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nklemens

How-To: Replace Rear Brake Lines 2001 Suburban.

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I was finally flagged for state inspection for my "rear brake line". My 01 burb with 190K was imported from Texas to Maine in 2004. After having a friend pay $2200 to have his 98 K1500 lines replaced locally I decided to do it myself. I replaced the tranny myself,twice now, so assumed I could do brake lines. I bought the SS kit from inline tube. $269 delivered. Since my front lines were deemed marginal, I am sure next year they will be flagged. I have read horror stories about pulling the tank, lifting the body, having the dealer have to bleed etc and I was nervous but the GM flat rate manual says no more than 1.5 hours per line. Anyway, Friday, I put it up on ramps and stands and did the deed.

 

The ABS to rear line is nearly 11 feet long. The very first thing was to loosen the connections to make sure it was going to come apart. I turned the ABS connection first, and retightened and the line connections at the rear caliper hoses. All were able to be turned. Still, being nervous I did not undo anything until the 11ft line was in place above the old line. I removed the LR wheel, spare tire and fender liner. I then freed all the electrical harness clips to the frame that run next to the line so I could move the harness as needed. There is about 1.5 to 2 inches of space above the old brake line. The line also has a 180 degree bend at the end to go to the ABS pump.

 

I inserted the new line into the wheelwell towards the front, with the 11ft towards the back and going towards the gas filler door. It just touched the fender flare inner edge. It slid in about 3 ft with little effort, right beside the tank and over the old line. There is a slight offset of the existing line at this point on the frame to go over a tank strap mount. I had to rotate the new line 180 degrees to get it passed this. So the Connector to the ABS was now facing the running board. There is also the wiring for the tank to make sure you slide under. A little more pushing and I was about 12" from the pump. The fuel lines pass here. At this point I rotated the line back to the correct orientation (carefully) and a had the wife assist buy pushing from the rear, while I guided from the front over the fuel lines and ended up exactly over the old line. I did make an error here and did not see the ABS harness and went over it. I think it had to be done this way or I would have spent a lot of time with the pressure of this harness hindering the ease of sliding in place. I simply disconnected the battery and disconnected the harness from the ABS and pulled it over the line, before I made the final connection. Do not forget this as this is a thick harness and will prevent the new line from sitting in the factory clips. Then I went to the rear and snapped the end of the line under the frame, fuel filler pipe, and over the spare tire crossmember and it ended up perfectly right next to the old line. I did have to slide the whole line forward a few inches to do this, but it moved freely.

 

This took about 30-45 minutes and I was pleased and knew this was not going to be problemmatic. To avoid having the fluid drain out and having the truck towed to the dealer to do an ABS bleed, I pinched the old line between the frame at the rear and the spare tire carrier with a couple blows of a hammer. I also bought a new flex that goes to the rear axle. It was $11.00 from Rockauto. The only other worry area was the top of the axle flex line to the frame mount. But a long screwdriver and a couple taps of a hammer it popped up and out.

 

I then pulled the rubber hose forward, and the metal line through the mounting hole and bent and broke the old metal line. I removed all the clips and unscrewed the connectors to the rear caliper hoses from the axle lines and removed it all in one piece. I also reached up above the tire carrier and bent the broken line back to stop any fluid from dripping out of the old long line.

 

The next step was to pull the end of the new line through the rubber hose mount above the axle and screw on the hose end. I coated all the threads of all the new fittings with a thin coat of neverseize. I almost tightened this connection but remembered that the hose locks into the hose mount only one way. So I locked it in place with one hand and tightened the fitting. Do not do this! Install the clip to the rubber line first! Then screw in the metal line. I wasted 30-45 minutes trying to install the clip only to find the hose was off a few degrees and not fully seated. This will not allow the clip to install in the groove on the hose.

 

I then installed all the rear axle lines without incident remembering the never seize on all the threads and every bolt and every clip. Another 30 minutes.

 

I then went to the front, disconnected the connector at the ABS, bent it out of the way, and connected the new line. This is the only connection I could not neverseize because I did not want to lose the fluid out of the ABS. This took 30 minutes too. I had to cut the tubing wrench to fit.

 

I broke off the old line bend and pulled the old line straight back and out. I had a lot of fluid to clean where it flowed out of this line while being withdrawn. Since the stainless is springy, I used plastic tie wraps in three locations to make sure it did not pop out of the old brittle factory clips. They did not seem to hold that well.

 

Also, screw in every line connection tight, back off, and retighten, and again twice to seat the stainess. I had two drips after bleeding. Do it when you connect them and save some after work. Always use a tubing wrench 14mm. Never use a regular even on the new connections. You will have to cut the 13 mm end off the wrench to shorten it. Working on the ABS connection from the top needs a short wrench. Also the rear hose connections at the calipers go easier with a short wrench.

 

Bleed the right rear first!. Make sure the master cylinder is always full. My only surprise was the left rear caliper bleeder screw stripped. $57.00 later it had a new caliper. I will coat all the connectors with Corrosion X this Spring or when it warms up and the rain washes the salt from the roads. I did coat all the front lines with corrosion X to buy hopefully a few more years from them. This summer I will do the fronts to avoid winter work again.

 

So all told it took me 4.5 hours including the caliper install and retightening the connections, bleeding and putting the tires on and parts back together.

 

I hope this helps someone and dispells any myths. The only thing that would have stopped me is if the ABS line connector would not have loosened. But I would have stopped, got a used ABS and done it myself and spent a lot more time. I also would have bought rear caliper hoses if they did not disconnect.

 

Anyway, I now have stainless lines forever and saved over $450.00 in labor plus retail parts prices. And its done as good or better as the factory. It must be nice to install these on a new rolling frame before the body is dropped.

 

When I coat the connections with Corrosion X I will ammend the post with some photos.

 

....Norm

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Norm,

thanks for the detail write up. I'll be doing the same job soon on my wife's yukon. Did you need to have the ABS bled?

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Greta info. I am going to move this to the HOW TO section so it can be captured for others.

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