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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My trusty mate developed a leaky brake system a couple weeks ago, I just now got around to diagnosing the problem. I noticed a 'soft' pedal a few days prior but did not think much of it. Then I saw a trail of fluid as I left the driveway, light bulb goes on in the head, Ding, Ding!! One of the pipes leading to the back has punctured every-so-slightly due to rust. See Pic. So how to repair this? Is there a repair kit such that I can just replace the bad section of pipe inatead of the whole thing? I have included the photo of where the back pipes meet the front. They are also rusty but no leak there, just the one pipe in the first photo. This is a Midwest car, actually not that many miles (120K) but lots of years, it is a 1999 model.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
After a bit more prowling around it looks like I should just cut out the rusty crap and make new lines that bridge that rusty parts. I have never fabricated brake lines beforethat so it will be a learning experience. Plus, that means I can buy another tool, the brake line flaring set. I am always up for buying another tool! I am retired so I have lots of time to do this stuff:)
 

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After a bit more prowling around it looks like I should just cut out the rusty crap and make new lines that bridge that rusty parts. I have never fabricated brake lines beforethat so it will be a learning experience. Plus, that means I can buy another tool, the brake line flaring set. I am always up for buying another tool! I am retired so I have lots of time to do this stuff:)

Yes, you could cut out and replace the leaking/rusted out sections.
Using the flaring tool on the tubing still attached to car working hands over head laying on your back will be a challenge.
The second pic shows some pretty rusted areas of the lines near the fittings, I would bet if you mess with them, you will have additional leaks.
The best practice would be to replace them, not repair them.
All the best my friend, keep it running and stopping too.......LOL
 

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If you use nickel copper lines they are much easier to bend to shape and are just as strong as the steel ones, bonus is they won't rust. The do cost more though but they are not ridiculous.
 

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The lines and fittings are most likely metric so make sure you buy the correct size.
 

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I did change mine, they were not rusted or corroded but it was a must for the technical inspection people.
I found a kit at a local store, copper, just needed to shape them, which takes patience and even more to put them back in. I took the old ones out as gently as possible so I could have a reference for bending the new ones. I bent them by hand, couldn't find the bending tool so fast, only online with long shipping time. I had only a weekend to do it. There was a hassle to feed them in between the tank and subframe, I was time pressed and did them with the car on pallets( I didn't have ramps) and at -5°Celsius. I would advise to lower the subframe if you want OCD shape. This is how they came out.
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This problem (rusty brake lines) is more common in the E53 2001-2006 X5 bc the brake lines are hidden under a plastic panel, allowing salt to build up.

I happened to fix this (rusty brake lines) in my 2006 X5 with 130K miles. I wrote it up and...

Make. Sure. You. Read. Everything. In. This. Thread!!!

DIY: 2006 BMW E53 X5 3.0i Brake Line Replacement
 

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This problem (rusty brake lines) is more common in the E53 2001-2006 X5 bc the brake lines are hidden under a plastic panel, allowing salt to build up.

I happened to fix this (rusty brake lines) in my 2006 X5 with 130K miles. I wrote it up and...

Make. Sure. You. Read. Everything. In. This. Thread!!!

DIY: 2006 BMW E53 X5 3.0i Brake Line Replacement
Amazing work and even more amazing write-up.

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taz and cn90 thank you for posting, this is amazing workmanship.
taz you did this on the weekend? Truly outstanding. Especially the rear. You must have had a little experience.
I will be restoring my brake lines surface rust soon. No leaks so I will be sanding off rust and painting over with POR15.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all your input. The lines measure 0.190" with calipers, which is close to 3/16" (0.01875") AND 5MM (0.19768"). I plan on getting 2 24" pre-made brake pipes, cutting the existing rusted sections out then using the flaring tool on those lines. Mental note - slip fittings onto pipe BEFORE using the flare tool! I will do the leaking pipe first. My car has the plastic shield covering those pipes so I could not see the damage until I removed it.
 

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You can buy those pre-made brake pipes, but if they are steel, they are harder to make the proper bubble flares

You can buy a "metric" kit on Amazon with a roll of nickel copper tubing and the correct flares. This is what I did for my E53, and what I would do for the e39. You will need to buy a couple of "unions" or couplers to splice into your current pipes.

The Stop Shop 25 ft. Copper Nickel 3/16" Brake Line Tubing w/metric brake line ISO/Bubble Flare fittings (Pack of 16 fittings)

Amazon.com: The Stop Shop 25 ft. Copper Nickel 3/16" Brake Line Tubing w/metric brake line ISO/Bubble Flare fittings (Pack of 16 fittings): Automotive
 

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taz you did this on the weekend? Truly outstanding. Especially the rear. You must have had a little experience.
The car was on Friday at inspection for registration, failed because of that, Monday I scheduled the recall, it was crucial, had to be done fast, it takes 1 month for the Danish authorities to calculate the outrageous registration tax, and on 22nd of March I was going on holiday with the car!! The job was done on the 25th of February at -5° Celsius and a blistering nordic wind. 27th the car passed inspection, 21st of March the mail with the tax came( 3300$ ), 22nd I was on my way. Was the first job like that and hopefully the last.
I tried the same, to just paint them. They said, " no copper, no inspection"
The original pipes were NOT corroded or any visible damage.
It's just their way and no OTHER way.

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Just fyi, If you bring a car to my shop with copper lines like that Ill fail you.... No and if or butts...

Its totally unsafe and not intended to be used a brake line..
I see it often because its easy to bend....

here educate

vs what your suppose to use


even with out knowing what size what brand.... bla bla bla... its like ..

1000 vs 10,000 respectively

sorry.... soft copper is no intended to be used as brake line.....

ice maker yes... automotive no

you did a good job though
 

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It's no, if or butts, it's their DEMAND. My argument was that 100 engineers at Bmw decided steel pipes are good, then they are good. They said copper and showed me the door.
I REPEAT, my brake lines were NOT CORRODED OR DAMAGED IN ANY WAY.
It is the Danish authorities demand for everyone with an older car.
The car was garage kept, underbody treated and rust free.

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Just fyi, If you bring a car to my shop with copper lines like that Ill fail you.... No and if or butts...

Its totally unsafe and not intended to be used a brake line..
I see it often because its easy to bend....
Surprised to see this...I don't see reports of Nickel- Copper brake lines routinely failing due to structural weakness (or anything else), although I am not a pro, nor an engineer.

I also read Porsche, Audi, Volvo, and others are using Ni-Copp lines at the factory.

I am not sure the type K, L, & M copper tubing you reference is the same Nickel-Copper line used in brake applications. .

I believe the addition of Nickel (Ni-Copp lines are 90% copper/10% Nickel) adds strength to the copper alone. That's why its used in a brake application.

 

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@Burning2nd is right and wrong...

- Home Copper plumbing pipe: absolutely no, do NOT use it on a car. It is used for home plumbing and natural gas line at home and that is it. This is classified as type K, L, & M copper tubing, depending on the wall thickness.

- The "copper" pipe that Taz showed above is in fact Ni-Cu, an alloy that Volvo has used for yrs and yrs.
In fact, if you use Ni-Cu, you will never see rust damage as seen in the BMW. This problem (rusty steel brake lines in BMW) is unheard of in the Volvo world.

- And YES, Ni-Cu is approved by DOT, otherwise Volvo would not use it.
Also, Ni-Cu is also easier to make "Bubble Flare".
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I am surprised that BMW did not use this copper/nickel pipe since BMW is considered in to be in the upper echelons of mechanical design companies, maybe bean-counters overruled?? The steel line definitely have a coating on them, It is obviously not impervious.
 

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I am surprised BMW doesn’t use it too.

I would like to think that if sacrifices to longevity are made, they did it in the name of performance or NVH? Though I can’t imagine a performance edge here.
 
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