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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.