What Are Silicone Hoses?
Silicone hoses are used in different applications like automotive, food processing, industrial sectors, medical, etc.
Silicone hoses are increasingly being used in place of rubber hoses in different type of vehicles, hot and cold air aspiration units, and power gen sets.
They can work in a wide temperature range and are resistant and work well in temperatures of up to 500-degree Fahrenheit.
These silicone hoses are very durable and are the specially designed reinforcements are ideal for applications where high pressure plays an important role.
They are manufactured using 100% silicone which results in improved tolerance and greater lifespan.
They are also embedded with heat-resistant fibers for ensuring enhanced durability.
Sports cars and performance-oriented vehicles have started using silicone hoses only due to its superior strength and flexibility over the traditional rubber hoses, which adds to improved performance.
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Why do We Need Silicone Hoses?
One of the biggest reasons for using silicone hoses over rubber ones is the improved performance it offers.
Since it has superior heat tolerance and can work in very high temperatures, it is widely used in performance-enhanced vehicles.
Cars using turbochargers will not only provide you great power but will also generate heat.
Rubber hoses are not equipped to handle such heat and are likely to malfunction.
Silicone hoses are ideal for such situations as they can handle high temperatures without breaking down.
Silicone hoses are more durable and do not crack, get stiff, or dry rot over time like rubber hoses.
Silicone hoses also compensate for the noise and vibrations which helps the cars to keep a quiet profile.
Where Can I Buy Silicone Hoses?
Silicone hoses should only be bought from reputed and authorized dealers.
This will ensure that you are getting original and high-quality silicone hoses.
Buying from an authorized dealer will also ensure that you are covered under the warranty offered with the product.
You should let the dealer check your vehicle and discuss your requirements with them for helping them to choose the best silicone hoses suitable for your car.
Before purchasing, you should inquire with the dealer and check if the silicone hoses you are planning to buy have been tested and meet the industry standards.
It is important to know what kind of compliance testing have the silicone hoses been put through before you make the purchase.
If you are unable to find the ideal silicone hoses for your vehicle, then you can explore custom-made hoses.
Many manufacturers are now offering custom-made silicone hoses which are designed for your vehicle and your specific application and environment.
How Long Do Silicone Hoses Last?
Silicone hoses are very durable and have a much longer lifespan when compared to rubber hoses.
A well-built silicone hose can last for a very long time.
It can even outlast the life of the car itself.
As they can last for such a long time, they compensate for the initial cost of purchasing it.
The cost per mile of silicone hoses is lower compared to rubber hoses, even though their initial cost of buying is higher.
The longevity of these hoses is due to handling higher temperatures, greater flexibility and resilience, and better resistance to external weather elements than the regular rubber hoses.
Why Are Silicone Hoses So Expensive?
Silicone hoses make use of high-quality raw materials and production technology which make them costlier than the traditional rubber hoses.
In addition to the cost of silicone hoses, you will also need to buy new clamps as the silicone hoses have thicker walls and will not fit with the original clamps.
The price of silicone hoses can start from $5 and go up to $100.
If you are going to use the car only for regular street use and do not require high performance and turbochargers, then silicone hoses are not mandatory for you.
However, the longevity of the silicone hoses compensates for its initial cost and prove to be cost-effective in the long run.
How Long to Soak Silicone Hoses in PBW to Clean?
Powdered Brewery Wash (PBW) is one of the best non-caustic cleaners which can be used for cleaning silicone hoses.
You can use about 2 ounces of PBW in 5 gallons of water and soak the silicone hoses in it for nearly 30 minutes.
You can then take it out and clean it thoroughly and then rinse it properly with water.
How Often to Replace Silicone Hoses?
The benefit of uses silicone hoses is that they do not need to be replaced often.
Generally, rubber hoses should be replaced after every 4 years as they get worn down and become cracked and brittle.
However, silicone hoses have a much longer lifespan and can outlast your vehicle also.
You should inspect your silicone hoses regularly for any signs of wear and tear or damage.
If there are no visible signs, then there is no need for you to replace the silicone hoses.
With silicone hoses, you need not be concerned about how long or for how many miles they have been used as they are incredibly durable and long lasting.
Should Silicone Hoses Get Really Soft When Hot?
Silicone hoses are designed to withstand high temperatures and work without any issues.
However, if they are exposed to temperatures beyond 500-degree Fahrenheit consistently, then it can become really soft and can crack easily.
How to Tell If Silicone Hoses are Fluro Lined?
Despite the advantages which silicone hoses offer, they are still not suitable for applications which involve fuel or oil to come in contact with them.
Silicone is known to have a very stable molecular structure and is highly inert which makes it suitable for different applications.
However, fuel and oil are substances which can break down the stable molecular structure of silicone which makes silicone hoses unsuitable for use in fuel lines.
Fuel and oil tend to act like solvents which slowly break down and dissolve the silicone hoses over time and corroding it beyond repair finally.
Fluro lined silicone hoses are made from a special compound called Fluro silicone.
This chemical helps to prevent oil and fuel from penetrating the walls of the silicone hoses and make it suitable for being used in the fuel line of vehicles.
The Fluro silicone hoses have excellent resistance to hydrocarbons, fuel vapors, mineral and synthetic oil greases which make it suitable for use with mineral-based hydraulic fluids.
The hose lining in these types of hoses is made of Fluro silicone which is a blend of Fluro silicone rubber base, fillers, modifiers, vulcanizing agents, and pigments.
How to Custom Mold Silicone Hoses?
It may happen that you are unable to find the ideal fitting silicone hose for your vehicle.
In such situations, you will have to look for custom made silicone hoses.
You may need a custom diameter, a specific angle of hose, or a precise geometrical shape which you can get only through custom made hoses.
Silicone hoses can be custom designed for a wide variety of applications with varying needs in temperature range performance, chemical resistance, etc.
These custom-made silicone hoses are manufactured as per your vehicle’s exact specifications and they maximize interior space efficiency by streamlining coolant transfer lines.
They also enhance the visual appeal and aesthetics of your vehicle considerably.
How Silicon Hoses Are Made?
The first step in manufacturing silicone hoses is making the mandrel tool in the shape of silicon hoses to be manufactured.
Raw materials for making silicone hoses like silicone rubber, color pigments, reinforcement fabrics, etc are chosen carefully.
The next process is called milling which involves a mixing of silicone rubber and color pigments in a mill which is then converted into a silicone rubber compound by the mill.
This compound is then put into the calendaring machine which presses it between rollers to make thin sheets.
The flattened compound is then pressed into the reinforcement fabric.
These thin sheets are then cut and rolled which can be then used to make silicone hoses.
The silicone tubes are then put into the mandrel tool for giving them the desired shape.
The silicone hoses are then curled and placed in the oven and allowed to cool.
They are then removed and put into wash hose for cleaning.
The silicone hoses then have to undergo the process of trimming and quality inspection and upon clearing these stages, they are ready to be shipped to various dealers.
How to Measure Silicone Hoses?
It is important to measure the lengths and diameter of silicon hoses correctly for ensuring they meet your requirements.
Usually, the leg lengths of the silicone hose elbows are measured from the cut face to the center of the line radius.
For measuring straight silicone hoses, you should measure its length (l) and thickness (t) along with the diameter (d) for the hose in millimeters.
This gives you the exact dimensions of silicone hoses required by you.
For 90-degree elbow hoses, you should measure its diameter (d), thickness (t) and the length of each leg from the center point (l1+l2).
How to Adjust Silicone Hoses?
Silicone hoses can be adjusted and cut to any desired length.
You should mark the desired length clearly on the silicone hose and put the clamp perpendicular to the center line of the hose at the desired length mark.
Before cutting the silicone hose, you should ensure that the clamp is securely tightened on it.
You can then insert the blade through the outer wall of the silicone hose and slide it till the cut is completed for getting the desired length.
Who Makes Silicone Hoses?
There are many leading manufacturers of silicone hoses who offer high-quality hoses for your vehicle.
Brands like LHSS, Viper Performance, etc.
are renowned brands for silicone hoses.
You can select the silicone hoses based on your vehicle type and specific requirements.
How to Connect Silicone Hoses?
Before you start connecting silicone hoses to your car, you should first remove your old rubber hoses.
It may take a little bit of effort and time to remove them.
The old clamps also have to be removed as they will not work with silicone hoses.
Now you can put your new silicone hoses and secure them with clamps.
After the new silicone hoses have been installed, you can fill the coolant and then start the engine.
You should monitor for any leaks carefully and then you are good to go with the new silicon hoses.
Which is Better Silicone Hose or Rubber?
Silicone hoses offer many benefits over rubber hoses.
They can withstand a wider temperature range and work without failure.
They can work efficiently even at temperatures of up to 500-degree Fahrenheit.
This makes them ideal for being used in high-performance cars which use turbochargers.
Silicon hoses are also much more flexible and resilient and they are able to maintain their flexibility over their lifetime.
Due to this, silicon hoses do not crack, become hard, or dry rot over time.
Silicone hoses are highly durable than rubber hoses and can last for a long time.
Unlike the rubber hoses which needs to be replaced every 4-5 years, silicone hoses can even outlast the life of your car.
Another advantage of using silicone hoses is that they suppress the vibrations and sound which improve the ride quality and comfort of the car.
Another obvious advantage of silicone hose is that they improve the visual appeal of your car as they look much attractive than rubber hoses.
How to Stop Silicone Hoses from Leaking?
If you suspect that your silicone hoses are leaking, then start by finding the leak.
Allow your engine to cool off and detect the leak preferably by using a pressure tester.
You should not apply more than 10-15 PSI pressure on your coolant system as it may damage it.
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After identifying the leak, you can use a commercial leak sealant.
You can pour the leak sealant into the cooling system and top it with coolant or water mixture if needed.
Once the leak sealant makes it way through the coolant system, it seals the leakage.
You can also use epoxy to seal the leakage from your hose.
The epoxy should be at least one-eighth of an inch thick and it should be allowed to dry for it to start working.