How to Find the Perfect Tube Adapter
Tube bungs, weld bungs, tube inserts, spuds, threaded inserts – you know what they all are, or at least you’ve heard of them, and you probably have one installed on your rig.
If you’ve ever wondered what makes one “Tube Adapter” different from another, read on as we review the features to look for when choosing the right tube adapter for your next project.
The idea of tube adaptors is quite simple. They are designed to be used anywhere a threaded connection is needed. But why use an adapter not just thread the tubing?
The threads used on off-road vehicles are much larger than usual and the taps can get very expensive. When building a threaded link, we often want to have right-hand threads on one end of the link and left-hand threads on the other end. This makes it easily adjustable in the vehicle. But left-hand taps are even more pricey and often are special orders, if they’re available at all.
Another problem is the tooling required. The average home builder doesn’t usually have the proper tools and equipment to precisely cut the threads, even if he had the proper-sized taps. Tube adapters solve all these issues at a much lower cost!
When choosing a tube adapter, the first thing to look at is the metal used in its construction. Many manufacturers won’t tell you, or worse, they can’t tell you because they outsourced job to the cheapest supplier, local or off-shore. The tube adapters we make here at TMR Customs are made from 1018 cold-rolled steel, the perfect choice for building your own links with DOM tubing. All the 1018 cold-rolled steel we buy is produced in Canada or the US, so you know it’s made to the highest standards.
The next thing you need to consider when choosing tube adapters is thread sizes. TMR has tube adapters to fit all common sizes of rod ends, johnny joints and tie rod ends. Some of the more common sizes include ¾”-16, 7/8”-14, 7/8”-18, 1”-14 and 1-1/4”-12 in both right-hand and left-hand threads. You can also get tube adapters in both round and hex configurations. The hex head makes it easy to tighten your jam nut. Just call or email us if you don’t know what size you need.
Tube adapters also must be fully threaded for proper engagement. The industry standard for thread engagement is 1.5 times the diameter. That is, if the threaded shank is 1” you need 1.5” of thread engagement. Some of our competitors’ tube adapters come with as little as 1 times the thread engagement, so this is a point you’ll want to double-check to make sure your adapter ate least meet industry standards.
Once you’ve picked the correct thread size, you need to choose the right ID (inside diameter) and OD (outside diameter) dimensions for your tubing. Again, many manufacturers/suppliers don’t list this because they simply don’t know it.
Every TMR Customs tube adapter comes with specifications for the ID and OD dimensions to make it easy to pick the right size of DOM tubing to build your links.
It’s a good idea to choose a tube adapter that has a short head and long body so the threads are buried deep inside the tubing. That gives the rod end the full support it needs to withstand all the side loading and abuse you can dish out. The short head also places less stress and fatigue on your weld.
The perfect tube adapter will also have a large, machined chamfer for proper weld penetration. Many tube adapters just butt up to the tubing, which means a cold weld and lack of penetration. This will eventually lead to failure at the weld. Potentially catastrophic failure.
What’s the machined groove in the head of the tube adapter mean? All left-hand threaded TMR Customs tube adapters have the machined groove. The right-hand threaded tube adapters do not have a groove. There’s nothing worse than not knowing which direction to turn the jam nut to loosen it. The machined groove in only the left-hand threaded adapters eliminates that problem.
Last but not least – your tube adapter must have large head for proper jam nut engagement. Many tube adapters are made from small-sized materials to reduce costs – the problem with that is your jam nut will not properly lock onto the small head and will always come loose. A loose jam nut causes the threads to wear and eventually fail.
Once you know what to look for, the differences between tube adapters are easy to spot. TMR Customs manufactures the best tube adapters money can buy. Whether you’re a rock crawler, desert racer, or hotrodder – pro or amateur – TMR Customs tube adapters won’t let you down!
TMR Customs Tube Adapters are available for purchase direct or through one of our Authorized Dealers.