Despite a bit of slow progress on the Tudor (solely on my part), things are still progressing. Our recent accomplishment with the '33 at Circle City Hot Rods entailed plotting, configuring, and routing the brake lines—and out of that we managed to pull some tips and tricks regarding various methods, as well as problem solvers, for the above mentioned.
Personally, I find chassis plumbing one of the more enjoyable facets of building hot rods; I also find it quite nerve wracking. First off, there's no fabrication involved, other than the exception of welding flex line tabs, so it's rather clean and straightforward. However, when it comes to complex routing of the brake lines, be it along the contour of a shapely rearend housing or snaked through the tight confines of crossmembers, getting your bends accurate can be tricky. And that's with standard galvanized steel tubing; dealing with stainless is a whole 'nuther animal in itself … and that's precisely what the Tudor's getting.
With stainless tubing, your “fudge” room is drastically limited; often, you get one chance to make that sharp bend, not to mention appropriate flare. With that in mind, due to the cost factor involved with stainless, it's a good idea to have spare pieces of steel tubing around—for practice as well as potential templating (make compound pieces out of steel first, then transfer to your final stainless piece). Otherwise, if you're like me—not a certified pro tubing bender—plan on having a lot of scrap stainless leftover. (In many cases, bending by hand seems the easiest method, but in my experience, you'll never achieve as clean a bend as with the proper tool … but I still cheat every now and then!)
Flaring standard steel tubing is fairly simple, but achieving the correct flare (45-degree double for pressurized brake systems) is critical for adequate sealing purposes. With stainless being much harder—and often more brittle—it's even more crucial … and harder to achieve, literally. Your typical flaring tools generally aren't up to the task (at least for consistent use), and may hinder more than help. For this, I've found a tool up to the task: Eastwood's Pro Flaring Tool. The multi/turret-headed flaring is designed for ease of operation with phenomenal results, even with stainless. At a fraction of the cost of higher-end hydraulic kits ($229.99 from Eastwood), if you find yourself working with brake/fuel tubing on a semi-regular occasion, it's well worth every bit of the purchase price (if not, go in with a friend or two!). So far, I've run countless stainless flares through ours, and so far, die wear is minimal—something few other flaring tools I've dealt with can handle.
Finally, there are a couple "specialized" tools that, for my fellow non-pro plumbers out there (even some of you pros could benefit as well), come in real handy. With fittings attached, you're limited to how tight/sharp a bend you can make—a set of bending pliers, such as the ones shown from Lisle, are great for additional tweaking, as well as under-correcting over-bent lines. And when it comes to repairing bent tubing, a pair of line straighteners, such as those shown from Summit, is another must-have.
For the Tudor's brake and fuel plumbing necessities, Inline Tube was sourced for a full set of stainless line, fittings, and various accessories. It should also be noted that, while stainless is generally tough to manipulate, Inline's particular stainless turned out to be fairly easy to bend, and little to no issues were ever encountered with flaring (problems that did arise were all operator error!).