Tools to Love: Summit Racing Brake Flare Tool
Metal brake line flaring made easy.
Flaring metal brake lines and metal fuel lines (or transmission lines) is something of an art when using the most common type of double flaring tool. We're talking about the mass-produced double flare tools that have a multipart mandrel to hold the tool with small holes and wing nuts, a small die (you'll drop it at least once), and a C-clamp-like anvil that ideally either forces the small die into the tube or adds the double flare at the end of the process. Chances are, if you've done this on your 4x4s' brake line(s) before using this type of double flare tool, you've messed the process up. First, you must get a good, clean cut. The best way is with a tube cutter; hacksaws and the like don't really work. Then the tube must be firmly held in place by the clamp-like mandrel. The tip of the tube must stick out just so far, or something will go wrong. Then, the C-clamp-like anvil must be placed exactly in the center of the tube, but only after you struggle to get the small die into the end of the tube. Then you start to flare. Chances are you'll either end up with a flare that is lopsided, the little die will be stuck in the tube, or, if the flare is good, you've forgotten the double flare nut. The fact is it's very easy to screw up this process even when you've been doing it for years and years.
For years folks told us about a vice-mounted flare tube that makes the whole process a breeze. We were skeptical, but after using one of these tools we were converted to the dark side. It's much easier, much faster, and much less frustrating, and the tool works well on hard and larger-size tubing. The only issues are you still must make a flush cut in the tubing to start, and don't forget that darned double flare nut before you load the tube in the machine. We decided to man up for the Summit Racing Professional Flaring Tool (PN: SUM-900314, $219.99 each).
We thought it would be good to have a series of online articles on what tools we have that we love. Those we can't live without, or those that we didn't realize were nearly as useful as they are. Sometimes that will include a brand recommendation, and other times it will be aimed at the general tool that fits the bill and could be made and sold by several different companies. At the end of the day, these are tools we'd recommend for what we do. They may or may not be useful to you, but if you do what we do, these are tools you should probably get. Best thing is if you never end up using these tools, they should stay nice, and you can sell or trade them for other tools, parts, or whatever.
Using this tool is pretty easy. The first step is to get a good, straight cut with your tubing cutter. We have an old one that's worked for years. (If you need one, this one should do the trick.)
With that and the Summit Racing Professional Flaring Tool (PN: SUM-900314, $219.99 each) mounted in our bench vice, we can get to flaring.
Put the flare nut on the tube.
Put the correct size mandrel in the tool with the correct end (either double flare or bubble flare) pointed toward the dies.
Put the tubing in the mandrel with some sticking out the end toward the die and loosely tighten the clamp that holds the mandrel in place.
Turn the die dial to the OP.0 (yellow arrow) square to the tube and the close end of the mandrel.
Fully tighten the clamp that holds the mandrel and tubing in place.
Rotate the die dial to OP.1 for the specific size tubing you are flaring.
Pull the handle and release.
Rotate the die dial to OP.2 for the specific size tubing you are flaring.
This tool also works well for stainless steel and reflaring harder factory brake lines.