Brake lines are one of the most important parts of any vehicle, but they are also one of the least understood and most often overlooked portions of the vehicle's anatomy. There are a number of different types of brake lines, as well as different types of brake line fittings, and many of them are specific to certain brake systems and are not interchangeable between different vehicles or even between different sections of the brake line system on the same vehicle.
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One of the main types of brake line fittings is the flare nut. Flare nuts are used in plumbing and in other applications where a watertight or airtight seal is needed. A flare nut is a threaded, bevelled nut that is placed on a brake line, then the brake line is flared around it so the nut is captive and will not come off. The bevelled portion of the flare nut is a slight cone shape and this cone corresponds with the bell-shaped flare made in the brake line. The flare nut threads onto the next section of brake conduit, sealing the connection by compressing the brake line flare against the cone shape of the flare nut.
Another type of brake line fitting is the banjo bolt. A banjo bolt is a special bolt that has a hole drilled in it to allow fluid to pass through the head of the bolt and down through the shaft of the bolt without escaping the system or allowing air into the system. Banjo bolts are used to mount brake calipers; they are threaded through a square fitting on the end of a brake hose that has a round opening, allowing the bolt to pass through. Crush washers, or washers that are meant to compress under load, are placed around either side, and the fitting is then tightened until it is airtight and no brake fluid can escape.
Another type of brake line fitting is the union. A union is a type of flare fitting that is used to join two shorter pieces of brake line tubing to create a longer section. Flare nuts are threaded into either end of the union, then the brake line becomes airtight and watertight when complete.
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