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Exhaust Clamps For Champs

What Is An Exhaust Clamp?

In our last blog post, entitled “What Exhaust Parts Are Found In An Exhaust System?”, we went through the various components that convey gases and heat from a mining truck’s engine to its tailpipe. These components need to be connected, of course, and that’s where clamps come in. Technically speaking, a clamp is any fastening device used to hold or secure objects tightly together to prevent movement or separation through the application of inward pressure. At DBA Silencing, we have thousands of high-quality exhaust clamps on the shelf, and every week we ship them to both domestic and international destinations.

exhaust clamps

What Types Of Clamps Does DBA Offer?

As you can see if you visit our website or peruse our catalogue, we currently have four types of clamps available: hose clamps, U-Bolt clamps, V-band clamps, and flat band / step band clamps. Let’s go through each of these in turn.

Hose Clamps

These units are terrific mining truck clamps for air intake systems. If, for instance, you’re looking to link two air intake pipes with a hump hose, a pair of appropriately-sized hose clamps are just the ticket for holding everything in place. The hose clamps we use at DBA have rounded edges on the band so they won’t cut into hump hoses, which are typically made of rubber. Size range: 5” to 12”.

Hose Clamps -clamps for truck

U-Bolt Clamps

These fasteners are suitable for automotive applications, but we don’t tend to use them as mining truck clamps. Modern mining trucks are goliaths, and the U-Bolt clamps we stock run from 2” to 6” in size. This makes them a better fit for, say, custom fishing boat mufflers. We could theoretically obtain U-Bolt clamps larger than 6”, but they would be a specialty item.

U-Bolt Clamps - exhaust clamps

V-Band Clamps

V-Bands are our most popular and widely-used exhaust clamps, and they feature prominently in our exhaust kits. Our Komatsu 830E Inframe Behind Horse Collar Insulated Exhaust System, for instance, uses a dozen V-Bands. These are excellent clamps for trucks {also planes and spacecraft}, and a single unit can securely fasten a male-female {or sleeve} connection. Our V-Band clamps come in several styles, as you can see below, and we offer them in the following sizes: 6”, 7”, 8”, 10”, and 12”.

V-BAND CLAMPS - truck clamps

Flat Band / Step Band Clamps

These two stainless steel clamps have many similarities but, due to one key design divergence, they are suitable for different applications. A flat band clamp is an unbroken strip of metal with hardware at both ends. A step band clamp is much the same, except that one half of the strip is larger in diameter than the other half.

This means that, while a flat band clamp is perfect for locking in flex pipe or two exhaust components with ends that butt together, a step band clamp is ideal for connecting two parts of different dimensions where one fits inside the other. Due to its ability to handle this overlap, a step band clamp is also called a lap joint clamp. At DBA, we have flat band clamps ranging from 2” to 10”, and step band clamps ranging from 3” to 10”.

FLAT AND STEP BAND CLAMPS - mining truck clamps

Insulated Covers For Exhaust Clamps

Truck fires have, historically, been an ever-present danger on mine sites. The risk of an inferno is significantly decreased, however, when a site’s fleet is outfitted with DBA Silencing exhaust systems. This is primarily because DBA’s exhaust parts are encased in heat-resistant fibreglass shells lined with specialized insulation. These shells are only available through DBA and – simply put – they save money and they save lives.

One of the reasons that DBA shells are so effective is that they reduce the surface temperature of exhaust components to a level beneath the flash point for operating fluids such as oil. And how, you may ask, do we protect the linkages between exhaust parts? How, in other words, do we prevent clamped connections from acting as a weak point in our fire prevention technology? Simple. We add insulated fibreglass clamp covers.

Insulated Covers For Exhaust Clamps - Single Clamp Covers

The image above shows the two sides of a cover that would be used in a situation where a single clamp is required. The ring of fibreglass is extended on one side, as you can see, to house the fastening mechanism of the V-Band exhaust clamp. The V-Band’s T-Bolt extends through the hole in the fibreglass so that the clamp can be tightened without removing the cover.

Insulated Covers For Exhaust Clamps - Double Clamp Covers

In those instances where a pair of exhaust clamps is needed, we use covers with two enclosures for the V-Band locking hardware. These units are a single piece designed to wrap around a pipe and a clamp, but we also fabricate two-piece clamp covers.  

Insulated Covers For Exhaust Clamps - Two Piece Clamp Covers

Two-piece covers have an extra hasp, of course, and can often provide a better fit. As you can see in the photo above, they may also lack the T-Bolt extension aperture. While this does mean that the clamp cover must be removed in order to tighten the exhaust clamp, it also means that the insulation inside the cover is protected from moisture ingress. This is a consideration because, although wet insulation will dry quickly when exposed to the heat of a mining truck exhaust system, repeated cycles of soaking and baking will ultimately shorten the life of the lining.

On the subject of durability: mining trucks in the field often end up completely covered in mud. The muck is frequently removed by high-intensity pressure-washing systems, and powerful jets of water can – over time – damage our fibreglass shells. One way we toughen our shells is to powder coat them. This provides an additional layer of protection and also hardens the underlying structure. The added bonus is that it turns them a uniform black, which some people consider more aesthetically pleasing than varying shades of gold and orange.

Can Clamps Fail?

Exhaust clamps themselves rarely break during ordinary use. If they’ve been in place for a long time, however, they may fracture during removal. That’s why it’s always a good idea, if you’re planning to replace some exhaust clamps, to have a few spares on hand.

While clamps for trucks rarely snap, they will loosen over time. And a loose exhaust clamp can lead to all sorts of trouble. If not tightened properly, a clamp can rub against a pipe in such a way that a groove forms. If left loose long enough, a clamp can actually cut right through an exhaust pipe. A clamp that isn’t solid can also cause a chain reaction where a lack of snugness in one component cascades through an entire system and leads to serious leaks. As you can imagine, we recommend that all clamps get checked regularly as part of their scheduled servicing and maintenance.

A cautionary note: some mining truck exhaust systems are suspended using hangers that attach to the deck or the superstructure at the top end and connect to the T-Bolts of V-Band exhaust clamps at the bottom end. At DBA Silencing, we prefer to attach the bottom end of the hanger to a semi-circular band welded on to the exhaust pipe with a tab that extends through the encasing shell.  


Pro Tips For Exhaust Clamp Installation

When you’re using a V-Band clamp to connect a pair of exhaust parts, the challenge is to get a good seal. We suggest that, for best results, you begin by tightening the exhaust clamp moderately. Then use a soft-faced mallet to tap all the way around the circumference of the clamp. Once you’ve completed the circuit, use your ratchet on the T-Bolt to tighten further. Each set of taps will improve the seal, and in our experience three times around is optimal.

One thing to watch out for is too much friction when using power tools. If the T-Bolt of a V-Band exhaust clamp heats up during the tightening process, it’ll lock in place, thus rendering the clamp useless. Not only that, but you’ll likely have to smash it off.

And of course you’ll want to ensure that all system pressure has been released before unfastening any clamps. PPE is a great idea also.

That about does it for clamps. If you have comments, we’d love to hear ‘em, and if you have questions, we’d love to answer ‘em. You can reach us at 1-800-661-5886 or info@dbasilencing.ca. Thanks for reading this piece; we hope you’re now a happy clamper!

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