Wrench Tips #28:
Quality German Hose Clamps for CHEAP
by Dave Coleman
I've been struggling lately to find a source of high quality hose clamps while plumbing the three fuel hoses, six radiator hoses and two oil cooler hoses in Project Miatabusa. I just found the jackpot in the junkyard.
'80s vintage Mercedes (and probably other decades too) have complex cooling systems with lots of hoses in a variety of sizes. Each uses these really nice German clamps.
This set of brand new looking clamps are all 25 year old junk restored with a few minutes of cleaning. The cleanup is simple: Boil a few cups of water in a plastic container, pour in a brew of Purple Power degreaser and Simple Green, dump in the clamps, and stir with an old toothbrush.
Hot degreaser is dramatically more powerful than cold degreaser. At most, the nastiest spots on the clamps need just a swipe with the toothbrush to loosen the grime. About half the clamps were siezed after the degreasing, but a squirt of WD-40 in the screw threads brought them all back to life.
Each of the clamps is marked with the size range, making it easy to find the right clamps for your application. Also, notice how the edges of the clamp are rolled up, away from the hose, to keep the clamp from cutting into the hose.
The clamps threads are stamped rather than cut into the band, again, no more cutting into the hose.
The best feature of the Mercedes clamps is that the head is ready for a phillips screwdriver, a straight screwdriver, or a 7mm wrench. I always have at least one of those in my hand! Volvo and BMW clamps share most of the features of the Mercedes clampst, but they don't have the phillips and hex drive options, they're just for straight screwdrivers. Lame.
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