Hydraulic brake lines carry brake fluid from the master cylinder to the disc brake calipers. Squeezing the front or rear brake lever forces a flow of pressurised fluid to the caliper, pushing the caliper piston against the disc rotor. Hydraulic brake lines are made from Teflon tubing covered with durable braided stainless steel. Fittings at each end of the line connect to the master cylinder and a caliper. A degree of soldering experience is required to ensure the fittings hold up under pressure. Make your own hydraulic brake line for a motorcycle in a workshop.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Hydraulic brake line
- Masking tape
- Cable cutters
- Bench vice
- Solder flux
- Soldering gun
- 50-50 alloy solder
- Banjo fitting
- Threaded fitting
Establish the path of the brake line from the master cylinder to the front or rear brake caliper. Select a path that allows the line to be secured to the frame of the motorcycle in one or more places.
Position a length of hydraulic brake line along the path you selected, starting from the master cylinder. Configure gentle bends in the line to allow an unrestricted flow of brake fluid. Mark the overall length of the line where it will terminate at the caliper using several tight wraps of masking tape.
Cut the brake line to length with cable cutters. Remove any wraps of masking tape. Secure the brake line in a bench vice with one end of the cable extending two inches to one side of the vice.
Apply a coat of solder flux around the end of the braided stainless steel. Tint one inch at the end of the stainless steel with 50-50 solder heated with a soldering gun. Fully tint the circumference of the braided steel. Allow the solder to cool completely.
Apply a generous solder bond over the tint, completely around the circumference of the braided steel. Immediately push the banjo fitting onto the solder bond by hand and twist the fitting 1/8 rotation to ensure a uniform bond. Allow the soldered attachment to cool completely.
Reposition the brake line in the bench vice with the opposite end extending two inches to one side of the vice. Apply flux and tint one inch at the end of the line as before. Allow the solder to cool.
Apply a solder bond over the tint, completely around the circumference of the braided steel. Immediately push the threaded fitting onto the heated solder bond by hand and twist the fitting 1/8-rotation to ensure a uniform bond. Allow the soldered attachment to cool completely.
Tips and warnings
- Select the diameter brake line and fittings based on the brake system requirements, master cylinder and disc caliper.
- Wear work gloves when soldering.
- Do not use hard steel tubing and compression fittings to make hydraulic motorcycle brake lines.
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