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Technical Flaring tool for brake and fuel lines.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by evintho, Dec 2, 2016.

  1. evintho
    Joined: May 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,246


    I'm about ready to fab both brake and fuel lines and I need a decent flaring tool. I'd luv to have the Eastwood piece but I'm sure I could put the $200 to better use! How many times will I actually use it?! I've heard good reviews about this Cal-Van master set and at 1/4 the price of the Eastwood kit, I'm liking it! Plus, it's compact enough you can actually use it on the vehicle if need be. Any of you guys ever used the Cal-Van? Reviews, opinions or comments are appreciated!

  2. I have a Ridgid brand one I think I paid like $50 for it. I've done lots of brake and fuel lines with it, seems to be decent
  3. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 1,459

    from New York

    I have had an Imperial Eastman flaring tool for many years and I have never had a problem with it. They make quality tube benders also. $200 may sound like a lot of money but your brakes are the most important thing on your car. If you do spend the money, look at it as an investment. I have used my tool on six complete brake systems and fuel lines and have even lent it out, so I consider it money well spent.
    The37Kid likes this.
  4. Canuck
    Joined: Jan 4, 2002
    Posts: 1,013


    Use a Imperial double flaring kit. A quality tool at a reasonable price for someone only doing occasional jobs. Cost $ 63 here in Canada.
    Only bad flares I have had are when I got sloppy.

    Revived 265, brad2v and wraymen like this.
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  5. deucemac
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,006


    Woodiewagon46 and Canuck are right on. I have an Imperial Eastman set sold through Snap On as Blue Point. I purchased it in 1973 and it has performed flawlessly since. I doesn't make bad flares, only a inexperienced or careless operator does. Take your time and follow the instructions and they perform as well as the fancy high zoot ones do!
    old crank likes this.
  6. nunattax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2011
    Posts: 1,939


  7. evintho
    Joined: May 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,246


    old crank likes this.
  8. Jack E/NJ
    Joined: Mar 5, 2011
    Posts: 558

    Jack E/NJ
    from NJ

    The KDtools (GearWrench) kit is essentially the same as the Imperial. Excellent double and bubble flaring tool. I think the slotted yoke makes all the difference. I also have a homemade hydraulic tool made from a 4-ton bottle jack that works pretty well but not too portable. Jack E/NJ

  9. While I can't speak to this flaring kit specifically, I do know that Cal-Van has always been known as a 'budget' tool company. So basically, they're a bit better than Harbor Freight, but not as good as 'pro' tools; it's a 'hobbyist' level tool. I had a older Cal-Van flaring kit years ago, it was replaced with an Eastman... although a few pieces of it may still be floating around in my 'miscellaneous' tool drawer.
  10. czuch
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 2,756

    from vail az

    Your car dosent have to go.
    It does have to stop.
    deucemac and Truck64 like this.
  11. mcmopar
    Joined: Nov 12, 2012
    Posts: 1,503

    from Strum, wi

    I have used a lot of different brake flaring tool, and I got frustrated using them. I then bought the $200 eastwood tool and love it. Once you use it you will never look back.
    nunattax likes this.
  12. Ive used the fancy hydraulic one and the Rigid. Very pleased with the Rigid, especially for the cost.
  13. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,432


    For many years, I used a KD tools 45º double flaring kit (41860). I did have to periodically replace parts when I wore them out, or broke them (full-on pro shop use).

    Due to arthritis in my hands, and nerve damage from doing stupid things, it became hard for me to use it, so I passed along the good parts of it to my machinist. Still going strong.

    I own and use a Mastercool hydraulic unit now. It is easy on me, given how many flares I do.

    Get a KD. It is under $50. Just follow the instructions, use a little lube, and DON'T forget to put the tube nut on!
    czuch, Revived 265 and deucemac like this.
  14. 47streamliner
    Joined: Feb 24, 2014
    Posts: 157

    from Huntley il

    Agreed KD are good quality . I really agree with don't forget the tube nut ! So very many times I have gotten in the zone of flaring and then DOH !

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    gimpyshotrods likes this.
  15. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,432


    There are two kinds of people who make flares in tubing: Those who have left the tube nut off, and those who lie about having not left the tube nut off.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  16. Barsteel
    Joined: Oct 15, 2008
    Posts: 725

    from Monroe, CT

    About 5 years ago, I sprung for the Eastwood flaring tool kit. Some of the best money ever spent. I can make consistently flawless flares, and what used to be a huge PIA is now simple and fast. I've never tried it, but it's supposed to be able to flare stainless steel as well.

    nunattax likes this.
  17. cshades
    Joined: Sep 2, 2011
    Posts: 444

    from wi

    All three flaring tools have their advantages. The old style one that everyone has in their box is cheap($50-75) and fairly easy to use but not very fast, you can also use it under the car with the line in place. The hydraulic one works very nice, does some different flares that cant really be done with the other tools but is pricey, is a little awkward to use, you can also use this one under the car and costs a quite a few bucks($350-500). The other one costs a few bucks($200), is pretty simple and easy to use and is very fast once you get used to it. I own a couple of each and if I had to pick only one to keep and use it would be the $200 one. I can do the flares on a whole car in about the same time it takes to do a few with either of the other 2 but you cant use it under the car. It all comes down to what you want to do and how fast you want to do it. My time saved is worth more to me than the $200 the tool costs. If any of you guys have tried one of these you know what I am talking about.
  18. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,476

    Engine man
    from Wisconsin

    I have the Cal Van tool and it works very well though not as fast as the Mastercool hydraulic units. It comes in very handy in tight spaces and costs much less . It is an in line unit so the alignment stays perfect. Keep it lubricated to make it easier to tighten. You can use a wrench to hold the body and a ratchet to turn screw. Check it when you get it. The first one I got, the screw didn't center properly as it was threaded crooked. The die is inside the tube so it still worked but I sent them a picture and they sent me a new set.

    I have used the Imperial set and there is nothing to keep the unit aligned properly so you have to watch to make sure it is in the right position and doesn't move. The multiple size bar can slip if not tightened properly . You have to tighten the end closest to the tubing first.
  19. partssaloon
    Joined: Jan 28, 2009
    Posts: 372


    This also helps prevent a lot of frustration

    6-bangertim likes this.
  20. AngleDrive
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 705

    from Florida

  21. I use a borrowed Mastercool hydraulic flaring tool. It belongs to a buddy of mine that has a shop, so I have to use it and get it back to him that night. I did touch up the scored anvils the last time I used it. I see them list for $275.
  22. I used a cheap flaring tool for years but I was never happy with the results. I bought a #345 Rigid tool at Home Depot (plumbing section) and it's much better. The side clamp holds the clamp much straighter and the resulting flares are much better formed.
  23. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 25,958


    I have a Snap-On flairing tool that I have used since the early 70's but bought the Eastwood tool and it makes consistently better flairs than I can do with my well worn Sanp-0n like some of the other guys my hands don't work those smaller tools that require a lot of hand pressure to get the ob done. The Snap-On unit is getting pretty well worn out though. It did a lot of flairs over the years.

    Still I'd say use what works for you that you can justify the cost on.
  24. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 8,994

    Rusty O'Toole

    Some auto parts stores loan tools or rent them cheap. The way to go if you only use something occasionally.

    I have an old KB set like those above, I bought in around 1970. As others have said they are not the fastest or easiest to use but if you are careful they will make flares equal to the best tool. Occasionally I mess one up, then I cut 1/2" off the line and try again.

    So, 1) Borrow one from the parts place 2) buy a cheapy and learn how to use it or 3) spend the money on a good one and never worry again. All these methods work.
  25. Torkwrench
    Joined: Jan 28, 2005
    Posts: 2,425


    I bought my Imperial set, used off of Ebay. It was like new and was made in Chicago ILL, sometime in the 1940's??? Cost about $50 and has a nice metal case.
    czuch likes this.
  26. marfen
    Joined: Aug 14, 2009
    Posts: 372

    from sask

    Get the Eastwood. the old style tools mark up the line and cannot do as good a job as the eastwood.
  27. deucemac
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,006


    You forgot the third kind. The one that puts the nut on backwards! Not that I would know anything about that.
    bobss396 and czuch like this.
  28. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,432


    That's NEVER happened to ANYONE!
  29. HUSSEY
    Joined: Feb 16, 2010
    Posts: 628


    I was just on Eastwood's site, says free shipping for order over $50, their flaring tool is $189, then after a bit I got a pop-up for 10% off for signing up for their mailing that get you down to $170 at your door. Sounds like a lot of money but it is a sweet tool, look at the ratings of it on Eastwood site.

    I did buy one, which I'm still surprised I did given it's price. I have an flare tool like the Imperial I bought off a Snap-On tool truck and it just doesn't compare to the Eastwood tool. The double flares and bubble flares off the Eastwood tool come out regrets buying it.
  30. vintage6t
    Joined: Jul 30, 2007
    Posts: 318

    from CT

    I've used the calvan to do a complete brake system top to bottom. It works well and makes very consistent flairs. Nice tool for the price. If I remember correctly I bought it off of Amazon.

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