AN hoses are the gold standard in reliable sealing and sheer function, and nearly faultless when assembled and installed correctly. Gentle arcs of stainless steel routing life-giving fluids about an engine bay between red-and-blue terminals of exquisitely finished aluminum make for a beautiful sight. However, assembling the damned things requires the patience of a Shaolin monk, and every so often, a razor-tipped barb sticks out of the housing, slips under your nail into nerves and blood vessels, and makes you cuss like a sailor. And stainless braid is heavy stuff, not something ounce-conscious users are likely to approve of.
Earl’s Performance and Russell Performance offer hoses that solve both problems by replacing the stainless reinforcing braid with nylon, saving fingers and pounds. The stuff’s far easier to work with, but for the time being, it carries a price premium. For example, Summit’s house-brand stainless-braided -6AN line costs around $4 per foot, with name-brand hose running about $5 per foot. For nylon? $7 per foot. Ouch. It’s a cherry atop the sundae of exorbitance that is AN plumbing. Odd, when you consider the cost of plastic versus stainless steel. Still, most applications need only a few feet of AN hose, which means the extra $2 per foot might be worth looking into. Summit carries nylon hoses from -4AN to -20AN in a variety of lengths from 3ft to 100ft.