As little as the O-rings are, they serve a critical purpose in every diving adventure. This guide is equipped with relevant info on how to remove O-rings (based on Scuba diving) in case of an unexpected breakdown.
Irrespective of the user pattern, even if a diving gear is stored securely and unengaged for as long as you can think of. It doesn’t stop it from wearing off.
While a regular diver who clearly understands why routine checks need to be conducted and focus exclusively on improved performance and safety may discover any irregularities with the O-ring, this may not be the case with an inconsistent user.
The general assumption is that so far as a gear or equipment is stored adequately, it can be picked up at any time and rushed straight into the action. While this may be true to some extent and in line with some components.
It’s a different experience with the O-rings. They can wear out or break with time (after some years), which means getting them replaced.
What is elastomer polymer?
Elastomer is coined or deduced from Elastic Polymer. It is used interchangeably with rubber in some cases since they share similar properties.
Elastomers are rubber-like components with a composition of various long-chain polymers. Regardless of how long you pull or stretch them, they have a unique attribute of returning to their normal form or figure.
Due to its flexible and durable nature, an elastomer has become a suitable component or material in construction or manufacturing, especially for devices that have to do with liquid or gas to attain an effective seal for improved reliability and reduction in the cost of maintenance.
What is an O-ring?
When it comes to Scuba diving, all the components that make up the gear are important. They must be in a top condition or state at all times before you go on a dive.
However, the relevance of the O-ring can’t be held back or talked about briefly. When quantifying its importance to safe and efficient diving, the only word that comes to mind is “life support.”
Although it is a small plastic/rubber component, it does more than it looks, keeping liquid and air in the right space. It prevents gas from escaping from the diving gear when in use or preventing water from getting into an unauthorized space.
Applications of O-rings
When it comes to repairing faulty diving gear, the first replacement accessory or material that comes to the mind of many professional divers is the O-ring.
Over the years, this material has gained widespread popularity due to its incredible flexibility, reliability, and durability when it comes to providing adequate and long-lasting seals to control unauthorized escapes/leakages or entries.
O-rings are used across a wide range of diving devices. This include camera & light that are used underwater, scuba regulator, decompression computer, cylinder valves, and many more.
Can you remove O-rings without damaging them?
Well, the main purpose of replacing or attempting to take out the O-ring in the first place is because they have become unfit or unsuitable for use.
A leak, broken or worn-out O-ring needs to be replaced because it is unsuitable for use. At this point, the focus shouldn’t be on the damaged O-ring itself since it is no more useful once you eject it from its position.
Instead, you should take necessary precautions to prevent causing any form of harm to the groove. Attempting to remove the O-ring forcefully or using a sharp metal object might seem like an efficient approach to save time; nobody thinks about the repercussion or what could follow.
Forceful removal of the O-ring or the use of an inappropriate removal object could dent the O-ring, leading to leaks in the process.
Nevertheless, in case the O-ring needs a readjustment (not sitting well after installation). It can get damaged when pulled recklessly/carelessly across the threads.
To remove an O-ring excellently, without damaging it, patience is key.
Guideline for How to Remove O-Rings Without removing tool in Your Yoke Cylinder
If you do not have the regular or approved removal tool (O-ring pick or plastic-made toothpick). That doesn’t in any way restrict or prevent the removal and replacement process.
01. Check for quality and fitment
The best replacement isn’t executed based on assumptions.
Instead, there is always a need for a clear understanding of the task, especially using the right combination of materials.
Before you go ahead to pick up a new O-ring for replacement, ensure you study the old/damaged unit to identify the size and the quality of the construction material.
This is the only way to make a reliable replacement for the best outcomes.
02. Push the O-ring
The broken or damaged O-ring must be taken off to allow the integration or insertion of a new one.
In this case, the installer would have to sacrifice their patience for the removal tool.
Make the necessary effort to displace or dislodge the O-ring until it coils or forms a twist using your finger.
03. Pull the O-ring
Again, patience is necessary while pulling out the O-ring across the thread to prevent damaging it.
04. Check the groove
The O-ring removal gives access to the groove, allowing you to check its condition and report any abnormalities.
Check the groove and its surrounding for contaminants and clean them off carefully. Replacing a new O-ring without taking the debris away is an invitation to premature leakage or breakage.
If there is a sign of rust or corrosion, do not assume it’s normal because it is not.
Instead, reach out to an expert or experienced technician to conduct an inspection.
05. Lubricate the O-ring
Avoid using silicone lubricant at all costs. Petroleum grease is a proper choice that could be considered for best performance.
The primary aim of lubrication is to facilitate or support easy installation.
06. Install the new O-ring
If the O-ring is the appropriate size, coupled with the lubrication effect. It should slide in place without stress. You won’t have to apply excessive force or stretch it beyond usual before it sits in.
07. Complete the process
Once the O-ring eases across the threads, the next step is to conduct relevant reassembling to put other parts back in place.
Again, this part of the replacement exercise should be done with caution (slowly and patiently) to prevent unnecessary pressure on the O-ring.
Lastly, check if the performance is adequate.
Step by Step Guide for How to Remove O-Rings with Removing Tools
The O-ring pick is the recommended O-ring removal tool. Alternatively, a toothpick (plastic-made) can step in. The following steps are the steps/processes to follow.
01. Get the right replacement option/design
The O-ring size plays a major role in how the whole exercise turns out.
You don’t want to wait until it’s time to insert the new O-ring before it becomes evident that it is not the actual/correct size.
Once it is confirmed that the existing/old O-ring is bad, ensure the replacement option that comes to mind doesn’t just match the quality or offer even a better result. It must as well be of the same size.
02. Check the condition
Because it is new isn’t a pass for perfection. There are times issues go unnoticed in the factory just to be detected by buyers during unboxing.
Failure to detect an issue with the O-ring before proceeding to the installation means one thing.
Another replacement process will be conducted sooner than planned.
To avoid the stress and disappointment that may follow the premature wear of a newly installed O-ring, ensure you check for cuts, breaks, twists, and stretch before integration.
An O-ring that isn’t free from all identified conditions should be discarded and replaced with a new and adequate one.
03. Remove the old/damaged O-ring
First, avoid any other tools aside from the ones listed at the beginning of this section to avoid causing avoidable damage or harm to the groove.
Using either the O-ring pick or the toothpick (plastic), move it beneath the O-ring gently and cautiously to prevent causing scratches or dents to the O-ring groove.
A damaged groove would need to be replaced to avoid leakages.
04. Ensure the groove is in great condition
Once the O-ring is out, it exposes the groove, allowing for proper/comprehensive checks.
You can check for contaminants and take them out, especially in the regions where the new O-ring would be placed or sits on.
Sand, hair, or other particles around the groove could lower the lifespan of the new O-ring if left unattended.
In addition, watch out for any sign of rust. If there is a strange spot, do not believe or assume it’s normal or ends there.
It is recommended that a professional gets invited to detect the issue, what might have gone wrong, and how to fix it.
05. Lubricate the new O-ring
The lubrication shouldn’t be heavily done. A light application of petroleum grease across the O-ring enhances durability and promotes smooth integration.
Avoid the use of silicone grease at all costs.
06. Slot the O-ring in position
Insert the O-ring. If it is the right size, there won’t be any need to overstretch it before it can slot in position.
Once the insertion is complete, attach other parts back to their positions slowly and cautiously to prevent unnecessary tension on the O-ring.
Put the newly inserted O-ring into work to see if it performs just as expected.
FAQs Related to How to Remove O-Rings
01. What is the ideal O-ring replacement tool?
When replacing the O-ring, avoid using any object or tool from the recommended options/choices.
Picking up a metal object or tool as an alternative may damage the groove, leading to a more expensive repair.
If you can’t lay your hand on the O-ring pick, that shouldn’t be an issue. Instead of picking just any metal tool, a plastic-made toothpick can step in and be used instead.
02. What are the signs of an inadequate O–ring?
Because the O-ring is new, it doesn’t make it perfect or completely free from faults. Errors are bound to occur during production, which may go undetected during quality checks.
We advise and recommend that the state of the O-ring should be checked and certified excellent before the integration.
Asides from ensuring they are the right size, ensure you check for breaks or unusual stretch/twist.
03. How do I know if the O-ring is not the appropriate size?
The first sign that may be experienced when the O-ring replacement is conducted using the wrong size is that you may have to pull it forcefully while slotting it in place.
If the new O-ring needs to be stretched beyond usual or forcefully, there is a high possibility that you have gotten the wrong size.
04. What is the importance of O-ring lubrication?
Before the new O-ring is installed/inserted, it is recommended that it is greased adequately using the right oil or lubricant.
Asides from aiding easy installation, this activity also provides adequate protection to the O-ring, preventing it from premature damage that may occur due to scratching, twisting, or tear.
05. How do I know if the O-ring is not properly installed?
The installation is not complete until everything clicks in place and works optimally. Once the O-ring has been installed, it is essential to test it to ensure it delivers on the expected performance.
Proceed to prep the regulator just like you would on a regular day. Immediately after the 1st part of the attachment is completed, activate the cylinder valve as you attempt to pressurize the regulator. Ensure the opening/activation process is done slowly.
Pay attention to the sound that follows. If the air happens to be leaking or escaping from the cylinder. It is clear that the O-ring isn’t correctly placed and needs to be adjusted.
We have provided the basic steps that divers can adopt or follow, especially beginners who desire easy-to-follow procedures on how to remove O-rings (based on Scuba diving) with or without removal tools.
We hope the supplied information clarifies what you do and the things to look out for to replace a broken or damaged O-ring successfully and without stress.