Well, the ultimate dash light machine had stopped breaking long enough for me to consider some upgrades to it. Well, that’s not true, the “service engine soon” light came on again the other day, but I had already received my new stainless-steel-braided brake hoses for front and rear.

When the kit arrives, the front hoses are in their own marked bag. The hose retainers on the front are rubber grommets. The rear hoses use steel collars retained to the chassis by spring clips.
The front hoses fasten to the chassis, route through the retainer brackets and screw into the caliper.

They were one of the first modifications I made to a number of track-going Miatas I’ve owned, so it seemed like the right thing to do on my HPDE46. Also, since everything seems to implode on BMWs either at or shortly after 100,000 miles, I figured I’d better replace them now before they failed and triggered even more dash lights.

Use a line wrench to break the factory hose loose from the caliper. An open-end wrench might round off the hex depending on a car’s age and corrosion levels.
Same thing for where the chassis brake line joins with the flexible brake hose. Break the fitting loose first with a line wrench, then remove it first with an open-end wrench.

I ordered mine from ECS Tuning because they offered free shipping and no tax to an out-of-state buyer. The quality looked decent so I set aside a morning to do the installation and photo shoot, and we were off and running.

Once the factory hose is detached from the chassis line and bracket, you can remove it from the caliper.

To do the job, all you need are basic hand tools, and most of them are box wrenches and line wrenches. The job itself wasn’t too difficult and nothing broke or rounded over when I took it apart, but this is a Phoenix car with zero rust, which is helpful. You will need a screwdriver or two to pry out the retainer clips for the rear hoses, too. I also needed channel locks to crimp the bracket down a millimeter or two because the aftermarket hoses didn’t clip in as snugly as the factory units.

Once you get the old hose off, screw the replacement hose into the caliper. If you attach the chassis end first, the hose won’t be free to turn and screw into the caliper.
When the caliper end of the hose is fully tight, attach the upper end of the hose to the hard line on the chassis. An open-end wrench is faster than a line wrench, but torque it with a line wrench so you don’t round-off the hex on the hard line’s flare nut.

A few words of caution. This is a messy job. Brake fluid is vile and it dribbles uncontrollably when the hoses are off. I think I went through two cans of brake cleaner before the whole job was done.

The front retainer grommet on the hose slips into the bracket on the back side of the front strut.

When removing the factory hoses, it works best to crack both fittings loose, then remove the supply side of the line first so you can unscrew the hose from the caliper. When installing the new hoses, do it in the reverse order. Screw the hose into the caliper first, route the hose through the retainer bracket, then tighten the supply side line and flare nut to the brake hose. That’s important because it doesn’t work if you tighten the hose to the line before you tighten the hose to the caliper. I learned that the hard way, of course. When we were done installing the hoses, we used a Motive power bleeder to bleed the system.

Blast the union with brake cleaner to get off all the brake fluid for a nice, neat finish.
Moving to the rear, break the hose loose from the hard line on the chassis with a line wrench and an open-end wrench on the hex on the hose.

We buttoned it up in a few hours, wondering if the procedure would trigger a brake light. The good news is that the brake light stayed off and, mysteriously enough, the service engine soon light was off when we started it up, too.

To crack the rear hose loose from the caliper, use a line wrench.
You’ll need a screwdriver to pry the retainer clip off the chassis bracket and the fitting on the rear hose.
With the hose fastened tightly to the caliper, you can thread the chassis hard line into the braided hose.
Once the hose is detached from the chassis hard line, you can unscrew it from the caliper.
Screw the new hose into the caliper and tighten the fitting with a line wrench.
With the hose fastened tightly to the caliper, you can thread the chassis hard line into the braided hose.
Again, an open-end wrench is fine at first, but use a line wrench for the final heave-ho.
The aftermarket hoses fit well into the factory brackets and retainers. Blast it with brake cleaner, bleed the system and you now have a better braking system.

A quick test drive showed a little firmer pedal and good response. It’s not ready for the track yet, but at least I can still shuttle the kids around in it. And there are no lights glowing on the dash. For now.

Image courtesy of Eric Green

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