Koul Tools owner Dick Raczuk is our kind of pragmatist. Having spent time in the ’70s and ’80s designing tools for Honda development in America, when Raczuk was working on a build in the early 2000s and found himself having a hard time finding the specific tool he wanted for working on the project, he simply designed his own out of necessity. And that, as they say, is the mother of invention, leading to the first set of innovative offerings from Koul Tools.
SurSeat is actually the third offering from the Koul Tools lineup. The AN Hose Tool was the company’s first device to market, and its simple “Why didn’t I think of that?” functionality in regards to its ability to make installing braided hose ends an effortless, time-saving affair showcased the elegance of design that would become a hallmark of Koul Tools products.
In that same vein of straight-forward solutions, the following tool released by Koul Tools, the EZ-ON Hose Press takes all of the hassle out of connecting up push-on fittings by cleverly utilizing mechanical leverage.
Most recently, Raczuk set his sights on solving leaks on hard lines with the SurSeat Line Lapper. If you’ve ever worked with hard fluid lines you’re already familiar with how difficult it can be to get the flares just right, and if you don’t, you run the risk of a leaking line. It might sound like a minor hassle at first, but a leaking brake line can easily slow down progress on a project, and even if nine out of ten of the lines you’ve installed don’t leak, the one that does can really take the momentum out of your progress.
The SurSeat is a tool that’s designed for the express purpose of cleaning up flared ends on brake lines, fuel lines, wastegate lines, and any other hard line that requires a reliable flared seal.
“I was working on my ’35 Packard coupe and I noticed a leak in a hard line,” Raczuk explains. “After I lapped in a flare to fix the leak, I realized that there was a demand for something like this, since it was such an easy fix.”
Following the principles used to lap engine valves, the SurSeat is designed with the same simplicity and ease-of-use in mind as the previous Koul Tools offerings. It uses a diamond-dust-embedded press head to gently lap in a flared tubing end to create a more effective seal.
The P-51 version of the tool clamps into a vise to provide the user with a stable base during the grinding process, and the flared line is placed into the end opposite the grinding wheel. Just a few turns of the CNC-machined hand crank is all that’s required to eliminate all the imperfections on the hard line, leaving the end of the tubing polished to a shine.
Smoothing out those irregularities in flared tube ends not only results in far less leaks, it also saves both time and money. “With brake line leaks, many people will continue tightening the fastener to try to solve the issue,” says Raczuk. “This can end up fracturing the line and turn a small issue into a bigger one. Lapping the end is the best way to solve the problem.” And by foregoing the frustration and expense of potentially needing to replace a line, the SurSeat essentially pays for itself.
We put both the SurSeat Mini P-37 and P-45 models to use while recently working on a Chevy Nova we have here in the Power Automedia garage. While both models use the same diamond-dusted lapping heads, the P-37 is designed for use with stainless steel brake lines, while the P-45 is made for use with double-flared steel lines. Both include collets for 3/16” and 1/4” brake lines.
These tools have an even simpler design than the larger P-51 model (which is designed to work with flared tubing from 3/16” to 1/2” in diameter), as they forego the yoke used on the P-51 to mount the tool on a vise. This provides a more ideal form factor when working with the tool in hand, since you won’t need to use a vise when lapping smaller brake lines that are used with the SurSeat Mini models.
In our hands-on with the SurSeat mini, the tool functions as advertised – its simplicity leaves little room for guesswork, and the flared ends of the brake lines we lapped with the SurSeat came out to near perfection. If you’re into the idea of doing a job once and doing it right, this is right up your alley. Instead of repeated attempts at tightening and loosening a flared fitting to achieve a better seal, the SurSeat does it the first time.
So what’s next for Raczuk and Koul Tools? We hear there’s a re-seater tool in the works that’s expected to debut toward the end of this year, but that’s still on the down-low for now. Be on the lookout for more details as we get them, and visit the Koul Tools website for information on SurSeat and other valuable tools designed to make tasks much easier.