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BMW E39 Brake Lines Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E39 Brake Lines Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$45

Talent:

***

Tools:

17mm wrench, 11mm Flare nut wrench, 14mm flare nut wrench

Applicable Models:

BMW E39 5-Series (1997-03)

Parts Required:

Brake caliper, brake fluid, brake lines

Hot Tip:

Bleed entire brake system

Performance Gain:

Great brake feel.

Complementary Modification:

Replace brake pads and pad wear sensors at same time.

When you step on your brake pedal you are compressing a piston in your brake master cylinder. This cylinder is full of brake fluid. The brake fluid that is now under pressure passes through metal lines to the individual calipers. Since the calipers float with the suspension a flexible line is need to connected the body mounted brake line to the floating caliper. These brake lines crack and leak over time. They can also become restricted with material from the brake system and allow the caliper to stick. This causes uneven and premature brake wear. Replace your brake lines when you are replacing your brake calipers. It will make the job easier.

Lift and support the axle of vehicle you are replacing brake lines on. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle.

Remove wheels on axle you are replacing brake lines on.

To change the brake lines you are going to have to open up the system. Brake fluid is going to leak out. Have a large drip tray under the suspension of the wheel you are working on at the time. Be careful not to get brake fluid on your hands or the paint of your vehicle. Brake fluid is corrosive to paint finishes.

Follow the brake lines from the caliper and you will see the other end where it connects to the brake line (green arrow) on the body.
Figure 1

Follow the brake lines from the caliper and you will see the other end where it connects to the brake line (green arrow) on the body. Here we are looking at the left side front wheel, wheel well. Look against the body by the electrical connector housing and you will see the brake line union that needs to be separated.

Use a 17mm wrench to secure the top half of the union.
Figure 2

Use a 17mm wrench to secure the top half of the union. Use a 11mm flare net wrench to twist off the brake line fitting. The 17mm wrench on the top half will not rotate and you should hold it still. The 11mm flare nut wrench will rotate and you need to spin the fitting until the threaded portion is totally removed from the upper half. These lines are going to be rusty so you are probably going to have to remove rust, corrosion and road debris from around the fitting.

Once you have threaded the lower fitting out slide it downward on the line in the direction of the blue arrow.
Figure 3

Once you have threaded the lower fitting out slide it downward on the line in the direction of the blue arrow. Remember where the "u" shaped spring is so you can keep it in the same position when you install the new brake line.

With the fitting all the way down lift up on the brake line and remove it from the holder.
Figure 4

With the fitting all the way down lift up on the brake line and remove it from the holder.

Use a 14mm flare nut wrench to unthread the line on the caliper.
Figure 5

Use a 14mm flare nut wrench to unthread the line on the caliper. It is much easier to spin the line out of the threads in the caliper with the other end removed.

You can now thread the brake line all the way out.
Figure 6

You can now thread the brake line all the way out. When you go to thread in the new line be very careful to hold the line a right angle to the hole so you do not cross thread the line into the caliper. A very fine thread is used and it is easy to damage the threads Installation is the reverse of the removal steps. Be very careful to route the brake line as you found it so it does not rub or get wrapped around the strut assembly as you turn the wheel. When installing the flexible brake line on the hard metal line hold the upper line in place in the holder bracket and push up on the lower fitting and thread it in. Keep the spring in the same position so it holds the line still.

This photo illustrates the brake line in the right side rear wheel.
Figure 7

This photo illustrates the brake line in the right side rear wheel. Use a 14mm wrench to secure the lower portion of the line. Use a 11mm flare nut wrench to rotate the fitting on the top metal line. These lines are going to be rusty so you are probably going to have to remove rust, corrosion and road debris from around the fitting.

Use a 14mm wrench to thread the brake line out of the caliper.
Figure 8

Use a 14mm wrench to thread the brake line out of the caliper. The brake line will be easier to spin out of the caliper now that the other side of the line is removed. Installation is the reverse of the removal steps. Be very careful to route the brake line as you found so it is not under stress as the suspension moves up and down. When installing the flexible brake line on the hard metal line hold the lower line in place in the holder bracket, push down on the upper fitting and thread it in. Note: you must bleed the brake system after preforming this job. Do NOT attempt to drive the vehicle before properly bleeding the brake system.

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