1984-2004 Corvette Stainless Steel Brake Hose Installation
It’s possible the availability of components is partly to blame for this oversight. After all, for every 50 companies that offer horsepower upgrades, there are probably 10 that offer proven brake system performance. One of the companies that excels in packaging and selling C4 and C5 Corvette Brake Systems is Zip Products, Inc., 8067 Fast Lane, Mechanicsville, VA 23111, 1-800-692-9632.
What’s appealing about Zip is that they offer more than just high-end competition brake systems. They are very conscious that not everyone wants to or needs to replace their entire brake system. they simply want to improve the factory system. Zip offers many affordable up-grades ranging from brake pads to a line pressure bias spring to the topic at hand, stainless steel brake lines.
To refer to them as brake lines is a bit of a misnomer; they’re really high-tech hoses, and that’s due to their construction. At the center is a flexible Teflon hose that seals in the brake fluid, just like OE brake hoses. The benefit is found in the outer shell. The Teflon hose is encased by a stainless steel braided shell. This is what gives the hose its strength and durability and is why they’re referred to as lines and not hoses. This strength and durability is precisely why stainless steel lines have been preferred over rubber hoses on race cars. However, just because a part is on a race car doesn’t mean it should be on a street car. Conversely, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be either.
Simply put, stainless steel brake lines are superior to the original equipment rubber brake hoses. Over time, rubber hoses dry out and crack. This leads to leaks and an eventual rupture. Granted a bad hose is usually discovered long before it bursts and under normal driving conditions it does take considerable time for a hose to reach failure. However, if the most aggressive driving you do with your Corvette is in a car show parade, your factory hoses are fine. Just have them inspected when you get your pads changed out at 60 or 80,000 miles. For those of you who are only used to changing brake pads at 5 to 10,000 miles (or less), get rid of those hoses and install a set of stainless steel lines like those sold by Zip Corvette Parts.
Whether you’re aggressive on the street or auto-crossing on the weekend you’ll enjoy the benefits. Most notable is a firmer and more consistent brake pedal. This comes from the strength of the stainless steel shell. With rubber, every time you stab the brake pedal the hose balloons slightly under the extreme internal hydraulic pressure. You will feel this ballooning as a soft brake pedal. Now add to that the high temperatures generated during heavy braking and the result is braking inconsistency. As the temperature goes up so does the flexibility of rubber and therefore more ballooning. Compound this with thousands of cycles and this is in part why rubber hoses eventually fail when subjected to constant aggressive braking. In addition to a firmer, more consistent brake pedal, you’ll also realize a higher brake pedal. Simply put, less pedal travel is required to generate a desired brake pressure. When the rubber hose expands, the internal area of the brake system is increased. That is why extra pedal travel is required to bring the system up to a given pressure. All these benefits usually parlay themselves into more confidence in your brakes, resulting in quicker times at the auto-cross.
The following installation procedure was performed on a new C5 Corvette, however the steps shown here apply to C4 Corvettes as well. There is no significant difference to the C4 and C5′s brake hoses and connections. The disassembly steps are shown at the rear, while the assembly is at the front. Now on with the corvette stainless steel brake hose installation.
* A line wrench is designed to grab as much of the fitting as possible. Its cutout is just large enough to fit around the hard line. If your fittings are rusty use a line. You do not want to ruin the hard line nut. This job gets a little messy right from the start, so to prevent a puddle of brake fluid on the ground, lay down some newspaper or a drain pan. Use a 13mm wrench to completely remove the hard line from the hose end. As the beneficiaries of working on a new C5, we where able to use the L-bracket as our second wrench.
clip started by hand, but a soft tap from a hammer may be required to fully seat it into its groove.
After all four of your stainless steel hoses are installed, it’s a good idea to clean up the connections and check for leaks. Using a can of brake cleaner, rinse away any residual brake fluid. Then pressurize the system by pumping the brake pedal several times. If any of the connections leak, try just a little extra torque first. If a leak persists, disassemble that connection and check for contaminants. Once you’re sure there are no leaks, bleed the brake system. Refer to your shop manual for the factory recommended bleeding procedure. After bleeding each corner, perform a final cleaning with brake cleaner.
Source: Zip Corvette Parts
8067 Fast Lane | Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | (800) 962-9632
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