Problems? The racing and restoration world is just chock-full of them.
Have you ever nearly bled out from a thousand tiny cuts suffered while stuffing stainless braided hoses into their respective fittings?
Or ended up red-faced and panting like a ditch digger with a short-handled shovel while trying to shove socketless barbed fittings together? Or chased a leaking flare fitting — tightening it up until you split the line, forcing you to make it up all over again? Well, have we got tools for you this month!
I was introduced to the Koul Tool lineup by a friend and racing partner over two years ago. Anyone who has spent any time making up custom stainless –AN lines for race cars knows just how painful the process gets. Those tiny diagonally woven stainless steel wires spring out of shape once cut and they can slice you to pieces if you’re handling them during assembly. Of all the jobs I learned to do, making up hoses was the one I most dreaded because I knew that by the time I finished a full set of lines for the fuel, water, and oil system I was going to be covered in Band-Aids and in need of a transfusion. This year I decided to call Koul Tools and get my own tooling, and I was pleasantly surprised to end up talking with the owner and inventor, Dick Raczuk.
Mr. Raczuk is a long time hot rodder, inventor, and car and motorcycle guy. He’s the man who was behind two companies you’ve likely heard of: Kerker Motorcycle Exhaust Systems, and Kendick Engineering go-kart headers and exhaust. I called in to just purchase the –AN hose assembly tools, but once we started chatting I realized that he also had tools for the socketless press-on hose as well as the Surseat tooling for steel line flare lapping. Since I work on both race cars and also perform restoration work, I ended up buying all of it — and I’ve used it all with outstanding results.
The glass-filled nylon –AN hose assembly tool holds the socket portion of the fitting and the mouth of the tool forms a long, smoothly-tapered cone that forms a lead or transition into the base of the socket. A tiny bit of lube wiped into the funnel before inserting the hose can help as you twist the hose into the mouth of the tool and into the socket up to the point where the threads start. Once done, just mark the hose to make sure it doesn’t back out of the socket as you tighten up the fitting end of the assembly and you’re good to go. Look! No blood! I’m telling you, these things are the best thing since sliced bread (Note to self: Don’t say “sliced” in this story again… brings back bad memories).
For those using the new socketless hoses on applications like water and transmission fluid coolers, the EZ-On hose press is another must-have. Assembling the special hose over those barbed fittings is all but impossible without the hose press — Arnold Schwartzeneggar on his best day couldn’t do it. Even with the tool, it’s important to have a compatible hose lubricant to aid in assembly. I found mine at the same vendor that sold me the hose and fittings I needed, and since a tiny bit is all you need I’m guessing I’ll be leaving it to my kids (just one more thing they’ll inherit, look at, and say, “What the heck is this??”)
The last little bit of brilliance coming out of Koul Tools is the Surseat steel line lapping tool kits. There are two of them that I ended up purchasing, one that works on the car with the brake lines, and the other, larger tool better suited to off-car work done before reassembly. The lapping pilot is covered with a diamond abrasive and works quickly to smooth up the 45 degree steel fitting virtually eliminating leaks. I use it on all my fuel, power steering, transmission, and brake lines. The little bit of time invested has paid off because it’s worked perfectly every time — zero leaks. Just make sure you read the directions on all of the Koul Tools, because they have some very helpful instructions on how to get the most out them without damaging either the tool or the parts. For example, they recommend using WD-40 on the abrasive pilot of the Surseat to keep it from loading up (that’s actually good advice on any diamond abrasive tool). I’ve done the same with a spring chamfer tool from PAC and it really helps tool life.
If you’re like me and the idea of committing self-sacrifice isn’t appealing to you, or if you just want to tip the odds of a successful repair more in your favor, surf on over to http://koultools.com and check out the lineup and the on-line videos. Or, call 928-854-6706. You never know, Dick himself might pick up! If he does (and he’s got time), you’ll have to ask him about his hot rodding career — he’s got some great stories to share! All just part of what makes our world such a koul place!