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Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use 4263

Full Member Posts: 155
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #120 on: April 24, 2020, 03:16:36 PM »
No worries. Glad you have it back. does it bind when squeezing the handles?

They don’t bind after a bit of a squeeze. I’m not sure if I should go full Hulk on them just yet.  :dunno:
Sr. Member Posts: 326
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #121 on: April 24, 2020, 03:19:01 PM »
That’s encouraging. If they fix it and it just becomes a matter of being without a tool for a few days, I’m okay with that. It’s not great and the QC must improve, but when they fix it at no cost, I am happy they stand by their product in that sense
Hero Member Posts: 812
Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #122 on: April 24, 2020, 03:52:02 PM »
You know what I came up to recently... I don’t have a Free LM. I do have a Wave that I upgraded with a 154cm Charge blade myself after the stock blade chipped a few times without being used at all(!!!).

I didn’t have any issues with it afterwards, though a closed tool does scratch my hands when I use a screwdriver with an extender plugged in which is a sign of a bit poorly designed product. But that’s it - cuts nails and wire and works perfectly fine.

Then I got a used 0697 Micra - a tiny piece of quality - what more can I say. Love it.

I bought a Signal about a year ago. In two days I got it replaced because the saw and the blade won’t stay locked. The replacement started doing just that in a few days too and I had to fix it myself bending the liners. The Signal also has stiff pliers that cut even tiny nails and regular wires way worse than the Wave and despite all lubrications and trying to work it in the pliers remain stiff.

I bought a Vic Forester between the Wave and a Signal and brought it to Alps twice - on Tour du Mont Blanc and the Mont Blanc ascent as well.
It did help one of us a lot fixing a loose flashlight screw during the toughest part of the Mont Blanc ascent which happens at night - you can’t really climb rocks when you can’t see where you’re going.

I didn’t expect much improvised usage of the Forester due to it’s simplicity, though did prefer the saw and screwdrivers on LMs because they lock (sometimes).

Then I watched some Felix Immler guides on using SAKs. Then I bought a Work Champ. Figured ways to use the saw right with a fire steel and not needing it to lock. Using the can opener as a screwdriver not fearing it will collapse into my fingers. Then I started using it even more. Now I just can’t believe I didn’t do it earlier - Vic is so dramatically superior in quality than LM in every single aspect to me as I use the tools. It’s just better designed, more convenient, easier and therefore more enjoyable. Don’t think I’ll get more LMs in the future...

Dream. Wish. Leave nothing undone. Repeat.
Full Member Posts: 155
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #123 on: April 24, 2020, 03:53:32 PM »
That’s encouraging. If they fix it and it just becomes a matter of being without a tool for a few days, I’m okay with that. It’s not great and the QC must improve, but when they fix it at no cost, I am happy they stand by their product in that sense

They exchanged it for a fresh one and I’m  happy with that.  I don’t know if there have been any changes to the design, and if there were I kinda doubt the revised models would have made it over here already.

At the very least it is a failed P2 that will show up in the statistics at Leatherman headquarters. If the return rate is high surely some corrective action will be taken.

Most customers probably only buy one or maybe two LM tools in a lifetime. Between the price point, their reputation and the 25 year warranty they should be expected to last a lifetime. It is nice how they really do stand behind their products if something does go wrong.
No Life Club Posts: 1,540 4x4 since '74
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #124 on: April 24, 2020, 09:34:49 PM »
I bought a new Leatherman Free P4 and it arrived today.  It cut 4d and 8d nails.  The pliers did not bind up.  I also tried squeezing the handles as hard as I could without cutting anything.  Still, no binding.  So far, so good.


Retired engineer, author.

A man with one multitool always knows exactly which to use. A man with many multitools is never quite sure. - parnass
Full Member Posts: 155
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #125 on: April 24, 2020, 10:18:47 PM »
I bought a new Leatherman Free P4 and it arrived today.  It cut 4d and 8d nails.  The pliers did not bind up.  I also tried squeezing the handles as hard as I could without cutting anything.  Still, no binding.  So far, so good.

(Image removed from quote.)

That’s great to hear. Enjoy your P4!  :)
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 9,804
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #126 on: April 24, 2020, 11:08:33 PM »
Good news at least  :tu:

Formerly known as MTMatt
Sr. Member Posts: 341 VICTORINOX
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #127 on: April 25, 2020, 12:09:20 AM »
My replacement P2 came in today. It looks like a new one, hard to tell really.

Not sure what I’ll do with it yet, maybe just use it for a while to see how it goes. It is an interesting design to fiddle with.

You can just try to squeeze the pliers and you will have an answer right away!

Enjoy!
Full Member Posts: 155
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #128 on: April 25, 2020, 12:04:42 PM »
You can just try to squeeze the pliers and you will have an answer right away!
I have and they are fine so far.
Hero Member Posts: 812
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #129 on: April 27, 2020, 09:27:41 AM »
For what it is worth, this issue is not  isolated to just cutting with your P2 (or possibly P4- I only own a P2). Just gripping anything semi tightly with the pliers binds them up. I have had success loosening them by wriggling the handles as has been described. I have tried several different oils thinking, perhaps, the issue was not enough lubricant. None of the various oils (Hoppes, WD 40, Tri Flow, 3 in 1) has seemed to solve it.

I can also confirm that when I received mine, also purchased via Amazon as someone else mentioned, there was a substantial amount of grease on the pliers head.

So one trick that has worked for me to loosen the pliers when they stiffen has been to do the following: open the tool so that that handles are in line. At this point the pliers are sticking up out of the handle, I then turn the pliers face down and rapidly pull the handle apart several times. This opens and closes the pliers, and seems to consistently remove the stiffness. I am going to keep doing this as long as I can tolerate the aggravation and the the tool is not completely frozen up, over hitting my tool with a hammer. Rightly I should send it back, but I am not risking leatherman marring up my tool by hitting it with a hammer.

I am not however writing off LM entirely, I have a number of tools I love and I think they continue to push the technology, capability and industry forward; but they clearly have a considerable  issue and the responses reported by their customer service are less than ideal (conscience that may be overly kind in that assessment)

I have to say I am thrilled I joined this forum. Amongst other things I learned from all the great people here, one is that this issue with the P2 is not isolated to just me.

Thanks for being such a great group!
The method with pulling the handles works - I tried it with my Signal - the gunk started to appear right away and the pliers loosened just a slightest bit. Should do more of this later.


Dream. Wish. Leave nothing undone. Repeat.
Sr. Member Posts: 326
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #130 on: April 27, 2020, 02:51:36 PM »
The method with pulling the handles works - I tried it with my Signal - the gunk started to appear right away and the pliers loosened just a slightest bit. Should do more of this later.

Glad to hear that. I sorta jinxed myself. since posting this I feel like the couple of times I’ve tried this, my pliers haven’t loosened as much as in the past. It’s subjective though and possibly since I used the wave the other day, which are perfect, that’s there is an unconscious bias there. 
Full Member Posts: 155
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #131 on: April 30, 2020, 09:49:07 AM »
Mine is now so tight I can't even open the pliers anymore, completely seized.

So what have you done with it Martin? Well, I cut a couple of zip ties... Fairly thick ones, but still, just plastic zip ties. It got a little tighter after the second one and by number four the party was over. It's not like I'm Hercules or abusing the tool, this is absolutely ridiculous.

I'm not going to sit around and fiddle with this thing anymore, I'm completely done with it. Good thing these are  such cheap tools, even better the manufacturer isn't selling them as the best thing since slice bread, right? :rant:
Full Member Posts: 155
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #132 on: April 30, 2020, 09:49:32 AM »
oops, accidentally quoted myself.  :facepalm:
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 14,526 Yoo-hoo, big summer blowout!
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #133 on: April 30, 2020, 10:13:57 AM »
Mine is now so tight I can't even open the pliers anymore, completely seized.

So what have you done with it Martin? Well, I cut a couple of zip ties... Fairly thick ones, but still, just plastic zip ties. It got a little tighter after the second one and by number four the party was over. It's not like I'm Hercules or abusing the tool, this is absolutely ridiculous.

I'm not going to sit around and fiddle with this thing anymore, I'm completely done with it. Good thing these are  such cheap tools, even better the manufacturer isn't selling them as the best thing since slice bread, right? :rant:
:rofl: :facepalm: I'm sorry for your troubles.  :(

Hooked, like everyone else. ;)

All hail the hook!
Full Member Posts: 155
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #134 on: April 30, 2020, 10:26:44 AM »
:rofl: :facepalm: I'm sorry for your troubles.  :(

It’s such a first world problem.

I’m not even mad anymore, it just strengthens my opinion that something changed when they took all those nice classic tools out of the lineup around 2004.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 13,893
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #135 on: April 30, 2020, 12:41:47 PM »
So the method described earlier doesn't work?

Buy now or regret later
Full Member Posts: 155
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #136 on: April 30, 2020, 03:35:26 PM »
So the method described earlier doesn't work?
I haven’t tried the method that involves a hammer.
Everything else I’ve tried on the previous one, including all kinds of oil and cleaning and polishing compound. This one is so tight the handles fold when you try to open it.  :dunno:
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 13,893
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #137 on: April 30, 2020, 03:43:19 PM »
I haven’t tried the method that involves a hammer.
Everything else I’ve tried on the previous one, including all kinds of oil and cleaning and polishing compound. This one is so tight the handles fold when you try to open it.  :dunno:
Horizontal handles and keep pulling/pushing them open and closed

Buy now or regret later
Full Member Posts: 155
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #138 on: April 30, 2020, 04:45:50 PM »
Horizontal handles and keep pulling/pushing them open and closed

That's really hard to do with the way the Free is constructed.

They are moving again, I squeezed a wooden dowel  really hard in the crimper area, applied some thin oil and it's moving again. Interestingly hardly any gunk came out of the pivot.
Now here's the fun part; this process can be replicated. A hard squeeze with the pliers locks them up, hard squeeze in the crimper area and the move again.  :think:
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 13,893
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #139 on: April 30, 2020, 04:49:34 PM »
That's... Odd

Buy now or regret later
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,574
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #140 on: April 30, 2020, 05:11:54 PM »
Glad to read about Sam's method which is fairly interesting.  Also Mcfal12's method(which helped in my case when I 'firm hand shake' my P4 and showing first sign of binding) and NetsNJ's method are also both great.

I am sure LM is a stand up company, and if you could get it serviced, probably best to take advantage of that warranty program.  Otherwise, all the ingenious solutions here are real life savers.

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Hero Member Posts: 592
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #141 on: May 01, 2020, 03:14:56 AM »
For what's it's worth, my P2 binds, my P4 doesn't.  Some of my waves do, some don't.  I'm super curious about the cause.  Just got some PST IIs in the mail. Squeeze as hard as you want - no flex, no binding.

New User Posts: 3
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #142 on: May 24, 2020, 07:05:15 PM »
If I had to guess (and without taking an angle grinder to one, that's all I can do), I'd say it's due to the shave of the void that the plier rivet is formed into. Specifically, having too obtuse an angle at the bottom of the void.

Excuse the quality of the attached sketch, it was just freehand. Note on the top illustration, the void is a 90o countersink. This leaves a 45o angle on rivet and plier head from the plane on which the two halves of the plier head rub. Squeezing the pliers forces each half of the plier head in a shear action onto either side of the rivet, wedging the upper plier half between the lower plier half, and the 45o angle of the rivet head. At 45o or larger, the head shouldn't lock.

On the second illustration, a 120o or larger countersink, would leave a 30o included angle or less between mating plier faces and the rivet head. The smaller that angle, the more it will lock up like a Morse taper. Polishing it won't help either. It will just increase the amount of surface area in contact, and possibly make it worse - unless the vertical play is greater than the horizontal play.

This is all purely speculative, and one would hope that a 30+ year manufacturer of pliers wouldn't make such a fundamental error, that the numpty typing this, who's never made a pair of pliers in his life, can spot.  :whistle:

So, as I say, this is complete guesswork, and I might be barking up a lamppost, mistaking it for a tree. If however I am right, this needs a fundamental redesign. As for fixing pliers you already own, the only solution I can think of is to stretch/sprain the rivet pin, so those two faces are slightly too far apart to jam up in. However, this would also adversely affect wire cutting, particularly on fine stranded wire.

This is my first post here, so hi
I have a P2 arriving the coming week and started reading up which brought me here.
Reading your post I think your theory is spot on, explains why when even squeezing another tool like the surge I have here with alot of force, the pivot is tightened (presumably by being pushed out by a miniscule amount), pulling the plier jaws together either making them a little snugger, all the way to the P2/P4 problem your facing of locking up tight. It explains why leatherman marketed the P2/P4 as the "strongest pliers ever", and it would also explain why either hammering or working the tool by wiggling the handles/jaws, or twisting would reseat the pivot and give you the looseness back. The difference is with the surge I have it make a full on death grip, but the free series it doesn't take much, and seems to lock up much tighter on the free series.
What I'm not sure about is when you said polishing would make it worse rather than better due to contact area. In my mind it's true... But only half the time.  From my understanding lapping the inside of the pivot just working it wouldn't serve as to wear down anything productive all the time it's freely moving. What I'm suggesting is a gradual improvement IF you are lapping when it's jammed up and stiff to open/close. The theory being that it will be grinding the riveted edge of the pin where it jams rather than the centre points where it's already loose enough to close with ease. I THINK it would make for a little more slack, and taking significantly more force to jam up (or ideally, alot of force to get slightly snug).

The best way I can think to test this is (if someone wants to jump in and check before mine arrives) to clamp the tool in a vice with the fixed pivot side (fixed to and moves with the jaw) is unsupported, with a socket or ring around it supporting the jaw, but nothing touching the pivot.
On the other side of the vice, there should be something hard (a nut maybe?) putting all the pressure solely on the moving side of the pivot (the jaw moves independent to this side, and rotates around it) and not on the jaw surrounding.
When the vice is loose one side of the pliers will be freely opening and closing the unsupported jaw, but when tightened the pliers will lock up (again that's if my theory is correct, in which case only tighten the vice untill the pivot gets tight, don't crank it like your life depends on it!).

If they do lock up (and the theory checks out), then I would put lapping compound in and work the tool, which should grind the contact of the riveted side of the pivot against the jaw. I would then work it untill the action started to get somewhat looser. Once the jaw is moving ok, I'd then flush the compound out however was appropriate and oil up with a thin lube.
After this I would go BACK to the vice (hey, I didn't say it would be quick) and reverse the way it was being held, putting the spacer around the side of the pivot the jaw moves around, and the nut against the fixed side of the pivot. Then tighten the vice up to around the same pressure it took initially and (if my theory holds true) there should be noticeable improvement in stiffness when cutting wire/nails/your ex's break cable. (To clarify - that was a joke, you should never cut nails with your leatherman)

That's the idea atleast, and if my P2 jams up, I will be trying. Sorry for the long read

When I inevitably pass away, please ask my partner not to sell my EDC stuff for what I told her I paid.
Hero Member Posts: 592
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #143 on: May 24, 2020, 09:23:03 PM »
Welcome to the forum!

Very intriguing read!

New User Posts: 3
Re: Free P4 pliers stiffness after moderate or heavy use
« Reply #144 on: May 25, 2020, 01:34:20 PM »
Thanks for the warm welcome!
Re-reading my post, I'm noticing quite how bad my grammar and explanations are - I apologize if it causes any undue confusion. I would edit it to make more sense but can't seem to see the button
  :facepalm:
In order to clarify what I'm saying please read on -

    In the vice, the side of the pliers with the pivot fixed in place to the jaw should be supported, but the pivot shouldn't be. I'm thinking a socket larger than the pivot with some tape to avoid scuffing would work well.
On the other side, where the plier jaw freely rotates around the pivot, the vice should only be touching the pivot and not the jaw it's self. I would think a small nut (again with some tape to prevent scratches), or the end of a wooden dowel would do the trick nicely.
This means that when the vice is loose the pliers should open and close freely.

If my theory is correct then tightening the vice should snug up the pivot and make it stiff in the same way cutting a nail would. If that's the case then mixing a little lapping compound/polishing powder (if possible a medium grit) and alcohol/acetone/thin oil will make for a lapping liquid of sorts, which when applied will allow the compound to fill any gaps in the pivot area. While the vice is still tight and the compound has been put in, I would start to open and close the pliers (even if that meals putting a length of pipe over each of the plier jaws for more leverage) in order to get the compound to do its job and grind/polish the really tight areas.

Hope that made more sense - I need to learn to proof read an awful lot more!

When I inevitably pass away, please ask my partner not to sell my EDC stuff for what I told her I paid.

 

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