Stainless Steel Brake Line Install


Stainless steel lines replace the flexible rubber hoses that come stock on almost all cars sold in the US. SS lines flex less than rubber ones, transmitting more braking force from your foot to the brakes. They also improve the feel of the brakes, allowing you to modulate them more easily.

I purchased mine from (where else?) Extreme Performance in San Jose. These are the StopTech lines, available as 2 seperate kits - fronts and rears. The kits contain everything you need - lines, clips, banjo bolts, and crush washers. You'll also need to flush the brake fluid when you are done, so pick up some quality stuff, like ATE's Super Blue. What follows is the install we did on my friend Andre's 2003 Evo.


The new SS lines and brake fluid


Tools required:

* Pliers or channel locks
* 10mm flare nut wrench
* 17mm open-ended wrench
* 14mm open-ended wrench
* 9/16"; open-endedwrench
* Paper towels
* Jack and 4 jackstands
* Drip pan
* Hammer and drift punch
* A can or 2 of brake cleaner

Safety precautions:

1. Brake fluid will eat through paint. If you spill any on the bodywork, wipe it off immediately with a wet rag.

2. When you jack the car up, be careful.

3. No matter what happens, or how bad it gets, do not drink brake fluid.


This is for the StopTech brake line kit. Certain details are specific to this kit and may not apply to other brands.

Start by breaking all of the lug nuts loose. Don't loosen them more than one turn. Wait until the car is off the ground before loosening them any further.


The car resting on 4 jack stands with all wheels removed


Once the car is in the air, remove all 4 wheels. If you have one, place a large drip pan under the brakes. Take some brake cleaner and spray down the brake line connections and the calipers. You don't want any debris to get into your brake system.


Removing a retaining clip with a pair of channel locks

We'll start at the front of the car. Use pliers or channel locks to remove the retainer clips.


Clip removed

You don't need to exert a ton of force. Just grab the clip and rotate it back and forth as you pull towards you. Set the clip aside as you will be using it later.


Removing the clip on the shock mount

There's another clip behind the strut.


Picture of a 10mm flarenut wrench

Use a 10mm flarenut wrench to loosen the hardline bolt. (Don't use a regular open-ended wrench or crescent wrench. You will likely strip the bolt head.) Once the bolt is loose, tighten it back up by hand so that no fluid is dripping out. We'll come back to this one later.


A 14mm wrench placed on the caliper bolt

Take a 14mm wrench and use the closed end to remove the caliper bolt.

Notice that the line is oriented to pass between 2 metal posts coming out of the caliper. These posts are designed to keep the brake line from rotating, loosing the bolt along with it. Make note of these posts and be sure you place the new lines in the same location!


Routing the new line

Route the new SS line the strut retainer clip.


Bolting the new line to the back of the brake caliper

Insert the new banjo bolt into the caliper end of the SS line. Be sure to place a new copper crush washer on both ends of the bolt as shown.

Quickly remove the stock caliper bolt and line, then replace it with the new bolt and SS line. Again, be certain to route the SS line in-between the 2 guide posts. When you remove the stock line, fluid is going to start dripping out of it. Wad a paper towel around it or hang it over the drip pan to drain. The StopTech kit replaces the 17mm banjo bolt with a 9/16" banjo bolt, so be sure to switch to the right wrench when tightening it up.


The new line in place

Go back to the hardline and remove the stock line. Brake fluid is going to start dripping out, so be ready. Install the stock line. Make certain that you don't cross-thread the bolt into the SS line.


Everything tightened up, but some threads still show.

Once you have the bolt started, use the 10mm flare-nut wrench again and a 17mm open-ended wrench to tighten everything. NOTE: the bolt will not go all the way down into the SS line - some thread will remain exposed. This is normal, so don't overtighten the bolt. See the pic above - this is after eveything was tight.

The new retainer clips versus the old ones.

The StopTech kit comes with a different style of retainer clip. They don't seem to work quite as well as the stock ones, so reuse the factory clips in the front. We did use the new clips in the back, so hang onto them.

Now that both ends of the SS line are installed, look carefully at the routing of the line. Is it touching anything? Will it get crushed by any of the suspension components? You want it run through the air, without touching anything. When you are happy with its routing, re-install the factory clips.

Using a hammer and punch to reinstall the retainer clips

Ensure that the SS line end is pushed up into the mounting tab as high as it will go. You may need to turn the bolt with the 17mm wrench a little to get it to seat properly. Doing so will ensure the retainer clip has enough clearance to be installed. Use a hammer and drift punch to tap the clip into place.

Double-check the routing of the line, that the clips are in properly, the bolts are all tight and that you have no fluid leaks. If brake fluid spilled on any components, spray the area down with brake cleaner. You are ready to move to the back of the car.


Using channel locks to pull the rear retainer clip.

Begin by removing the one retainer clip.


Using a 14mm open-ended wrench to loosen the rear caliper bolt.

Break the caliper bolt loose with the 14mm open-ended wrench, but tighten it back up by hand for now. Note the guide post in this picture.


Loosing the hardline bolt

Use the 10mm flarenut wrench to brake the hardline bolt free. Again, tighten the bolt back up by hand for now.

Route the new SS line.


Inserting the new caliper bolt

Remove the caliper bolt and install the new banjo bolt with 2 crush washers. Tighten with the 9/16" open-ended wrench.


Tightening the hardline.

Remove the stock line from the hardline. Thread the SS line in by hand, then tighten using the 10mm flarenut wrench and the 17mm open-ended wrench. Again, on the StopTech kit, there will still be some exposed threads. DO NOT overtighten the bolt.


Using a hammer to tap the rear retainer clip into place.

Use the 17mm wrench to rotate the new SS line and ensure it is seated up into the retainer tab as far as it will go. Use one of the new clips and install it with a hammer.

Double-check that the lines are routed properly, the clip is secure, that all the bolts are tight, and that there are no leaks.

Now the lines are installed. You'll have to bleed the brake system to remove any air bubbles that got into the system. Go here for bleeding instructions.

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