How to Bend Brake Lines

Written by cassandra tribe
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Most home mechanics avoid replacing their own brake lines because of the seeming difficulty of bending the brake lines. Those who have tried to do this know how easy it is to kink the line and make it useless. The secret of the professional mechanic to bending brake lines is the use of a simple, manual tube bender. Once you understand how to use this tool you will have no problem bending your brake lines.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Permanent marker
  • Tube bender
  • Notepad (if needed)

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  1. 1

    Use a tape measure to find out where your first bend needs to be. Measure from the base of the fitting where the brake line will eventually be installed to the area in which you need the bend. Note the rough angle the bend needs to be.

  2. 2

    Measure from the base of the flare on your brake line to the point where the first bend needs to be. Add 1/2" to the measurement to allow for the bend and mark your brake line with a permanent marker.

  3. 3

    Slide your break line into the die of the tube bender. The die is the track between the two rollers (one roller attached to each handle). Place the mark you made in the centre of the two dies.

  4. 4

    Slowly move the handles of the tube bender together. Watch the side of the bender, at the dies, where there is an angle nameplate attached. This plate (which usually has the name of the manufacture on it) has the angle degrees marked. Squeeze the bender handles until the gauge hits the angle on the nameplate you need. Release the handles and withdraw the brake line.

Tips and warnings

  • The job will go faster if you make yourself a "map" of the bends needed. Sketch your brake line on a notepad and indicate the measurements between bends and the angles needed. This way you can make all your bend angles at once.
  • Bend your brake lines slowly. If you go too fast you may kink the brake line and you will not be able to use it. All the bends in the brake line must be smooth or the fluid will become blocked in the line and your brakes will not work.

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