Guide to Silicone hoses

So will silicone hoses improve performance?

What are the benefits and pros from replacing your rubber hoses with Silicone?

It will also be stronger and keep it's shape and color for longer. Silicone hoses rarely need replacing once installed.

Silicone looks nicer than rubber, which tends to only come in black, and can be ordered in pretty much any color and size.

Silicone has better temperature tolerances compared with rubber.

It holds it's shape better than rubber and lasts longer but it is more expensive which is a major reason why manufacturers only use it on rare occasions.

Silicone air intake pipes will generally keep their shape even under a modest vacuum, so are very well suited to turbo applications where pressure changes can be frequent and will eventually split a rubber hose although in very high performance engines we are seeing harder metal pipes used for the high pressure air routes.

The flexing and bending of rubber hoses can also inhibit the air flow which is not something you want in a performance engine.

Silicone Hose reducers

Often you'll need to join a larger diameter silicone hose, with a smaller one.

A rubber hose can stretch to fit in many cases, but silicone hoses are more rigid and you need to apply a hose reducer to step up and down in sizes.

A silicone hose reducer is designed to maximise flow, so there are no internal steps, it is a smooth transition internally, whereas the outside may appear to have a dramatic step in it.

T piece silicone hose

If you need to join 3 hoses you would typically use a T piece, which allows you to connect 3 hoses together.

Pay attention to the flow and which pipes go where, so you would typically use the lower part of the T for the input flow, and the top of the T will allow the flow in both directions.

Uses of Silicone hoses

  • Radiator - Coolant, water pipe
  • EGR Pipe
  • Air intake - turbo, air filter, intercooler
  • Catch tanks
  • Oil lines*
  • Fuel lines*

*Oil and fuel can be corrosive so you would need to specify this when ordering your hoses, and they will typically have a lining to resist the corrosion.

Platinum coated silicone

This was a process done on medical grade silicone tubing and hosing and it's found it's way into motorsport upgrades.

If the silicone is platinum coated or cured, it will repel liquids which aids the flow of fluid around the engine.

Silicone hoses are usually reinforced with most having Polyester strands within, or if you need something stronger you can specify Nomex.

How to join silicone hoses

Aluminium hose joiners are most popular, but you can use a coupler, which is slightly larger internal size than the external hose size you wish to join.

Coupler or joiners are made from Aluminum with ridges to create a perfect seal or a simple silicone tube.

Do not be tempted to apply some adhesive if you need a very strong joint, instead use clips which are typically all you'd need to fix them in place.

The joiner or coupler slips over the two ends to create a join but shouldn't create a step within the joined pipes.

How to cut a silicone hose

DO NOT use a hacksaw or saw blade, this will rough up the edges and ruin the hose.

Instead use a very sharp clean blade, you can use a metal clip as a guide to ensure you cut a straight line around the hose.

Avoid clamping or squashing the hose in a vice or similar when cutting, the force will deform the Silicone hose and ruin it.

Most Silicone hose kits are cut at the factory to the correct length so cutting will only be necessary for custom pipe work.

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