Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Best hose clamp pliers

Who makes the best hose clamp pliers?

Since the introduction of the constant tension spring band clamps, tool manufacturers have come up with a variety of hose clamp pliers tools to remove and reinstall the clamps. It’s tricky to remove the new style clamps because they’re often tucked away in areas where you don’t have good access.

Most DIYs try to remove spring clamps with a knipex hose clamp pliersslip-joint pliers, but just about the time they’ve squeezed the clamp tight enough to move it, the pliers slips off and you have to start all over again. So let’s take a look at what types of tools are out there and why I think the Knipex Pliers for Spring Band Clamps is the best tool on the market. But first  a primer on why the industry moved from set-tension style clamps to constant tension spring band clamps.

Why car makers use constant tension spring band clamps

Car makers used to use screw type hose clamps for radiator and heater hoses. They worked fine when connecting a rubber hose to a metal heater core nipple or radiator inlet or outlet. The old style clamps were set to a recommended torque or clamping force and as the metal nipple expanded or contracted, the rubber hose would take either compress or relax.

Then car makers switched to plastic radiator tanks and plastic heater fittings and that’s where the set-tension hose clamps met their demise. In those designs, expansion and contraction forces caused the plastic nipple to crack and self-destruct, causing coolant leaks.

hose clamps

The answer was a clamp that exerted constant tension while still allowing for expansion and contraction. The spring band clamp is now the standard hose clamp for all car makers. If you remove a spring band clamp and it is damaged or lost, you must replace it with the same type of clamp. Never use a screw type or worm drive clamp. Doing so can damage the radiator inlet/outlet or heater fitting.

constant tension spring clamps

The traditional spring clamp pliers

The pliers you see below were developed to remove and reinstall constant tension spring band clamps. They all contain these three features: a jaw that hooks into the notched end of the spring clamp, a jaw that fits over the solid end of the spring clamp and a locking device to keep the clamp compressed while you slide it on or off the hose.

fixed joint hose clamp pliers

These hose clamps work. But they lack one important feature: a moveable joint. Because of their fixed joint, the jaws opening widths are limited. That’s where the Knipex Pliers for Spring Band Clamps comes in.

See this video to learn how to use a cable operated hose clamp pliers

The Knipex Pliers for Spring Band Clamps is like a slip-joint pliers, so you can expand and contract the jaw opening size. The jaws contain rotating capture devices to grab onto both ends of the spring band clamp.

As you can see in the images below, the Knipex Pliers for spring band clamps allows you to open and close the jaw opening size, attack the clamp from straight on or from the side. It offers the most versatility of any hose clamp pliers on the market in my opinion.

See this Knipex video to see how it works

knipex hose clamp pliers

If you plan to replace a radiator, heater hoses, heat core, water pump or even turbo or A.I.R pump hoses, this is the tool you need to do the job easily.

Knipex hose clamp pliers models

rotatable, universal grip inserts for securely gripping the clamps in all positions
Jaw inserts can also be rotated under load
extremely good leverage which allows clamps to be opened easily without great effort
slim head design; narrow head width, rotatable grip inserts: an ideal tool, especially in confined areas
additional function: detach hoses gently using the serrated jaw
Chrome vanadium electric steel, forged, oil-hardened

Model 85 51 180 A :
Can be used for standard, space-saving and wire clamps, as well as for spring band clamps with a nominal size of up to 50 mm
Allows more than 30 mm clamping range

Model 85 51 250 A :
Quick-set adjustment: adjusts by shifting directly onto the work piece
Can be used for standard, space-saving, spring wire hose clamps and for spring band clamps up to 70 mm nominal size
Maximum jaw opening 80 mm; over 40 mm clamping range

Model 85 51 250 AF :
The locking device enables simple and secure work on clamps under tension without effort
One-hand release
Can be used for standard, space-saving, spring wire hose clamps and for spring band clamps up to 70 mm nominal size
Maximum jaw opening 80 mm; over 40 mm clamping range

©, 2019 Rick Muscoplat

Images courtesy of Knipex

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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