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Collapsible Oil Return Tubes Install a Snap

Found an easy way to install those collapsible oil return tubes when you don't have three hands:

Someone in tech articles recommended using hose clamps. I used one on the skinny tube to push the 2 halves apart. Place the hose clamp about a 1/4 inch from the C clip

I then got my handy Craftsman snap ring tool ($12)

and wedged it between the hose clamp and the C clip and presto, I pushed the C clip and the two halves apart locking them in place. Turn the tube a bit and did the other side of the C clip. If the tube does not turn, you got it in too tight. However, some resistance should be felt when turning the tubes.

Be careful not to get them in too tight. Remember, the longer skinnier tube half goes on the head side, fatter receiver half goes towards the case.
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Last edited by indigowhale; 11-22-2005 at 10:08 AM..
Old 11-22-2005, 10:05 AM
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GREAT tip - would have used that idea had I thought of it! Hopefully, I won't need it for a while.

Doug
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Old 11-22-2005, 10:29 AM
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Dang it....wished I'd known that trick six months ago
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Old 11-22-2005, 12:07 PM
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I would think that "turning" the tube while it is "partially" seated can cause the O-ring to get chewed up.....

Hmm...

Wil
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Old 11-22-2005, 12:50 PM
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Forgot to mention, the seals should have a thin film of oil or grease similar to when installing an oil filter. This should prevent any damage to the seal as you turn the tubes. There is no need to turn the tubes until you got the seal seated. You turn the tubes just to make sure the C ring is all the way around up against the fatter tube and not just at the spot where you used the snap ring expander.

Just don't get too happy doing any more turning than is necessary.

I checked mine today and not even a peep of oil at the seals.

Also, you need not drain all the oil, just the oil in the engine case (so that you can clean the seal mating surface).
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Last edited by indigowhale; 11-22-2005 at 05:47 PM..
Old 11-22-2005, 05:41 PM
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Great Idea! I just finished doing that on Sunday, even used the Craftsman Snap Ring tool. You beat me to the post.
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Old 11-22-2005, 05:44 PM
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You beat me to the idea as I did mine on Monday; would not have thought of it, but my neighbor took too long coming over. Found out that the little tool got them even tighter than four hands at once. It was as easy as brushing one's teeth.
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Old 11-22-2005, 05:53 PM
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I need to do this in a few days so thanks for the tip - I have also read that you should use some assembly lube of some description, did you do this?

The post I read indicated that if you just use oil its actually makes the job harder sinjce that is what the rubber is designed to seal against....any thougts?
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Old 11-23-2005, 12:30 AM
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The idea is that a thin film of oil with allow the seal to conform to the metal irregularities sealing gaps where oil can slip through. You can also use greases, but my seals where already soaked in oil that had leaked out.

Think of it this way, you never use anything other that oil on the oil filter seal. When you put the oil filter on, you never tighten it to the point where it will not turn anymore. As a matter of fact, my oil filter wrenches don't get much use. The seals on these tubes hold back much less oil than any oil filter seal.

How much lubricant? just enough to eliminate any friction between the metal and the seal. Too much lubricant and you are prone to have a leak at the start. You want to get the seal so it has an even and uniform shine from the lubricant. If you can see the lubricant collected in different places on the seal or dripping, you have too much. If you have a stream of oil coming out of the engine case as you install these tubes, you are likely to not get a good seal also.
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Last edited by indigowhale; 11-23-2005 at 05:42 AM..
Old 11-23-2005, 05:39 AM
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Hi Indigowhale

Thanks for the explanation - I had a dig about and this was the thread that got me thinking:

help with collapsible oil return tubes

"O-rings are designed to seal. They do that by sealing tightly against a metal wall. If you use oil, or assembly lube, or whatever, the o-ring will scrape it away and take a set against the wall. it will grab hard because that is what it is supposed to do.
For some reason, it can't do that on installation with 111 grease.
In my shop we install a lot of o-rings. We use either parker o-ring lube or 111 grease. I prefer the latter. I've been using the stuff for over 20 years and haven't found anything better."

Hope this explains what I was on about in more detail...
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Old 11-23-2005, 05:54 AM
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I think a silicone grease would be better...do a search on this very topic... I think Dow Corning Products ( 111 ?) comes up a lot....

Here's one of many posts like this..

help with collapsible oil return tubes

- Wil
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Last edited by Wil Ferch; 11-23-2005 at 06:15 AM..
Old 11-23-2005, 05:54 AM
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Like Wil said, Dow Corning 111 works great in this application.
-Chris
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Old 11-23-2005, 06:09 AM
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Wow, vuja de

Yep, Dow Corning 111 silicon grease is the kind.
If you can get them installed correctly and easily with oil or regular grease then that is all you need. Many people here (including myself) have found the installation goes much easier with 111 grease.
Whatever works, right?
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Old 11-23-2005, 07:23 AM
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Hey Sammy, thanks for stoppin by - I should have credited you with the quote, sorry.
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Old 11-23-2005, 08:07 AM
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I acually made a tool, someday sell on Pelican.. Its threaded and zip on..
Old 11-23-2005, 11:37 AM
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I used a 30mm oil line wrench. Put it in the head side first, slipped the wrench over the base, tap-tap, plop. Done.
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Old 08-04-2012, 05:50 PM
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:34 PM
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On all "O" rings I use Vaseline. On the collapsible oil return tubes it lets the parts slide around nicely. The melting point of Vaseline is about 100*f with a flash point of about 400*f so it lets the "O" rings move or settle in during assembly then melts once the engine warms up. The "O" rings will do a final snug and seat into position.

Use it on the lips of engine seals (Knock on wood..never had a leak) and slathered on the gears inside oil pumps (instant priming/oil pressure on first starts) too.


Last edited by db_cooper; 08-04-2012 at 07:47 PM..
Old 08-04-2012, 07:39 PM
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