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Using rubber instead of steel for tranny lines

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by 8_YOUR_H2, Jan 13, 2003.

  1. 8_YOUR_H2

    8_YOUR_H2 1/2 ton status

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    Just wondering if anyone uses rubber line instead of steel line for the tranny. How did you route the line around the exhaust? Any tips?
    Thanks
    Brent
     
  2. Sandman

    Sandman 3/4 ton status Author

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    I did this on my Chevelle for a while. I ran the lines through the frame. I ended up replacing them with steel eventually though.
     
  3. outlaw612

    outlaw612 1/2 ton status

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    I wouldnt. I tried it once and after about 2 weeks the line cracked and dumped all the fluid out. I was on the highway when it happened and by the time I caught it the trans was trashed.
     
  4. lazerus

    lazerus Registered Member

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    hello!
    I asked the same quesiton a few months ago....it looks as though everyone goes steel lines. I have heard that you could use copper, but according to my auto mech book that is a no-no.
    I ended up finding a place in my town that made hydraulic hoses and pipes. they used there benders to bend the steel lines when I couldnt get it bent at enough angle with the tubing bender.
    hope this helps
     
  5. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    It isn't hard at all to make new steel tranny lines. HINT: They use a standard steel brake line size. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif The brake line is cheap, you can probably make both lines for less than $25. /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif A $10 tubing bender will make the job easier, but it can be bent by hand as long as you don't make any tight bends. Don't waste a very expensive tranny just to save a few bucks.
     
  6. 8_YOUR_H2

    8_YOUR_H2 1/2 ton status

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    I see your point, I am not trying to be cheap its just that I struggled getting the old steel lines to work (going from a 700r4 to a th350) and want to make the installation as easy as possable.
     
  7. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I used a rubber section to join two previously cut lines together, one of them burst, spraying Dexron on the exhaust manifold. Luckily it didn't start a fire (it was close though, lots of nice smoke) and I was less than two blocks from home.

    I won't ever use rubber again where GM used steel. Lots of people do, and most get away with it no problem, but I'd hate to be the unlucky one. (and in a way I guess I almost was)
     
  8. Mudzer

    Mudzer 1/2 ton status Author

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    Ive also seen blown tranny lines before. Unless you go Braided, I would consider steel. Just buy a length of Steel line at your local parts store and flare your ends on it. One thing nice about steel - it dissipates heat getting your fluid cooler before it hits the cooler! /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     
  9. imiceman44

    imiceman44 1 ton status

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    I agree on the rubber not being the best choice. If it's braided steel maybe.
    As for copper, I have run coper lines for 20 yars now on all kinds of trucks and cars I have owned, they are great they never rust like steel lines, easy to route with no bender, you can get them at home depot fro cheap and they flare very easy.
    They also dissipate heat better than steel.
    I also make a spare and keep with me in the truck, I keep it rolled up, and when I need it I just unroll it and route with no tools required. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
    I have also seen aluminum tubing used but I think aluminum is more brittle but dissipates heat better.
     
  10. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    The reason GM didn't use copper is because it can corrode when in contact with some vehicle fluids, and since its weaker than steel, problems could occur sooner.

    GM didn't use aluminum because its too weak, and if it has to move, it will have problems before steel will.

    I used AL for some engine oil cooling lines and didn't notice any problems, but also didn't check inside of them for corrosion. I have a feeling either of those materials is ok, nothing on the vehicle should be moving so much to cause problems except maybe the tranny lines as mounted stock, other than that, it's probably a difference of failing after 50 years of constant use versus 45 /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
     
  11. lazerus

    lazerus Registered Member

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    just a word of caution...if you go steel line and flare the ends yourself--be sure to use a double lip flare
    probably everyone else already knows this, but I found out the old fashioned way /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  12. imiceman44

    imiceman44 1 ton status

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    Oh well I got the double flaring tool, I don't use anything else.
    It gives it thikness and a cushion to take the shape of both ends for a perfect seal.
    /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  13. agrezy1

    agrezy1 Registered Member

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    heres my take i own a mobile lube biz i see all kinds weird riged stuff, most common are aftermarket trans coolers using rubber lines most people use fuel line to run these after awile they swell up a fail due to the reaction with trans fluid. if you are going to run rubber i recomend using low pressure power steering return line and barbed fittings although metal would be better. most parts houses carry the rubber p,s hose in bulk for about 1.25 a foot /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  14. Eric M.

    Eric M. 1/2 ton status

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    Rubber works fine, you just gotta make sure you use the right hose (high pressure power steering hose). I've got 5 GM full size, all with after market trans coolers and all with rubber lines. I made the mistake of using the wrong stuff the first time and learned my lesson. I've got 10 years and over 100K miles on one of the rubber lined trucks. Just use the right stuff, keep it away from sharp edges and exhaust manifolds.

    Eric M.
     
  15. 4X4HIGH

    4X4HIGH 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    NEVER USE RUBBER, you may use neoprene hose but only short sections to make a coupling between two steel lines. Rubber line will swell and then deteriorate in a matter of days, it is not compatible with the chemicals in tranny fluid, power steering fluid, or fuel.
     
  16. zakk

    zakk 1/2 ton status

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    i used high pressure stuff for a few short sections. I wouldn't run from the tranny to the cooler, though.
     
  17. jcg

    jcg 1/2 ton status

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    Your exactly right! I've had tranny hose (NOT fuel line!) on my truck for a long time and haven't had any problems with it. I made sure it's tied to the frame so it can't rub on anything, and spots where it possibly could rub have been sleeved with heater hose for protection. There's nothing wrong with using rubber line, as long as you use the correct stuff.
     
  18. Eric M.

    Eric M. 1/2 ton status

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    [I've got 10 years and over 100K miles on one of the rubber lined trucks]

    Lasted a wee bite longer than a couple of day!

    Eric M.
     
  19. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    Don't do it. My buddy had a Wagoneer with rubber lines instead of steel and about every 2 weeks I was out fixing his line that blew and bringing him about 3 quarts of fluid to refill his TH400.
     
  20. 55Willy

    55Willy 3/4 ton status

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    what kinda rubber hose you guys using? vaccuum line? fuel line? or tranny line? they do make rubber lines for tranny's.
    available in 5/16's and 3/8's, it's more then plain fuel line and stronger. if you want ti even stronger go with fuel injection hose,LOL almost $4 a foot.

    On my 40 I ran as much hard line as I could and just ran two short pieces of rubber tranny line.


    -Jeremy
    "Howlin' Off Road" /forums/images/graemlins/usaflag.gif
     

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