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Charter Member
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Discussion Starter #1
I got a AIR HYDRAULIC RIVETER from Harbor Freight. I have never used one of these before and may have made a booboo. The manual that came with the riveter was very sparse. When I first tried to prime the unit, I did not realize (and still may not) that I should only fill the top section with hydraulic fluid. So I proceeded to fill the entire piston area. The fluid ran out immediately. I poured out the fluid and cleaned up the mess I made. Left enough flouid to fill the neck area. The riveter will not pull a rivet thru completely. I tried pushing the rivet in again like I have done with a hand riveter when I don't get enough stroke, but it seems to me the unit is not generating enough pull power. The rivet head stays on.

I am using a small 4 hp pancake style compressor. The regulator shows 110 psi. The riveter requires 90 psi. I guess my compressor may not be up to this task. Anyone using one of these tools with a small compressor?

I don't want to claim the unit defective yet since I'm not sure I know how to use it correctly.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Thanks
 

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FFCobra Craftsman
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1,021 Posts
I don't remember priming the unit I just put a couple of drops in the intake like normal. I've pulled all kinds of rivets with it no problems.
 

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My units comes with different sized fittings for different diameter rivits. Are you sure that the fitting on the front of the unit that you slide the rivit into is the correct size? If it is too large for the O/D of the rivit you are using it will not work.
 

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Junior Charter Member
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I didn't know you were supposed to prime it. I've only used mine once, and it pulled one of those big honking rivets so quickly that it almost made my head spin.

accobra66 is correct--if you are using the correct size bushing, you might check to make sure something isn't gummed up in the bushing socket.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
pulled one of those big honking rivets so quickly that it almost made my head spin
Thats what I expected. The first thing I did when I got it was to put a rivet in and give it a try. It would not pull a rivet thru. I had to cut the rivet head off to open the head and get the jaws to release the rivet nail.

I'll double check the tip size and make sure it is not too loose.

I'd like to rule out my compressor. What size compressor are you folks using with this tool?
 

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Have the same unit. Never a drop of oil in any part of the tool. Built 2 FFR's... Never one problem, It will even pull SS rivets with ease... Take the oil out... :D
 

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two important issues. First, make sure you have the correct nose piece for the size of rivet you are installing. The rivet should just fit in the hole. If you are using too large of nose piece, it will not pull the rivet correctly. Second, your compressor sounds a little lite, but it may do.
 

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One more thing to check.

Make sure the bushing is completely screwed on. If it is loose, it will either 1) not completely pull the rivit or 2) pull the rivit but not release the tail.
 

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The size of the compressor isn't the issue, the pressure is. It should run with about 90 lbs. of pressure in the compressor. It uses very little air. When you try to pull a rivet, you should feel a puff of air coming out of the hole by the trigger.
 

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I haven't used mine seriously yet but I had the same problem. I ended up with a jammed rivet and had to pull it apart. Once I put it back together it seems to work.

I wonder if you tried it without putting the rivet into a piece of material for it to pull against (just like I did).

I read the directions and got very confused. Fortunately I stopped short of filling the bottom of the riveter mostly by luck. They put the few drops of oil you need in it already that is why people buy them and use them without problems.

Once again, reading the directions cost us a lot of grief.

Good luck.

Doug
 

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Yep like Doug said... mine came with the few drops already in it. Didn't need to add anything. As others said, may take more than one pull. Doesn't seem to be a problem with less than 90psi either. Good Luck!
Ken
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I wonder if you tried it without putting the rivet into a piece of material for it to pull against (just like I did).
DOH! You need material? Just kidding.

I don't think I ,mentioned that I was using some old steel rivets I had lying around. Still expect it to pull the rivet nail out quickly. I'll clean out the oil, and double check the nose fitting this evening. If it still doesn't crush and pull the nail out, I'll take it to a friend with a large two stage compressor so I can rule out my little compressor. If it still fails, I guess I'll have to find out what its like to return something to Harbor Freight.

Thanks to all for the advice and suggestions.
 

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YOU MUST STOP RIGHT NOW AND CLEAN OUT ALL THE OIL INSIDE THE RIVETER!!!! YOU ARE CREATING A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION!!!

I don't know why you did what you did, but it is very dangerous to mix oil with compressed air. You're creating a BOMB!!!!!

I've used my HF riveter to pull thousands of rivets. As long as you have 90 lb showing on the gauge, that should be enough to work. You're filling the tool with oil is most likely the problem. Liquids do not compress. Gases do. You're unknowingly trying to compress a liquid (oil), and quite frankly a by-product of compression is HEAT (the little molecules are really rubbing up against each other!) OK, mixing HEAT with OIL (i.e. flammable) = KA-BOOM!!!!!!

Make sure you really clean the tool out thoroughly. The only lube that should be on the tool is a drop or two on the teeth of the head, merely for friction purposes. You're lucky you didn't get your head blown off!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the warning. First thing on the agenda for this evening is to dissasemble and clean out the oil. I guess I can spray it out with brake cleaner, then put a little vaseline on the rubber seal.
 

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In Izzy's defense, the owners instructions do say to dissassmble the unit and prime it with oil. I couldn't get mine apart so I said "to hell with it". I'll use it till it quits. Still working.
Frank
 

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What's an instruction?
 
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