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Technical Flaring Tools......Save you some Pain

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Fender1325, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. Fender1325
    Joined: Aug 31, 2014
    Posts: 730


    Guys I've recently needed to make some lines with double flares. Went through all kinds of trouble and figured Id share it here to maybe help somebody else out.

    I started with essentially this one from NAPA: Not identical but very close.

    That worked for the NiCopp (nickel copper) line which is soft, 3/16 I had. From there I needed a 5/16 fuel line and its regular steel. Well that would not stay clamped, and it ate up the teeth in a hurry.

    I returned to NAPA and upgraded to this:

    The Yolk or C clamp, whatever you want to call it would sit cockeyed......messing up the flare. The 5/16 steel slid through still, and ate up the teeth in the clamp........even though they claim the tool is hardened steel.

    I asked some guys on Garage Journal and we came to the conclusion that the Cal Van 165 inline flare tool is one of the better units without spending 200 bucks on an eastman hydraulic one. Well being that the Napa guy has been cool and helping me I wanted to see if they offered one like it. They do, its identical in every way to the Cal Van, except twice the price. I asked if he'd match it, which he reluctantly did - mainly because Id gone through 2 of the other tools.

    The Cal Van is a different design with a sheath that screws over the die, which locks it in and makes it clamp down straight.

    I thought this was fool proof but sure enough the 5/16 regular steel line chewed up the teeth on the Cal Van too! It just slid through and did nothing.

    I called up my guy at Napa and at this point (this has been over the course of a week), he was over and done with it and advised to ditch the steel line and he'd order some 5/16 NiCopp. Thats all well and good except my tool had chewed up teeth now, rendering it unfunctional.

    So I called Cal Van directly. The lady asked me what color the clamps were. I said silver. She informed me they've been having trouble with those, and they now make them out of hardened steel. She took my address and is sending me all new clamps. I'm excited to see the difference. Also happy because the machining on the previous ones weren't the cleanest (some turned easy some not so much).

    So thats where I stand! On a side note the Napa guy informed me that the NiCopp line is safe for fuel, brakes, trans cooler, etc. So that is souly what I'll use from now on. Not sure why plain old steel is so incredibly difficult and its eating up tools. I guess its because they're all made in China or Taiwann maybe.

    Outside of that the Cal Van tool seems to be a quality tool, superior to the common style and hopefully the hardened clamps will make it up to the task.
  2. luckythirteenagogo
    Joined: Dec 28, 2012
    Posts: 1,265


    Thanks for the info. I hope the new part works out for you. Nothing will piss you off more than spending a week trying to get something done that should've only taken a few hours because the tools keep breaking on you.
  3. Fender1325
    Joined: Aug 31, 2014
    Posts: 730


    You've got that right.
  4. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,928

    from So Cal

    Heads up about copper and oil. Copper is a natural catalyst for oil, it accelerates the oxidation process, add heat and copper together and it really accelerates the oxidation rate of oil. Oxidation is the result of oxygen atoms attacking the base oil, resulting in a chemical change in the hydro-carbon chain, it causes a darkening in color, increase in viscosity and results in the formation of acidic and corrosive compounds. Oxidation is the main reason for "aging" in oil, why it needs to be changed regularly. It's a natural occurrence,m it's going to happen anyway, but copper accelerates the process. My advice is to avoid copper lines for engine oil and trans fluid applications, stick with steel.

    Re clamping of the line to flare it, I'v e had the same issue you described with stainless steel lines (not so much plain zinc coated steel lines) you described, which I handled by clamping the holding tool in a vise rather than just using the wing nuts on the tool.
    bct and 302GMC like this.

  5. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,239


    I can't add anything about the proper tools ( I can make any tool work poorly), but I can say that all steel line is not created equal. I have found some cheap brands to be harder than others and they are harder to flare. And sometimes the galvanizing flakes off more, gumming up the teeth in the clamp also. Stick with the good brands of tubing.
  6. The brake line of choice in Europe is Kunifer - it's a copper / nickel material that behaves very differently from pure copper and is very easy to flare and very corrosion resistant.
  7. hobiehunter
    Joined: Apr 7, 2013
    Posts: 32


    I know its a bit pricey but the vise mounted turret style flare tool from eastwood makes some nice flares even in stainless.
    MengesTwinCustoms and weeniewawa like this.
  8. partssaloon
    Joined: Jan 28, 2009
    Posts: 514


    something you might want to take a look at is Koul Tools P51 on you tube
  9. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,702

    Atwater Mike

    When I had the shop, a local auto parts house had a 'line of brake lines' under the trade name 'KantKink'. It appeared to be steel with a copper magnate? Very easy to double flare, and shaped easily. About 25% more expensive than their normal stocked steel line, but worth it.
  10. weeniewawa
    Joined: Mar 18, 2014
    Posts: 52


    I got the Eastwood tool and it works great. I also ordered some of their brake line at the same time and the tool wouldn't work with their line. I thought it was me or the tool wasn't built right. I went to NAPA and bought a couple of sections of brake line and it worked fine. Turns out the Eastwood line was a couple of thousands smaller and it wouldn't get a good grip on it. The Tool makes it real easy to get good flares and is worth the money
  11. Fender1325
    Joined: Aug 31, 2014
    Posts: 730


    I hear great things about the eastwood one across the board....but its just like anything else. You try to save some dough and do something yourself, then to get a damn tool to do its job you have to pay a premium.

    Right now Im hoping the hardened clamps Cal Van sends will do the trick.
  12. donsz
    Joined: Nov 23, 2010
    Posts: 221


    I used a Kool Tools flaring set to make double flares for my tri-carb set up. I can honestly say I was disappointed when I was done. That was because it was so easy, fast and did such a great job. I didn't want to stop. I highly recommend Kool Tools. I bought my set directly from a distributor and saved a few bucks.
  13. The clamp bars need to be bend resistant.
    Considering 1/2 of the bar is removed in several places along the way the bar needs to stay straight reguardless.
    Hnstray likes this.
  14. 35WINDOW
    Joined: Jul 7, 2005
    Posts: 454


    I decided that I wanted SS Fuel, Brake and Trans Lines on my Car, and I knew that SS is more difficult to flare (Duh!), so I bought one of these:

    And, one of these:

    Obviously, these are high end Tools (but I wanted this to work)-if you take the time to de-burr correctly, these do a fantastic job (even made a rookie like me look like a Pro)-very hard to justify for the occasional user ($$$) but they do an amazing job-
  15. I borrowed a Mastercool set when I did my lines. No instructions, so I practiced on some old lines. A little trial and error of how much line to have exposed for the first flare. I did touch up the anvils on the lathe, gave the tool back in better shape than I got it.
  16. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,194

    from Central IL

    Those cheap ones will work, if clamped in a vice or with a set of vice grips to keep them from slipping the tubing. After using NiCopp line I'll never switch back to steel brake lines again.
    thirtytwo likes this.
  17. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,641


    I have had pretty good success with this method and a harbor frieght flaring tool for years ... Not the best tool... But it gets me by
  18. Nostrebor
    Joined: Jun 25, 2014
    Posts: 1,204


    I'll throw in another prop for the Eastwood kit. Steel and nicop lines are effortless to get perfect repeatable flares, even for a hack like me.
  19. claybob
    Joined: Dec 12, 2010
    Posts: 13

    from Seattle

    I've used all kinds as well - the overly expensive snap on, some high end german brand - all crap. Eastwood only seems expensive 'till you use it and can easily duplicate your work - wouldn't trade that tool for anything (almost)
  20. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,633

    from Chino, Ca

    I avoid any flaring tool with wing nuts.
    bobss396 likes this.
  21. blazedogs
    Joined: Sep 22, 2014
    Posts: 478


    Flaring Brake line

    I hate to admit failure,but I failed at properly double flaring my brake line on my Model A. I practiced with old tubing for some time,bought 3 different flaring tools-not quality,went to several friends shops and had them show me how to do it properly and still I never mastered it. I could tell even before I installed the lines that they we not flared over properly..I ended up buying already made up lines from Napa and spliced them together with a collar.

    For those of you that had problems too don't feel alone... Gene
  22. butch27
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 2,848


    We had that "kant-kink" here in Michigan. Don't see it anymore
  23. Just The cheap ones!
    My imperial Eastman 93-FB that I got from my dad and very well used.
    Flawless 99.99% of the time, Upside down under a car too. No vice needed :)
    The one and only time it screwed up was when my buddy broke the wing nut.
    I hit the bars with a center punch just to see how hard it is- mark is on the longer bar over the busted wing nut stud. It's a tiny mark because the thing is HARD.
    Not sure if the quality is the same as old but you can buy them new.
    Torkwrench likes this.
  24. MengesTwinCustoms
    Joined: Oct 16, 2009
    Posts: 279


    The Eastwood vice mount flaring tool was a fantastic purchase for me
  25. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,022


    Another vote for the Eastwood 25304 vise mounted flaring tool. it does do a nice job.
    I've had a SnapOn flaring tool in my tool box for over 40 years and have done who knows how many flares with it over the years It still does a good job but there is a night and day difference in the two tools.
    I have found over the years that you need a good quality tube cutter with a sharp cutting wheel and it really helps to have a good deburring tool.
  26. Exactly, too bush-league for my liking. I buy better tools even if I only use them once in a while.
    jcmarz likes this.
  27. Torkwrench
    Joined: Jan 28, 2005
    Posts: 2,527


    Found my flaring tool on Ebay. It's a vintage Imperial. Has to be at least pre 1965, because the company's Chicago address, (on the metal storage case), has a Zone number instead of a Zip Code. It was basically brand new with little if any use. Cost less than most new ones and is "Made In The USA". :D
    bobss396 and 31Vicky with a hemi like this.
  28. Rigid makes a good double flair tool. They are not cheap (about 80 dollars last I checked) but you will use it the rest of your life if you ever get one.
  29. stimpy
    Joined: Apr 16, 2006
    Posts: 3,547


    had the bar types and you have to read and follow the instructions and have a strong stable mounted vice to make the work right ( half the time the vice helps clamp the die together , and you have to clean the serrations in the holder as the zinc clogs it up , but when I started doing stainless and other projects on the vehicle the mastercool tool is the one I went to and never looked back . but being it was a shop I could see the cost of it . otherwise the usage vs cost is not in lots of people range . also I have loaned it out to my buddy who does HVAC to use on several of his jobs .

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