Been Using Issue 23

If you’ve been following the on-going epic saga of Project Blue Meanie’s fuel system, you’ll know that it’s been giving me some headaches. Fortunately, this is one item that was smooth, pleasant sailing from the outset.

I switched from braided rubber hose to three-eighth-inch ‘kunifer’ pipe for much of the length of the car between tank and bulkhead. This can be married up to the existing -AN fittings with the right unions and a decent flaring tool. If you’ve ever used one of those awful cheap flaring tools with a ‘stocks’ type clamp and a horseshoe-shaped flaring punch, you’ll know that you’ll get a really good flare about once every 20 tries… and that’ll be the one where you forgot to put the union nut on first. They’re dreadful.

This, however, is Sealey’s PFT/02v3, and it’s a revelation. Put the pipe in the die clamp, select the right size punches – they’re paired, part one and part two – line up part one, swing the handle, then slide the punches across to line up part two, swing the handle again and you have a flare so lovely you could cry.

I made life difficult for myself, naturally. First, the kit only comes with the punches and dies for three-sixteenth and 4.75mm pipe, common brake pipe sizes (even though there’s barely a gnat’s knacker between the two), so I had to buy additional ones for three-eighth. Second, it flares to 45° for brake pipes, while -AN fittings are 37°, but they have all worked anyway. Third, this kit is designed to be mounted in a sturdy bench vice, which would make the whole thing child’s play. I, however, was using it to flare pipes that were on the car, which meant mounting it in a loose vice, then holding it down (with Unpaid Intern #2 standing on it) and swinging the handle. It shouldn’t have worked; it did.

You can buy a cheap, nasty pipe flaring kit (as described in paragraph two) from eBay for about £15. This Sealey kit will cost you 10 times that. It is, however, way more than 10 times better, and, when it comes to systems as crucial as the brake and fuel lines, do you really want to be buggering about with nasty Christmas-cracker flaring tools?

Available from: Sealey, see www.sealey.co.uk for details and local stockists.