Trying to start threaded fasteners on stiff tubing without
cross-threading (For example, flare nuts on soft copper tubing such as
used for gas and water supply lines) has been a lifelong frustration.
Since it is hard to know when the parts are exactly in line and the
side force applied by the tubing doesn't let you tell by feel if the
thread has started properly, there's always the fear it may be cross
threaded (and sometimes it is). By the very nature of the place you
run into these things it will be a major PIA if you screw up the
threads and have to replace the whole thing.
So my question
Is there a secret to lining up these parts so you can be confident
they aren't cross-threaded?
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A tick from when I has an old volkwagon (threading steel sparkplugs into
a magnezium block) use a piece of softer hose around the end of the
nut about 8 in long. Start turning it. The length of hose keeps you from
generating enough torque to cross-thread but will allow the proper
threading to run right on. You might also lubricate the threads with
silicone or other lube so they easily go where they are supposed to
rather than cutting.
And then just leave the tubing on the pipe so some future plumber wonders what
the heck that was for.
The tubing trick is a good idea for inaccessable locations but for most fingers
and a little dexterity will work ok. If things are properly aligned you should
be able to start the nut by hand and get several turns before using a wrench.
Give the tubing a good pull to make sure the threads are engaged before
proceeding. You won't be able to cross thread the nut without a wrench and
conversely once the threads are engaged a couple of turns you cannot crossthread
them with a wrench.
Start them by hand first.
Then tighten them with the wrench.
( kjpro @ starband . net ) remove spaces to e-mail
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