BRAKE GUIDE: Master Cylinder & Brake Lines

Text by Chad Reynolds


The first part of this brake guide answered some of the most common questions we hear from hot rodders when approaching new projects. One area that we have found is most overlooked on the laundry list of parts, is the brake system. Check out this closer look at the master cylinder and brake lines.



For logic’s sake, we’ll start with the master cylinder since it’s the part of your brake system that is actually attached to the pedal and starts the whole process of stopping. In simple terms, the master cylinder contains a piston, whose bore is fed by a reservoir that forces fluid through a chamber and into the brake lines when pressure is applied to the pedal.  They are most often referred to with regard to bore size, and the proper bore size depends on the size and number of pistons in the caliper, pedal ratio and more.

A larger bore master cylinder creates more volume of brake fluid flow, while a smaller bore will create more pressure with less volume. If you are looking for a better master cylinder for your existing brake system, the performance brake companies can almost all help you out. For those of you looking for a complete kit, have no fear, most kits come with master cylinders and optional power assist so that you don’t have to be responsible for the math and will have a system that works.




After leaving the master cylinder, fluid travels through your brake lines and hoses, on its way to the brake calipers. The interesting thing about this moment in the stopping process is the fact that it’s the part nobody thinks about when in fact it has more to do with your brake system working properly than just about any other component. Think of the brake lines as the veins and arteries in your body. No matter how well the organs are working, you can’t survive without the veins and arteries delivering blood. Brake lines that swell, pinch or break will do you no good. Upgrading to high quality new rubber or braided stainless lines from Classic Tube is cheap insurance, and while you’re at it, you might as well get new hard lines. Theirs are much nicer looking than the originals and will ensure you have years of good brake performance left in your hot rod.


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