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Making Your Own Fuel Lines

September 27, 2010 | Troubleshooting & Repair

By David Jones

Provided by Phil Planck: Dimensioned drawing of the short fuel line between the filter and pump on 356 pushrod engines prior to late 1955. It will correctly locate the fuel filter so that it can be disassembled on the car, and properly match up to the fuel line. The fittings and ferrules were available at VW dealers when he made his circa 1990.
Print size image
Printable PDF file.

Ken Daugherty gets his steel tubing from NAPA, PN 813-1235 (5/16" x 60"). See his article on Fabricating Weber Fuel Lines


I decided that as most folks do not know how to bend tubing, that instead of doing it the hillbilly way by bending the tubing around various diameters of pipe I would buy some cheap benders and test them out.

The red handled benders were from Advance Auto and cost $10. The longer chrome plated ones are professional tube benders designed for bending stainless steel which is malleable only once: if you don't get it right the tubing is junk. It also will do a tighter radius bend. They cost close to $200.

There is another tube bender which would work very well on this type of thin walled steel tubing made by Rigid called a Tri tube bender. I did not buy one but got a price quote of $35.

A word of warning on bending with the $10 benders, take your time and also maybe bend a wire pattern before you start. Do not try to do a complete 90° bend at once. Do it in about three increments moving the bender along the tubing maybe 1/8" at a time to minimize the bending distortion. This thin tubing will flatted around the bend very easily. Note that I use a sharpie to mark where the center of each bend is and often the start point as well.

The 5/16" tubing cost me $5.44 and I made two lines from it. Stoddard has the lines in stock for the early 356 pump minus the fitting for $16.85 and for the late style pump for $22.11. I am not sure it is worth making your own at that price. However if you can braze and can get the banjo fitting and the "T" and are willing to try then making the manifold to connect the Solex carbs to the pump may be worth the effort as that is no longer available and was $215 when you could still buy it. The Zenith line is still available and is $132 each.

The 2 types of bender used.

1st bend, Note that it is 90 degrees.

Not seen because my hands are busy with the camera is the need to support the bender and the tubing to concentrate the bending force on the contact face of tubing and bender. If not careful the tubing will just bend at the vice jaws.

In this picture the marks made to delineate the previous bend can be seen. Now I have turned the tubing thru 90 degrees in the vice to make the next 90 degree bend at 90 degrees from the last one. Be careful not to bend it in the wrong direction. Very annoying to have to scrap the whole piece of tubing.

Another 90 at 90. I once bent 20 ft of stainless tubing to fit inside an enclosure. There were 15 bends and it took me 2 hours to get it right. I sweated the whole time.

Finished piece still to be cut to final length.

Note difference in radius of bend. The $200 benders are much tighter.

A little bit of tweaking to make it fit a little better.

Trial fit on an engine

The finished results