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Discussion Starter #1
I have had 2 incidents with rusted through brakelines on GM vehicles and now a friend tells me he has had one as well. These are the steel tubing lines which run under and alonside the chasis. I had a failure on my 1995 Tahos and now onm my 2003 Yukon. My friend had a failure last week on his 2004 Yukon.

In may case, the Yukon's brakeline simply burst when I applied the brake at a stop light. Fortunately, no one was injured. The dealer wanted $1800 to replace the broken line. A mechanic charged me $1100. He said that he does about one a week and so he buys the tubing in bulk rolls. My friend's mechanic simply cut out the broken section and replaced it with copper tubing and compression fittings.

First of all, is this only a GM problem?

Here is the issue; the goverment sticks its nose into everything so why doesn't it mandate that these most critical components - brakelines - be made of a material which will not rust through? These are catastrophic failures and could lead to serious accidents and motorist/pedestrian deaths. Imagine losing your brakes on a crowded city street or on a a Freeway at 65 MPH!

Anyone have a similar experience?
 

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No, not just a GM problem. The domestic brands buy the cheapest components that they feel they can get away with. I've noticed that on Asian brand vehicle, the lines are not only galvanized, but rubber coated as well.

That said, it isn't up to the manufacturers. They are meeting the Federal motor vehicle safety standards and until those standards change, this problem will persist.

Jb
 

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Road salt is killer on brake lines. You don't say where you live, but the more snow/winter weather you get the bigger this problem is.

The repair prices you were given seam way too high - unless they replaced ALL the lines under the vehicle. Using copper on your friends car is most likely illegal - copper will not hold the pressure that steel will and there is a risk of another burst - at that point the liability will rest with the garage.

This is an ugly job, unless you have a lift, but you can buy pre-made lines specific for your car (these cost more) and do this yourself, bulk is fine if you are comfortable bending hollow tubing. You'll need a double flare tool to do the ends and the correct fittings, but it can be done.
 

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Well birdogs, the main problem that you're seeing with brake lines these days is that the vehicles powertrain is out lasting the rest of the vehicle. While the powertrains last 3 times as long as they did back in the 70's, the domestics are using the same quality brake lines they have all along.

Galvanized brake lines usually start rusting at a mounting point, where the galvanized coating can rub off. Once the rust starts at that point, it can quickly move all the way down the line with the rust popping the coating off of the lines.

I made a ton of money replacing brake lines here in corrosionville Michigan!

PS, the repair that was made with copper tubing and compression fittings is not only unsafe, it's illegal! Repairs must be made with galvanized brake line and double flared.
 

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Definately get that copper out of there. When, not if, it burst, you will have a lot of problems from the accidents. Was this a shade tree mechanic that replaced it? He should know better.

Alan
 

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If it is a nickel copper alloy like the name brand Nicopp, it is not only safe but DOT approved when used with proper DOT approved fittings. That said, if it is conventional copper tubing and regular brass compression fittings for copper tubing, it is totally unsafe and that mechanic needs reported.
 

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I had customers ask to "Just patch it up, and I'll get rid of it!"

There is no patch repairs to brake lines, and I'm sure they never intended to dispose of it.

Even with a signed release, my lawyer said I would be responsible for any damages, or injuries.

It is one thing if your car won't run, but a completely different story when it won't stop.

I always went from fitting to fitting with new steel lines, and double flared ends.

I turned away many who just wanted the quick-fix, because I cared about theirs and others lives.

When we were kids, my cousin had an old Ford, and as the wheel cylinders would start leaking, he would remove the line from the cyl, slip a small nail in the line, then re-connect the line.

He got down to just the left front brake before he repaired it right.

Poor people had poor ways, I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
But here is my question which only Tron addressed: why isnb't this a safety issue covered by government regulations? God knows they aren';t afraid to regulate the thickness of your toilet paper. They compel airbags, seat belts and whatever else in the name of safety but they do not require the manufacturers to use brakeline maretial which wobn't disintegrate and cause serious accidents! This is absurd.
 

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One of the reasons that the repair is so expensive from the dealer is that you don't buy one section of brake line, all the lines come as one component that has all the lines and fittings and attaching brackets. Many of these are over six feet and up to twelve feet long. The federal government mandate that the manufacturers supply them this way.

Government is where these requirements are made and changed and governments don't want people driving vehicles that are more than ten years old. Don't look for them to mandate a change. Bill Malcolm
 

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just put all new nickel lines on a 2000 Silverado for around 500bucks. the guy told me this salt brine is way worse than regular road salt.
 

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Stainless steel would last forever, I put the nickel/copper on a 1999 pick up, around $300.00 in parts and a lot of work. I was told GM started coating their lines around 2003. Fuel lines will also rust out. Salt and salt brine is the problem. The federal safety board knows about the problem. It will take a death and a lawyer that wants to do the right thing or a lot of money to get the feds to do anything!
 

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Salt and salt brine are both corrosive, but I think that saying that brine is worse than salt is incorrect, unless it is being used incorrectly. I drive plow, sand, salt, and brine trucks here in B.C. during the winter, and also make the brine we spread.

Brine is most effective at 23.3% concentration, and is applied to road surfaces to prevent frost, black ice, and snow buildup, prior to the event, and to allow easier snow removal by plows after the snowfall. Brine is only effective above 21 degrees Fahrenheit. Salt requires moisture to form a brine so it can spread across the road, and is most effective at reducing ice and snow after it has accumulated. It will keep on melting ice and snow until it is too diluted to be effective.

Brine acts by bonding to the road surface. Salt acts by lying on the surface, and being spread over that surface by vehicles passing over and moving the granules, and melting the snow to create its own brine. Depending on how heavy a concentration of salt is used, it can break up any compacted snow, and create a slurry, which sprays up onto the undercarriage of vehicles, starting the corrosion process. Around here, a light coat of salt is 60 kilograms (about 132 pounds) per kilometer (1.62 km/mile). A medium application is 85 kilos/kilometer, and a heavy application is 130 kilos/ kilometer. These are applications for two lane roads. Brine will rapidly lose effectiveness through dilution and temperature if used on existing ice and snow, but will still be carried in the compacted snow if used incorrectly as a snow removal tool.

As can be seen by the above information, a thin film of brine, properly applied prior to a weather event, is the best option. After a snowfall, plowing, followed by a properly applied application of salt, perhaps augmented with some sand, is the way to go. I leave it to you to decide if brine is really worse than salt, or is just an old wives tale.

A new product being used occassionally is some form of beet juice, which is edible, so less environmentally harmful than salt or brine, and effective as a snow removal tool down below -40 Fahrenheit. It shows great promise for those really cold areas that require such a product.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It is interesting that the government forces manufacturers to supply replacement lines as a "set" but does NOT requitre that they be made of a safe material.

I guess expecting governmentn regulators to "do the correct thing" is just another oxy-moron!
 

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My 2002 Avalanche rusted just like whats being discussed here . Started to drip first so no one was hurt Except my wallet..What a DRAG
 

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Sailor

I was invited to watch the manufacturing of a salt substitute product made frrom sugar beet juice.

It was made in a paving plant mill, and the sand was first heated to remove all moisture, then liquid juice was injected into the drum, and it was turned to agitate, and mix contents.

After, a small amount of road salt was added to the mix, but only a small amount.

Their claim was it was cheaper, and more effective than just road salt and sand.

I believe back then, 2004, it was about $11.00 per ton.

If I remember correctly, # 24 sand was $4.00 per ton, salt was about $22.00, and I don't know about the liquid.

Our Co. Hwy. supervisor refused to use any, although the surrounding counties did. We had such a small budget for salt/sand, we also chose to not use it.

One quality of it was it was loose and workable to below zero.
 

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I had lines corrode out on a dodge 4 wheel drive. I replaced them myself with the brake lines from Napa.if you get the correct length you don't need to flare the ends. Also greased them to hopefully prevent this happening again.
 

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If you live in NE Wisconsin you will replace brake lines if you keep your car very long, Which I do.

We get the Auto Zone replacements, and if they are a little long the excess can be tucked away somewhere.

It's just a fact of life here. You can help matters by going to the car wash with a nice underflush periodically, each time the roads dry out after a snow.

You can help keep your doors from rusting at the bottom if you poke out the little drain holes too.

First time I went to AZ I was astounded at the rust free cars.

HM
 
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