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No, this doesn’t work on your pet goldfish.  Only regular feeding and cleaning the tank out (without soap) will help there.  What this will do for you however, is let you fix air conditioner condenser and evaporator coil fins easily without causing additional damage.  

We’ve gotten caught out using a screwdriver for this task before.  Just when you think you’ve got it right, you end up poking the screwdriver through the coil (doh!) or breaking off the fin. 

Each “petal” of the tool is marked with the size it works best with, measured in fins per inch.  The tool can handle 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, and 15 fins per inch and has a pretty decent looking screwdriver-style grip.

We found this particular one online for about $13, though the Froogle search below will return a number of very similar items in the same price range.

Fin Straightener [Robinair]
Street Pricing (Various Similar Items) [Froogle]

 

5 Responses to Finds: A Fin Straightener

  1. Steve Thompson says:

    Does anyone know if there might be a similar tool to fix radiator (and more importantly) intercooler fins?

  2. Chuck Cage says:

    Steve: I’ve seen people in forums mention using this particular type of tool on radiators and intercoolers as well. It doesn’t appear to matter what fins you’re using the tool on as long as their spacing matches the partuclar “petal” of the tool you use. Certainly at these prices I’d be tempted to pick one up (from any of the many sources out there) and give it a shot.

    It’s definitely better than a screwdriver and a prayer.

  3. Ben Johnson says:

    I purchased one of these at Harbor Freight but haven’t used it yet.

    Their current online price is:
    37892-2VGA RADIATOR FIN STRAIGHTENER $2.49

    I know that they are about $5 if you go to one of their stores.

  4. Toolaremia says:

    I have one of these and have used it on window air conditioners, oil coolers, and radiators. They work well unless the fins are really smashed, or, as on a small window AC, too closely spaced.

    Note that the picture above and the picture for the Harbor Fright [sic] tool mentioned above have the handle on OPPOSITE sides. I think the HF picture is the correct way, based on my experience.
    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=37892

    The one thing that confused me at first was the right way to use it. There were no instructions with the tool and the Web wouldn’t reveal the secret. The best way I found it to use the slanted side (outside of the “elbow”, not inside), and gently wiggle the tongs into the fins above the damaged area. Then pull the tool down through the damaged area delicately while applying slight inward pressure. It’s kind of the same motion and force as when using a scraper. I hold the handle (attached as shown in the HF picture) at about a 45 degree angle. I also use a toothpick to straighten individual fins that too damaged for the tool to work or are making it jump out of the fins. Not likely to damage the coil with a toothpick!

  5. DAVE WOODMAN says:

    My last serviceman cleaned my coils with high pressure and flattened my fins bad. I tried to open them. Impossible. Other ac men say I need new coil or new ac. This one not old. I took an assortment of tools and just tore off the fins on the bad side. Cleaned up unit and now getting 60 deg and strong flow. Saved $2000

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