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4-runner Brakepipe Failure!


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If you own a 4runner (and possibly a Surf or Hilux) this may be of interest.

My 1997 4Runner, KZN130R, recently burst a brake pipe during the MoT test! This was not a flexible pipe but one of the chassis mounted rigid pipes - here's the story.

For the first 15 months of its existence this 1997 UK supplied vehicle was used to deliver sailboats, which may be relevant to the fault. I have owned it since that time and not subjected it to any unusual conditions as it was until recently the family car. The pipe which burst is the lower of the pair running between the master cylinder and the back axle and the location of the fault is on the chassis side member at the rear where these pipes change direction by 90 degrees and turn parallel to the axle. In the corner there is a small mud trap which in this case partially covered the bottom pipe with sand. This is where the pipe failed - 1 centimetre either side of the fault it was in perfect condition! It was extremely difficult to see the damage 'in situ' even with a trail of brake fluid to indicate the location. The chances of this ever being spotted during any normal inspection were almost nil.

So good people, it may be a shrewd move to check if your pipe is also in a trap and have a very close look at the condition of the metal. It wouldn't be too much fun if the pipe should burst in an emergency situation!

I believe my vehicle had probably been exposed to salt water immersion in its youth and the trap eventually ensured sufficient corrosion to cause the failure of the pipe. Your conditions may be very different but when you have 10 minutes to spare get underneath with a torch and have a very close look for potential problems.

Good Luck,


Oh, I will probably post this on a couple of other forums so don't be surprised if you see it elsewhere.

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