Cleaning Brake Lines? - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 11, 6:05 PM Thread Starter
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Cleaning Brake Lines?

Any tips on how to clean out the brake hard lines from front to back? I do have a compressor to blow them out but need to know what to use for a solvent? Thanks
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 11, 6:15 PM
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Re: Cleaning Brake Lines?

Denatured alcohol
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 11, 7:43 PM
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Re: Cleaning Brake Lines?

Aerosol brake cleaner??

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 11, 9:35 PM
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Re: Cleaning Brake Lines?

I would agree that the correct solvent for brake fluid is denatured alcohol (usually "wood alcohol" [methanol], but denatured grain alcohol [ethanol] would be fine too).

I would ask, though, why?
Usually you just flush through with clean new fluid and you're done.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 11, 9:54 PM
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Re: Cleaning Brake Lines?

I used brake clean to flush lines in my 71 Bronco ten years ago. it had been sitting for about 7/8 years and I rebuilt complete system with new parts, cleaned fuel lines same way after I cleaned 3 gas tanks. how many vechiles do you know that gets such poor gas miliage that it requires 3 tanks? Jay

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 11, 11:20 PM
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Question Re: Cleaning Brake Lines?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JAYARTER View Post
I used brake clean to flush lines in my 71 Bronco ten years ago. it had been sitting for about 7/8 years and I rebuilt complete system with new parts, cleaned fuel lines same way after I cleaned 3 gas tanks. how many vechiles do you know that gets such poor gas miliage that it requires 3 tanks? Jay

You used Brake Clean to flush your fuel lines?

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 11, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Cleaning Brake Lines?

The why is because the car has been sitting for unknown time. Ten years or more. I am restoring it and am replacing all the brake parts except hard lines. I dont want to run into any problems after investing so much.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 11, 12:20 AM
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Re: Cleaning Brake Lines?

Run new brake lines if everything else is new and you want peace of mind... Whats another 30.00?
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 11, 12:22 AM
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Re: Cleaning Brake Lines?

I did, it leaves nothing in line and blew air thru to dry, has 2 fuel filters.
truck only has about 85 k miles since new. It needs to be driven more, 500 miles max in 5 years, but never find time to keep after it. Jay

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 11, 8:36 AM
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Re: Cleaning Brake Lines?

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Originally Posted by gstacker View Post
Run new brake lines if everything else is new and you want peace of mind... Whats another 30.00?
That's essentially what I'm saying as well.

If you're that worried that you think you need to clean out the lines with solvent (in other words, you're worried that they're obstructed by solid matter), then you should replace them, If not, just flush through with new fluid when you bleed the brakes.

The likely problems are: rusting through from the outside, which I've had happen a number of times (need to be replaced), having old brake fluid in them which has absorbed moisture, thus lowering its boiling point (cured by bleeding brakes), and having old brake fluid in them with so much moisture over such a long time that they are rusting through from the inside, which I've never actually seen (need to be replaced).

I don't really see a situation where a solvent flush will gain you anything, unless it's to clean out the system prior to switching to silicone-based fluid, in which case, as far as I know, it's unnecessary (I believe it's switching the other way that causes problems), and, besides, silicone fluid gives a soft pedal that I, personally, really don't like.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 11, 1:24 PM
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Re: Cleaning Brake Lines?

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Originally Posted by MDchanic View Post
That's essentially what I'm saying as well.

If you're that worried... and, besides, silicone fluid gives a soft pedal that I, personally, really don't like.

- Eric
A compressible liquid?
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 11, 1:39 PM
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Re: Cleaning Brake Lines?

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Originally Posted by JJ'65 View Post
A compressible liquid?
Correct, it doesn't compress. I have it in both of my Chevelles. The pedal is firm/not spongy at all, and the brakes work the same as they did with the DOT-3 in the systems.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 11, 3:06 PM
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Re: Cleaning Brake Lines?

I have used "Air Brake Anti-Freeze" which is basically just alcohol that truckers use to flush out their air brake systems when they have condensation build-up in the lines that freezes up in the winter. I switched from DOT 3 to DOT 5 and back to DOT 3 with no problems at all flushing with alcohol between changes.

FWIW, I experienced a spongy pedal with DOT 5 also, especially when hot.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 11, 3:06 PM
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Re: Cleaning Brake Lines?

Maybe my experience was with an older version (I tried it about 20 years ago), but there was a distinctly different pedal feel between silicone and regular brake fluid.
I was told it was because normal DOT3-4 fluid absorbs water, which is also a liquid, and therefore non-compressible, but silicone absorbs air on a microscopic level, so that its tiny content of gas IS compressible, and thus feels slightly "spongy."
When I tried it, it was on a manual brake car ('48 Mercury), so maybe it's not as noticeable with power brakes, which never feel "rock hard" as long as the engine is running.

Just my experience...

- Eric
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 11, 9:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Cleaning Brake Lines?

I just want to have fresh fluid without moisture. I dont live in the rust belt. In fact its pretty dry here but i think its a good idea to flush the brake and fuel lines out. I dont think the lines have any rust.
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