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Premium Plumbing: Brown & Miller Is Making A Serious Push Into Dirt Racing

 

Brown and Miller Racing Solutions is making a push to bring the company's high quality hoses and fittings to dirt track racing, and we've noticed that among the first teams to adopt their products--including Kasey Kahne Racing, Darrell Lanigan, Scott Bloomquist, Rick Eckert and Brett Hearn--do a heck of a lot of winning. That's probably not a coincidence.

Brown and Miller Racing Solutions is making a push to bring the company’s high quality hoses and fittings to dirt track racing, and we’ve noticed that among the first teams to adopt their products–including Kasey Kahne Racing, Darrell Lanigan, Scott Bloomquist, Rick Eckert and Brett Hearn–do a heck of a lot of winning. That’s probably not a coincidence.

Even if you have been involved in racing for years, you may not have heard of Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, which manufactures lightweight, high quality hoses and fittings for race cars.

That’s because the very specialized company has for years done business almost exclusively with Formula 1 and NASCAR Cup teams. Oh, and don’t forget the high end sports car teams running Le Mans and other road courses.

Lately Brown & Miller has been pushing to make its products more readily available to race teams at all levels, and the company’s commitment to quality is quickly helping it become quite popular in dirt racing.

Brown & Miller's John Harper measures out a hose sent in from a customer to be remade in the company's lightweight components. Brown & Miller builds complete hose sets using its lightweight crimped fittings for teams all over the country. The teams either send in old hoses to be matched or can simply give measurements for the hoses with descriptions for each fitting they want on the ends.

Brown & Miller’s John Harper measures out a hose sent in from a customer to be remade in the company’s lightweight components. Brown & Miller builds complete hose sets using its lightweight crimped fittings for teams all over the country. The teams either send in old hoses to be matched or can simply give measurements for the hoses with descriptions for each fitting they want on the ends.

Brown & Miller's AN fittings (top two) typically have a different hose-side length than other manufacturers (bottom), so you can't simply provide a length for the hose when having new hoses made. Instead, if the fitting is straight, measure from the seat (where the seal is made), and if you have an angled fitting--such as the 90-degree fittings shown here--measure to the center of the bend. The company also produces swivel fittings of almost every type (top), they can add a bit of weight versus a standard fitting but can make your life a lot easier when trying to install new hoses on a car.

Brown & Miller’s AN fittings (top two) typically have a different hose-side length than other manufacturers (bottom), so you can’t simply provide a length for the hose when having new hoses made. Instead, if the fitting is straight, measure from the seat (where the seal is made), and if you have an angled fitting–such as the 90-degree fittings shown here–measure to the center of the bend. The company also produces swivel fittings of almost every type (top), they can add a bit of weight versus a standard fitting but can make your life a lot easier when trying to install new hoses on a car.

Just a few of the racers currently running the company’s hoses include Darrell Lanigan, Scott Bloomquist, and Rick Eckert in the Late Model ranks, as well as Kasey Kahne Racing’s Sprint Cars, and Brett Hearn in the Big Block Modifieds.

To find out more we made a visit to Brown & Miller’s shops in Concord, North Carolina, where they assemble hose and fitting kits for teams throughout the United States.

You may think that all hoses and AN fittings are basically the same, making them essentially commodity items, but that certainly isn’t true with the pieces we were shown.

Brown & Miller machines, bends, and heat treats its own AN fittings to a proprietary design, and sources all its hoses from a single manufacturer that sells most of its products in the aviation industry.

Every hose assembled in the location we visited was made-to-order, and the attention to detail was quite amazing.

Brown & Miller’s John Harper told us the company has no intention to try and be the cheapest product on the market.

“People in China wanted to sell us fittings for less than we can purchase the raw materials,” he says. “There’s no way we want any part of that. Our quality is the most important thing. We won’t sell one grade of hoses to our Cup customers and another grade to our dirt track racing customers.

“When anybody buys anything from us no matter what class they race they can be confident that we are providing them the same quality the Cup teams depend on.”

All of Brown & Miller's hoses use the same unique internal structure. The inner two layers are carbon to help ground any static electricity, followed by two layers of PTFE which isn't affected by today's caustic fuels, next comes a layer of convoluted fiberglass, and then finally the outer protective braid (that isn't actually connected to the hose). Here, you can see the three main types of braids they sell. Up top is a polyester braid that works well with fuel, water and oil on the pressure side. The only place it doesn't work well is when it must be submerged in fuel. In the center is Brown & Miller's HTP braid, which stands for high temperature polymer. It is the basically same as the polyester braid but can be submerged in fuel. The hose on the bottom is a 304 stainless steel braid. It may look like standard stainless braid but actually weighs as little as many brands' lightweight hose. Besides greater abrasion resistance, the stainless braid is also the best option for suction lines.

All of Brown & Miller’s hoses use the same unique internal structure. The inner two layers are carbon to help ground any static electricity, followed by two layers of PTFE which isn’t affected by today’s caustic fuels, next comes a layer of convoluted fiberglass, and then finally the outer protective braid (that isn’t actually connected to the hose). Here, you can see the three main types of braids they sell. Up top is a polyester braid that works well with fuel, water and oil on the pressure side. The only place it doesn’t work well is when it must be submerged in fuel. In the center is Brown & Miller’s HTP braid, which stands for high temperature polymer. It is the basically same as the polyester braid but can be submerged in fuel. The hose on the bottom is a 304 stainless steel braid. It may look like standard stainless braid but actually weighs as little as many brands’ lightweight hose. Besides greater abrasion resistance, the stainless braid is also the best option for suction lines.

Brown & Miller's AN fittings may be more expensive, but the wide variety in their catalog can actually help you save some money will still getting the quality you are looking for. Take these two brake lines as an example. The upper line is the standard, and the fitting on the upper left already has the male-to-male adaptor necessary to connect the line to the caliper. Now check out the fittings on the stainless brake line in the foreground. The unique fittings don't require the adaptor, saving you money, weight and complexity.

Brown & Miller’s AN fittings may be more expensive, but the wide variety in their catalog can actually help you save some money will still getting the quality you are looking for. Take these two brake lines as an example. The upper line is the standard, and the fitting on the upper left already has the male-to-male adaptor necessary to connect the line to the caliper. Now check out the fittings on the stainless brake line in the foreground. The unique fittings don’t require the adaptor, saving you money, weight and complexity.

One of the more interesting things we learned is that Brown & Miller makes all of its own AN hose end fittings in England, and they make an absolutely huge variety of fittings.

Unlike many brands, a Brown & Miller fitting is machined from one piece of aluminum instead of the typical three and heat treated afterward.

Constructing an AN fitting from multiple pieces requires them to be brazed together, which can affect the quality of the heat treatment.

Harper says this is why Brown & Miller fittings won’t suffer from seized nuts because the seat flange won’t spread if the fitting is over-tightened.

The hoses, meanwhile, will last virtually forever if they aren’t damaged. Harper says the PTFE used to construct the hoses will never be affected by the fluid that’s inside it.

“We normally tell people that a visual inspection (for damage) is best,” Harper says. “Broken braid wires can cause damage to the hose. Also, in vacuum applications (such as in dry-sump applications from the oil pan to the pump), if the hose is ever kinked it will then be susceptible to collapsing.”

Otherwise, unless it is punctured, you should be good to go.

Although Brown & Miller mostly sells the lighter weight crimped fitting design (bottom), they do also offer a reusable fitting (top) that you can assemble yourself in your own shop that has the same one-piece high strength features.

Although Brown & Miller mostly sells the lighter weight crimped fitting design (bottom), they do also offer a reusable fitting (top) that you can assemble yourself in your own shop that has the same one-piece high strength features.

If your racing operation is near Concord, NC, they do have a mobile assembly unit where they can custom build hoses for you at your race shop.

If your racing operation is near Concord, NC, they do have a mobile assembly unit where they can custom build hoses for you at your race shop.

A proper crimp on an AN fitting is more than simply smashing a collar over the hose and barbed end of the fitting. Brown & Miller uses this press to provide a precise amount of even pressure all the way around the fitting for maximum seal with no damage to the hose.

A proper crimp on an AN fitting is more than simply smashing a collar over the hose and barbed end of the fitting. Brown & Miller uses this press to provide a precise amount of even pressure all the way around the fitting for maximum seal with no damage to the hose.

We found this fixture used to precisely set the angles between two angled fittings. It is hard to see in this photo, but that's actually a degree wheel on the left of this photo that allows the technician to precisely set angles within a degree or two.

We found this fixture used to precisely set the angles between two angled fittings. It is hard to see in this photo, but that’s actually a degree wheel on the left of this photo that allows the technician to precisely set angles within a degree or two.

After it is made, every hose goes through a pretty thorough quality check. Here, the size of the crimped band is checked. Brown & Miller holds their tolerance to plus or minus 0.002 of an inch. Any fitting outside this range is rejected.

After it is made, every hose goes through a pretty thorough quality check. Here, the size of the crimped band is checked. Brown & Miller holds their tolerance to plus or minus 0.002 of an inch. Any fitting outside this range is rejected.

Every hose is also checked using water under pressure to one-and-a-half times its listed pressure rating.

Every hose is also checked using water under pressure to one-and-a-half times its listed pressure rating.

We know you don't want any moisture in your new brake lines. After the pressure check, any remaining droplets of water is blown out using dry, high-pressure air, and then--just to make sure--the hoses sit for a while in this heated cabinet where any last bit of moisture is allowed to evaporate.

We know you don’t want any moisture in your new brake lines. After the pressure check, any remaining droplets of water is blown out using dry, high-pressure air, and then–just to make sure–the hoses sit for a while in this heated cabinet where any last bit of moisture is allowed to evaporate.

Finally, before it is shipped, the hose is inscribed with a part number. A build sheet is included with each order to help verify exactly what you've got.

Finally, before it is shipped, the hose is inscribed with a part number. A build sheet is included with each order to help verify exactly what you’ve got.

Here's something cool we were shown during our visit. Brown & Miller is constantly developing new fittings and uses rapid prototyping equipment to help speed the process. Here's one for a fitting that made it into production (background).

Here’s something cool we were shown during our visit. Brown & Miller is constantly developing new fittings and uses rapid prototyping equipment to help speed the process. Here’s one for a fitting that made it into production (background).

Source: Brown & Miller Racing Solutions / bmrs.net


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