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Old 06-23-2011, 05:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Copper fuel line

Will 3/8 copper make a good fuel line to replace the steel one OR will the additives they put in the gas now days eat up the copper.. Found a roll at a garage sale for 5.00.. worth more than that at the salvage yard... YES I did buy it....
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Old 06-23-2011, 06:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Copper fuel line

We;re paying 3.50 can. a pound today.
I think our buyers paying 3.80.
Sell it. and buy the Right Stuff!
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Copper fuel line

I don't think that the fuel will "Eat" the copper. It's not made of acid ya know...
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Copper fuel line

Copper is a very bad choice!

The vibrations in an automotive application will cause the copper line to fatigue and crack!
Very dangerous!

Use proper steel line!
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Copper fuel line

Copper is way too soft. It will wear through and at the minimum leave you sitting. Don't want to think about the really bad things that could happen. Go with steel.
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Copper fuel line

Aren't copper and aluminum about on par with each other as far as strength? I see aluminum lines all the time.
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Copper fuel line

Copper is way too soft and will crush or fatigue too easily in a machine exposed to as many hazards as an automobile. Sure it's used for pressurized gases, but that's in buildings where it never encounters vibrations and is protected in walls, attics, etc. Even travel trailers don't use regular copper line for their propane tanks, they use special lines meant to handle the rigors of the road.

And while some aluminum is used in newer autos, it's usually a special alloy designed and treated for such use.

Personally, I wouldn't trust anything but steel. With good rubber where absolutely necessary. Even then, I prefer the rubber to be braided with steel.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Copper fuel line

Quote:
Originally Posted by FEandGoingBroke View Post
Aren't copper and aluminum about on par with each other as far as strength? I see aluminum lines all the time.
Not at all the same with regard to strength.

Copper is very soft.
Aluminum can be annealed (hardened) to different hardness, plus there are MANY different aluminum alloys with MANY different "strength" ratings.

Many of the "aluminum" hard lines you see are actually aluminum plated steel for corrosion resistance.

The actual aluminum hard lines are a specific alloy.

I'm with Tex, I wouldn't use anything but steel for fuel lines. (plus rubber where needed for short runs)
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Old 06-23-2011, 02:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Copper fuel line

I guess I'm a odd ball. I run aluminum fuel lines and have for a while. I get a roll and stretch it and get the benders out and get with it. Have never had a problem. I do all my buddies car. I'm the only guy around here that knows how to bend tubing. Just think about it your a/c lines are aluminum.
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Old 06-23-2011, 05:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Copper fuel line

NO,NO,NO NOT the benders someone said (the bender will mess up the tubing) PERSONALY I think they didn't know how to use the benders.. They're so easy to use even I can use them with out hurting anything..Randy you bringing your galaxie to Wolf Creek in Oct..??
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Old 06-23-2011, 05:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Copper fuel line

lagalxie 500 I have been bending tubing for over thirty years. wolf creek on the list. Check out the tubing on this
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Copper fuel line-t51.jpg  
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:46 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Copper fuel line

My dad collected Horseless Carriages and they had copper fuel lines. We drove a 1910 Maxwell AA 2 cylinder roadster with a copper fuel line for 15 years and no problems with it cracking or leaking. Same thing for his 1909 and 1912 Jackson touring cars. The latter had a 440 cid 4 cylinder engine and drank the gas, but no line problems. We also used copper to plumb the acetylene gas into the headlights, no leaks there either.

This is fine for cars doing 30 to 40 mph, but I would think on a modern car, the possibility of a rock flying up at 70 mph from the highway and causing the line to leak would be too risky. Personally I would only use galvanized steel lines.

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Old 06-24-2011, 07:25 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Copper fuel line

Copper fuel lines are best left to the early-car concours-restoration types.

You can use Bundyweld or Cunifer if you'd prefer not to use aluminum.

Bundyweld is rolled sheet steel copper-brazed along the seam and corrosion-coated, Cunifer is a copper-nickel alloy tube commonly used in some Euro cars. Both are about equal in strength, about equally easy to work, the Cunifer might be just a little more corrosion-resistant but it's also considerably more expensive.

Bundyweld available pretty economically in rolls from NAPA or from McMaster-Carr. Cunifer comes from http://fedhillusa.com, there might be other sources.

This is 3/8 pressure and 5/16 return plumbing on my '65 Mustang convertible EFI conversion done in Cunifer:




Don't much like having the lines in the tunnel but there really isn't anywhere else to put them on a convertible; at least I got them away from the rear U-joint, and the front will be protected.

I much prefer the GM fuel filter over the Ford stuff (in this pic the filter mounting clamp isn't in place yet.) Both Bundy and Cunifer are hand-formable - for forming the line to conform to floorpan curves find some firm rubber sheet (floor mat, whatever) 1/4in thick or so, place it between tube and floor, and push. Nice constant-radius bends require a bender, of course.

I'll probably be doing the '64 wagon in Bundy for cost reasons.

Last edited by JEM; 06-24-2011 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 06-24-2011, 09:24 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Copper fuel line

Jem that is a really good looking tubing job. I could tell you use a good bender and You must be a tubing bender. When you bent the 90's it looked like they rolled in nicely. I never used that tubing, but will be looking at it.
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Old 06-24-2011, 01:17 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Copper fuel line

Quote:
Originally Posted by galaxiex View Post
Not at all the same with regard to strength.

Copper is very soft.
Aluminum can be annealed (hardened) to different hardness, plus there are MANY different aluminum alloys with MANY different "strength" ratings.

Many of the "aluminum" hard lines you see are actually aluminum plated steel for corrosion resistance.

The actual aluminum hard lines are a specific alloy.

I'm with Tex, I wouldn't use anything but steel for fuel lines. (plus rubber where needed for short runs)
oooh I never knew.

But as far as you yahoos saying that the vibrations etc are bad for copper better look at my damn 88 gallon 32 year old Air compressor! Several feet of copper 1/2" lines and vibrates way more than a car, and never a leak nor crack in 31 years of service.

But I understand what you're saying.
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