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Thread: HF Panel Flanger How Do You Put Hydraulic Oil In This Thing?

  1. #1
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    Default HF Panel Flanger How Do You Put Hydraulic Oil In This Thing?

    OK I know it's a dirty word coming from Harbor freight. However I've had this air punch flange here for 10 years and like so many others it never worked from day one. Well it works a little if you do it right and it'll leave and punch a hole if you hit it on the top of the mallet . I've looked for instructions online for this and realize now why I just tossed them away in the first place ,they are absolutely horrible even buy Chinese standards. I opened up the oil reservoir after I figured out where it was and find it's dry as a bone which mimics why this thing doesn't work right. It's punches just like it using air not Hydralic and if you hold it it'll gently squeeze down sort of.
    I noticed the directions if you look at the Eastwood version Harbor freight's are useless tells you that the hex head on the side towards the front yard filled with oil all right. I don't see anything going down in there to speak of. So is this said oil reservoir as tiny as I think it is or will it trickle down in over time? This thing doesn't seem to hold more than a few drops literally. Any great words of wisdom besides throw the damn thing away? I just don't do enough panels maybe one every couple of years to justify having a nice one .

  2. #2
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    Are you talking about a tool with a porta power type pump connected by a length of hydraulic hose to a punch tool? If so I think you may have opened the cover to the adjustable hydraulic relief valve. I wouldn't change the setting on the screw under the cap. There may be a screw in the side of the body opening into the barrel that should let you put oil directly into the barrel, or maybe on the end of the barrel opposite the pump.

    If you get air into the pressure side of the pump it's going to be a chore getting it bled out. It won't work well with air in the line. You will have to fill the reservoir then hold the pump with the hydraulic line down and the tool supported so that the hose slopes upward back to the pump while keeping the punch oriented so the hose is at the high end of the tool. Then as you cycle it a few times the oil will start filling the tool and the air will find its way back to the pump when you release the check valve. You may have to refill the pump several times. Loose fittings may have let oil leak out and air get into the pump and that would explain why it doesn't work as expected.

    I have several tools with that type of pump and I always operate them with the barrel of the pump held vertically with the pump end down so air never gets into the pressure side of the tool.

    Bob K

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob K View Post
    Are you talking about a tool with a porta power type pump connected by a length of hydraulic hose to a punch tool? If so I think you may have opened the cover to the adjustable hydraulic relief valve. I wouldn't change the setting on the screw under the cap. There may be a screw in the side of the body opening into the barrel that should let you put oil directly into the barrel, or maybe on the end of the barrel opposite the pump.

    If you get air into the pressure side of the pump it's going to be a chore getting it bled out. It won't work well with air in the line. You will have to fill the reservoir then hold the pump with the hydraulic line down and the tool supported so that the hose slopes upward back to the pump while keeping the punch oriented so the hose is at the high end of the tool. Then as you cycle it a few times the oil will start filling the tool and the air will find its way back to the pump when you release the check valve. You may have to refill the pump several times. Loose fittings may have let oil leak out and air get into the pump and that would explain why it doesn't work as expected.

    I have several tools with that type of pump and I always operate them with the barrel of the pump held vertically with the pump end down so air never gets into the pressure side of the tool.

    Bob K
    Nope, it's just one of those barrel shaped hand held pneumatics you sort HF and Others selling. Mine is just very lethargic. There's no Chabang but more like a carnival rides pneumatics. It makes the sound then squeezes and keeps squeezing. Plenty of air pressure on it too but it works as bad at full tank pressure as when it's run down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmarler View Post

    Yup, one of those. I just now discovered another idea. Tomorrow I'm going to unscrew the die end and see if I can fill it with oil s there and give it a good cleaning along the way. Who knows, I haven't got anything to lose with this thing.

  6. #6
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    is that supposed to be air over hydraulic? it looks like straight pneumatic to me. if so, the oil is only for lubrication. oil the crap out of it, lots down the inlet so the piston moves easily, and cycle it over and over...
    in the u-tubes i saw, it does work, not great but works. the flanger looks a bit weak.
    b marler

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=bmarler;330449]is that supposed to be air over hydraulic? it looks like straight pneumatic to me. if so, the oil is only for lubrication. oil the crap out of it, lots down the inlet so the piston moves easily, and cycle it over and over...
    in the u-tubes i saw, it does work, not great but works. the flanger looks a bit weak.[/QUOTE

    Oh you ain't gonna believe this but I did the same thing e last time I fixed one of these air tools . I took it apart, just unscrewed the barrel from the necked business end and cleaned it. Not tat it was cruddy either. The flanger section is just held on by a piston with 15mm flutes on the end to grip while I unscrewed it. Nothing in there so I cleaned it and put it back together. Then I filled that tiny reservoir with oil and nearly all of it squeezed out , oh well.
    Its still slow , takes 2 seconds to close but the punch sails right through any sort of panel that fits in. I happen to have a GM pickup replacement fender arch I'm dealing with. Perfect holes. The flange in the side of the truck isn't as deep as I'd like but that's a function of design.
    Now that I've had the end off and see how easy it all is I'll probably file that step a mm or so deeper next time I feel like getting oily.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmarler View Post
    is that supposed to be air over hydraulic? it looks like straight pneumatic to me. if so, the oil is only for lubrication. oil the crap out of it, lots down the inlet so the piston moves easily, and cycle it over and over...
    in the u-tubes i saw, it does work, not great but works. the flanger looks a bit weak.
    Well I fixed it. Again like my other Harbor freight stuff I took it apart and put it back together in the stupid thing worked and it works pretty good though a little bit slow. All I did was take the business and the part where the crimper isand put it back together. What I did I have no freaking idea.
    Actually the thing works pretty good it's just a bit slow and I can live with that. I put a new wheel arch on my Sierra and the thing actually managed to flange at thick metal whatever it is over the wheel arches on the box . It also sails right through the punching process which it wouldn't do before .

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by drizler View Post
    Well I fixed it. Again like my other Harbor freight stuff I took it apart and put it back together in the stupid thing worked and it works pretty good though a little bit slow. All I did was take the business and the part where the crimper isand put it back together. What I did I have no freaking idea.
    Actually the thing works pretty good it's just a bit slow and I can live with that. I put a new wheel arch on my Sierra and the thing actually managed to flange at thick metal whatever it is over the wheel arches on the box . It also sails right through the punching process which it wouldn't do before .
    I've had a HF punch/flange air tool that has worked great for me. Never a problem. I do oil just about every time I use it. Works great for punching weld holes or for flanging.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil V View Post
    I've had a HF punch/flange air tool that has worked great for me. Never a problem. I do oil just about every time I use it. Works great for punching weld holes or for flanging.

    I always oil mine mine because my air isn't the driest around. Funny I even had an IR needle scaler that wouldn't work right. Had to bump the needles to get it to run. I immediately though it was not having a high volume air nozzle and set it aside too long to send it back to IR. Then I found it ran the same way even with a 3/8 nipple.
    It sat on the shelf for a few years till I got desperate to scrape another nasty frame. That scaler didn't want to come apart easily. Looking on the net someone said theirs was plugged up withfactory packing grease. Since I couldn't get into it well I clamped it in the vise and poured it full of ATF/ acetone and let it sit a few days. Worked like a charm though still not as well as using a cheap pneumatic air chisel with a blunt tip and just letting it bounce lightly. I truly hate rust

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