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Braided hose has become a broad term to describe a variety of automotive hose products that work with oil, water, fuel, ac refrigerants and power steering at varying degrees of temperature and pressures. Metal and synthetic-braid reinforced hoses are available in a broad range of sizes and configurations. This type of hose is found on anything from fire trucks, to aircraft, and even in your home and yes, your car.

The construction of the braided reinforced hose is such that it can withstand both compression and traction loads, i.e., it can bend and stretch while still maintaining its structural integrity. Essentially, the hose can move liquids and gases from a source to a destination without leaking or failing. Of course, we’re going to talk about the types of hoses typically used on your hot rod, muscle car or race car. We’ll leave the house plumbing to somebody else.

Speedway Motors offers a wide range of braided hoses in a variety of brands. We offer our own house branded Speedway Motors line, Aeroquip from Eaton Corporation, Goodridge, Earl’s, Afco, Fragola and many others.

Probably the most popular style of braided hose is a rubber based lined, braided stainless steel reinforced hose. Often called full flow hose, these hoses are good for low and moderate pressure ranges from 1 psi all the way up to around 750 psi, depending upon the brand. These are commonly used on some fuel systems, cooling systems (antifreeze and water), engine oil and transmission fluid. These hoses use a common style 2 piece fitting that can be installed to a tight, leak proof seal with hand wrenches. The fittings used for these types of hoses use the venerable AN (short for Army-Navy) sizing system and are very similar to what are known as J.I.C fittings.

Another style of braided hose is known as PTFE lined hose. These types of braided hoses use a Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) inner liner reinforced by a woven stainless steel or sometimes Kevlar or synthetic reinforced outer shell. These hoses are similar to their lower pressure “full flow” hose cousins, but can handle much greater pressures that occur in braking systems, power steering systems and air conditioning components. These hoses still maintain a 2 piece fitting to assemble but they normally also use a brass compression fitting sometimes called an “olive” to seal the fitting against the PTFE liner. PTFE lined hoses can handle fuels, oils, water, air, and gasses. They can easily handle pressures that go north of 1000 psi. Many builders are now using PTFE type hoses on things like fuel systems as they are more resistant to today’s fuels and they do a great job of keeping the smallest fume seeps to zero. These hose are sold in the ever popular AN sizing system as well.

There are other specialty type braided fuel line hoses that are braided such as the Aeroquip Starlight hose, which is like full flow hose, but it’s made of ultra light weight synthetic braided material and is very popular on race cars where you need to save that very last ounce of weight.

Are you confused yet? Don’t be! It’s not as complicated as you might think. There are many brands, but the styles of hoses are not so varied. Braided hose or stainless steel braided hose, is easy to use. Just remember a few basic rules: (1) buy the right hose for the job (if it’s really high pressures, don’t try to “get by” with low pressure type hose. (2) use the correct fittings for the hose you are buying. If you are buying Speedway Brand braided hose, use the Speedway brand fittings. If you are using PTFE hose, you will need to use PTFE fittings of course. (3) Use the proper tools to assemble braided hose. Speedway Motors offers fixtures for holding your hoses in a vice for assembly, hose cutters and special lubes to aid in assembly.

Braided brake lines that you assemble yourself are fine for your race car, but may not be what you want for your street car. Most street cars should use braided brake lines with the D.O.T. stamp on them, and these types of hoses are pre assembled in varying lengths. These are PTFE lined hose and handle very high line pressures.