View Full Version : Product Failure Warning - Danger ***

07-24-2008, 09:04 PM
I bought a few packs of air hose Quick Coupler Sets a while back from Harbor Freight. I wear a lot of these out over the course of a couple of months so I like to keep a stock on hand. I mounted one of the new female couplers on a hose and started to work using a DA sander. The sander slipped out my hands while changing a PSA disk and to keep the sander from hitting the ground, I was able to grab the hose. (Yeah, I know. The tool should be disconnected.) As soon as I grabbed the hose, the end of the coupler broke off and the tool hit the ground anyway. The coupler end, spring and ball bearings went flying across the floor. Fortunately, the air valve disk stayed intact or the hose would have been whipping around too.

All I could think was WTF? I gathered up the parts and checked them out. It seems the whole end of the coupler is held in place by about .009" or less of Chinese brass. I've never had this happen but it's the first time I've used the Yellow Pack couplers (Item 94024). These are the ones that HF usually sell in their sidewalk sales or special promotions for less than $2-3. I believe the regular packs are Red and carry a different item number. My advise is not to use these couplers. I'm thinking of reporting this to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. What do you guys think?

The pack looks like this.


On the left is the valve body half and on the right is the end that would retain the pull-back release. You can see by the dull areas of the crack that the only material holding the halves together is paper thin.


Here's a side view of the end that broke off. The break is at about a 45* angle so it looks like the material is thicker but it's really only about .009" thick.


07-24-2008, 09:16 PM
chineese sh** ! never had a problem with parker hannifin;s B-23 coupler. probably the only one i would or do sell mainly for the reasons you stated.

i have sold many different kinds over the years, but thousands of parkers and they are by far the best i have found.

this is of course just my humble opinion. . . . .

07-24-2008, 09:18 PM
Ken, my experience is that some of Harbor Freight stuff is a heck of a good buy. But,,, air quick couplers aint one of them. JIM

07-24-2008, 09:40 PM
I've never had a problem with the other HF number (red pack?). I just happen to grab these on the way into the store to grab some tarps. I usually use Milton since they're everywhere but switched to the HF since I was wearing them out so fast. But, no more. I think I'll switch to the steal couplers.

07-24-2008, 10:56 PM
I just recently had a HF couple pop loose. The balls and spring and everything just fell to the floor. I was surprised, didnt think much of those lil quick disconnects till that happened. Ill look into the parker hannifin joints as suggested. JR

Mark Hockett
07-25-2008, 12:19 AM
I switched my air hoses over to the Prevost push button air couplers,
I haven't had any problems since and they are much easier to use, especially for my wife who always had troubles with the standard type air couplers.

J Tiers
07-25-2008, 12:25 AM
They probably were pretty cheap too..... although "cheap" does not pay for "is made really badly and will fail"......

Another thing seems to be that every manufacturer (in china, anyway) has their own "standard" as to the shape and size of the mating pieces..... I don't mean different sizes, I mean same size, same type, look the same, but don't fit.

Are there multiple standards? or are they just made "THAT badly"?

Looking at those pictures, it seems they might be made "THAT badly"....

07-25-2008, 03:27 AM
I wear a lot of these out over the course of a couple of months so I like to keep a stock on hand.

How can you wear out a coupler in a couple of months? I have ones that I have been using for 30 years.

07-25-2008, 04:41 AM
How can you wear out a coupler in a couple of months? I have ones that I have been using for 30 years.

I use 'PCL' style couplings, they seem to be a bit of a UK peculiarity.

I bought a few male 'fingers', unbranded from a local store a few weeks ago, NOT the above supplier, they are utter cr*p, far too soft. The balls which grip the finger very quickly wore into it and created ridges which meant the thing wouldn't uncouple without serious force being applied. Admittedly this was on a small air chisel, and the coupler was screwed direct onto the tool which is not best practice, but I've never had that sort of trouble with them before.


07-25-2008, 04:43 AM
I quit buying cheap couplers long ago. Now I buy Milton or nothing.

07-25-2008, 06:35 AM
I have several spray guns and numerous air tools fitted with male coupling ends. The air compressor has a hose with a female coupler. All of them are steel. I've yet to break one but some have worn out and I changed them when they started to leak. Perhaps the steel ones are better. I believe I bought them from the local big-box hardware stores from time to time.

Thanks for the post. I certainly will stay away from the brass air fittings at HF. They do look dangerous.

As we all know, with HF, some of their products are good and some aren't. Everything is on a case-by-case basis with HF.


07-25-2008, 07:42 AM
I use Schrader connectors. Thses you have to twist alittle to pop them apart. So the accidental disconnect never happens. They come in aluminum or steel. I've also had mine for 20 years without a failure. You get what you pay for. McMastercarr.com has them reasonably priced.

07-25-2008, 10:17 AM
I have had a couple of their cheap ones come apart before in a similar manner, normally from the end of the hose falling and banging into the ground. I generally tried not to use them because they have a tendency to leak and make the compressor run more often than it should. It really is a matter of you get what you pay for with some of their stuff.

07-25-2008, 03:47 PM
How can you wear out a coupler in a couple of months? I have ones that I have been using for 30 years.

I have just about every conceivable air tool and use them all the time. I'd have to have about 25-30 air hoses if I didn't use quick disconnects. The sanders are especially hard on them, I suppose, because of the vibrations. I guess some of us still have to work for a living. :D

Which reminds me, I late. :eek:

07-25-2008, 04:31 PM
I typically spend the money for the genuine Milton connectors...often available cheap in bulk.

My first experience with the cheap ones was with some in maybe a Campbell-Hausfield package...but the female I put on my portable I used for everything at the time leaked constantly from inside the connector. The brass males are a bit softer and more prone to damage that makes them not seal in the future too.

Maybe if you buy steel connectors...even if not a name brand, you won't be "wearing them out" every few months. Like Evan, I have a hard time imagining them "wearing" much anyway, but perhaps where the latching balls drag??


07-25-2008, 05:22 PM
Looks like you got what you paid for.

Paul Alciatore
07-26-2008, 02:39 AM
How does this happen? Here's some thoughts. Someone on our side of the puddle designs a steel coupler using inch dimensions and tooling. It is well designed and made and lasts for years. But it costs "too much". An Asian shop "copies" the design but has metric tooling and decides to use brass instead of steel. They convert the inner hole size to metric and size it up to the next size metric drill they have on hand. They resharpen the drill in the same "high quality" manner as some import drill bits that I have purchased (and returned). Now the hole is perhaps 0.01 to 0.02 inches larger than the original design and the material is weaker. Oh, I forgot to add in Chinese tolerances, but you get the idea.

The part looks the same on the outside and no one does any tests, they just package and ship them. Feedback from users is almost impossible and therefore totally absent.

But we still go to HF and buy them. ????? Because they are cheaper? But wouldn't one well made connector outlast dozens of such poorly made ones? And really be the actual bargain.

07-26-2008, 04:44 AM
I have a few of the brass connectors. I use them on some outlets that aren't used often such as pressure regulated for spray painting. All of the connectors on my air tools, of which I have many, are hardened steel. They don't wear slowly because they don't wear measurably at all. My air tools are all US made leaning heavily to older Chicago Pneumatic models that I bought years ago.

As has been said before, if you are in business to make a living you can't afford to buy cheap stuff.

07-26-2008, 10:44 AM
I have yet to see any air connectors made of hardened steel. The steel ones are screw machine products, made of free cutting steel and plated.

Regardless of the material of construction, manufacturer or purchase price, the wear and leaking is the result of other factors. It is wear and damage to the internals of the female fitting that leads to their demise.

Especially in commercial applications such as a body shop or industrial use, the male fitting can become mechanically damaged, dented or gouged. It also will pick up dirt, abrasives or other contaminants that are now forced into the female coupler. This damages and wears the O-rings and seats, resulting in wear and leakage, which is what Ken is addressing by replacement.

07-26-2008, 11:39 AM
I have yet to see any air connectors made of hardened steel.

Well, the ones I have and still use from the 70s can't be cut with a hacksaw.

Oh, the male connectors I have do not become dented, gouged or otherwise damaged. It must be because they are hardened.

07-26-2008, 11:55 AM
For your edification Jim I just took a photo of an attempt to file the male connector on my air hammer. Using a Nicholson flat bastard all it was able to do was shine up the finish by removing the dirt.


That connector has been on there through years of working on aircraft in the 70s and ever since. Note the condition. My connectors do not leak.

07-26-2008, 12:05 PM
Regardless of the materials of construction, the cause for leakage in the female coupler remain the same. It is not wear of the male nipple, but wear and damage to the internals of the female coupler.