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Old 10-25-2010, 05:32 AM   #1
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PEX cinch tool and clamps from ebay compatible?


Iíve read that a PEX crimping tool and copper rings need to match the specific PEX tubing and fittings to insure leak free joints.

How can I be sure that buying stainless steel clamps and a cinch tool off ebay will be compatible with PEX tubing and fittings that I buy locally? Or is the compatibility issue overblown?

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Old 10-25-2010, 09:10 AM   #2
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PEX cinch tool and clamps from ebay compatible?


PEX tubing is standardized in terms of size. The fittings are not standardized. I use Wirsbo tubing and fitting; the tubing is identical to other companies, however the fittings are expander type fittings, unique to Wirsbo so far as I know. I have used shark bite fittings on occasion, they will work with any brand of tubing, but I have not used the crimp system. My understanding is that the rings used by the crimping tool are unique to the tool, so you need to make sure you get a tool and ring that is matched. Possibly the fittings also need to be matched, I know that the Wirsbo expander fittings are not designed to be used with crimp tools.

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Old 10-25-2010, 09:18 AM   #3
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PEX cinch tool and clamps from ebay compatible?


Wirsbo is in fact the only manufacturer who has the expander fittings.

Dont cheap out on these fittings/tools. It is NOT worth a leak once you are done or down the road.
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Old 10-25-2010, 01:27 PM   #4
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PEX cinch tool and clamps from ebay compatible?


I am no master plumber but it does seem like the compatibility issue is exaggerated. There are a few specialty fitting systems like ProPex [expander] and Pex Press [sleeves] but the common ones you see are HydroPex, Vanguard, or ZurnPEX [good brass type] that can be found in the big box stores. These fittings use either the copper CRIMP rings or the stainless CINCH rings. I believe the stainless rings are all the same and I have used them on different brands of fittings with no issues. Also I bought a good one-hand cinch tool at the "blue" box store for under a $100 and it fits well in tight places unlike the cheaper version that looks like a bolt cutter. A dremel tool with a cutoff wheel works to remove them as well.
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:07 PM   #5
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PEX cinch tool and clamps from ebay compatible?


Daniel,
The Wirsbo expansion joint method does appear to be the best method. But only affordable for me if a supplier will loan or rent the tool for a few dollars a day. I do think that the copper ring crimp method is more critical than the stainless steel clamp method since the crimp tool encloses the ring 360 degrees. The SS clamp method appears to me to be less critical and I have not heard about any class action suits for SS clamp methods like the Zurn copper ring method had.


wnabcptrNH,
You make a good point about the fittings/tools. In fact good enough that I'll try to buy them from the local supplier if they don't loan or rent the tools.


thenetdog,
Where did you buy your two hand and one-hand SS clamp tools (and SS clamps) from? What's a "blue" box store?

Thanks all for your help,
HomeRepairGuy
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:22 PM   #6
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PEX cinch tool and clamps from ebay compatible?


Quote:
Originally Posted by wnabcptrNH View Post
Dont cheap out on these fittings/tools. It is NOT worth a leak once you are done or down the road.
I see a Watts SS clamp tool on amazon for about $46 and Watts SS clamps on amazon also. Think these are a "good" brand to buy?
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Old 10-26-2010, 03:38 PM   #7
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PEX cinch tool and clamps from ebay compatible?


Sometimes web forums don't like specific brands mentioned but the "blue" store I was talking about is Lowes. They sell two cinch tools for the stainless steel rings and they are Kobalt brand (Lowes store brand tools). The cheaper tool was about $40 which could work if you have room to maneuver. I did not buy one but they look similar to a pair of bolt cutters where you have to open the handles pretty far apart to get the jaws on the ring. I bought the more expensive tool that was around $90 I believe but it is smaller, more like a bulky pair of linesman pliers. The handles are short and it ratchets so each time you squeeze them together (about 45 degrees) it cinches the ring 1/4 of the way. You could use them in close quarters like under a sink or on a toilet supply line without too much trouble.

I researched the different methods much like you and found the clamps to be the best choice. I had to re-pipe my well tank and add some filters so I needed to use PEX of all sizes: 1", 3/4" and 1/2" and I will also need to replace much of the copper pipe in other areas of the house. The copper crimp rings need either a separate tool or different bits for each size of tube where a single cinch tool will work fine from 1/2" up to 1" and you just need different size rings. After removing a few rings to add pipe length I can tell you the tubing was quite deformed by the clamps and the seal was good.

As for the Zurn lawsuit I believe it was more about the fittings being of cheaply made brass than the copper rings themselves. And Watts is a well-respected brand for hydronic heating parts so I would imagine their PEX is fine to work with. Also google "pexsupply" as they have good prices on PEX tube and fittings and even different copper fittings as well. I ramble on but there is so much to learn for us novice plumbers.
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Old 10-26-2010, 03:47 PM   #8
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PEX cinch tool and clamps from ebay compatible?


Quote:
Originally Posted by thenetdog View Post
Sometimes web forums don't like specific brands mentioned but the "blue" store I was talking about is Lowes. They sell two cinch tools for the stainless steel rings and they are Kobalt brand (Lowes store brand tools). The cheaper tool was about $40 which could work if you have room to maneuver. I did not buy one but they look similar to a pair of bolt cutters where you have to open the handles pretty far apart to get the jaws on the ring. I bought the more expensive tool that was around $90 I believe but it is smaller, more like a bulky pair of linesman pliers. The handles are short and it ratchets so each time you squeeze them together (about 45 degrees) it cinches the ring 1/4 of the way. You could use them in close quarters like under a sink or on a toilet supply line without too much trouble.

I researched the different methods much like you and found the clamps to be the best choice. I had to re-pipe my well tank and add some filters so I needed to use PEX of all sizes: 1", 3/4" and 1/2" and I will also need to replace much of the copper pipe in other areas of the house. The copper crimp rings need either a separate tool or different bits for each size of tube where a single cinch tool will work fine from 1/2" up to 1" and you just need different size rings. After removing a few rings to add pipe length I can tell you the tubing was quite deformed by the clamps and the seal was good.

As for the Zurn lawsuit I believe it was more about the fittings being of cheaply made brass than the copper rings themselves. And Watts is a well-respected brand for hydronic heating parts so I would imagine their PEX is fine to work with. Also google "pexsupply" as they have good prices on PEX tube and fittings and even different copper fittings as well. I ramble on but there is so much to learn for us novice plumbers.
A lot of good info. Thanks much for taking the time,
Sky

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