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Old 05-09-2019, 08:17 PM   #1
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Why DIY and the demise of auto-repair

On another thread, I was telling a guy how I think that you might as well
Do It Yourself
rather than taking it to a "professional".


Need some 1/2" tubing bent to specs for a tranny cooler install. Called the tubing bender guys and asked:


Me: what is the smallest diameter bend you can make in 1/2 tubing?


Him: well, usually 90 is the most, but we could probably do 180 if you really need it.


Me: no, not the degrees, the diameter or radius of the bend.


Him: hmmm..not sure...let me check...
[puts me on hold]
Him: well, I'm not sure, let me connect you with the guy in the back...


Guy: Hi, what are you asking?


Me: what is the radius of the smallest bend you can make in 1/2 steel tubing?


Guy: 90


Me: no, not the degrees, the radius...


Guy: I'm not sure, no one has ever asked before...
[puts me on hold]
Guy: well, I can't figure that out; can I get your number and call you back?


That was at 11:00am. No return call.




Go into the Atlanta area (southeast regional) NAPA distribution center and ask for a transmission cooler: "They used to be on the shelf here in the showroom; do you have any here in stock?"


Old woman with grey hair poorly died clown-red looking through glasses on the end of her nose: "Transmission hose?"


Me: no, cooler.


Woman: transmission fluid?


Me: no, cooler.


Woman: transmission coolant?


Me: no, cooler. It's like a radiator.


Woman: {confused} for what vehicle???


Me: universal fit, like for a big truck or motorhome.



Woman: well, we need to know the vehicle to look it up. What is the make?


Me: BlueBird


[Woman spends a full minute trying to find it in the listing on her computer]
Woman: a what?


Me: a BlueBird bus. It's in the heavy vehicles section.


Woman: oh.....
[gets my vehicle info and looks up "transmission cooler"
Woman: we show none available for your vehicle.


Me: I just need a universal fit type cooler. They have them at other NAPA locations.


[Woman looks for help; 18-year-old kid steps up and plays with the computer.]


Kid: no, we don't have any available.


Me: you don't sell universal transmission coolers?


Kid: no.


A dozen employees standing around doing NOTHING; none look like they had ever even changed their own oil.


The AutoZone near me is staffed with folks who flunked out of tech school (nail and hair tech)


Went looking at all auto parts stores for 1/2 tubing. The kid at OReilly's asked:


Kid: "for what vehicle"


Me: just standard universal fit steel tubing I can use for a tranny cooler, you know, like brake tubing or similar...


Kid: I don't know, let me ask...
[asks another employee]
Kid: oh yea, that pipe-stuff....


And the list goes on and on and on about "professionals" at their work...
Gotta find that 1/2 tube bender tool and just DIMyself... flare the ends myself with the correct JIC -8AN fitting installed. Did a 3/8" tube bend once for my Dodge Van that came out near perfect (1mm off where it screws into the tranny). Do brake lines with flares all the time. But 1/2" is much stiffer, and more costly when the bend is not correct the first time....
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:09 PM   #2
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So how tight of a radius can you bend a 1/2" line? With the right tool I imagine around 1/2"
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
So how tight of a radius can you bend a 1/2" line? With the right tool I imagine around 1/2"
:r ofl:
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:16 PM   #4
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I called them back hours later and found out they have a 90 swivel female to male JIC-8 fitting to attach to the outlets of the cooler, so I'm guessing the minimum bend will not matter now. Less than 2" radius? I hope
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
So how tight of a radius can you bend a 1/2" line? With the right tool I imagine around 1/2"

You forgot to ask if kinked or unkinked, makes a big difference,


John
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:49 PM   #6
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You forgot to ask if kinked or unkinked, makes a big difference,


John
Oh, kinked I get it to less than 1/4"
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:36 PM   #7
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To those silent readers who know not about tube bending:


With a hand-powered tube bender, the tube will not kink. Without one, good luck.


But the tube wall on the inner bend has a shorter length than the wall along the outer bend. They were the same length originally when strait.


If it doesn't kink, it stretches. As it stretches, it gets thinner. How thin is too thin? The smaller the radius, the thinner the outer wall gets.


I good tube-bending machine can add many very small kinks to the inner bend. spaced evenly and close to each other, and that limits the outer wall's need to stretch. Then the integrity of the tube is better. It may not rust through as quickly, or burst from extreme pressure, or crack from vibrational fatigue. In my case, I assume the tranny fluid pressure is near zero through the cooler circuit; only the spin-on filter should slow it down.
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:52 AM   #8
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Backwoods Engineering technique to bending Cu tubing:

Block one end, fill tube with very fine sand or other incompressible media, tap down and top off, cap other end, see-saw tube over a hard round "anvil" of appropriate curvature until bend is complete. Empty, blow out, and rinse any residuals out.

I enjoyed reading the opening post. Kind of a cross between Joseph Heller & Kurt Vonegut.
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Old 05-10-2019, 10:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haz.matt.1960 View Post
Backwoods Engineering technique to bending Cu tubing:

Block one end, fill tube with very fine sand or other incompressible media, tap down and top off, cap other end, see-saw tube over a hard round "anvil" of appropriate curvature until bend is complete. Empty, blow out, and rinse any residuals out.

I enjoyed reading the opening post. Kind of a cross between Joseph Heller & Kurt Vonegut.
Good to know the tube bending technique, but no sand in my tranny, thanks! I'll never get the tube's inner walls fully clean.


Thanks for the complement, but I don't read them, so I'm guessing they are good? Seems like Kurt is a familiar name. Years ago (at 18yrs old) I read a book on the brain, and became so fascinated with cognitive science, that since then I find no time for fiction, with all the other stuff I like to do. I could spend a lifetime as a library geek learning all I can and not be satisfied with learning enough; another lifetime walking through the woods with my entire life in a backpack, sleeping in a tent, eating, drinking water, and burning Shiva, living the simple life; another lifetime caving, rock climbing, hang gliding & paragliding, traveling the country in a bus, touring with the GD, and festival hopping; and another lifetime with a wife and kids. Trying to cram it all into one long one, but seems like I lost out on the last option... Barely time to read, these days.
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Old 05-10-2019, 10:30 AM   #10
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That is for copper, unsure of it's efficacy with SS, at least with the larger diameters. Pulling a patch thru, maybe with some solvent, until it comes out clean should alleviate the contamination concern.
As my pipe bending was for potable water, I opted out from the unsavory flavory it'd give my agua. Figure I eat more dirt on a good day mountain biking.
Even more, if I face plant...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain Gnome View Post
Good to know the tube bending technique, but no sand in my tranny, thanks! I'll never get the tube's inner walls fully clean.


Thanks for the complement, but I don't read them, so I'm guessing they are good? Seems like Kurt is a familiar name. Years ago (at 18yrs old) I read a book on the brain, and became so fascinated with cognitive science, that since then I find no time for fiction, with all the other stuff I like to do. I could spend a lifetime as a library geek learning all I can and not be satisfied with learning enough; another lifetime walking through the woods with my entire life in a backpack, sleeping in a tent, eating, drinking water, and burning Shiva, living the simple life; another lifetime caving, rock climbing, hang gliding & paragliding, traveling the country in a bus, touring with the GD, and festival hopping; and another lifetime with a wife and kids. Trying to cram it all into one long one, but seems like I lost out on the last option... Barely time to read, these days.
Fairly high praise: Vonnegut was a brilliant, twisted author with some massively outta the box thinking.
From the title of Heller's seminal novel on WW2, the term, "Catch-22," became part of the common lexicon.
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