Mr. Robert E. Fouts
President
Earl's Performance Products
189 W. Victoria St.
Long Beach, CA 90805

Dear Mr. Fouts:

This responds to your question whether the whip test specified in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 106, Brake Hoses, can be interpreted to permit a modification to the test apparatus to facilitate your brake hose's meeting the whip test. As explained below, the answer is no.

You describe your brake hose as made of "extruded teflon armored with stainless steel braid." You state your brake hose can meet all Standard No. 106 test specifications except for the whip test (See S6.3). The whip test specifies fastening the brake hose on a test apparatus at two ends and cycling for 35 hours. You state because of "aggravated cyclic stress," your brake hoses fail before 35 hours. To prevent such failures, you wish to add a "whip dampener," a movable "spherical bearing enclosed in a machined housing", to the brake hose. In addition to the two ends, the whip test apparatus will mount the brake hose at the "whip dampener." You wish to know whether the whip test can be interpreted to permit mounting the brake hose at the "whip dampener."

In our opinion, S6.3 cannot be interpreted to permit mounting the brake hose at the "whip dampener." S6.3.1 Apparatus specifies a test apparatus that mounts the brake hose at "capped end fittings" on one end and "open end fittings" on the other, and specifies no mounting points in between. Thus, a test apparatus that mounts the brake hose at a "whip dampener," which is not an end fitting, would not meet Standard No. 106.

However, the issues raised in your letter have led us to consider amending the whip test to permit the "whip dampener" when testing steel braided brake hoses. Accordingly, we will initiate rulemaking to further consider the issues.

I hope this information is useful. If you have any further questions, please contact Dorothy Nakama of my staff at (202) 366-2992.

Sincerely,

Philip R. Recht Acting Chief Counsel

ref:106 d:4/24/95