Circlips - what's the magic secret?

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Deadeye

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I'm doing a small restoration...and having a horrible time with the circlips of all things.
I have tried two different circlip pliers...and the clips just ping off every time as I try to stretch and lift them. I think the holes are slightly rounded off so the pins of the pliers are skating out once they get tensioned.
I really don't want to break them because they're imperial and I've had a bit of trouble getting spares previously.
Any knacks/tips/encouragement?
 
As the right honorable member infers up above, internal and external circlips are handled with different pliers. The tips are slightly angled and in different directions depending whether you are pulling the circlip ends together or apart.
The pliers are also sized to match the circlips. The small holes increase in size by fractions of a mm as the shaft size increases. To cover a range of shaft diameters from about 10mm through 30, you need about 4 pairs of internal and 4 pairs of external circlips.

There are some clever protool pliers also badged snap-on that do both internal and external. Their jaws sort of leapfrog each other so the bent tips are correctly oriented in each use.
There are some really nice Knipex ones with hardened steel tips inset into forged jaws.
 
I have a sykes pickavant circlip tool that I got in a job lot of stuff - the product code is 028300. Mines old but they're still available new (expensive). It's tightened by a screw so not reliant on hand pressure. It's a fantastic piece of kit.
 
I have one of those tools that can be switched for internal or external. Remember using it on my Austin Maxi so it must be 40+ years old, don't use it much. It's not brilliant at either and I often wish I had bought a proper pair of ins and outs.

I hate working with them.

Assume the clip will fly away, plan accordingly. In theory they are not sentient but I reckon they are both animate and evil minded. For smaller stuff I use an old biscuit tin with a teatowel in the bottom so it will capture any miscreant clip. If you have to work in an engine bay or similar, a towel below and beside reduces the chance of loss.

There was a well researched project that proved the ease of circlip tasks is directly proportional to how loud you shout at the (bleeped out) thing.

Having said that, on the rare occasion the job goes well it's really satisfying.
 
Assume the clip will fly away, plan accordingly. In theory they are not sentient but I reckon they are both animate and evil minded
Some say... these are recycled from the leaf springs of cursed vehicles,
so you're definitively onto something there!

The trick to getting these to work nicely, is knowing that the spirit is displeased
about being separated from it's original incarnation,
so one has a few options at their disposal.

You could try a visit to the local parish for a prayer, though we've got some stone circles round here, which were the previous religion.
Hence why the forts/hinges strongly resemble that of a circlip.

Fort.jpeg


So if you want the best chance, then you'll head to your local place...
Stonehinge I guess, for you folks.
Lay a big tarp down, with magnets on each sun point stone,
and depending on the time of day, will be the direction in which the circlip will travel.


Glasses necessary, for the clips and also for the bits of course, regardless.
If one doesn't have such an option, like this heavy cast iron wheel for example,
then there are other solutions.
Namely the seeking of uniting the cursed vehicle components back together again,
hence this cheapo pipe wrench, recycled from yet another cursed vehicle.
However, it's not that simple....
One needs to touch a magnet (any magnet will do) thrice, off the circlip beforehand,
and then you're good to go shopping, as it will seek to find the spirit of it's original counterpart,
so whichever it sticks to first will be the tool for the job.

Note: make sure not to loose this energy, by accidentally striking the magnet to something like the shelves in the middle isle, as you'll have to go through that palaver all over again!.

Hope that helps
Tom

SAM_7349.JPG
 
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I'm doing a small restoration...and having a horrible time with the circlips of all things.
I have tried two different circlip pliers...and the clips just ping off every time as I try to stretch and lift them. I think the holes are slightly rounded off so the pins of the pliers are skating out once they get tensioned.
I really don't want to break them because they're imperial and I've had a bit of trouble getting spares previously.
Any knacks/tips/encouragement?
Check the prongs on your pliers. From my considerable experience it's likely that the points are slipping out due to being tapered. Sometimes a quick file of the points to remove any taper will do the trick. Rather than a point, try for parallel, or even better, a 'bell end'. The bell end approach can leave a tiny waist to the prongs so don't file away too much or the end could snap off.
Don't but cheap circlip pliers, as the metal is likely to be softer than the circlip. You need harder metal prongs.
If you do try to grind your prongs and get long sparks it's probably soft metal. Short sparks mean harder metal.... Short AND sparkly mean high carbon and the best.
Beware though hardened also means more brittle so avoid creating too thin a waist at the business ends.
If you are likely to be doing a lot of un-clipping and re-clipping then look for some by Proto or similar. I think Snap-on are now Proto.
 
Thanks all
Glad I'm not the only one to find them annoying! As I don't use them often I'm a bit reluctant to spend much on a new set. I will try a bit of judicious filing of the current pair
 
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