A hose clamp tool is the backbone of a lot of the mechanical systems involving fluid transmission through hoses from one point to another. It is a means of ensuring the hose stays put and that there are no leakages so that the fluid can serve its purpose. These systems are diverse and range from automotive systems to household plumbing. Unfortunately, a large number of users don’t know how to use the clamps correctly which can lead to inefficiencies and in extreme cases like vehicle cooling systems, irreparable damages.
Today we’ll learn the proper application of the hose clamp tool as described by the engineers who design them. We have compiled a complete document highlighting what you should look out for when using a hose clamp and the best practices on how to handle them.
Choosing the Right Hose Clamp Tool for Your Needs
Construction and Materials
Quality hose clamps are made of high-grade stainless steel (a minimum of 316 stainless steel) so they can resist corrosion and will not rust out and fail. Look beyond the clamp’s band to other components such as the screws, bolts, and gear housing. A corroded hose clamp has no structural integrity and will allow some of the fluid to leak through the joint between the hose and the fitting or even worse, cause the hose to detach from the fitting completely.
When buying a hose clamp labeled as stainless steel, use a magnet to confirm the quality of the material of the clamp and its components (like screws, gear housing, and bolts) are made of. High-quality stainless steel will not stick to the magnet.
There are hose clamps with perforated bands that have the thread stamped out and others that are embossed. Although both types of hose clamps work, an embossed hose clamp tool is better at stopping the flow of fluids. There are no holes on the thread that compromise the strength and can be converted to weak points wear corrosion can occur.
By eliminating a significant portion of the band’s cross-section, the perforations weaken the clamp and make it susceptible to elongation under constant tension. This is accompanied by microcracking which provides a platform for rust and corrosion.
The perforations can also be damaging to the hose as they squeeze out the tufts of the hose jacket like a grater and weaken the hose.
Hose Clamp Tool Size
If the hose clamp tool is too small, it won’t fit around properly and will not secure it in place as you would like. If it is too large, there will be an extra tail at the end of the installation that can cut nearby components. With larger clamps you also risk tightening the band into a distorted circle during assembly. This will not only damage the hose but can also jeopardize the perfect grip.
Once you determine the size of the nipple on the fitting, it is advisable to go for a clamp that is closest to that size.
How Many Hose Clamp Tools Are Sufficient to Stop the Flow of Fluids?
The debate is ongoing, but a single hose clamp is usually sufficient for this purpose. If the pressure goes beyond what can be handled by a hose clamp, then you should be looking for other alternatives to fasten the hose to the fitting. Another consideration is whether there is enough space on the fitting to accommodate more than one hose clamp tool.
Installing two clamps right next to each other doesn’t add value to the situation because they will be exerting pressure on the same point and there is no added strength. If you need to use more than one hose clamp, leave some space in between them.
Installing a Hose Clamp Tool
This is a very important part of the setup if you are to get the most value from the hose clamp. It should be done carefully and accurately.
Step 1. Slip the clamp onto the hose and then push the hose onto the barbed fitting until it is positioned correctly.
Step 2. Slide the clamp into place at a point where the fitting is inside the hose and about a quarter inch of the hose is visible between the clamp’s band and the end of the hose.
Step 3. Release the clamp for spring hose clamps or tighten it using a screwdriver or a nut driver. Tighten it sufficiently to provide the right amount of tension, but not too much as this might damage the hose. Resist the temptation to fasten it with a ratchet because you can’t tell when it becomes too tight.
Disconnecting a Hose with a Hose Clamp Tool
This bit is as important a part of using a hose clamp tool as installation because you will eventually have to change a worn-out hose, service the system, or adjust the clamps. Now you are pretty much reversing what you did when you were installing the hose.
Step 1. Drain the fluid out of the system so that the hose is empty by the time you are starting the disconnection.
Step 2. Loosen the hose clamp by expanding the diameter so it is large enough to slide over the hose for removal. If it’s a spring clamp, squeeze it with hose clamp pliers or regular pliers and pull it back on the hose, away from the hose’s connection with the fitting. If it’s a screw tension hose clamp, loosen it with a screwdriver and pull it back away from the connection.
Sometimes the hose will remain stuck even after removing the hose clamp. Resist the urge to slit the hose even if it seems like a convenient solution. There are high chances of scratching the fitting which will create an avenue for leakages.
Step 3. Use this opportunity to inspect the hose as well as the nipple on the fitting where the hose goes. If there are any signs of corrosion clean it using a wire brush. The slightest irregularity in the fitting will create space for the pressure to force some amounts of the fluid out and result in leakages. Also, rust creates an unevenness that the hose clamp tool is not designed to cover.
Hose Clamp Tool Limitations
There are situations where your hose clamp will not be sufficient to stop the flow of fluids and you should be aware of them.
- Clamping the hose on a threaded fitting is never a good idea. While the clamp will hold the hose in place, the fluid can easily make its way down the threads and leak despite your efforts.
- Clamping the hose onto a regular pipe is equally futile because regardless of how tight you make the hose clamp, there is no friction, and chances are that the hose will slide out of place eventually.
For a hose clamp tool to be effective, the fitting should be barbed so that the joint is perfect and the connection leakproof.
Hose Clamp Tool Maintenance
Your responsibility doesn’t end once the hoses are clamped into place. You should keep inspecting the hose clamp tools for signs of wear and weakness and to ensure they are still performing their assigned task of connecting the hose to its fitting and preventing leaks.
Conduct a visual assessment, looking for signs of rust and loose clamps. Use a flashlight and a mirror to view the smaller clamps that are tucked away in tight spaces that are hard to reach (these are easily overlooked but are equally, if not more important than the rest of the clamps).
Inspect the hoses themselves even as you look at the clamps. Check for signs of straining against the clamps which happens when they were tightened excessively. The clamp might cut into the hose and weaken it.
Test the screws with a screwdriver or nut driver and find out if they are loose and whether the threads are functioning. You might have to replace the hose clamp tool if it can’t be tightened.
From fuel lines to radiator hoses, the health of the fluid system and hose clamps under the hood is critical. The more aware we are as vehicle owners, the better our vehicles will perform.