Stainless Brake Line Replacement/Upgrade
(Check manual for types, amounts and applicability)
Line wrenches (recommended but open end OK)
Open end wrenches
Tools to bleed brakes
Pliers and flat screwdriver
New OEM style or upgraded lines
Large bottle of brake fluid
Brake cleaner spray
3 Hours with brake bleeding and clean-up
After 130,000 miles of roads, dirt, mud, water, rocks, sticks and time, I needed to replace my factory rubber brake lines.
The original ones allowed for a mushy pedal feel under all braking conditions, and after a hard panic stop, I would feel the brakes slipping as the rubber expanded and relieved hydraulic pressure from the calipers. Instead of simply replacing the vulnerable rubber OEM style lines, I decided to take a proactive approach and upgrade, just like any good 4x4 owner should. I decided to upgrade to stainless steel braided lines
to help maintain a firm pedal feel and protect the lines from off-road dangers.After searching around for ready made and in stock kits for the Dodge Ram, I was told about a kit from EGR Severe Service Brakes.
The EGR kit included all the neccessary harware (clips, fittings, banjo bolt washers, and brackets) and are MIL-SPEC and DOT Approved. They feature a larger I.D. kevlar reinforced teflon hose with a stainless steel braided covering. All the ends are CNC machined and the lines also have springs strategically crimped on the lines to avoid abrasion from contact and rubbing with the frame or axle. EGR also offers custom lengths. Due to my 3" lift and the fact that when my wheels are at full turn, the caliper portion of hte original lines are stretched tight, I ordered my lines with an extra 3" between the frame and axle and an extra 1" from the axle to the caliper. While I have not had issues with the lift stretching the lines, if I ever go higher, I am covered.
Before starting the installation, be sure to have the brake fluid reservior topped of and the lid sealed tightly. This will help minimze the amount of fluid to run out of the lines as you remove them. Also keep the fresh bottle of brake fluid handy to top off every once and a while. You want to avoid running the fluid reservior dry and having to bleed the master cylinder as well. Also be sure to have your new lines, including the new banjo bolt washers ready once you remove the old lines. I prefered to layout the new lines first, between the control arms and ready to connect, before starting. All of the factory rubber lines are connected to the mounts with what I call a retainer clip. It is a metal peice in the shape of a "U" that slides into groves on the fitting once passed through the mount. The verticle portions of the "U" are bent so that they exert pressure on the fitting when installed, trying to pull it thorugh the mount, thus keeping it tight. You may need a screwdriver and pliers to remove the original ones, freeing the lines from the mounts.
Start by raising the front end and securing with jackstands and then removing the front wheels. Place a catch pan under the passenger side where the rubber line meets the hard line at the frame. Leaving the frame bracket attached, loosen, but do not remove the compression fitting (~10mm) on the hard line. Remove the rubber line from the frame by removing the bolt (13mm) from the integral frame mount bracket, rolling the forward and sliding out the tab on the other side. Don\"t worry, once you start to remove the thing, you will see how it works. Finish removing the compression fitting on the hard line. Be prepared to brake fluid to start running out. Hopefully you can point the end of the rubberlines into the same catch basin for when it drains.
Unbolt the banjo bolt (7/16") attaching the rubber line to the caliper. Be sure to remove the washer from the caliper as well (there are two washers, one on each side of the line fitting. These washers should not be reused, and in the case of the EGR kit, new ones are included. Once the fitting is loosened, and fluid in the line will finish draining.
Although I do not have a picture of this part, it is fairly easy. Loosly attach the new frame mount using the original bolt, but not in the same location. Use the hole that the tab on original mount used, with the protruding portion of the mount to the top. Slide the frame end of the new line up and through the large hole on the mount and then maneuver the hard line and compression fitting in the end of it. You may need to "finess" the lines together, thus the need to loosely attach the mount at first. Tighten the fitting by hand and then snug with the wrench. At this time the fluid that was running out of the hard line is now coming out the caliper end of the new line. Using the supplied washers, one on each side of the caliper fitting, andteh original banjo bolt, attach the new line to the caliper. Be sure the new line is properly routed (between the control arms for a Ram) and not bound or twisted. Using a open end wrench, tighten the frame mount.
Remove the old line by unbolting (13mm) the original bracket from the axle. Usingthe original bolt, attach the new axle bracket. In the following image you can see the springs attached where the line may contact and rub metal. CHECK FLUID RESERVOIR AND REFILL AS NEEDED.
The driver side is a bit more complicated, but only becuase there are two hard lines to deal with, a factory bracket that is in the way, and a slightly redesigned new fitting that requires a slight change from the factory setup to install. The driver side line feeds the passenger side caliper as well. Also, the frame mount it part of a distribution block and can not be removed without cutting or grinding. Start by removing the passenger side hard line mount and attaching the new bracket.
Follwing the same basic procedures as the passenger side, remove the factory rubber line. Place teh new line in the new mount and secure with the supplied e-clip. Attach the main hard line from the master cylinder/distribution block to the new fitting first. To do this you may need to loosen or remove one or more of the clips attaching the line to the inside of the fender to allow you to slightly bend/stretch the line into place. Hand tighten the compression fitting. Maneuver the passenger side feed line to the new fitting and hand tighten. Be sure the hard line that comes in from the top does not contact the orignal frame mount. Slightly bend as needed to avoid contact and/or alter the original mount. Snug the compression fittings with a wrench.
Attach the caliper end just like the passenger side, making sure you have properly routed the line. Swap the axle brackets. Use plenty of brake cleaner to remove the sprayed and leaked fluid. If you do not do it soon, it will eat paint and the frame\"s protective paint/wax covering. CHECK FLUID RESERVOIR AND REFILL AS NEEDED.
Now it is time for the rear. Clean the area around the rear distribution block and vent line to avoid getting debris into the gear oil. Start by removing the axle tube vent line. It is attached to a barbed fitting that passes through the rear brake line distribution block, holding it to the axle tube.
The frame end of the factroy brake line is attached to the bracket on both sides. The rubber line side uses a c-clip. The hard line side uses the standard retainer clip mentioned above. You only need to remove the retainer clip.
Loosen the compression fittings from the block. Unbolt the barbed fitting from the block. Finish removing the compression fittings. Attach the hard lines to the new line. It is much smaller than the factory one, so the lines may need to be bent or adjusted to reach. Using the original vent fitting, attach the new line to the axle tube. I pointed the atual line towards the front of the truck. I did so because the axle is behind the frame mount and so when the axle drops and pulls the line, the angle of the line to the block/frame mount is minimized.
Remove the factroy line from the frame and install the new fitting. Install the retainer clip. Route the lines and secure with zip tie. CHECK FLUID RESERVOIR AND REFILL AS NEEDED.
Clean all the spilled brake fluid. Check your fittings for tight.Bleed the brakes are normal. Test drive. Recheck for leaks and top off fluid reservior as needed.
After installation I noticed a firmer pedal feel, less brake fade and improved stopping distance. While simply replacing the factroy hoses with new rubber ones would have shown improvemnts as well, I doubt that they woul dhave been as dramatic as with the reinforced lines. I do not think my truck has felt so good during braking. I went out and wheeled it the day after installation and I loved teh firmer pedal, especially coming down the hills.
The brakelines were provided by:
EGR Severe Service Brakes. EGR also offers a complete bolt on brake upgrade kits including calipers, rotors and special fluid. They also offer a new rear disc brake conversion kit for 1988-2000, 2 & 4wd single rear wheel or larger 17.5 and 19.5 dually models. The kit fits either Dana 70 or 80 full floating axles. These conversion kits include single piston calipers, with or without parking brakes, rotors, hose and all bracketry.
EGR Severe Service Brakes
1041 Cinnamon Lane
Corona, CA 92882
Glenn Maurer, Owner