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Old 07-26-2022, 02:37 PM #1
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Rusting brake lines, what would you do?

I have a relatively low mileage 2006 Sport V8 (111,000mi) that is basically in mint condition.... except for the chassis. Twice in the last year while driving, I got red alert alarms and all traction dash lights on that indicate catastrophic brake failure. A line had ruptured and left zero fluid in the system and no braking while driving. Then it happened again a few months later to a different line.

The last brake specialist I went to repaired the line but said it was a pain in the ass of rust and that all the rest will need replacing too. But they refused to quote that job or work on it. What would you do?
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Old 07-26-2022, 02:54 PM #2
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I wonder how rusty all the bolts holding those lines in place are... if every bolt is going to be a fight, require drilling, re-tapping etc. I can see why they wouldn't want that job. you could repair the lines but how's the frame, how much life do you realistically think it has left?

If I thought I had < 5 years left with that frame I'd get a new rig
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Old 07-26-2022, 03:01 PM #3
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I've also experienced (twice!) the terrifying catastrophic failure of the braking system when a corroded brake line fails and brake fluid is lost to the point that you have no active braking. One time I was on a highway and had to emergency exit on an off-ramp and the other time I was downtown and had to bail into a parking lot. Thankfully both times there were no injuries and no property damage (or 4Runner damage other than the needed brake repairs).

I sold my 4th Gen 4Runner that this happened in.

With your vehicle being mint (perhaps except for the chassis), I would get a trusted mechanic to do a thorough inspection of the frame to see if it is just surface rust or are there any structural issues as a result of the corrosion.

If the frame is in fact in good shape and you like your 4Runner it would be worth putting in all new upgraded brake lines (not OEM Toyota as those will just corrode again).

I've since upgraded my brake lines in my 5th Gen 4Runner as it, too, had a catastrophic loss of brake fluid (thankfully it was already in a shop when this happened) due to corrosion of the brake lines.

Sounds like you need to find a new mechanic/shop that will tackle your brake lines.
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Old 07-26-2022, 03:48 PM #4
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Find a new mechanic, one that doesn't mind doing some work. I replaced every line on my truck with non-rusting copper-nickel brake line that I bent, cut and flared the ends on myself. Really didn't take that long and I don't remember there being that many fastening points that were bolt on. Lots of clips. The toughest part was over the fuel tank.

Mine never ruptured as they were replaced before that happened. They start to look bluish when they are on the way out. If they are flaky then you are on borrowed time. That's one thing my car inspection guy is picky about is the brake lines.

As mentioned above, do have the frame checked before hand.
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Old 07-26-2022, 07:59 PM #5
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So @ several of you, what to do if the frame also doesn't check out?
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Old 07-26-2022, 09:46 PM #6
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So @ several of you, what to do if the frame also doesn't check out?
Swap the frame or scrap the vehicle.
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Old 07-27-2022, 07:48 AM #7
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So @ several of you, what to do if the frame also doesn't check out?
If the entire frame is suspect (too much heavy corrosion compromising the integrity of the frame's structure) then a complete replacement of the frame is an option. A rather expensive option!

If there are only small sections of the frame that have lost their structural integrity, then a skilled mechanic could potentially weld in the needed supports. Also an option.

In my case, the undercarriage corrosion issues were becoming too much. Not only the two brake line failures, but also the failure of the XREAS suspension (hydraulic lines rusted out on the driver's side and had to replace the entire suspension) and the failure of the RAS (corroded sensors made the system inoperable). The winter road salt was just brutal on the undercarriage and my worry was that it was only going to get worse. So my 2003 Limited got traded in for a 2011 Limited.
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Old 07-27-2022, 10:29 AM #8
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Quote:
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If the entire frame is suspect (too much heavy corrosion compromising the integrity of the frame's structure) then a complete replacement of the frame is an option. A rather expensive option!

If there are only small sections of the frame that have lost their structural integrity, then a skilled mechanic could potentially weld in the needed supports. Also an option.

In my case, the undercarriage corrosion issues were becoming too much. Not only the two brake line failures, but also the failure of the XREAS suspension (hydraulic lines rusted out on the driver's side and had to replace the entire suspension) and the failure of the RAS (corroded sensors made the system inoperable). The winter road salt was just brutal on the undercarriage and my worry was that it was only going to get worse. So my 2003 Limited got traded in for a 2011 Limited.
A dealer took your '03 as a trade-in or you just mean you got rid of the '03 for the '11? What did you do with the '03?
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Old 07-27-2022, 10:45 AM #9
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A dealer took your '03 as a trade-in or you just mean you got rid of the '03 for the '11? What did you do with the '03?
I'd also like to know if dealers will still take vehicles like that for some value. Even if they send it on to the Truck Farm in Cambodia or whatever.
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Old 07-27-2022, 03:52 PM #10
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I'd also like to know if dealers will still take vehicles like that for some value. Even if they send it on to the Truck Farm in Cambodia or whatever.
Yes, my local Toyota dealer took my 2003 4Runner Limited (I bought it used from them in 2008) in on trade when I bought my 2011 4Runner Limited (bought used in 2016). I have not seen the 2003 around since, so likely it got sold at auction somewhere.
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Old 07-29-2022, 08:26 PM #11
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I wonder how rusty all the bolts holding those lines in place are... if every bolt is going to be a fight, require drilling, re-tapping etc. I can see why they wouldn't want that job.
Oh BTW Humble, he did mention fighting every bolt. It why both these jobs have cost me about 40 bucks in parts but ~300 in labor
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Old 07-30-2022, 11:21 AM #12
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Id replace all the steel lines downstream of the ABS. They are probably rusting from the inside as well. On the mounting bolts. Use a plumbers propane torch and heat the mounting bolt until it smokes. Then remove it by working back and forth until it comes off. Dont worry about the old brake lines, you will be tossing them, BUT crack the lines open so the fluid can escape as it expands. You can buy the nickel copper tubing at 4lifetimelines.com $25 (25’ w/nuts) and buy a basic flaring tool for $15 at harbor freight. Its easy to do. I just replaced the entire brake system on my boat trailer from head to tail. there are plenty of youtube videos to show you how. After you finish, keep checking the joints for leaks until you feel comfortable with the task.

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Old 08-02-2022, 01:04 PM #13
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i replaced my rear brake lines that was attached to the differential and the 4 hoses there. during that time, i bought the toyota brake lines and 4 hoses and saved me a lot on labor. the most difficult part is when i removed the brake lines, i had to remove the flaking rust from the differential, wire brushed it and painted it also. i can understand why the mechanic declined working on it. it takes a lot of labor doing that work unless you pay them real good to do it right for you, otherwise it will be done quickly and you will surely be unhappy about it.

i took my time removing the rust, rear bumper and painted it. maybe i spent like 2 weeks of my time after work or on weekends.
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