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Old 08-26-2013, 01:27 PM   #1
Kharn
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Default Tell me about copper/nickel alloy brake lines

My '02 Yukon XL 2500 (true, not a Subaru, but the Yukon forum I usually consult with is quite dead these days) has rusted brake lines, one blew after I replaced the hydrabooster over the weekend so I need to replumb them. Previously I'd only heard about stainless vs normal steel lines, now they offer plastic coated and copper/nickel alloy. My brother loaned me the tools necessary to do plain steel, will these work if I use Cu/Ni instead?

Is Cu/Ni worth double the cost of plastic-coated steel ($49 vs $24ish)? I hope to keep the truck for years to come, and Maryland has just adopted brine pretreatment in my area so I'm sure there's more salt on the road than previously.
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:25 PM   #2
PARANOID56
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the tools are the same. i would just go with coated steel again from the parts store. if you want to get crazy get some SS lines. make sure you know how to double flare lines also, if you have never done that practice lots before making your lines.
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:38 AM   #3
Kharn
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Any particular reason for the plastic-coated steel besides lower cost than the Cu/Ni? I don't have the tools to do my own SS, I'd have to buy a premade set ($200-400 from what I saw in a 20min search), but I can do either of the other types and have double-flared lines before.
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Old 08-27-2013, 02:49 PM   #4
Samurai Jack
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This may be your answer (?):

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Garage Journal Board
If it's Cunifer brake lines, they're fine. Cunifer is copper (Cu), Nickel (Ni), and Iron (Fe), and it was developed for use in marine applications where brackish water would be encountered (saltwater bilge, etc).

Cunifer tubing has been common in Europe for many years but I think it's fairly recent to the US.

For those wondering about the ease of bending the nickle/copper line, it bends similarly to a wire coat hanger. Very easy. The only thing I don't care for about the lines is the **** green color of it when I'm building custom applications where show is as important as function.
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Old 08-27-2013, 03:38 PM   #5
Patrick Olsen
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You can find some info in this thread. The one guy who chimes in with good info, jmp6889928, is also a member here, I think.
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:30 PM   #6
projectQWKSLVR
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Cool thing about copper/nickel is it will never rust, just turns a little green. It will undoubtedly outlast the rest of the truck. Plus it's very soft and easy to manipulate by hand.

Living in northern New England, it's the only way to go! Do it once, and it stays done!
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:59 PM   #7
Kharn
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I think I'm going to go with the Cu/Ni stuff, once-and-done would be very nice, plus I won't have to use the benders underneath the truck if I need to make any slight adjustments.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:55 AM   #8
Samurai Jack
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Be very careful bending the tubing without a tubing bender. Very easy to crimp the line, especially with the CuNiFer lines.

Then you will have to start all over again
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:56 PM   #9
Kharn
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I decided to go all in and replace both front lines. Immediately after cutting the second line, I was like "Hmm, maybe I should've just stuck with doing the driver's side..." as I couldn't get a socket wrench on the stub of the old line and nut to remove it from the ABS module due to another line interfering, eventually I managed to get a flare wrench on it and break it free. And OMG, brake fluid in the nose = extreme pain. One drop dripped right down my nose and holy crap, I was running for the bathroom to try to flush it out. I'd made up two plugs from nuts and ~1" segments of line with the non-flared end smashed flat in my vise, so I put those in and I can bend the lines at a leisurely pace.

I have a set of benders, I just like the idea of being able to make any tiny adjustments without having to fight the tool under the truck.
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:17 PM   #10
ToddMcF2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by projectQWKSLVR View Post
Cool thing about copper/nickel is it will never rust, just turns a little green. It will undoubtedly outlast the rest of the truck. Plus it's very soft and easy to manipulate by hand.

Living in northern New England, it's the only way to go! Do it once, and it stays done!
I had mine done in copper in my full size Bronco. When I sold it the buyer said copper is very bad because of the chemical reaction with the fluid and said he would have to redo them. I'm guessing he was full of ***** because he bought it anyway even though I wouldn't budge on price. Something to look into maybe... or maybe not.
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Old 08-31-2013, 10:25 AM   #11
rbaldi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddMcF2002 View Post

I had mine done in copper in my full size Bronco. When I sold it the buyer said copper is very bad because of the chemical reaction with the fluid and said he would have to redo them. I'm guessing he was full of ***** because he bought it anyway even though I wouldn't budge on price. Something to look into maybe... or maybe not.
I'm also going to call BS on that one. Modern (the type with the plastic coating on the outside) brake tubes are galvanized and then coated with copper on the inside so that if there were to be moisture in them, it lessens the chance of them rusting from the inside. The only real drawbacks to CuNiFer brake lines are slightly decreased pedal feel; but it's for a truck so it's probably bad already, and the possibility of a rock pinching one that runs on the bottom of your car while offroading.
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