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Broke brake line...how to fix?


NAXJA Forum User
Lexington, KY
Had a wheel cylinder start leaking on the old '96 XJ so I figure I'll do all new rear brake parts since I haven't been into them in a while. After getting all the pass side taken apart I go to take the brake line off the backside of the cylinder and the hard brake line twists off right behind the 3/8" nut. It was abundantly clear after the fact that the nut is supposed to turn independently of the brake line, but it didn't. I should've looked into a tutorial before getting into it and maybe I could've avoided this altogether.

So the line that's broken is the pass side hard brake line that goes from the wheel cylinder to the brake line plenum (?) on top of the axle. The one that looks like it's wrapped in a coiled wire.

How in the world do I replace this? It's not showing up on any parts list so I guess I'll have to get my trusty mechanics to make it?

Also, I haven't broken down the driver side brake yet, so any advice on getting that nut out of the cylinder without twisting the line apart like I did with this first one is much appreciated as well.
I new brake line is available at any auto parts store. As for the other side use penetrating oil and heat.
Try someplace like this: https://www.inlinetube.com/collections/all/?year=1996&make=jeep&model=cherokee

Hopefully that link takes you all the way to the appropriate vehicle.

I believe there are other companies that also offer these parts, pre-bent.

I have used such parts before. They may arrive somewhat folded in half for the sake of keeping shipping costs reasonable. They may also need a bit of massaging. They should come with the spiral wrap installed.

Expect similar problems at the other end. Application of Kroil (or your penetrating lubricant of choice) a day or so in advance is best practice. Use of the hot wrench (propane torch or soft acetylene) may be necessary.

While you are at it, it would be a good idea to go ahead and replace that flexible line too. Odds are it is due, unless you have already replaced it. A longer version may also be in order if you are running any lift to speak of. Do a search for which other vehicles offer longer lines appropriate to your amount of lift.
I have used the Inline brake lines on two XJs. Or something similar. They worked out good. I would suggest you look at the line running from the front to the rear on the frame rail. On my XJs, they needed replaced. An issue I did have on the In-Line or another make, is the junction fitting on the front line to the passenger side. On one set it was no issue. On another it had a leak. It took a bit to get it seat properly.
Also, sometimes rust just won't let go.
Pull off the remainder of the broken line, plug the distribution block on the axle to stop the fluid leaking out.

Take line (and broken wheel cyl. end) to your Friendly Local Auto Parts Store (FLAPS), ask for a replacement line of same length with same fittings. You'll end up with a straight line, so you'll have to bend it to match the old line.

I just did this a year ago with the driver's side line on the rear of mine (in my case the fitting rounded off under the wrench, it unscrewed fine with vice-grips on it :)), it wasn't too bad. I was able to bend the line by hand, just taking my time, but you could always buy a tool if you prefer.

Agree on soaking the fitting on the other side good with penetrant - I did that with both my cylinders (just sprayed the whole thing down with PB about a week ahead of doing the job, and had no problems unscrewing them. Didn't need any heat myself.

The "coiled thing" is just an overlay for protecting from abrasion/splashing, but I've not had one on my rig in years. Doesn't seem to be strictly necessary, from what I can tell.
I would recommend the cooper nickel brake line it's easier to work with , I would also take the threaded ends of your broken line some times they have different size ends.