Fix a Broken Retractable Air Hose Reel




Introduction: Fix a Broken Retractable Air Hose Reel

A factory neighbour asked me to try to fix their retractable air reel – you know, the ones that you can never work out how to lock after you have pulled some hose out?

Step 1: Off With It's Lid

After unscrewing the fixed swivel hose, removing a circlip, and removing the cover, it became obvious the clock spring end had broken – where the 90° bend is.

Step 2: What Do You Do, With a Broken Clock Spring?

I have tried to bend new hooks on these flat springs before (heating with blow torch) without much success.

Spring is 25mm x 1.6mm section. I was about to measure the length and look on eBay for a new spring, until I looked at the other end, where they have a pin through two holes to form a loop (no photo, you can just see it in the previous step's)

Step 3: A Cheap Fix

Aha! I can bodge up a solution. First, clamp the spring in place to stop it unwinding, then grind a hole using a Dremel™-like tool

Step 4: Clamp the Spring

Now there is a hole, a saddle clamp can be used with it to keep the spring in place.

If I didn't have one, either some wire wrapped around the axle, or a cable tie might work.

Step 5: Spring Is Sprung!

Bend the clamp, so a bolt can hold the spring in the slot. M4 cap screw, some washers and 2 nuts - one to lock against the other. Then re-assembly:

  1. Cover on, circlip back, swivel hose back in
  2. Take retaining stop off the air hose
  3. Give the wheel/drum a turn backwards to tension the spring
  4. Feed hose through the nylon guides, and put the retaining stop back on.

Clamped the whole thing to something solid, and gave a few test pulls on the hose. Tension seemed OK. Returned fixed reel to its owner. It should last another 5 or 10 years!

Note that the saddle clamp I used in there isn't very strong, but I don't think it needs to be. Pulling the hose should lock the spring on the sides of the little slot in the axle. That's why a cable tie might even work.

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