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03 Chevy cavalier, Brake Lines

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New User

Sep 5, 2012, 8:02 PM

Post #1 of 3 (7442 views)
03 Chevy cavalier, Brake Lines Sign In

while checking my car over i found rusty rear brake lines which I intend to change. I want to buy the materials before hand. Can anyone confirm that the brake lines are 3/16in and that all the flares are double flares.

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nickwarner profile image

Sep 5, 2012, 8:40 PM

Post #2 of 3 (7412 views)
Re: 03 Chevy cavalier, Brake Lines Sign In

They are indeed 3/16, but I think the flares at the ABS unit and possibly the wheel cylinders are bubble flare. I've formed them with the first stage of a double flare tool plenty of times before (which you should already have if you are going to do this job). Local parts stores also can order a very reasonably priced flaring tool just for making bubble flares. Keep in mind you will need to buy the appropriate line nuts once you get it apart and know what you need. If you can't get to the parts store once its torn apart just buy multiple sizes and styles before you start. Return the ones you don't need later.

I once checked with my local O'Reilly's out of curiousity and they told me in one year I bought over 300 feet of 3/16 line from them. I do a lot of these. A few tips to keep you out of trouble:

Take a diagonal cutter and cut your line off right behind the line nut. Put a 6-point socket on it and try to get it out that way. A 3/8 drive impact works well on it if you have one.

Some of this stuff isn't going to come apart. Budget accordingly. Don't expect wheel cylinders and rubber flex hoses to survive being taken apart and still be usable. They aren't too tolerant of heat and have been rusting as long as those junk lines.

The fuel lines are in the same plastic holders that hold them along the framerail. If you try to take the brake lines out of the holder it will disturb them and they can leak. If they are also looking like they are on the Titanic then either replace them now or leave the old lines in the holders undisturbed. You want to route the new ones in the same place as the old ones, so use plenty of zip ties to secure them to the old ones.

This line is pretty easy to handle. Get a deep well 1 1/4 socket in your hand and you can use it to form curves into the line without kinking it over. Easier and faster than a tubing bender you would need for larger sizes.

Don't count on your master cylinder being ok. What happens is that in never bottoms out in its bore for years of use, and dirt gets pushed down there out of the way. But open up the system and go to bleed it out, it hits bottom and the dirt tears the rubber piston seals of the master. It maybe happens to about 1 in 15 cars I do and may not happen to you but you should be prepared for the possibility.

Not sure of the exact makeup of your brake system or what options are on it, but you may need this to be bled with a professional scan tool because of the way the ABS valving is. If this is the case there is no backyard way around it. It must be done that way or you won't be able to stop. I'm sure one of the other mods here has that info available to him and will chime in here.

Also, thanks for being responsible and taking a proactive approach to your safety and the safety of everyone else on the roads with you. My kids thank you.

New User

Sep 6, 2012, 5:22 AM

Post #3 of 3 (7393 views)
Re: 03 Chevy cavalier, Brake Lines Sign In

Nickwarner thank you for the very useful information. You confirmed what I suspected about the ABS unit requring bubble flares, I have a Blue Point TF5A kit but I will purchase a bubble flare kit. I have replaced the wheel cylinders before during various brake inspections - I found fluid behind the dust boots and I have flushed the system a couple of times. The lines are generally in good shape but the lineto the rear passenger wheel has an area of corrosion in the area tucked up by the fuel filter and fuel tank where the snow and salt get trapped. There is a double flare union in the line in this location and a section of the line is rusty so I intend to replace it back to the ABS unit. I will replace the hose and the short section of line up to the wheel cylinder while I have everything apart. generally the car is pretty good from a corrosion perspective and the brake and fuel lines are solid with the exception of this area. Hopefully my scan tool will handle any problems with the ABS unit. I forget the model number but it does handle ABS and SRS systems. I will check the manual. So far whenever I have bled the brake system the ABS unit has always reset to the correct state when I have checked it prior to bleeding - but there is always a first time.

How do you use the double flare tool to make a bubble flrae? Is it by using the flat side of the flaring bar?

Thank you again.

(This post was edited by church on Sep 6, 2012, 5:37 AM)

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