Why Not SS Brake Lines ? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 37 Old Jun 2nd, 2010, 6:55 pm Thread Starter
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Smile Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Had planned to change out the OEM brake lines to SS on my last fluid bleed.
2006 LT with no hose / brake issues, just sensible pre-emptive maintenance.
Have used rubber conditioner (Glym) on the OEM lines and they are still in excellent condition. No sign of degradation or rubber perishing.

I mentioned my intention to a BMW service manager that I hold in high regard, who just smiled and produced a document (in german) regarding this issue with MY MODEL of LT.
It basically said that with the braking system on this LT, SS lines were not recommended

The reasoning was that as there is no "give" in these lines and so with the application of pressure from the ABS motor, a hydraulic spike or shock is experienced by the pump. I guess in effect like turning off the water tap too fast and experiencing water hammer.
Made sense to me. This brake system reaches operating pressure in microseconds so when I say "give" I'm not meaning sponginess, just a correctly adjusted brake system working normally. This "give" or absorption of initial shock pressure was considered very important in the overall design.
There are many posts about the SS lines, most are very pleased with the replacement.
I've also read about the occasional failure of ABS pumps. Many reasons for failure, but I just wanted some feed back.
I know the advantages of SS lines, just wondered about this little known downside.
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post #2 of 37 Old Jun 2nd, 2010, 7:31 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Howdy Hilton! Have a brew for us "down unda!"

I too weighed the cost of Speigler compared to OEM....but since my local dealer is a Speigler distributor, I decided to go with the stronger lines....especially after having TWO OEM lines fail on me in as many months!

Regarding your salutation....why would anyone rather be in France when the rest of Europe (especially since the wall came down twenty years ago) has so many roads, hills, and mountains to offer! That's just IMHO after having spent 10.5 years of my life in Europe.

Ride safe!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilton
Had planned to change out the OEM brake lines to SS on my last fluid bleed.
2006 LT with no hose / brake issues, just sensible pre-emptive maintenance.
Have used rubber conditioner (Glym) on the OEM lines and they are still in excellent condition. No sign of degradation or rubber perishing.

I mentioned my intention to a BMW service manager that I hold in high regard, who just smiled and produced a document (in german) regarding this issue with MY MODEL of LT.
It basically said that with the braking system on this LT, SS lines were not recommended

The reasoning was that as there is no "give" in these lines and so with the application of pressure from the ABS motor, a hydraulic spike or shock is experienced by the pump. I guess in effect like turning off the water tap too fast and experiencing water hammer.
Made sense to me. This brake system reaches operating pressure in microseconds so when I say "give" I'm not meaning sponginess, just a correctly adjusted brake system working normally. This "give" or absorption of initial shock pressure was considered very important in the overall design.
There are many posts about the SS lines, most are very pleased with the replacement.
I've also read about the occasional failure of ABS pumps. Many reasons for failure, but I just wanted some feed back.
I know the advantages of SS lines, just wondered about this little known downside.
Cheers


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post #3 of 37 Old Jun 2nd, 2010, 8:21 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

I've heard that too about the power integrated brakes, but after having two OEM's fail last summer on my 2002 (BlauBeeMr I feel your pain), I had the Spieglers installed. My independent BMW shop recommended the SS, and although he's a Spiegler dealer, he is also the guy the dealers send bikes to they can't fix.

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post #4 of 37 Old Jun 2nd, 2010, 8:35 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Funny, I've put over 180K on my LT's brake lines and never had a problem, and this includes riding two up in 100F heat pulling a trailer in the west, where you would think the dry air would decimate the rubber.

Stainless steel lines are nothing more than marketing hype - developed for race car brakes that operate at extremely high temperatures - ALL the braiding does is provide chafing protection - despite what the manufacturers claim - period. Teflon has it's limitations too.

Stolen from Snowbum's website - and I agree 110%: (although he's talking about Airheads here this still applies - and perhaps even more so for Anti-lock systems.)

"BMW stock-original type rubber hoses will last MANY DECADES, if you never hang the calipers by the hoses, which is true ABUSE! Hanging calipers by the hoses will pinch/kink the tiny diameter hidden internal hose, especially at the hose end fittings. It is RARE for the internals of a stock-original BMW hose to collapse, so long as the hose is not injured by that mentioned hanging. Stainless steel lines are NOT all that much better...many are MUCH worse than the stock hoses. The problem with nearly all SS hoses is that they won't pass the WHIPPING test...a test of constant flexing to simulate long term use; and, the 304 SS material will work-harden, then can break; also the bad braiding area can rupture...and you get a bubble situation that can blow out. SS hoses are NOT just SS braid covered standard rubber hydraulic line hoses. If you use SS hoses be SURE that they are plastic tubing covered...not hardly just to protect painted surfaces, but to help avoid the common SS hoses/lines failure modes. SOME premium hoses WILL pass whipping tests. ASK!

BMW hoses are not overly long, which tends to minimize the potentially softer feeling (from using non-metal-braided hoses). BMW hoses are of the HIGHEST quality. With a stock hose you can generally feel the hose to see if it is failing, especially near the end fittings, while you apply heavy lever pressure. That is not so easy with SS braiding, a drawback. SS hoses require covering by clear plastic tubing of some sort, where the hoses might touch paintwork. Some SS lines are far too stiff, not really meant for all the flexing that your airhead does with its moving fork. Some (or most?) SS hoses have far too small an internal diameter of the inside tubing (often Teflon or?), and that creates a harder lever feel, but creates other problems as the lever pressure is released. I like the LOOK of SS braid covered hoses, but not the potential problems."


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post #5 of 37 Old Jun 3rd, 2010, 3:01 am Thread Starter
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Smile Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Thanks for the replies. Waiting on feed back specifically about the pressure spike.
Interesting post Ron with some sensible ideas too.
Why France. Longish story, but one great thing, it's attached to the rest.
Also love the culture there. Planning to spend lots more time touring the endless winding roads of Europe.
Have managed only 50,000 mls since my career change, and barely scratched the surface.
ps Italians make the best coffee.
Cheers

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post #6 of 37 Old Jun 3rd, 2010, 11:31 am
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

I have a 99 LT that I purchased new. So far no signs of disintegration or bulging in brake lines. I have ridden motorcycles for 53 years and never had a brake line failure. Knocking on wood as I type.

I also have a Moto Guzzi Norge with ABS. This bike comes from the factory with Brembo brakes and steel braided brake lines. Haven't heard of brake line or ABS issues on these bikes and many on the Guzzi forum have upwards of 60,000 miles.
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post #7 of 37 Old Jun 3rd, 2010, 1:19 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilton
... I mentioned my intention to a BMW service manager that I hold in high regard, who just smiled and produced a document (in german) regarding this issue with MY MODEL of LT...
I am having a hard time believing this - regardless whether the document was in English or in German.

After all, the brake lines on the GS bikes are braided steel - both in power-assisted versions and in the later ones.

Robert in Northern NJ

'09 R12GS, '08 R12RT, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS - time to thin the herd?


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post #8 of 37 Old Jun 3rd, 2010, 1:46 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Here's an excellent white paper covering that issue. While it may seem that SS lines have many advantages over OEM (and they indeed do for most AUTO uses where they are fixed in place or have a very small amount of flexing) we have a tremendous amount of continuous flexing (whip) on the front end of our bikes.

http://stoptech.com/tech_info/wp_sta...teel_Q&A.shtml

Something else to keep in mind - that so called "mushy" feel that many complain about actually allows the motorcycle rider more feedback versus a "firm" feel. Being able to modulate front brake pressure on semi-slippery surfaces is extremely important. If you do it right you can easily feel right before the ABS is going to kick in - and that's exactly when you have MAXIMUM braking. Once ABS kicks in stopping distances will actually increase. With SS lines this fine sensation is lost.

I've had 'em both on my LT's, and even though the "inferior" OEM lines cost MORE than the super duper bling SS lines I went back to them in a heartbeat. Why? 'Cause I can stop faster with them, and isn't this what it's really all about?

No doubt the GS system was designed for SS brake lines, and I'll guarantee you the engineers went to great length to get exactly what they wanted. Don't forget the SS lines have more resistance to objects that are kicked up off road - so there might just be a bit of marketing going on here as well.


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post #9 of 37 Old Jun 3rd, 2010, 2:01 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by heaaleyblue
I have a 99 LT that I purchased new. So far no signs of disintegration or bulging in brake lines. I have ridden motorcycles for 53 years and never had a brake line failure. Knocking on wood as I type.

I also have a Moto Guzzi Norge with ABS. This bike comes from the factory with Brembo brakes and steel braided brake lines. Haven't heard of brake line or ABS issues on these bikes and many on the Guzzi forum have upwards of 60,000 miles.
I've only got about 40 years under the belt, but after about 50 bikes I too have never had a brake line failure. This goes all the way back to the very FIRST Kawasaki equipped with a front disc brake - my 1972 HIB 500.


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post #10 of 37 Old Jun 3rd, 2010, 8:39 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

This is all very interesting Ron.
I had SS on my toy truck at one time.
They were not coated and I did not install them 100 percent correctly.
They chaffed and I had a brake failure in the back alley.
That will get your heart going.

I also have Spiegler SS on my PC800, they are coated and I like them very much.

So what about all that black crap that comes out of the lines when they have not been bled for awhile. As in buying someone else's lack of maintenance.

Deteriorating brake hose???

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post #11 of 37 Old Jun 3rd, 2010, 9:20 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MountianMama
This is all very interesting Ron.
I had SS on my toy truck at one time.
They were not coated and I did not install them 100 percent correctly.
They chaffed and I had a brake failure in the back alley.
That will get your heart going.

I also have Spiegler SS on my PC800, they are coated and I like them very much.

So what about all that black crap that comes out of the lines when they have not been bled for awhile. As in buying someone else's lack of maintenance.

Deteriorating brake hose???
Yep, just about all hoses deteriorate and fail from the inside out!

On my liquid cooled vehicles I do the "crunch test" on all the coolant lines: squeeze 'em good and hard and especially at sharp bends, and if you hear or feel anything it's time for new hoses.


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post #12 of 37 Old Jun 3rd, 2010, 10:14 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Ron's info would've been good to have as research data before I went to Speigler....oh well....too late. I guess the lifetime warranty on the lines will always guarantee I can get a line replaced if one goes bad! Thanks for sharing the info!

Hilton....I sure wish I could spin on the twisties in Europe with ya....I do miss those roads! As much as I "dis" the culture of the French (can't ever pick which side to stay on, surrender is one of their favorite rituals, and their socialist form of government).....the terrain, wine, and food are fantastic!


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post #13 of 37 Old Jun 4th, 2010, 4:28 am
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Wow, sheesh! I didn't know Ron had so much knowledge of SS braided brake lines. Thats cool Ron. I know you know about butts though, or would that be the knowledge of how to make ones butt more comfortable. Whatever man, I love my Kontour.
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post #14 of 37 Old Jun 4th, 2010, 6:55 am
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwalker
I am having a hard time believing this - regardless whether the document was in English or in German.

After all, the brake lines on the GS bikes are braided steel - both in power-assisted versions and in the later ones.
I agree just about EVERY BMW made now have SS brake hoses. If there was a problem using them on the LT then why do new bikes come stock with SS.

Stevie Shreeve
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post #15 of 37 Old Jun 4th, 2010, 10:58 am
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

On my LT, I had a brake like failure on the OEMs at four years, and about 35,000 miles. The dealer told me that this was common, and they typically suggest replacing them all at about 4 years. They may have been "marketing" their services... Charged me just over $200.00 to replace the one rear line.

Went to Spieglers; been another three years with no problems.

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post #16 of 37 Old Jun 4th, 2010, 1:49 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

I have SS brake lines on 2 of my cars and on my 02 LT. The lines for the cars have longer spans of unsupported hose than the LT does. To get DOT approval the hoses must pass the whip test. This describes the whip test subjected to the "whip test" a test under which the hose is held at one end, whipped for 35 hours, then checked for any failure at the crimp connection. Any sign of damage and the hose doesn't pass.
Also the Teflon lined hoses don't deteriorate from the inside like rubber ones do. So you won't have the debris build up in your ABS pump or in the calipers.
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post #17 of 37 Old Jun 4th, 2010, 2:48 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Also the Teflon lined hoses don't deteriorate from the inside like rubber ones do. So you won't have the debris build up in your ABS pump or in the calipers

Now, that's a HUGE advantage I didn't think of. It would make sense that you could extend service intervals big time this way - AND protect that insanely expensive ABS pump...

If I could find out who the supplier is for BMW's OEM SS lines I might change my mind - since I know they would pass the "whip" test and be the correct ID.

Anyone familiar with BMW OEM suppliers? I know who makes the seats.


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post #18 of 37 Old Jun 4th, 2010, 2:53 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMiller
Wow, sheesh! I didn't know Ron had so much knowledge of SS braided brake lines. Thats cool Ron. I know you know about butts though, or would that be the knowledge of how to make ones butt more comfortable. Whatever man, I love my Kontour.
That's excellent - thanks!

A lot of my "data base" comes from being in aviation for 28 years. Kind of a parallel universe when it comes to gear - and one of my best buds is an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic and was a crew chief on F-16's in the Air Force. I always defer to him for maintenance stuff.


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post #19 of 37 Old Jun 4th, 2010, 4:39 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

So, which lines are made with the teflon inside ? I like that idea.

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post #20 of 37 Old Jun 4th, 2010, 6:08 pm Thread Starter
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Smile Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Interesting comments and great reading. Thanks.
In response.
Never assume.
If there is any doubt, there is no doubt. ie stop and check. 35ys aviation, best advise ever
My inquiry related to MY MODEL LT only, 2006. BMW tweaked around with the braking system on these bikes from the first release '99, and even after the '06. To their credit they were always trying to improve them. Just look into the different bleed procedures, the dual reservoirs vrs the single type, the different ABS motors, Bembro verses BMW callipers, although that one is cosmetic. Even different fastening torques for the front callipers.
Yes, they do produce many models now with SS lines. I think they look cool too, but they didn't come on the LT, in particular MY LT, and any braking system that can haul a 1/2 ton bike down from 62 mph to stop in 119 ft using two fingers isn't too shabby.
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post #21 of 37 Old Jun 4th, 2010, 7:09 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

I've replaced 3 lines on my 2k model LT. 2 front and one on the rear. I have 70k miles on the bike. I replaced them with OEM rubber hoses. The one lower front hose wasn't bad but the upper front and the rear lines was a major pain, I have come to HATE banjo bolts. In response to them lasting decades if you do not hang calipers on them, I have not done that. All three hoses failed at the crimped on banjo fitting.
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post #22 of 37 Old Jun 4th, 2010, 7:27 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMiller
Wow, sheesh! I didn't know Ron had so much knowledge of SS braided brake lines. Thats cool Ron. I know you know about butts though, or would that be the knowledge of how to make ones butt more comfortable. Whatever man, I love my Kontour.
Yep! Ron always knows a lot and always willing to share. I'd miss him terribly if he wasn't on this forum.
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post #23 of 37 Old Jun 4th, 2010, 11:09 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonKMiller
Also the Teflon lined hoses don't deteriorate from the inside like rubber ones do. So you won't have the debris build up in your ABS pump or in the calipers

Now, that's a HUGE advantage I didn't think of. It would make sense that you could extend service intervals big time this way - AND protect that insanely expensive ABS pump...

If I could find out who the supplier is for BMW's OEM SS lines I might change my mind - since I know they would pass the "whip" test and be the correct ID.

Anyone familiar with BMW OEM suppliers? I know who makes the seats.
The ID of the Speigler lines looked to be about the same as the OEM rubber hoses. Also, I do believe they have DOT approval on their hoses, which means they passed the whip test.
I looked at just replacing the hose that broke on mine with OEM, it was $122, the Speigler hoses cost $150 for the entire set.
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post #24 of 37 Old Jun 4th, 2010, 11:11 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by loansumrider
So, which lines are made with the teflon inside ? I like that idea.
Should be any of the SS hoses. They use an extruded Teflon liner.
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post #25 of 37 Old Jun 8th, 2010, 5:27 am
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

As far as the whip test goes. All Spiegler lines meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS-106) The whip test runs for 35 hours at 800 rpm with 235 psi within the brake line. Another test they do is a high pressure test up to 20,000 psi.

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post #26 of 37 Old Jul 26th, 2010, 11:06 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Just thought I would keep the post running with a rubber (flex) line pin hole failure.

This occurred on the front brake of a 2002 with 55K miles.
The pinhole is between the hard pipe and the tee (mounted on the backside of the right fork tube) this no possibility of anything hanging.
But there is a very minor amount of flex in the line as you turn left and right. The failure occurred just above the steel grip on the hose . . .












Talked to Speigler (Dayton, OH) they now want $235 to replace all the flex hoses on the LT
- they said there were 6 ??? Going to check that out. They said they were at the 2010 MOA and
they had about a dozen bikes to replace lines on that failed - all rubber of course.

To replace the 5 hoses I count and if purchased thru BMW Chicago its ~$283 before
shipping - so it looks like Speigler has done there homework!!

Replacing No. 1 and No. 6 might not be critical since these are low pressure inputs.

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post #27 of 37 Old Jul 27th, 2010, 4:34 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

I know I can buy a kit of six SS brake lines from Speilger for aprox. $275. Can I buy a kit of OEM brake lines if I decide on them? Just noticed a leak on the line to the left front caliper on my 1999 LT.
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post #28 of 37 Old Jul 27th, 2010, 4:42 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Sure you can buy the OEM lines. But think about what your doing when you do. Every piece of rubber on the brake loop should be replaced because if you replace just that one, the rest of system is now weaker than what you just replaced. JM2CW

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post #29 of 37 Old Jul 27th, 2010, 8:11 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by budzee
Can I buy a kit of OEM brake lines if I decide on them?

Dan answered that already:
"To replace the 5 hoses I count and if purchased thru BMW Chicago its ~$283 before
shipping -" It is not an OEM kit but you can buy them all. The Speigler is cheaper.

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2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #30 of 37 Old Jul 27th, 2010, 9:14 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzeiler
Dan answered that already:
"To replace the 5 hoses I count and if purchased thru BMW Chicago its ~$283 before
shipping -" It is not an OEM kit but you can buy them all. The Speigler is cheaper.
Plus with Speigler you get a Life time warranty & their customer service is out standing.

Stevie Shreeve
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post #31 of 37 Old Jul 28th, 2010, 8:38 am
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Does the Speigler come with good instructions and can a novice with plenty of tools do the job? I have done all the other fluid changes many times and I have done the gas filter/air filter change with no problems. BTW my bike is a 1999 year.
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post #32 of 37 Old Jul 28th, 2010, 9:38 am
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by budzee
Does the Speigler come with good instructions and can a novice with plenty of tools do the job? I have done all the other fluid changes many times and I have done the gas filter/air filter change with no problems. BTW my bike is a 1999 year.
No, the only instructions only tell you how to turn the banjo fitting on the line itself.
Some need to turned but not on every bike. I've done 4 bike but only turned 1 fitting.That being said it is not a hard job to do just take your time & replace the hoses one at a time.The front lines to the right calipers are a 1 piece unit from the factory but the Speigler is 3 pieces. 1 upper hose , 1 "T" block , 1 lower hose. The rest of the hose will match up by size to the stock lines

Stevie Shreeve
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post #33 of 37 Old Jul 29th, 2010, 12:47 am
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Drove up to Speigler (Dayton, OH) and picked up my replacement 6 piece brake line kit for a 2002 LT.

No specific instructions just a general caution flier on how to hold and rotate a banjo fittings & why (strain relief),
torque settings for the nuts and other safety related comments. All the say about matching is do some side by side
comparisons and you will know what hose goes where.

They did mention that the blue plastic clamps are optional and you can use good pairs of grips.

When I picked up them up they said no Teflon tape and no lock-tite and they reminded me of the life time warranty.

Ordered black as not to stand out and minimize visual effects of weathering!!



If I have the time and patience I may photo op the process . . . this Sunday!!

Dan Finazzo
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Last edited by dfinazzo; Jul 29th, 2010 at 12:48 am. Reason: Additional Comments
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post #34 of 37 Old Jul 29th, 2010, 1:03 am
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

I have had mine for a few years now and am very satisfied with the SS lines. Did a complete system flush this past weekend and the fluid did not seem to be as dirty with the SS lines as it was with the oem lines over the same period of time. I do flush the entire system yearly though.

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying " I'll try again tomorrow".


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post #35 of 37 Old Jul 29th, 2010, 3:57 pm
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfinazzo
Drove up to Speigler (Dayton, OH) and picked up my replacement 6 piece brake line kit for a 2002 LT.

No specific instructions just a general caution flier on how to hold and rotate a banjo fittings & why (strain relief),
torque settings for the nuts and other safety related comments. All the say about matching is do some side by side
comparisons and you will know what hose goes where.

They did mention that the blue plastic clamps are optional and you can use good pairs of grips.

When I picked up them up they said no Teflon tape and no lock-tite and they reminded me of the life time warranty.

Ordered black as not to stand out and minimize visual effects of weathering!!



If I have the time and patience I may photo op the process . . . this Sunday!!
Good luck...I did mine last weekend...very little adjustment to the lines...take your time...

Loansumrider: Jim
01 LT Fast Pacific Blue ... " The Goose "

? when to ASUME, and HOW MUCH should you ASUME, safely ?
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post #36 of 37 Old Jul 30th, 2010, 8:47 am
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

How much of the Tupperware (and other stuff) has to come off to do the brake line exchange?
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post #37 of 37 Old Jul 30th, 2010, 9:45 am
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Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by budzee
How much of the Tupperware (and other stuff) has to come off to do the brake line exchange?
Pre linked brakes
all on the right side, Upper & Lower fairing & battery cover

Linked brakes
Same as above plus left battery cover to bleed ABS pump.

Stevie Shreeve
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