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Well, almost none. Yesterday, I started off for work in my 2008 Passion. When I got to the bottom of the hill on our driveway, I hit the brakes to stop and the pedal went slowly down all the way to the floor!. The car slowed enough so that, with the help of the emergency brake, I was able to stop. It turned out that the cause was that one of the lines running under the car had deteriorated and was leaking. I had a new line fabricated and now all is well. So, just a cautionary tale to all of us driving the older smarts, the brake lines can wear out. :eek:
 

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Did The line rub on something or does it appear that maybe you scraped on something in the past. I'm just curious about how and why. Also if possible can you take a picture of the location of the damage. This way the rest of us can pay extra attention to the specific line. Thanks and I'm glad you're okay.
Well, almost none. Yesterday, I started off for work in my 2008 Passion. When I got to the bottom of the hill on our driveway, I hit the brakes to stop and the pedal went slowly down all the way to the floor!. The car slowed enough so that, with the help of the emergency brake, I was able to stop. It turned out that the cause was that one of the lines running under the car had deteriorated and was leaking. I had a new line fabricated and now all is well. So, just a cautionary tale to all of us driving the older smarts, the brake lines can wear out. <img src="http://smartcarofamerica.com/forums/images/SmartCarOfAmerica/smilies/tango_face_surprise.png" border="0" alt="" title="EEK! Surprise!" class="inlineimg" />
 

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In over 47 years of driving 30 of those years in northern Illinois where the State Police believe a salt dried highway (to the point of having clouds of salt kick up from your tires). I have never had a brake line rust through.
I guess we can use the old tired smart saying "cheap parts from the lowest bidder" I kind of wonder, do the other automotive manufactures use the highest bidders for better parts?
 

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The rear feed brake line on our 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee rusted through in less than 15 years. Cheap steel. Some salt in winter but not like the northern states.
 

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My guess was rust from road salt, etc. Had that happen to a Mercedes 240D that I bought new, but that one took twenty years or so.

Len
2014 EV Coupe 18,000 miles
2014 EV Cabriolet 12,000 miles
 

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Brake line problem ???

The brake lines on my 2008 Florida smart (bought used almost 6 years ago in Orlando) are showing visible rust and in December the dealer (MB of Sarasota) said "monitor brake lines, heavily rusted". No replacement cost estimate was given.

Car is kept outside a high-rise condo under a covered large carport and kept covered by a fitted car cover when not in use (most of the year). The Gulf of Mexico is about 200 yards away. So, it is a salt air environment.

If this is happening to others, maybe it is brake line material problem and needs to be reported.

Will be watching this thread.


-Barry-
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There was nothing that I could see but, then again, I was wearing a suit and didn't crawl under the car. (Lack of time and some injuries have kept me from doing much more than routine maintenance so I took it to a shop that I trust.) It was when they put it up on the lift that they found the problem. Presumably, the damage was hidden under the pan but I didn't specifically ask that question. If folks are interested, I'll call next week and see if they remember. FWIW, the guys who replaced it for me said that it's a common problem on older cars in this area. A common enough problem that they keep the materials on hand to fabricate new lines. FWIW, this was the 11th winter that I've driven it daily on our frequently salted NJ roads.
 

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Puzzles me why manufacturers don't use stainless steel for brake lines, especially since cars now have a longer service life than ever before. I know, it’s a slight bit more $ for SS. Any good shop can bend a new brake line and could do it in SS if requested.
 

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I once blew an end off of a rubber hose line from frame to axle. Went thru a red light with a 1-ton truck & trailer.


No collision, but it took a long time for the pucker mark in the seat to flatten out...


S u b R o s a
 

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Well, I'm guessing you left Illinois before liquid salt brine happened. I'm not far over the border in Wisconsin and rusted brake lines are extremely common on all makes of car. It has nothing to do with the manufacturer. It's usually due to a curve (steel stretched thin?) in a certain place that can collect salt and grit or gets blasted by it, or damage from road debris or impact.

The most common replacement lines I've seen sold are made by AGS in Michigan. They are good quality but they are still steel. I prefer the copper/nickel lines that don't corrode and are far easier to install. They can be bent into shape easily by hand. They cost quite a bit more than steel but are worth it if only for the time saved and neater bends. The only car manufacturers that I've heard have used them on occasion are Volvo and Jaguar. They're not common.

I'm guessing that stainless isn't used because it is brittle and difficult to bend. It can't flex very much before it would crack.

Paul



In over 47 years of driving 30 of those years in northern Illinois where the State Police believe a salt dried highway (to the point of having clouds of salt kick up from your tires). I have never had a brake line rust through.
I guess we can use the old tired smart saying "cheap parts from the lowest bidder" I kind of wonder, do the other automotive manufactures use the highest bidders for better parts?
 

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That brake line must have been damaged or at least the protective coating, zinc I think, had been rubbed/scraped off. I'v got cars with over 200k and they still have the original brake lines including the front flexible lines and master cylinder.
 
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