When building a custom classic car you may want to upgrade or customize your brake system and this may require starting from scratch with how you mount and run your brake lines. There are a lot of options for off the shelf kits and parts but I’ve found that they still need modification or you need to make all new parts anyways. One such simple part are tabs for where your hard brake line meets your soft or flexible brake line. I build a lot of older Fords that never came with hydraulic brakes from the factory. This means I need to design and figure out the entire braking system when upgrading to hydraulic brakes. Something as simple as brake line tabs need to be considered. I decided to show my simple solution for brake line tabs front flexible lines on a hot rod or street rod.
If you’re going to the metal yard you can often find bar stock in the width that you need. I like to use 1/8″thick and 1.25″ wide bar stock as it leaves me enough room to drill a hole in the center for the fitting and extra material to round the edges with a sander. I start by measuring out how long of a piece I need and cutting that off with the 8″ bench shear. You can also cut this strip out of a larger piece of plate, it may just require more work. I keep small sections of the bar stock in my shop just for these types of projects.
I then take the Vise Press Brake and install the dies in my bench vise. With the press brake mounted I centered the metal in the dies and slowly tightened the vise. As the vise is tightened the sharp male section of the die forces the metal into the female die creating your bend. I wanted a 90 degree bend so I kept going until the dies bottomed out but you can stop along the way and check your bend radius.
As you can see above the vise press brake created a smooth 90 degree bend in the metal and left virtually no tooling marks. There are other methods to bend the metal but they’re much more crude and will leave marks on the metal. I usually leave the metal a little long initially and at this step I can test fit the bracket under the frame rails and trim it down as needed.
I then drilled a hole in the center of the bracket that was just larger than the flexible brake line fitting. You want to be able to slip the fitting through the bracket and install the retaining clip. The brake line fitting should slide in easily. but shouldn’t float around as it will put excess force on the retaining clip.
After I made sure the brake line fit nicely I used a small sander to round all of the edges on the tab and you can see above that we have a simple tab that looks like something you would have bought from a parts store.
With the tab mounted in place it now puts the flexible line in a good position to make a straight run to the front wheel cylinder. I decided to make my brackets quite short so they stayed close to the bottom of the frame, but you could make yours any length you want by changing your bend lines and length of the material. Your bracket can also be welded or bolted to the frame depending on your preference. On this car I will be welding the tabs in place during my final welding on the frame.