How to Make Your Own Braided Stainless Oil Feed Line
by Aaron Loynes
Recently I broke my turbo and had to replace it... after replacing it I had a problem with my turbo oil feed line leaking at the turbo fitting.
It looked something like this:
(Click for larger image)
After looking at my options which were: pay $55 for a pre-made braided stainless line, bend my own line out of brake tubing, get a used stock turbo oil feed line, or make my own braided stainless line - I opted for the "make my own" option. It didn't make sense to me to pay $55 for a part you can make yourself for about $35... and I didn't want to mess with using hard lines that could potentially break.
So I searched through Summit Racing's catalog and decided on what I would need, then went up to Ramchargers and had them match the prices for me ;). I decided on Aeroquip braided -4AN line, and Earl's -4AN Auto-fit straight fittings. I chose the Earl's fittings because Aeroquip doesn't make -4AN in anodized aluminum, they only make them in stainless - I prefer the look of the anodized aluminum parts.
Here is what you will need to do this yourself:
First thing you want to do is take your stock oil line off... I found that this was easier with the upper part of my intake removed (please consult your manual for intake removal procedure). First thing I did was try to remove the stock oil feed line using an 11mm line wrench on the turbo side of it - but that didn't work because the nut head was stripped, so I turned my attention to the head side of the line. You will see the "oil tree" sticking out of the drivers side of the head near the back. On my car I had to move the coolant line that runs around the back of the head aside to get a clean shot at it. I first removed my oil pressure gauge sender (I have an autometer mechanical gauge, so I just snipped the hose and used a socket to pull it out). Then I used my 1" open end wrench to start turning the oil tree so I could get a view of the stock oil feed line, which comes into the bottom of the oil block. I found that I couldn't get a wrench on it, so I just kept turning the oil tree/block with my wrench until the stock line broke off - didn't take much effort. Just keep turning until the block comes free. Now I turned my attention back to the turbo side, using a pair of vice grips on the top of the factory 90 degree fitting - with very little effort it turned, so I bent the remaining oil line up and out of the way so I could take the fitting out of the top of the turbo. Easy stuff...
Next you will want to go wash your hands, and have a snack... then move on to building the replacement line. The first thing I did here was take my 3 foot long hose down to the car and route it from the turbo to where the oil block would be and see how much hose I really needed... and marked the length on the hose with a marker.
Cutting braided stainless line is easy, if you do it right... First, and most important be sure to wrap the spot you are going to cut with electrical tape - this will prevent the hose from fraying as you cut it, which would make it impossible to get into the fittings. Be sure to leave the tape in place until you are about to put your ends on. I ended up cutting off 8 inches, doing the difficult math we see that I ended up with a 28" long piece of braided line.
Now comes the most difficult part of the whole job, and it really isn't that difficult - putting on the hose ends! I really wish I had taken some pictures of the hose ends taken apart so this would be more clear, but when you get your parts you will understand perfectly. Basically you unscrew the blue part of the fitting from the red part, and slide the red part onto your braided hose until the end of the hose hits the stopping point inside the sleeve. (This may require some twisting and grunting - and it will probably leave you with a few holes in your finger tips from the ends of the hose.) Next step is to push the blue part into the hose and try to push it in until the threads on the blue part engage the threads on the red part so you can screw the blue part in. I got lucky on my first end and I could get it connected easily, then I just used 2 wrenches to crank the parts together... my second end didn't go together as easily and ended up making me pretty frustrated - but it did eventually go together.
The finished line ends will look like this:
Next I assembled my new "oil block" (or "oil tree" whatever you want to call it...) using the brass pieces and one of the aluminum fittings. I made sure to wrap the threads with teflon tape to prevent leaks... In the picture below you can see the threaded end that will go into the head, the "open" end is where my oil pressure gauge will tap in, and the AN fitting is for the oil line.
You may want to wait to assemble yours though, I had to take it apart and redo it as I will mention in a little bit...
Now onto the easiest part - installing it on the car!
First I put the 1/8" to -4AN fitting into the top of the turbo using teflon tape and a 1/2" socket. Next I attempted to put my oil tree into the head, and found I couldn't turn it with the oil feed fitting in place, so I removed that - put my oil gauge fitting on the end, and used a socket to crank it into the head so that it came to a stop with the "T" pointing up. Using a 1/2" socket again, I put the AN fitting back into the "tree". Reconnected the oil gauge hose with a new crush washer - and proceded to hook up my braided line. I found that I had quite a bit of extra line, which I was the way I wanted it - and I was able to run it behind the head where it is out of the way.
Here are some final pictures:
"Oil tree" (camera focused on wrong spot):
Thats all... it didn't really take all that long, and the total cost was about $35...
Please use this information at your own risk. I am not responsible for any damage caused to your car from following my directions.