Flaring tool problems
I bought two different flaring tools in the last month and had problems with both. The first tool was the Ridgid 377
I already own one that is at least 8 years old. I bought this one for the installers. I tried to flare 5/8" tubing but the block would not hold the tube securely. Since we were an hour from the shop I didn't want to drive to get the older one. I finally had to wrap emery cloth around the tube in the block so it would not slide. Ridgid wanted me to send it in so they could check it, but rather I returned it to the supply house instead.
I then bought a YJ 60278. When it arrived I made a couple flares at the shop before giving it to the installers. They looked fine. Yesterday the installers were putting together a 3/8" coupling for a ductless lineset and the joint would not hold pressure. They were using Nylog on the flare and threads. They cut and flared the tubing 3 times without success. Then they got a new 3/8" coupling and new refrigeration flare nuts. Same problem. Monday we'll braze the joint.
I buy high quality tools to avoid problems such as these.
Has anyone else had problems with these tools?
I use the YJ 60278 for flares on VRV and minisplit systems that get pressure tested at 550 psig, and it works fantastically well.
2 key things critical to making a good flare with it, or any of the newer style eccentric or lobed cone flare tools.
1) Deburr the copper.
2) Don't crank down hard on the tool when it bottoms out making the flare. When you feel the tool want to stop turning, some will actually click, stop trying to turn it, and back it off.
If you don't deburr, the burr can/will interfere with making a proper flare, either by breaking off and getting burnished into the wall of the flare, or by making the outer edge of the flare to thin.
If you continue cranking down on the tool after it is finished flaring the tubing out, the lobes of the flaring cone mashing against the copper will leave an impression in the wall of the flare that will cause a leak.
I don't currently own either of those tools, but I believe that the Ridgid 377 is a 37-degree flare used on things like brake lines, so is that the right one? I think their 458 is the 45-degree for reefer lines.
I do have the YJ 60295 though and have been using it for a couple of years. It seems to work well with no issues… yet. It looks almost identical to the Ridgid 458.
Anybody tried the hilmor flaring/swaging tool or is it even available yet?
Ive used four different flaring tools including the ridged pictured in the OP. I bought a Ridgid no. 458 and you would have a tough time convincing me there is a better flare tool. I've used it on the last 8 mini splits and have had zero leaks out of 50+ flare joints.
Here's my process on prepping and performing the flare.
Have a good tubing cutter. Clean the copper, I do for every joint whether it's braze or flare unless the copper is brand new and then I don't on flares. I don't have leaks, so I'm sticking with the plan.
Your tubing cutter will leave an edge, I've flared some 1/4" lines without removing this without problem but if you can might as well clean it up. Just make sure it's a uniform edge with no hooks or burrs as mark said.
Place copper into the flare tool, the exact length... I don't know but be aware and learn the "sweet spot" area for the flare.
Use both hands to make it clamp at first, then move the flare section close to the copper and tighten the side handle until the gap closes and the handle stops.
Now this part is IMPORTANT, this works for me every time, loosen the side handle and slowly drop the cone into the copper, by leaving it loose the cone will properly seat itself and line up, drop until snug without pushing the copper out.
Now tighten the side handle back down. This is where I like this tool a lot for the reasons mark mentioned. As the tool tightens the handle gets pushed up along with a pin, once the flare is done it pops loose and you can't over tighten, now just move it in reverse and the pin catches again to pull the cone up.
Continued in next post for picture limit.
Now look at your flare. It should not be too bunched on the outside edge from too much copper nor too small. I like it a little shy from the edge, could've gotten a hair more on this one but this flare will seat properly and be leak free.
Doesn't hurt to check smoothness of the wall.
Make sure you lubricate the back of the flare, the mating surface and the threads. Do not over tighten and mess up/split your flare, when in doubt get a really good hand tight, use your strong hand, then turn with a wrench with back up, 1/2 turn on the smaller stuff and 1/2-3/4 on the the bigger stuff, that's it don't man handle the thing it's not gas pipe.
What, no flare gauge?
H*ll no, it's wild west style out here!!!
Originally Posted by mark beiser
Honestly, I've never even seen one, gah!
Our guys use the factory flare on the line set and just cut & braze a foot up from the flare.
Why are they cutting and brazing a foot from the flare? I'm not sure I understand the process that results in that step being used.
Originally Posted by danielworkerbee
You forgot to put your flare nut on first.
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To shorten the line set if I'm understanding properly.
Originally Posted by mason
Yes don't forgot that : ). It is a real bummer when you do that and have to start all over!
Originally Posted by BALloyd