When talking about working on the Fuel System of our Beetles, one of the greatest concerns we have is Fuel Spillage.
Gasoline is a wonderful “invention” but one which we should respect because of its evaporative and, thus, flammable qualities. We must use great care when working with gasoline. My number one rule is to work with gasoline outdoors so that gas vapors cannot accumulate
I frequently am asked by fellow Volkswagen enthusiasts what to do about gasoline spillage. This is a valid concern. When changing the fuel hoses, there always is the possibility for some gasoline to be spilled.
THERE IS A BETTER WAY!
While talking with my good 1967 Beetle friend, Frank Salvitti, of Long Island, New York, this past weekend, the subject of fuel spillage came up.
Says Frank—“Oh…that’s no problem! I use Line Clamp Pliers.” Now, Frank is a seasoned mechanic and knows things that a lot of us DIY-ers don’t. I asked Frank to explain his process and he told me that he would send some photos to illustrate his tool of choice.
Over the years, I have seen screws inserted into the ends of hoses, pieces of whittled wood, and other variations, in order to avoid the loss of gasoline while the person is working to change fuel hoses. But it takes time to insert something into the hose. In the meantime, the gasoline is draining. I laugh now, but I recall the many times I was beneath a VW, working on a fuel hose, and had the fuel to drain right onto my face or clothing. Not much way to avoid it if you are working with the fuel hose over head!
Frank emphasized the simplicity of the Line Clamp Tool and how to use it. The beauty is that if anything at all spills, it will be a couple of drops which remain at the end of the hose after it has been clamped. A paper towel can be placed there when the hose is disconnected and will take care of such a small amount.
The Clamp is applied appropriately—THEN—the fuel hose is disconnected.
If you are working with the fuel hoses in the engine compartment, a Clamp can be applied to the hose beneath the car where it enters the engine compartment. Thus, the fuel supply is cut-off to the engine compartment. Multiple Clamps can be used, if necessary—the possibilities are multiple.
The cost of a home owner’s Clamp Set starts around $10 and can run to $50, if you want to have a more professional kit.
Although there are “screw-down” Fluid Line Clamps, I prefer the Plier type for ease of use. It takes only seconds to apply the Pliers. There is a variable range to apply to hose of smaller-to-larger diameters with each Plier. And, there are light-weight “plastic” Clamp Sets (brightly colored Pliers which easily can be found in one’s tool box).
Buy the Plier Set which advertises that it is “non-conductive”—to avoid sparking.
Check with places like Harbor Freight for the less expensive Kits. Amazon also is a good source.
My thanks to Frank for taking time to explain the Line Clamp Pliers and for taking and sending photographs.
While we are at it—let me emphasize the fact that gasoline is not to be used as a cleaning agent. While it WILL do the job of cleaning, it is too dangerous a liquid to be used in such a manner. For a general cleaner, I use Mineral Spirits, which can be purchased in quart or gallon containers across the counter at paint, hardware and big box home supply stores. It is much less volatile and will do a good job of cleaning greasy parts, for instance. Again—I insist that all such cleaning be done outdoors for safety and so that the person cleaning the parts will not be subjected to breathing the vapors.
There are other even more specific parts-cleaners for brake parts, for carburetors, and so forth. Use these, following the label instructions, and you will be safe.
I also insist on the use of Nitrile Gloves. This is to prevent the absorption of cleaning fluids into the skin. Nitrile Gloves are cheap. They are fairly durable so that they can be used more than once unless they spring a hole. They keep hands super clean and safe when working with cleaners and greasy parts. (Note—do not wear Nitrile or rubber gloves when working with machinery which is turning—such as a grinding wheel, wire wheel, power drill, etc. Nitrile Gloves can be caught in the whirling machinery and will rip off the hand, resulting in damage to one’s hand.)
Work on your 1967 Beetle confidently and safely!