Plumbing 101: What You Need to Know with Russell
Assembling a race car’s fuel system can be one enormous confusing headache, but it doesn’t need to be. The hoses and fittings that you use in your vehicle are important because they supply its lifeblood, carrying all of the vital fluids from one place to another, and choosing the right plumbing components seem like a daunting task. The reality is, you can pick the right components the first time around, and in this video we are going to show you some tips on how to choose the proper hoses and fittings for your application with the help from the experts at Russell Performance.
History of Russell
Russell has been in business for over 25 years, and Edelbrock purchased the company in 2009 and raised the bar for Russell Performance by taking the steps to become ISO 9000 certified. Edelbrock is also working to expand Russell’s product line – and since the acquisition, over 200 new parts have been added. They offer plumbing and hose options for many different fluid systems in your ride, including fuel, oil, brake, water, and nitrous. Racers such as Billy Glidden, Pat Musi and Jim Hairston all rely on Russell Performance products to get them down the 1320.
To understand the basics of hoses and plumbing, watch the video above. But if you want some more general information, tips, and tricks, check out some of our notes.
Types of Hose Offered by Russell
Russell Performance offers four types of hose to cover all your needs. Let’s take a look at them:
ProFlex / ProRace
Russell’s ProFlex and ProRace hoses are constructed with a stainless steel outer braid that resists abrasion and corrosion. They both have a chlorinated polyethylene synthetic rubber liner with a nylon inner braid, which will not collapse under extreme heat – yet it is extremely flexible.
Additionally, the ProRace hose has a specially formulated CPE synthetic inner liner that is embedded with a partial coverage stainless steel inner braid, and bonded together by a full coverage stainless outer braid. This construction gives the ProRace hose 50 percent more strength.
“The traditional ProFlex braided stainless steel is still the most popular,” according to Snyder. “It is designed to work in extreme applications. As it is routed under the vehicle and exposed to the elements, the stainless steel outer jacket is still flexible enough for easy routing, but also durable enough to deliver years of service.”
The Pro Classic is for racers and performance enthusiasts who want high quality plumbing that is lighter and easier to assemble than traditional braided steel hose. It features a lightweight nylon fiber outer braid over a durable rubber core, with a maximum pressure rating of 350 psi. The Pro Classic can handle nearly every plumbing task on your car, and is safe to use with fuel, oil, or antifreeze.
“ProClassic is our lightest and most durable hose,” states Snyder. “It is approved for use in all major racing, including NHRA. This hose can reduce comparable weight by more than 20 percent over braided stainless steel, and it is easier to cut and assemble. The black nylon fabric outer braid is also a popular look. The ProClassic is very popular in the racing community due to its durability, weight and flexibility. However, I can’t say this is recommended across the board, as the braided stainless is great in any environment that may be a high friction area.”
The Twist-Lok line is for the enthusiast looking for a quality performance hose, while wanting to save assembly time and money. Easy to assemble, flexible and lightweight, it is ideal for most applications where a stainless steel braided line is not necessary. This hose is pressure rated up to 250 psi and suitable for most fuel and oil systems. It was not designed, however, for use in power steering applications. Twist-Lok is approved by NHRA for use in competition in all classes.
The PowerFlex power steering hose is the preferred choice for high pressure power steering lines. Russell recommends using it in conjunction with PowerFlex hose ends that are designed for these 1000+ PSI of pressure. A choice of power steering adapters, which allow the connection to most pumps, feed, pressure and return lines, is also available. While return line pressure is dramatically lower, using the same style line is probably a good idea.
Types of Fittings / Hose Ends
Now that you have the information needed to pick the best hose for your project, here are some notes about fitting types.
The Russell Full Flow hose ends are made from lightweight aluminum and are completely reusable. They feature a unique taper design ensuring easy assembly and also offer a 37° angled sealing surface, guaranteeing a positively leak-free seal. These Full Flow hose ends accept a wide variety of lightweight aluminum AN style adapter and carburetor fittings. Finally, these Russell fittings are interchangeable with many other manufacturers’ hose ends.
Full Flow Swivel hose ends swivel 360° to maximize hose installation, allowing for quick alignment of ends after hose assembly. These Full Flow Swivel hose ends are completely reusable and feature a unique taper design for ease of installation. Full Flow Swivel hose ends use mandrel bent tubing for superior flow, and are available in three different finishes.
Twist-Lok hose ends utilize Barb Technology. They are constructed of lightweight aluminum, and are 40 percent lighter than conventional hose ends. Twist-Lok hose ends are easy to assemble and work with any Russell AN adapter or carburetor fittings. Russell Twist-Lok Hose ends are available in red/blue anodize.
Stainless Steel Full Flow hose ends are constructed of 303 stainless steel, and are precision machined to ensure precise thread engagement and a tight seal. Russell’s stainless steel hose ends and fittings also provide protection against corrosion. 303 stainless steel hose ends are the premium choice for all severe-duty applications, including: marine, street rods and race. These fittings work best with Russell’s ProFlex, ProRace or ProClassic hoses.
PowerFlex crimp fittings were designed for shop or retail store use. The ProClassic Crimp-On program makes hose fabrication both easy and profitable. Assembly only requires cutting the hose, pushing it together, fitting it, then crimping. Designed as a balanced hose assembly, the lightweight collar design is engineered by size for precise compression, ensuring end attachment. ProClassic 360° Swivel hose ends allow for quick alignment after assembly, and are not interchangeable with other brands. They are available in sizes -4 through -12, and are packaged complete with collar.
PowerFlex power steering hose ends with Endura (stainless steel look) finish are available in three different AN sizes (-6, -8 and -10). These hose ends are suitable for high pressure power steering use and are corrosion resistant.
Tube Seal Hose Ends are designed to add that finishing hose end appearance, but as a hose clamp. These tube seals will fit anything from 1/4″ vacuum hose to 3/4″ heater hose, and are offered in four choices of colors: red, blue, chrome and black.
Specialty Hose Ends
If you have a fitting that is outside the normal realm, Russell’s Specialty hose ends may be what you need. The Full Flow Swivel Pipe Thread hose ends allow the connection of fuel and oil lines without any additional adapters, simplifying the hose assembly. This aids in plumbing your dry sump system. By utilizing the Full Flow Swivel Dry Sump hose end, you eliminate the need for additional adapters, saving both time and money.
The Full Flow Forged Swivel hose ends are manufactured from forged aluminum and are designed for use in a tight engine compartment. “The ID(s) of all Russell hose ends are common and consistent throughout the manufacturing process, so this consistency is equal in flow rate,” Snyder says. “However, the style of attachment can affect the flow rates of the assembled hose and hose end. For example, the Full-Flow hose ends, which utilize Russell’s patented tapered design, eliminate the risk of loose hose debris in the flow area. That’s because the smooth taper inserts into the hose cleanly, and the hose end clamps on the outer diameter of the hose. Hose ends with a barbed end, like the Twist-Lok, are biting the inside of the hose inner diameter for attachment. They can also loosen up the internal hose, creating slight flow interference.”
Picking the Correct Hose
Now that we have the hose and fitting options covered, it is time to decide which one will work best for your application. You’ll need to figure out what type of fluid the hose will be carrying, how much pressure the hose and fitting need to support, and what type of environment the hose will be exposed to. Additionally, if you will be racing your car, you will need parts that are in compliance the rules. Russell offers pre-made lines and kits for various applications and it would be a good idea to check these out, as well as the tools and accessories they offer.
Once you settle on the types of hoses and fittings that you need, write it all down, and make sure to include everything from fuel to power steering lines. More likely than not, you will discover that you’ve inadvertently left something out. Making a list will get you close to reaching your goal, and will save you some time in the long run.
The next step will be to work on the layout of where the lines will be run, and to verify clearance and fitment issues. Double-check the lengths before cutting the hose because if you cut too short, you may end up having to buy another roll.
Tips on Assembly
Here are some tips from Jason Snyder that you’ll want to keep in mind when beginning your assembly.
“Always be careful when removing tape, as you do not want to pull the braid away from the inner core,” advises Snyder. “When attaching the socket, be sure you turn the (socket or hose) in a counter rotation, as the socket has left-hand threads to hold the hose during assembly. Using a punch or Phillips screwdriver is an easy way to resize the inner core of the hose. This will allow the nipple assembly to start easier, and will assure you don’t push the hose out of the socket. Also, on ProClassic hose, be sure not push the hose up into the threaded part of the socket.”
If you are using the ProClassic or Twist-Loc hose, it can be cut cleanly with a pair of shears or razor blade cutter. Just make sure that your cut is straight and square, to help save yourself from headaches later on. If you are using a stainless wrapped hose like the ProFlex or ProRace, you will want to wrap the hose in electrical tape prior to cutting.
Next, you will want to place the hose in a vise and cut with a cut-off wheel or a hacksaw with two blades opposing each other. Again, keep the cut straight and square when cutting your hose.
Now that you have your hose cut to the proper length, we will move on to installing the hose ends. If you are using the Full Flow hose ends, you will want to install some soft jaws on your vise to hold the fittings, to prevent causing any scratches or damage. You will need to disassemble the hose end first, then put the socket in the vise with the soft jaws.
Next, slide the hose into the socket while turning counterclockwise, until the hose bottoms out in the fitting. With the fitting turned around in the vise and the hose out of your way, apply some Russell assembly lube to the nipple of the fitting. Using a wrench, turn the fitting until there is less then 1/16 of an inch between the nipple and the socket.
Repeat the steps on the opposite end of your hose. When you’re finished, flush the inside of the hose out with a solvent or soapy water, then dry it. Your hose is now completed.
Assembling a Twist-Lok End
If you have chosen the Twist-Lok hose ends, the process is a bit different. The Twist-Lok uses a barbed hose end, which you will have to push into the hose. As you are pushing it into the hose, you will use a twisting action until the hex is even with the hose. Repeat for the opposite end of the hose, clean the assembly out, and you’re ready to go.
Hosed with Knowledge
In the course of filming the video and writing the notes for the article, we have learned that Russell Products offers everything you need to plumb any system in you daily driver, street car, race car, tow truck or any other vehicle you have. They offer quality products, which are made in America and fit almost every need. All products are covered under a manufacturer’s warranty to cover any defects, and they are backed by one of the biggest companies in aftermarket performance – Edelbrock.
We installed a complete Edelbrock fuel system on our Project Grandma, and so far, Grandma’s plumbing and fittings have performed flawlessly. So when the time comes for you to replace your hoses, fittings, or hose ends, be sure to check out what Russell Performance has to offer.
In fact, if you want to check out our video on installing Edelbrock Russell product in Grandma, click play below!