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Old 11-12-2013, 01:37 AM   #1
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Default Are stainless steel brake lines worth it?

"I'm 10 track days into my HPDE career and I still don't feel like upgrading anything" ...said no one ever.

I was looking at my '91's brake lines today and they look old. They are fine, no bulges or cracks, they just look old. I have a slightly spongy brake pedal that I can't eliminate with bleeding.

Is it time to upgrade to stainless steel lines or should I just replace with OEM?

I have heard mixed reviews on SS brake lines. Some say stainless lines are a night and day difference and some say not so much. I've also heard the line of reasoning that stainless steel lines never crack or bulge to tell you that they're about to fail. You either have to pray, or replace them on a schedule.

I would appreciate your insight.

PS. If you recommend stainless brake lines, which ones?

Thanks!


Edit: Oops, does this belong in the suspension and brake section? If so I'm sorry and please move.
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Old 11-12-2013, 02:16 AM   #2
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Some say stainless lines are a night and day difference and some say not so much.
Night and day difference to the shitty old lines that have been on the car for 20 years. I've had problems with fitment issues and/or leaky fittings on multiple sets of aftermarket stainless lines. Next set of lines I buy will be factory Mazda parts.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:22 AM   #3
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I've never noticed a difference with stainless lines on multiple different cars, on sport bikes, etc.

I mainly replaced them because it was an older vehicle and SS lines were cheaper than OEM.
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Old 11-12-2013, 10:32 AM   #4
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Rubber lines are lighter, are pretty cheap from mazda, and last longer. I've never noticed a pedal feel difference in any car with stainless lines, my wrx actually has 3 stainless and a rubber line because one of the stainless lines failed at a race school (after the miata broke, you think I would have cut my losses) and I havent gotten around to replacing the other ones.

And the miata is even worse for noticing the compliance in the lines than some other cars because we have so much compliance in the rest of the braking system at the calipers and firewall. Maybe you'd notice it after bracing the MC and doing aftermarket calipers at all 4 corners.
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:07 AM   #5
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Well, it made a significant, perceptible difference on my car and I would do it again. I was replacing old rubber lines though.
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:13 AM   #6
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Well, it made a significant, perceptible difference on my car and I would do it again. I was replacing old rubber lines though.
How nasty was the fluid that was in it when you changed the lines? Did you change anything else in the system at the same like pads/rotors?

I'd bet most of the change was the fresh fluid and/or placebo.
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:44 AM   #7
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How nasty was the fluid that was in it when you changed the lines? Did you change anything else in the system at the same like pads/rotors?

I'd bet most of the change was the fresh fluid and/or placebo.
Could be. I did it as part of a general overhaul of my original 1.6 brakes that included caliper rebuilds, rotors, pads and, of course, fluid.
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Old 11-12-2013, 12:25 PM   #8
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It's perceptible when the rubber swells from heat and releases itself from the OEM crimp. Stainless lines are a safety upgrade, as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 11-12-2013, 12:32 PM   #9
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I noticed a big difference in any car that I have used them in. It was mostly in how linear the pedal feel was once warmed up, not so much just driving on the street. If you lines/fluid are old, there will be a big difference in the feel though. Also, its commonly overlooked but while your in there, spend the time to lube the caliper slider pins.






Site note: Get nice lined and coated lines that has STAINLESS crimp fittings. cheap ebay or other stainless lines are scary.

A friend used some cheap lines on his S13 and they came with new (aluminum) banjo bolts. The banjo broke on his car and left him stranded FWIW.

Get quality lines, use the oem banjo bolts but get new copper crush washers and you will be good.
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Old 11-12-2013, 12:37 PM   #10
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I bought the kit from Moss Miata, and it DID make a difference on my car... but im sure my old lines had seen better days being that they were 21 years old.
The pedal was firmer, and the brakes engaged stronger, but thats about it.
I too would do it again.
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:08 PM   #11
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Thanks for the great responses everyone.

I'm going to buy a set of nice stainless lines like the ones from 949 or Flyin' Miata. Any other recommendations?

Should've mentioned this before, I refreshed the brakes a couple months ago (two track days on them since). New Hawk HT-10 pads, autozone ($20!) rotors, caliper pins, ATE super blue fluid flush. Wasn't concerned about the lines at the time.

Thanks!
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:15 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Pyr0monk3y View Post
Thanks for the great responses everyone.

I'm going to buy a set of nice stainless lines like the ones from 949 or Flyin' Miata. Any other recommendations?

Should've mentioned this before, I refreshed the brakes a couple months ago (two track days on them since). New Hawk HT-10 pads, autozone ($20!) rotors, caliper pins, ATE super blue fluid flush. Wasn't concerned about the lines at the time.

Thanks!
Those are your best bet. The ones from Moss are pretty good, but i guarantee 949 or FM would be 10 times better
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:19 PM   #13
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IMHO a master cylinder swap had more of a difference maker for me. The lines won't help with power, but it will change the pedal feel and precise-ness with the brake when depressed. Personally I enjoyed the feeling, but it depends on what you are doing it for. For a street car? Road Racing & Track Days? Auto-X?

On a street car I don't think they are needed, but that said I've installed them on 3 of my own personal cars, and I loved it.
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:39 PM   #14
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He's on 1.6 brakes, so a lot of things can make an improvement.
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:42 PM   #15
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He's on 1.6 brakes, so a lot of things can make an improvement.
Oh yeah... Most definitely. In that case, i would take that same money for the lines, and just buy 1.8 calipers, brackets, and rotors. lol
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:44 PM   #16
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Car has been retrofitted with brakes from a '94
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:45 PM   #17
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Car has been retrofitted with brakes from a '94
Ok, So SS brakelines it is! lol
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:51 PM   #18
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I'm the one that mentioned 1.6 brakes. But I've long since moved on from that silliness.
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:52 PM   #19
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OR.... Cut the nonsense..... ***** TO THE WALL and get WILLWOODS BBK!!! lol
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Old 11-12-2013, 02:20 PM   #20
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OR.... Cut the nonsense..... ***** TO THE WALL and get WILLWOODS BBK!!! lol
Is that a worthwhile upgrade on a stock horsepower miata? The stock brakes seem pretty good. I have done 10 track days at VIR, which is not the easiest track on brakes, no fade yet. I'm just looking for a little more pedal feel. The car stops really well.

If you are familiar with VIR, I brake a tad after the #1 brake marker on the back straight and between #3 and #4 on the front straight.
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