Eric and I commented to Ken Jones, the new owner of the Ruby Red ’67 Beetle which was advertised here at 1967Beetle.com. I wrote to Ken, congratulating him on the purchase. Since I had seen a photograph of the engine compartment of the car, and noting the screw clamps on the air breather hoses, I mentioned that he could find some nice reproduction hose clamps from our good friends at Wolfsburg West.
Ken responded telling us that, after having taken possession of the car, he discovered a sack containing several pieces, including those original wire clamps!
In subsequent correspondence, I mentioned that original wire clamps are difficult to find. You know the reason? For the lack of the proper tool, I tossed all of mine back in the ‘70s and installed screw clamps. Here’s how this worked.
Every time I wanted to do my 3K mile service, of course I removed the air cleaner. This involved removal of those wire clamps. Now, it takes a fair amount of pressure to expand the clamp so that it can be removed from the paper breather hose. Invariable the standard pliers would slip. Oops! Slipped again and—ruined another hose! After so many slips and squashed hoses, I just discarded those onerous clamps. And, I suspect that a great many other people did the same, given the scarcity of original wire clamps today.
Somewhere along the way, I came into possession of a pair of generic wire clamp pliers. They sat for a long time because I now had no use for them—no wire clamps!
Fate has a way of changing things. While sorting buckets of nuts, bolts, washers and other miscellaneous Volkswagen bits and pieces—I found 3 original wire clamps! Oh, joy! Now, my clamp pliers came in handy.
Much later, I ran across an eBay sale for a pair of Hazet wire clamp pliers. The price was right—I could NOT pass on this one. They are much superior to the generic clamp pliers which I had in my tool box! Because they are made specifically for those breather hose clamps!
I have done a bit of research on VW tools. I found depictions of the clamp pliers used by VW certified Specialists at the dealerships. The clamp plier which these technicians used was of much stouter construction. Another grace which they possessed was a locking mechanism. Once the clamp was squeezed, the plier could be locked into the clamped position. When the work on the air breather or carburetor was completed, the plier could be retrieved, clamp still in place, and the clamp refitted onto the breather hose.