Over the past few weeks we’ve looked at handy flexible claw pickup tools, OBD-II monitors and screw-holding screwdrivers that make dropping screws less likely. This week’s tool, flexible hose clamp pliers, makes removing coolant hoses from the engine bay easier, with less cussing required. It’s designed for factory-type spring clamps, not replacement worm-drive clamps. The OE clamps can be vile devices, a real wrestling match when access is limited.
The suggestion comes from reader Half-track El Camino — I adore the name — who has experience using this tool on a Mazda Miata. There’s even a hilarious, and kind of scary, how-to specific for Miata hoses:
You position the grabber thingy with your good hand and squeeze the handle with your off hand, and the tool then locks. At that point you have both hands free to try and wrestle the hose clamp over the barb, whereupon you discover that the hose has swollen enough that even with the clamp fully open it won’t go past the lip.
From there, you give up and just rip the hose clamp apart with needle-nosed pliers, at which point you are free to twist and yank and pull on the hose right up to the point where you give up and just slice it lengthwise with a scalpel because otherwise it might as well be welded in place. Then repeat seventeen more times until you’ve removed all nine of your Miata’s cooling hoses (including the “devil hose” at the back of the engine, which carries that name for a reason) and you are halfway done with the job.
Yikes! Last year I tried to help a friend remove the hoses from his Honda Del Sol, and it took a day to do the job. Our hands just couldn’t reach the hoses, and he eventually just hacked them out one by one. A tool like this would have saved hours.
Check out this short YouTube video by 2CarPros showing how to use flexible hose clamp pliers.
Maybe you’ve got the clamp out of the way and still can’t get that hose off. Well another reader, GirchyGirchy, complemented Half-track El Camino’s suggestion with a hose removal tool. Use one of these to hook under the end of the hose and pull it off.
The fantastic news is that these tools are very cheap. The model Half-track El Camino posted is generic and can be found at your favorite online shop for as little as $12. GirchyGirchy’s hose removal tool goes as low as $9 for a generic version or $45 for the Lisle model they pictured.
Do you know of a weird or unique but must-have tool you think every wrencher should have? Do you want to see us put a type of tool to the test and see how it performs? Shoot me an email or drop it down in the comments!