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Technical PUT A CLAMP ON IT!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Bandit Billy, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,655

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Street Rodder magazine has a section in the back "for those that drive em" this is more "for those that give a sh!t". If that is not you, turn the page and read the advertisements.:cool:

    GM restorers all know that the well detailed engine bay includes the usage of GM Tower Hose Clamps. Mechanics however all know the reproductions are cheap and will likely fail if not the first time you install them, soon after you remove and re-install one a time or two. This isn't a restoration site and this isn't a restoration tale - it is a tip for those of you who, like me, appreciate a retro engine bay with back in the day finishing touches.

    Backstory: A buddy and I took a 69 Camaro Pace Car across the block at BJ a few years ago that had a fresh engine build and she (the car, not my buddy) "burped" leaving the block, popping off the upper radiator hose that was secured with tower clamps resulting in the engine bay being showered with warm antifreeze exactly 30 seconds after the someone else paid well over a hundred grand for the car. A few seconds earlier and I would have been the one who soiled myself at the cost of a lot of money and equal amounts of embarrassment. That day I had an idea to build a clamp that appeared to be a tower clamp but with the safety and surety of a worm gear clamp.

    Fast forward to today. The '62 Nova that I am building (on a separate thread) to sell at the swap meet in Portland next weekend, leaked a bit of antifreeze after a short run through my subdivision last night. The culprits once again were the tower clamps that do not tighten far enough to hold the small diameter radiator hose on the top of the 6 cylinder engine. It harkened memories of BJ and I knew I had to fix it properly. My choices were slim, worm gear clamps were the only option...but that didn't mean they had to look out of place.

    Here is the fix I put on it this morning before work. Start to finish, one hour with nothing more than a screw driver (the tool, not the drink), needle nose pliers, band saw or cut off wheel and a vice (again... not talking about drinking).

    I had a few extra heater hose tower clamps to experiment on, the tower is the same on all of these clamps as is the width of the clamp band. So I stuck one in the vice.
    upload_2017-3-29_11-36-39.png
    Using a flat blade screw driver I pried up the 4 flanges that secure and hold the tower clamp together, then I cut the clamp with a band saw to free the part I wanted. Only one cut is needed.
    upload_2017-3-29_11-38-35.png
    This is what I was after; the tower, screw, cage nut and the arched, flanged based plate.
    upload_2017-3-29_11-39-37.png
    This isn't rocket science but it is creative (probably why NASA didn't do panel paint jobs on the Apollo rockets in the 60's). Take your worm gear clamp, the parts above and reverse the procedure.
    upload_2017-3-29_11-41-3.png
    Bend the tabs back down with a pair of needle nose pliers. Note: this "tower clamp" section is floating on the radiator clamp so you can position it later at installation where you want it (prior to tightening the worm gear clamp) so don't spend a lot of time trying to make it perfect right now.
    upload_2017-3-29_11-43-4.png
    And a shot of the business end of the clamp.
    upload_2017-3-29_11-43-52.png
    Finally, the clamp installed. Barely visible at the bottom is the worm gear and the extra band after I trimmed off a bit of the extra material with a pair of metal shears. Also note that I installed the clamp with the worm gear inward toward the fan so it is hidden, giving the appearance of a GM tower clamp. I tightened the now inoperable tower clamp bolt to a level that looks like it is doing it's job holding the hose and added a bit of thread locker to make sure it doesn't back off and get lost. I'd like to be there when someone tries to remove them using the tower bolt! :D
    upload_2017-3-29_11-44-27.png
    Like I said, it ain't rocket science and it isn't a "tech week", life changing, "why didn't I think of that" kind of thing but if you dabble with GM cars, appreciate a vintage engine bay, like the look of tower clamps but fear the possibility of their failure or you have an application where the tower clamps just don't fit your application like in the case of my Nova, then here's how to fix your issues and hold your water.

    HAMB on! Bandit Billy 10-10 on the side! :cool:
     
  2. 45_70Sharps
    Joined: May 19, 2010
    Posts: 331

    45_70Sharps
    Member

    Very cool fix.
    I haven't ever done a build that was supposed to look correct, but I'm going to try to remember this little trick anyway for "someday"

    Sent from my SM-G920V using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
    Bandit Billy likes this.
  3. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 14,845

    DDDenny
    Member
    from oregon

    Very ingenious my boy but that will never fly at the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America convention.
     
    INVISIBLEKID and iwanaflattie like this.
  4. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 26,639

    Jalopy Joker
    Member


  5. ...probly works better, but still not "right".
     
    Bandit Billy likes this.
  6. Ralphies54
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 749

    Ralphies54
    Member

    Your right, tower clamp repros are junk, I wish you had posted last week when the 64 vette engine compartment resto I was doing for a customer had failure to seal rad hoses and in frustration I ended up putting worm clamps on. Of course the cars back in his garage now!!
     
    Bandit Billy likes this.
  7. Very cool idea indeed. You sure are gutsy, if I went in the my shop before work in the morning I'm not sure I would make it to work.:D
     
  8. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,900

    BJR
    Member

    Right up there with fake valve covers.
     
    upspirate likes this.
  9. dan r brooks
    Joined: Sep 15, 2007
    Posts: 29

    dan r brooks
    Member

    Why not use the gates heat shrink style hose clamps and then the tower style clamp just for show and not worry about over tightening them ,we use the heat shrink style on race cars and show cars and have never had one fail
     
    Carl La Fong and KoolKat-57 like this.
  10. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,655

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Funny, that is exactly what a couple buddies said last night when I sent them a text pic of the clamp, I used to being not right. :cool:

    Dang, there's another one off my bucket list. :D

    The tower clamps are cool but the reproductions are horrible. I have a few originals that I have pulled off a few cars over the years that I'm saving for a special build. More frustrating than having them leak is trying to tighten them down and have the bolt break off, then you get to use the cut off wheel in the engine bay and it is never the one on top of the radiator where it is easy to get to! o_O

    I can lose all track of time out there too. Funny thing was I was in my office attire and never even took off my sport coat while I built those clamps. :)

    Rats, tonight I was going to put a hemi valve cover on the 194. Now I'll have to find something else to occupy my time ;)

    For a couple of great reasons. First, I didn't think of that. Second, this stuff was lying around the garage and didn't cost anything. But that is a good idea, I'll keep it in mind! :D

    It isn't always about "correct" as in restoration, I don't do restorations. What I do is the "day two" look, a car that isn't showroom any longer, but has the look of a car that has been "played with" a bit. Good example is the engine below, the car is OT by a few years but the motor isn't. It sports aluminum covers with boat breathers milled into them for a one off look, an air cleaner that is heavily milled and customized, air gap intake and aluminum heads that I de-edelbrocked but it wears factory fuel and vacuum lines, Delco battery, spring clamp cables, GM hoses and yes, tower hose clamps. This is my idea of "correct".
    upload_2017-3-30_11-32-20.png
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,982

    Beanscoot
    Member

    It's disheartening to read of yet another piece of hardware that is now a piece of crap. Considering that these tower clamps are presumably just made for the restoration market, they should be made at least as good as the originals. But that might increase the cost of production an extra 3 cents.

    It seems that every batch of bolts and small fittings we get at work are noticeably crappier than the last shipment...
     
  12. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,655

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I would gladly pay the extra .03 up charge! I'd save that in antifreeze.
     
  13. ...in the end, another reason not to restore stuff,..build hot rods
     
  14. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,655

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Rusty, an excellent segue. I'll post an update of that project next.
     
  15. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,655

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Updated and posted, look for "Crossmember help"
     
  16. I maintain a fleet of show cars and my fix for leaking factory clamps is use a piece of stainless wire as a clamp. Just make one wrap around the hose and twist the wire ends together until it's clamping. Cut off excess twists then install factory hose clamp covering the wire. It's passed Concours judging on several cars.
     
  17. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,867

    BamaMav
    Member
    from Berry, AL

    Those clamps are always the first thing I tossed when I changed a hose that had them on it. They were designed for speed on the assembly line, not for reuse when you had to change a busted hose later on.
    I'm not a restorer either, so I'll keep using my worm gear clamps.
    Oh, and the suggestion of the heat seal clamps, ever have to take one of those damn things off without destroying a hose? My semi has them damn things on it, had to replace a upper coolant tube recently, like to have never got the damn heat seal clamp off without cutting the hose. Another speedy idea for the assembly line that does nothing but cause problems for the mechanic later on....
     
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  18. I can't imagine any kind of race car that you wouldn't want to be able to take apart at a moment's notice.
    Those things are new to me. Kinda reminds me of using tie wraps on rioters, rather than metal hand cuffs.
     
    Bandit Billy likes this.
  19. 57tailgater
    Joined: Nov 22, 2008
    Posts: 711

    57tailgater
    Member
    from Georgia

    I use to work for a big truck OEM and the shrink bands were an option. Mostly ordered by customers to help with cold leaks and they are supposed to compensate and keep tension on the joint. We used the ones that were kept frozen and then shrank at room temperature. They didn't resolve the situation 100%. A lot had to do with hose position relative to the hose connection and clamp location. All need to be put where intended. Another thing to consider is "hose creep". This is where the hose will actually kind of squish out from the clamp pressure. Therefore things should be checked and re-tightened/torqued after some time. I would also check for any casting part line(s) or seams on the hard connections that could allow a leak path.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  20. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,900

    BJR
    Member

    20 posts on hose clamps, how sad is this.
     
  21. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 14,845

    DDDenny
    Member
    from oregon

    Bandit Billy and Alaska Jim like this.
  22. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,248

    Hackerbilt
    Member

    This is just a simple homespun idea to improve a marginal, currently available part so you can keep the correct look but still drive the car reliably.
    I'd put it more in line with using modern guts in an old car radio.
    You get the proper original look but better performance. ;)
     
    Bandit Billy likes this.
  23. Thank you for showing this tip and saving us from a similar engine meltdown.
     
    Bandit Billy likes this.
  24. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,270

    slowmotion
    Member

    I never met one of those tower clamps I liked. Pitched every one I ever came across in a repair/install and replaced it with a proper stainless worm clamp. Good tips though, for those who do use them. I especially like LowKat's idea for when one of those POS's must be used.
     
    Bandit Billy likes this.

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