Michael Hayes explains why you need braided brake lines for your 4x4 vehicle!
Is your brake pedal is getting a little spongy? Is it time to put in that new lift kit and all that extra travel requires longer brake lines, then maybe some shiny new braided brake lines might be worth considering. OK, so these lines look great on hardcore rock crawlers, but what are some of the advantages of tailor-made braided brake lines?
In many circumstances better pedal feel may be achieved due to the lack of swelling when compared to the factory rubber lines. High quality braided lines have been shown to produce less than 1.5% line expansion where some OE rubber lines can expand over 3%. What this means is that when you have sometimes over a meter of extended brake lines in your vehicle the difference in ratio of expansion can allow up to 10mm of extra pedal travel.
Overall travel is not the big thing; the point, or pressure, at which expansion occurs is the feel that you get when the pedal is pushed during daily driving. Braided lines give a nice firm positive feel in all conditions.
First, for serious offroad drivers or outback tourers, puncturing or tearing a brake line is always a concern. With soft brake lines, a rock or stick could easily make a small puncture in a brake line that could end your trip in a catastrophic way. The outer layer of most braided lines is a continuous wrap of weaved high tensile stainless wire, that shields and supports the flexible inner hose.
Because the soft tubing is encased in braided steel, it's nearly impossible to inspect the lines for leaks or corrosion, therefore regular brake system maintenance is critical when you're using braided brake lines. Some manufacturers prefer to supply braided lines featuring a clear plastic sleeve, which serves as added wear protection. This sleeve prevents dirt ingress and although it is not an ADR legal requirement, it is a great feature that will protect the line in most conditions.
Unshielded braided lines can be quite abrasive and particular care should be taken when fitting and routing this type of brake line. We recommend a high quality line that exceeds ADR 7/00 requirements.
Apart from great looks and good performance another key benefit of a braided brake line is the huge range of end connections available, which can allow the retrofit or upgrade to the braking system with parts from a wide number of manufacturers.
Some fittings are also available in 'field attachable' form which means that they can be screwed on the line using basic hand tools, which is great should anything happen while on that big trip. It also makes carrying a few spares a lot more cost effective and less bulky if room is an issue and should you ever need to upgrade or change the line length then you only need a new piece of braided hose as the fittings are reusable.
The durability of braided brake lines is also difficult to judge. Street-legal versions of braided brake lines are only now becoming standard fitment on some OE performance vehicles. Traditional rubber brake hoses have an average recommended life of around six years - but some rubber brake hoses almost out-last the vehicle.
Always remember - Regular inspection of your braking system should be performed. Brake lines should be replaced if there is any visible damage, cracking, blistering or fluid leaks.
Contact Superior EngineeringPhone: (07) 5433 1411
1/116 Lipscombe Road
Deception Bay Queensland 4508
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