What is the best hose clamp?
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We all know about worm clamps. Love them or hate them.
The main issue with a worm clamp is that the grooves on the clamp can dig into the hose you are putting it on, which can cause significant wear on a silicone hose especially. But they also have a tendency to fail if they are over tightened.
And most likely, you have heard of T-Bolt clamps, especially for intercooler pipes, etc.
T-Bolt clamps allow you to tighten them with a nut and bolt so they will handle more torque than a worm clamp will, and they usually have a smooth band which is much kinder to hoses as well. The potential issue with a T-Bolt clamp is that it is much easier to over-tighten them, which can cause a couple of issues.
First it is actually so easy to over-tighten a T-Bolt clamp that you have to be careful not to damage or distort the pipe that the clamp is going on. This is especially true of aluminum intercooler piping.
The other thing that can happen with T-Bolt clamps is that the band that slides under the bolt itself can bend when the clamp is over tightened, and this can actually cause a small section of the hose where there is no pressure to hold a seal which in turn can cause a leak.
But have you heard about constant tension clamps? In a lot of ways, they are the best of both worlds.
They have a worm drive element and that gives a wider range of adjustment than most T-Bolt clamps. There is also a spring element built into the clamp to evenly distribute the clamping force around the entire clamp which also helps to prevent over tightening.
What is very cool is they also have an inner sleeve that the spring clamp rides on. This does a couple of things. First, it prevents the clamp from digging into the hose. And the design further helps to ensure that the clamping force is evenly distributed. And in some designs like the Turbosmart clamps, there are actually two ridges in the inner band to ensure that the clamping force is effectively applied to the hose below.
We definitely like using constant tension clamps for any hoses that are related to boost or coolant because of how consistently they work. The only down-side to them is that they are somewhat expensive, so it may not make sense to replace every single clamp on a front-mount intercooler for instance. But as we have had enough issues with the other styles of clamps that we are in the process of switching over to these for the most part.
- Jon Cooley