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MG TD TF 1500 - Fuel line; copper or rubber?

The previous owner of my TD installed a modern "rubber" fuel line from the tank to the fuel pump. Obviously, a copper line is original. I am trying to determine if the rubber fuel line is better or if I should reinstall a copper line.
Also, my gas tank sender float has a leak. Dave DuBois contributed to a thread in May 2007 explaining how to find the leak and remove the gas to resolder. I was wondering if there was any way to fill the float chamber with something (like wood) so it would float and not have to deal with leaks any more. There does not seem to be anything in the archives on filling the float.
Thanks for your thoughts.
M.E. Babirak

Milton - I don't know of any practical method to fill the float with material that will float and won't become "water" logged if the float does start to leak. I suppose that if a person was real cleaver, they could remove the end of the float and insert a wooden dowel of the correct diameter, then resolder the end of the float. I think that it would be much easier to soboil the fuel out of the float and solder the leak closed and just go with that. One doesn't hear of the sender floats flooding very often. Cheers - Dave
David DuBois

Milton If you insist on filling the float with something that floats, use one of those pressurized cans of foam-in-place insulation.

But I have repaired several carburator floats by the method Dave DuBois suggested and they are still floating.
R. K. (Bob) Jeffers


I suggest you check your Virginia Highway Code. There are places where a copper fuel or brake line is prohibited by law, like here in Québec. We are allowed only to replace copper with a steel line.

As I found out, it was also a demand of my insurance company.

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.
Gordon A. Clark

Milton; Metal lines are always preferable to rubber-particularly when the line is not readily available for inspection on a regular basis.Lost count years ago of the number of vehicles we have repaired because of fire damage fueled by a deteriorated rubber gas line. Heat,chaffing,road hazards,and even UV exposure kill conventional fuel hose.And since it's mainly out of sight-then it's most likely out of mind,too. Copper is'nt my favorite-but it is correct for the car and it beats the heck out of rubber. When you change the line,make smooth bends,insulate rub points and leave a little slack for natural flexing of the various attaching points-you will have a much safer ride and a more original car.
Sorry to be so wordy,but have seen too many ruined vehicles over a $2.00 hose.
Hang in there
Dan Craig
D.R. Craig


Line is all exposed. As those of us that own MGB's will attest to. Rubber has a tendency to get fragile and can fail without warning. Never had a problem one with my copper.

Gordon. Whatg is the rational behing requiring steel? Just the strength of it?
BEC Cunha

1940 vintage outboard motor carbs used cork floats sealed with shelac. It took about a week to dip coat and dry a float when a replacement was needed.

Jim Haskins

1953 MG TD
J. M. Haskins

The problem with using copper develops if it is hardened copper, such as tubing that has been stretched to straighten it. This causes the copper to become brittle, and it can break at points of vibration, such as the exit of compression fittings, etc.
Copper which has been annealed generally does not give these problems if properly clamped and supported.

D C Congleton

dallas, please elaborate. i have been taught copper work hardens over can soften it periodically by annealing, but all copper work hardens forming and/or vibration, etc. in use. regards,tom
tm peterson

Milton & TM,

Dallas is spot on.

I suggest you check first with your insurance company, then the state highway safety verification folks.

BEH - I don't specifically know. I do know that you can't get a copper line in Canada for use on brakes or fuel line.

You might want to contact Rick Smith who's in charge of the NEMGTR 'Safety Fast' program -

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.

Gordon A. Clark there any reason not to use stainless steel for a fuel and/or brake lines? I have not tried this wife works with stained glass and uses a "patina" to stain the metal (black / copper) depending on the desired effect. I am wondering if one did the lines in stainless and the copper "patina" would work this might be the best of both worlds! I will try and get a small piece of stainless line and see if any of the patina she has would make it "look" like copper.
Anybody ever try this?
Cheers & Best Regards,
David 55TF 1500 #7427
David Sheward

"Dallas, please elaborate"

Tom, some of the hardening may occur over time, but I think annealed tubing will stay in that state, unless heated and cooled, or subjected to repeated bending back and forth, which probably cause some heating and hardening in that area. This can occur at the exit of a tubing fitting where a length of tubing is suspended and it's own weight causes flexing.

Drawn or hardened tubing is much more a problem. Most all automotive ( previous)tubing and the tubing used in home gas heating, or refrigeration is annealed tubing.

In a former life, I was in a supervisory position known as an Instrument Engineer in a Chemical Plant. We had miles of tubing run around for pneumatic signal lines, and other air supply sources. The state of the art then was to use copper and to "draw" it, which meant to unroll it and then stretch with pullers such as "come-a-longs". This drawn tubing was then very straight and was stiffer, allowing nice straight runs, and it bent into the necessary curves without collapsing so easily. This was all well and good, and pretty, but it didn't fly so well. In a few years, the industry discovered the problem of fatigue cracking where the tubing left supports and supported itself. A brief period followed using copper without drawing it, but then stainless tubing was becoming more mass produced and more affordable. The specifications in our plants was changed to stainless, and the copper was replaced by attrition.
Similar failures occurred in auto fuel tubing from vibration at support points, although many manufactures had gone to steel anyway because it was cheaper than copper or stainless.
Another failure of tubing was due to the use of seamed tubing instead of seamless tubing - which has a much higher pressure rating. This could have been part of the issue with copper brake lines?
At any rate I think copper was generically outlawed by reactionary folks in legislature groups. Probably easier to just ban it across the board than sort out the details or educate and govern.
Copper tubing was used for years because of its good properties of corrosion resistance and actually some flexibility to vibration. Steel does not have long term internal corrosion resistance to water, either in fuel or brake lines. Stainless is a good choice, but also needs adequate support.

A little longish but the forum has been slow anyway ;>)
D C Congleton

This thread was discussed between 30/09/2007 and 17/10/2007

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