HANDY ASSEMBLY TOOL
While I'm on the subject, here's a very cool specialty tool that eases the pain of hose assembly. I just came across this tool recently, and I like it. It's called the Koul Tool (aptly named). While you don't absolutely need this tool, if you want to save your fingertips from needle punctures from frayed stainless-steel wire, I'd highly recommend it. The tool is essentially a guide that allows you to feed the hose onto the hose end's collar, while encapsulating the sharp tips of the wire braid. The tool is offered in kit form, to cover all popular hose sizes. Kit P/N 468 covers sizes -4, -6 and -8; while Kit P/N 1016 covers hose sizes -10, -12 and -16. Here's how it works: Choose the correct-size tool for the hose end to be installed. The tool is made of two pieces that clam-shell together. Place the hose end collar in one side of the tool, enclose it with the mating side, secure the tool in a vise, lube the funnel entrance and install the hose using a twisting motion. The tool's funnel entrance guides the hose neatly into the collar with no muss or fuss. In fact, while the hose end cap is still in the clamshell, with the hose inserted, you can leave the tool in the vise and install the remainder of the hose end, threading it into the collar while the collar is held stationary. The kits include several adapters, since the various hose end and fitting makers often produce their own unique lengths. The kit instructions advise you regarding the need for adapter spacers. For instance, the kit's #1 adapter is required for Aeroquip -16, while -16 Fragola, Goodridge, Earls and XRP hose ends require the kit's #2 adapter. The hose end must fit inside the tool tightly, with no end-play. The adapters simply serve as spacers to prevent the hose end from walking inside the tool.
With one half of the clamshell removed, you can see the hose installed into the collar. This is a very "slick" (pun intended) way to install a braided hose into a collar. Note: because some maker's hose end collars vary in length, the Koul Tool kits include plastic spacers and instructions regarding the need for a spacer (and spacer size), depending on the specific brand of hose end being assembled. If a spacer is needed, it is positioned between the collar's threaded port (the hex side) and the inside of the tool. If a certain hose-end maker's collar is on the short side, as it is pushed back into the tool during hose insertion, the hose entry port might move back behind the funnel port, possibly allowing the hose braid to expand. The object is to place the hose end collar's hose port directly at the base of the tool's funnel. This isn't difficult. The tool instructions clearly tell you when a spacer is needed, so there's no need for you to figure anything out. Here we used an Aeroquip -10 hose end collar, where no spacer was required.
As long as the hose and collar are in the tool, you can take advantage of this and insert the hose end socket/nipple. Here, we removed the hose and tool from the vise and flipped it 180 degrees to expose the collar's threaded port. Remember to lube the nipple and threads.
Even for seasoned racers who have assembled countless numbers of -AN hose ends, this little tool is, well, way cool. It's like using a good shoehorn. It definitely saves your fingers.
PROTECT THE HOSE ENDS AND FITTINGS
Whenever you're dealing with aluminum hose ends and fittings, be aware of two precautions: aluminum is softer than steel, so your steel tools can gouge or burr these items. Also, if you're concerned about appearance (street rod, custom application, etc.), you certainly don't want to burnish off the attractive anodized finish. Instead of taping a wrench or trying to jam a piece of cloth between the fitting and a wrench, make the investment and buy a selection of aluminum -AN wrenches. The aluminum wrenches, unless they're dirty and gritty, won't damage your pretty hose ends or fittings. Also, be aware that an anodized component's finish can be damaged by aggressive solvents. You can damage the coloration by using some brake cleaner solvents or thinners. However, some anodized items feature a protective clear anodizing treatment over the color-dyed treatment that helps to protect the appearance. Regardless, don't take chances. Use only a mild cleaner, and never use any cleaner that contains abrasives (such as buffing compound).
If you care about preserving the appearance of your aluminum hose ends and fittings, invest in a set (or two) of aluminum AN wrenches. The set shown here is from Gearhead Tools, but this type of wrench is readily available from most of the hose/hose end makers. Believe me, you need these tools!
AN wrenches are clearly marked for the intended AN size, plus they're usually color-coded per size to make it easy to identify them. Notice the small radiused cutouts at the corners on this wrench, which prevents corner-edge contact. If a bit of dirt has accumulated in the corners, these cutouts help keep grit away from the hose end.
Although aluminum AN wrenches are designed for this dedicated task, bear in mind that not all hose end and fitting hex dimensions are created equal, as some hose end and fitting manufacturers' hex dimensions may differ. However, these wrenches will fit the vast majority of applications as intended. The fit of this -12 wrench on this XRP -12 hose end is perfect.
Stainless braided hose and AN hardware provides worry-free hose life (don't need to worry about a hose leaking due to a rub-through) and reliable connections, since the 37-degree AN seating creates a surefire fluid seal.
Considering the many possible combinations of hose end and fitting angle shapes available, it's easy to obtain exactly the routing that best suits your needs and visual tastes. SLIP-ON BARBED NIPPLE AN If you opt to use AN hose ends with barbed nipples and the proper reinforced hose designed for these hose ends, in theory the task is easy. Simply insert the barbed nipple tube into the hose until the end of the hose seats into the shallow stop-collar. However, this is anything but easy, due to the tight interference fit of the nipple in the hose. Lube the nipple with WD40 or lithium grease, and push the hose onto the nipple. You'll need your strength for this. I've found that it helps to first dip the end of the hose into very hot water (to slightly soften and expand the hose). Once the hose is fully inserted, it's not coming off.
Here the hose is pushed onto the nipple about halfway. Keep working with it until the end of the hose seats fully into the shallow stop-collar. QUICK-DISCONNECTS Quick-connect/disconnect fittings are available that allow you to quickly (with no tools) disconnect or connect fluid hose assemblies with no fluid loss. Jiffy-Tite (probably the most popular of this genre) offers self-sealing connectors suitable for fuel, oil and water applications. The coupler features a spring-loaded valve that shuts off when the coupler is disconnected, and opens when connected. This is perfect for race cars, where engines are serviced or changed on a regular basis, since this quick-connect feature saves time. Simply slide the coupler collar back to release the connection. You can pop the couplers loose and yank an engine without spilling fluids. Even though these couplers are easy to disconnect and reconnect by hand, once coupled, the connection is secure with no worries about accidental disconnection or leakage. These self-sealing fittings are available in a variety of thread styles including AN, NPT pipe thread, reusable hose ends and barb type hose ends. Every imaginable configuration is also available (male/male, male/female, female/female, etc.).
Special quick-connect carburetor adapters are available (installed at the carb bowl as seen here) that accept the quick-connect hose end. This allows you to pull the spring-loaded coupler back, and disconnect the fuel line from the carb with no fuel loss, since the hose end seals itself when uncoupled. Photo courtesy Jiffy-Tite
This dry sump oil system connects to its remote oil reservoir using a Jiffy-Tite quick-connect hose end coupler. This particular engine is on a display stand, but in a race car, this allows you to quickly disconnect the oil hoses without spilling oil. As soon as the coupler is disconnected, a spring-loaded valve shuts and seals.
Pictured here is a 90-degree quick-connect hose end. Photo courtesy Jiffy-Tite
-AN plumbing can also be handled using hard-line tubing. -AN flare-seat connections are made using tube sleeves and tube nuts. We don't have room in this article to address tubing in detail, so we'll try to present a separate article in tubing in a future issue.
This custom Chevy smallblock, intended for a street rod build, is adorned with hard-line fuel plumbing. I had a specific theme in mind when I built this engine, and decided that hard lines would look nifty. I sent all of the aluminum tube nuts, tube sleeves and AN adapters to a custom anodizing shop where they were stripped of their original blue color and re-anodized in a dark violet color to contrast with the lavender metallic engine color. We hand-polished the 3/8" aluminum tubing.
This hard-tube plumbing setup on a Honda engine shows what can be done with a simple hand-held tubing bender and a little bit of patience. Sources Dial 1-800-652-0406 and then the Quik-Link number after a company to reach them directly! www.precisionenginemag.com
-AN PLUMBING HOSE, HARDWARE & TOOL MANUFACTURERS
A-1 PERFORMANCE PLUMBING (reinforced hose, hose ends, fittings) 1927-2 Stout Dr. Warminster, PA 18974 Quik-Link #11074
AEROQUIP PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS-EATON (reinforced hose, hose ends, fittings, adapters) 14615 Lone Oak Rd. Eden Prairie, MN 55344 Quik-Link #11075
BMRS (reinforced hose, hose ends, fittings, adapters) Concord, NC Quik-Link #11076 BRAKEQUIP (braided brake hose assemblies) 1470 Amherst Rd. Knoxville, TN 37909 Quik-Link #11077
EARLS PERFORMANCE PLUMBING (div. Holley) (reinforced hose, hose ends, fittings, adapters, coolers) Holley Performance Products P.O. Box 10360 Bowling Green, KY 42102 Quik-Link #11078
EARLS INDY 302 Gasoline Alley Indianapolis, IN 46222-3967 Quik-Link #11079
FRAGOLA PERFORMANCE SYSTEMS (reinforced hose, hose ends, fittings, adapters) 888 W. Queen St. Southington, CT 06489 Quik-Link #11080
GEAR HEAD TOOLS (aluminum AN wrenches) P.O. Box 21887 Carson City, NV 89721 Quik-Link #11081
GOODRIDGE USA INC. (reinforced hose, hose ends, fittings, adapters) 529 Van Ness Torrance, CA 90501 Quik-Link #11082
JIFFY-TITE CO. (fittings, quick-connect fittings) 4437 Walden Ave. Lancaster, NY 14086 Quik-Link #11083
KOUL TOOLS (braided hose assembly tool) 405 Jones Dr. Lake Havasu City, AZ 86406 Quik-Link #11084
RUSSELL (reinforced hose, hose ends, fittings, adapters) P.O. Box 2936 Torrance, CA 90509 Quik-Link #11085
XRP (reinforced hose, hose ends, fittings, adapters) 5630 Imperial Hwy South Gate, CA 90280 Quik-Link #11086