My thumbs are mostly shot. They had 20 years of appliance and HVAC repair work, followed by 18 years of typing on a keyboard, and now that I've retired from software and started up my service business again, I'm having a really difficult time with things that require long term precision squeezing.
Things like spreading the boot clamp spring and holding it open while trying to get the band lined up.
So I made a tool for it.
It turns out that with a little work, a bar clamp will happily spread things apart instead of together.
If you get a harbor freight ratcheting bar clamp like this
(or probably anybody else's), you can disassemble it and flip both the end pieces around so that it no longer ratchets closed, but open.
Then you just need a couple of short pieces of nylon cord. Loop one through each end of the spring, and then place each cord on one end or the other on the bar clamp. Squeeze the handle until you're happy, put the band back on the boot just where you want it, and release the clamp.
Enjoy! I hope this helps someone else with worn out joints. 8-)Picture of tool
This is the "medium" size clamp. I wasn't sure if the small clamp would have enough travel to do the job. If anybody tries the small clamp, would you please let me know if it worked? It would be nice to save a little space in my toolbox if the small one worked just as well.
I just had another maytag front loader today and tried the tool.
While I'm pretty much never a guy who toots his own horn, this was amazing. It took less than a minute (probably less than 30 seconds) to place the clamp perfectly around the boot and release it. No pain, no misalignment, no swearing, no getting it on "almost right" and having to start over. Just line up, hit the release and walk away.
Think of me the next time you're not swearing at a rubber boot and a steel clamp. 8-)