Buying Material for Fuel Lines

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AL Farmall Boy
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Buying Material for Fuel Lines

Postby AL Farmall Boy » Mon Dec 29, 2014 5:14 pm

I know this has been discussed many times on here, but I am wanting to make a bunch of fuel lines for Cubs and other Farmall tractors & maybe an old car or two....to have handy and ready to go. I see where you all recommend getting steel brake line from the auto parts store and the like, but what about aluminum tubing? I have found some on McMaster Carr's site and it says it is rated for fuel (gas & diesel). The guy who rebuilds carbs for me typically includes a "barb" made from aluminum tubing I'm guessing that is like this.

I would like your thoughts on using this, and also your input on what I need to purchase to go with the stick of line (nuts, ferrules, adapters, fittings, etc.) I know nothing about these types of hardware and I need your help with all of that. I would like to have a good supply of stuff so in case I ran across one that was buggered up and couldn't take a standard fuel line, I'd be able to adapt it.
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Re: Buying Material for Fuel Lines

Postby Bob McCarty » Mon Dec 29, 2014 5:28 pm

The descriptions makes it sound like it would be okay. You might want to check the price on brake line locally as it may end up being cheaper when you figure in shipping. I don't know whether the aluminum will be easier to bend, or more likely to kink. The Cub uses a 1/2-20 threaded fitting with a ferrule like is shown in this picture from TM Tractor: Image
Other tractors will probably use something different.

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Re: Buying Material for Fuel Lines

Postby Mike in Louisiana » Mon Dec 29, 2014 5:30 pm

Why not use the same thing the factory used for 32 years and still in use 60 years later.
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AL Farmall Boy
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Re: Buying Material for Fuel Lines

Postby AL Farmall Boy » Mon Dec 29, 2014 5:36 pm

I can, and have no objection; but I had gotten a bunch of those "barbs" made out of it and didn't know if it was any better, or worse, or cheaper than the steel line. I guess it would look "prettier" than the steel after a long time, but that really doesn't matter. I'm just wanting to buy a bunch of material so I can make up several and have the material to make up lines for other projects I work on. I just bought a 1950 Chevrolet 2-Door Deluxe, and have a VW Beetle, and a VW Kit Car . I am going to finish restoring the beetle, then the kit car, then work on the Chevy. So....I've got some lines to be a makin' and need to have a good stock of fittings and such for those, the Farmall Cubs, and Super A/140 tractors.
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Re: Buying Material for Fuel Lines

Postby Bob McCarty » Mon Dec 29, 2014 5:38 pm

I don't know what you mean by "barbs". Are you sure the Chevy and VW also take 5/16" fuel line?

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Re: Buying Material for Fuel Lines

Postby Crimson Tim » Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:04 pm

Personally, I would be wary of connecting aluminum to steel. It depends on the alloys used, but in some cases, dissimilar metals will create a nice battery where they come together which will corrode your parts. This might cause leaks or corrode everything together so you can't get it apart again without destroying it. Or both.

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Re: Buying Material for Fuel Lines

Postby gitractorman » Mon Dec 29, 2014 8:05 pm

Yea, I would be real hesitant to purchase much more than you would need to do one or two lines for a particular machine. From what I've seen, nearly every engine manufacturer uses different fittings and/or different sized fuel lines. Since the material is fairly inexpensive to purchase locally, I'd just buy enough to do whatever project you're working on, then move on to the next project. I don't see any advantage to buying in bulk and having to store the materials. The last time I made up fuel lines for my Cub, I think I spent a total of about $5.00 at NAPA buying the line and all of the fittings needed, and I ended up with enough material to make up two fuel lines (well, only one was worth using in the end, but I "had" enough material for two). Anyway, there's just not much of an incentive to buy this stuff in bulk, and you run much more risk of having a bunch of material that will only work for one engine and not all of the others.

Run to a local NAPA and pick up a stick of 5/16 brake line and a fitting or two and make up the ones you need for your Cubs. Then move on to your next project!
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Re: Buying Material for Fuel Lines

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Mon Dec 29, 2014 11:51 pm

I guess everyone has their own preference. I like to make my fuel lines from the Autozone brake lines. They are a little easier to bend than the NAPA ones, and are anodized black to reduce rust.
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Re: Buying Material for Fuel Lines

Postby ShakerPrairie » Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:39 am

I've used a good bit of tubing from McMaster Carr. Their high strength/corrosion resistant steel tubing is easy to work with and is a good product.
I've used it with 37 and 45 degree flare, inverted flare and compression fittings.
Their tin lined copper tubing is good too, but it's pretty expensive.

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Re: Buying Material for Fuel Lines

Postby Stanton » Tue Dec 30, 2014 7:37 am

The dielectric nature of dissimilar metals would be a concern, but also the material wall thickness. Using compression fittings normally for steel, you want to really be sure that they were designed for that particular size of aluminum tubing.
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AL Farmall Boy
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Re: Buying Material for Fuel Lines

Postby AL Farmall Boy » Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:18 am

Bob McCarty wrote:I don't know what you mean by "barbs". Are you sure the Chevy and VW also take 5/16" fuel line?

Bob


Bob,

The piece in the following picture is what I am talking about. Preston Jones (actually his brother Frank, now) rebuilds our Carburetors and typically sends these with them. I'm sure he uses them for testing the carburetors himself and they are handy when the main gas tank is off. I was just wondering if the aluminum line was ok to use and if it were better or worse than steel. I felt like there was a reason he chose to use it.

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Re: Buying Material for Fuel Lines

Postby Bus Driver » Tue Dec 30, 2014 1:08 pm

Both aluminum and copper are subject to breakage from vibration, much more so than is steel. The service life will be much shorter than for steel.
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Re: Buying Material for Fuel Lines

Postby AL Farmall Boy » Tue Dec 30, 2014 2:19 pm

Thanks for the comments guys....just as I was wanting. I was planning to just buy the lines locally as I needed after comparing prices. The fittings were more of something I wanted to try and buy in bulk. I was wanting an assortment of "common sizes" of different fittings (male, female, adapters, etc.) needed for the Cubs, Super A's, cars of the era, etc. I just don't know much about compression fittings to just go and ask for stuff so help in knowing & finding what I need is nice. The fittings also seem to be pricey when buying 1 or 2, but if I bought a bunch to put in the hardware bin, I feel like I'd have them on hand for anything and not have to pay $2-$3 each for them each time.....kind of like having a bunch of bolts or cotter pins at your disposal.

I'm guessing that I don't need a flaring tool if I use compression fittings, right? The way I understand, those are 2 seperate forms of fitting methods that can be used either or.
Last edited by AL Farmall Boy on Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buying Material for Fuel Lines

Postby ScottyD'sdad » Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:03 pm

AL Farmall Boy wrote:Thanks for the comments guys....just as I was wanting. I was planning to just buy the lines locally as I needed after comparing prices. The fittings were more of something I wanted to try and buy in bulk. I was wanting an assortment of "common sizes" of different fittings (male, female, adapters, etc.) needed for the Cubs, Super A's, cars of the era, etc. I just don't know much about compression fittings to just go and ask for stuff so help in knowing & finding what I need is nice. The fittings also seem to be pricey when buying 1 or 2, but if I bought a bunch to put in the hardware bin, I feel like I'd have them on hand for anything and not have to pay 2-3 each for them each time.....kind of like having a bunch of bolts or cotter pins at your disposal.

I'm guessing that I don't need a flaring tool if I use compression fittings, right? The way I understand, those are 2 seperate forms of fitting methods that can be used either or.

Just like nuts and bolts, you won't have the right one in stock. Probably better to buy the ones you need, than to pay for a drawer full, that you don't need.
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Re: Buying Material for Fuel Lines

Postby Bill V in Md » Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:14 pm

AL Farmall Boy wrote: I'm guessing that I don't need a flaring tool if I use compression fittings, right? The way I understand, those are 2 seperate forms of fitting methods that can be used either or.

Correct. The compression fittings typically include a small ferrule that slides over the tubing end (like a sleeve) and is locked in place when the compression nut is tightened into the connecting threads. A photo of the nut and ferrule is shown in Bob McCarty's earlier post. The end of the tubing does not have to be flared to seal the connection.
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