Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Roseville (Gateway to the Sierras), CA, USA
Last July one of my front brake line on my 02 LT had started leaking from crimp point on the rubber hose line during a weekend ride up in the Trinity Alps. We did a roadside patch that worked to get us home and on the advice of many decided to change all of my brake lines over to metal with a Spiegler kit. I did this myself and used the bleeding directions and input from several experienced riders from this site. While it was a little more challenging than I thought and required a "final" bleed at the dealer, I was very impressed with the increased braking power and clean look of the installation. Surely, that would be the last time I would need to worry about brake lines prior to buying a new bike in a few years, right? Not quite. After riding about 6500 miles with this set up including our run to CCR, we arrived at our weekend ride destination last Friday afternoon with slightly mushy brakes. A quick check showed brake fluid all over the starboard front brake caliper, tire sidewall, and rim. It was evident the leak was coming from the fitting connection at the Tee junction. I gave it another slight turn with a wrench and the dripping seemed to stop. Perhaps it had just come loose from vibration as I knew I was careful not to overtighten them? Not quite. The next morning we came out to do our ride on the Beasore Loop only to discover a cascade of brake fluid down the side of the caliper and a pool of at least an ounce of brake fluid at the bottom of the rim. I also noticed there was brake fluid between the steel line and the plastic cover of the short brake line that runs to the caliper. We removed the Tee junction and discovered it had a crack down through the center on two of the three 10mm openings and was migrating towards the third. This had the potential to cause a catastrophic brake failure if it had split the Tee in half as it was threatening to do. We spent most of the day Saturday trying to come up with a patch or work around with what was available at the local Napa store in Oakhurst. We came up with a solution and I was able to limp the bike home on Sunday. Of course, the weekend riding was a complete loss as was our time at a four star Yosemite area lodge booked eight months in advance.
Today I called Spiegler and they were happy to replace the broken Tee. Would they replace the short line with the plastic casing filled with brake fluid? Not quite. I could send it in and have it pressure tested but if it checked out they would send it back. Although he admitted the cracked Tee would allow brake fluid to run between the line and the plastic cover he said the line was not warranteed for this. I asked about the cost($100) of needing the bike system bled again after replacing the defective part but apparently that's not covered either. How about any of the consequential costs of the ruined trip, tools and parts purchased to get home, etc. Not quite. The lifetime warranty only applies to something that actually broke.
One does not need to torque down very hard at all on this Tee to know when the line is seated. In fact, if you turn it too aggressively it will twist the crossover line to the other caliper. I did not over torque the fittings. Everyone that has seen this fitting and its cracks has been amazed at the poor quality manufacturing and design. Spiegler may make excellent brake lines but the Tee junction must be outsourced from somewhere below their usual quality control. Their website encourages us to add that extra measure of safety to our bikes by going to steel, lifetime warranty brake lines. At some point on Saturday I realized it might have been better and less trouble to simply replaced the one errant brake line last July with the stock BMW part. It was my decision and I take responsibility. Would I recommend Spiegler aftermarket brake lines in the future?
Bob Morrow #4204
2014 K1600GTLE "Firefly" GTL 4 Two
2002 K1200LTE "Green Hornet" LT 4 Two (history)
"Kyrie Eleison down the road that I must travel"
Last edited by Tallyho; Oct 13th, 2008 at 3:52 pm.