Fuel & Brake Line InstallationNew fluid lines for beauty and safety
The 1964-72 GM Chevelle, GTO, Skylark (GS) and Cutlass (4-4-2) A-body vehicles contain basically the same undercarriage. The early versions had the fuel and brake lines running down the driver's side, and the later cars added fuel-return and emissions lines running down either and sometimes both sides of the frame rails. After years of abuse from rust and road debris, these lines should be replaced for safety, particularly if you're doing a major restoration on the car. There are several prominent aftermarket suppliers of pre-bent steel or stainless-steel replacement lines with the correct color-coded end fittings for the discriminating restorer. Here we will look at the basics of installing new fuel and brake lines down the driver's side frame rail on an early A-body. If you have lines on both sides, the process will be almost identical.
There is a buttress at the rear crossmember that the fuel line must be threaded through. It is a little tricky due to the length and the compound bends in the line, but with a little patience it will go through. After applying a light coat of oil to the end of the line (to help in sliding the tubing through), we carefully worked with both hands to feed the fuel tank end of the line through the frame access area. If you're doing a body-off restoration, this installation should be accomplished prior to remounting the body. It will make the install much easier.
After the fuel line is in position, the brake line can be put into place. Unlike the fuel line the brake line simply attaches to the rear crossmember with a bulkhead connector. This connector attaches to the hose going to the metal lines on the rear axle tubes feeding the rear brakes on both ends. It's not necessary to have to finagle it through the access space like the fuel line. Both lines then slide into a recessed area between the floorboard and the rear control arm mounting bracket welded to the frame rail. To be correct, the fuel line is inserted first and the brake line next to it. Oddly enough, at the front the order is reversed with the brake line on the outside.
The front of the fuel line is now passed through the forward part of the frame rail using an access hole provided by the manufacturer. The line has a protective material coating just like the original to prevent it from rubbing on the frame. Gently pushing on the tube will get it to the hole on the other end of the frame tube where it must exit. Feeding a piece of rubber fuel line in from the front, clamping it to the new metal line and then pulling and pushing simultaneously will line the tubing up with the exit hole in the engine compartment. Again, patience will win the day!
With the fuel line in final position, the two lines can be secured to the frame rail. Reproduction attaching clips are available on the aftermarket, but if you have your originals, and they are still in good condition, use them. A little cleaning on a wire wheel and paint for protection will allow your original parts to continue doing their job for many years to come. There are four retaining clips along the length of the frame rails securing the tubes. Don't over-tighten the bolts or you might strip out the threads in the frame. In this case, snug is good!
About mid-way up the frame, the two tubes switch position and the brake line takes the outside spot. This will allow the brake line to line up and attach to the fluid distribution block (still to be installed) on the frame rail. Here we see the two lines secured to the frame by the front clip, the fuel line bending and turning into the frame and the brake line hanging free. On later models, after the introduction of charcoal canister filtering and fuel return lines as part of the emission system, one or two lines like these were run down the passenger side frame rails as well. Each GM manufacturer was different, so it is not uncommon to find three on one side and one or none on the other. Simply check your original configuration before ordering replacements.
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