with low-stick painter's tape. A Dremel cut-off wheel makes a clean cut, but I found that removing the tape caused fraying which was a hassle to stuff into the silver collar. I began using a couple wraps of Teflon tape before the painter's tape which significantly reduced the amount of fraying. I latter figured out that I could just wrap the hose exactly one time with a 1/4" wide piece of painter's tape. After removing any small frays with a high-quality micro shear (I like Xuron), I was able to simply twist the silver collar on without removing the 1/8" of tape (the 1/4" tape was cut in the middle). After putting a couple drops of light oil on the threads, you twist the end on until it's tight and then you spin the silver collar a couple of times... that's it. 

Ok, on to the install. It's important that the lines always pitch up towards the reservoir or are at worst horizontal, to facilitate bleeding the system. You want all air bubbles to flow up to the reservoir and out of the system. I considered keeping all of the bulkhead fittings at the same height, but I couldn't get the hose to lay properly. So I decided to increase the of the bulkhead fittings from left to right. Everything is above the fittings on the pedals and below the fittings on the reservoir. Note that the "horizontal" hose does slope up a bit. To keep the hoses in place I designed and 3D printed a custom bracket.