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Old 22nd June 2013, 20:15   #1
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Default Copper-Nickel Brake Lines

In the course of random reading on the Internet, looking to refurbish brakes and brake lines on old cars, came across this interesting upgrade.

Volvo switched to copper nickel brake lines in place of steel lines and they noticed a drop in accidents caused by brake failure over eight years. It is used by Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, and Volvo of course, among other brands in Europe. One of the main reasons is safety, as regular steel brake lines can corrode in the salted roads during the winter, while copper nickel lines (with a dash of steel and magnesium in very small quantities) are malleable, can be worked upon by the average garage, can be bought by the foot and most importantly, will not corrode.

How does Mumbai's coastal weather affect brake lines? The experts and car restorers can chip in with their observations of 20 and 50 year old brake lines.

Read the detailed PDF here: http://www.brakequip.com/pdf/ezibend_2.pdf

So what is the point of it in India, where roads are not salted? Well according to the experts and the article above, DOT 3 and DOT 4 fluid retains moisture in the brake lines and slowly and surely corrodes the insides of the steel brake lines over time. Not DOT 5, so there is a reason to stop reading further.

No issues with most cars on our roads, as most of us look at owning the car for 5-7 years.

This would be great for performance machines, where one cannot afford to have brake failure. The Cu-Ni lines can be covered against cuts with simple steel springs in exposed areas.

Or when looking at running a classic or vintage car regularly. Whether you are doing a ground-up restoration on a RR Phantom IV (Ragtop) or the excellent restoration of the grey Fiat 1100d (Bharat Malviya), or many other brands in between. To me this is one upgrade that will last a lifetime. And save a few too.

Cu Ni lines are used in marine applications where corrosion works on metal in every nook and cranny. A cursory check reveals that this product is available in India.

Thoughts? Would you take the trouble to look up and change something that stays hidden?
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Old 22nd June 2013, 21:25   #2
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Default Re: Copper-Nickel Brake Lines

I haven't read your provided link, but copper and nickel aren't immune to corrosion. Pure iron rusts easily, which is why stainless steel was created , one of the commonly used alloys for brake discs. Now this is all w.r.t air and moisture, even accounting for coastal climate.

I haven't quite read much about effects of salt as used in large amounts like in cold regions, but I think suitable compositions of steel that can withstand high salt do exists, as in ships. Maybe some marine engineers/sailors can shed more light.
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Old 22nd June 2013, 22:56   #3
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As politely as I can say it, maybe you should read it.

Cu-ni alloy in 90-10 mix is used for automotive applications. And while marine grade steel does the anti-corrosion job well, even they have taken up this alloy in various applications as it is non-corrosive and malleable.

While the run-of-the-mill car that we use, like I have mentioned earlier, may not warrant this conversion, people looking to maintain their classic and vintage cars, as well as serious performance enthusiasts will see merit in these brake lines.

We will never have a strict and honest MOT to check our old cars like they have in GB.

Preventive maintenance is alien to us. But it should be easy to pick up habits and ideas that are good, from other places.

Last edited by Automaton : 22nd June 2013 at 22:58.
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