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Thread: Awesome hand tool discovered: Wera "Joker"

  1. #1
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    Awesome hand tool discovered: Wera "Joker"

    So, I replaced our tankless water heater over the weekend. The heat exchanger froze solid and of course, burst, during our recent cold spell. I'm not really a plumber but you can't get one a hold of one for at least a month and showering/doing laundry at the neighbor's place was getting old so I just decided to dive in. It was actually a very straightforward job but in researching it online, ran across a YT channel by this guy who goes by "the Rinnai Guy". Lots of great tips on his channel and he showed this ratcheting crescent wrench I had never seen before, called the Joker. This was interesting to me because Wera is the old standby of hand tools for our European machinery techs. Anyhow, ordered one from Amazon and as the Rinnai Guy said, this thing is awesome! Difficult to describe exactly how a ratcheting mechanism works on an open-ended wrench, but it does. Very ergonomic and saved a ton of time:

    https://products.wera.de/en/joker_60...joker_xxl.html

    Erik
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    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  2. #2
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    I've seen that but was afraid it was one of those "sorta works" tools. Good to hear of positive personal experience. Put it on my wish list... Thanks!
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  3. #3
    I found it on Amazon. However, not cheap - $73.

    Mike

    [Oops, this a larger one - 24 to 32mm. I didn't look at the size when I posted.]
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 03-01-2021 at 2:00 PM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  4. #4
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    Always good to get a first-hand review of a tool, thanks! Really curious from looking at the photo though - is your water heater installed on the exterior of the house? (it looks like it based on the siding in the background).

  5. #5
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    Tankless water heaters mounted outside seems to be pretty common feature of homes in Central to South Texas. Not sure I understand the logic or advantage behind this, you'd think it'd be simpler to just mount it on an interior wall and not have to worry about weatherising the unit or install location.

    Likely better pricing than Amazon on adjustable Jokers here: https://chadstoolbox.com/6004-joker-wrenches/
    Awesome wrenches, they also make a fixed-size version. https://chadstoolbox.com/joker-ratcheting-wrenches/

  6. #6
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    Gang, exterior wall mount is "the" method in this area. I have actually never seen one mounted indoors here in Austin. I assume this is due to cost, easier to vent, etc. To be fair, we had ours for 10 years with zero issues and several hard freezes during that time. The unit apparently has an internal heating element that kicks on if the temps drop below freezing but, of course, you need power for that to happen and nobody expected the power to be out for as long as it was. That was the part that so many of didn't expect/plan for. Rinnai actually makes a dual-solenoid kit that drains the heat exchanger if the unit loses power. I'm going to order that later and install it prior to next season.

    Getting back to the Joker, yeah, not cheap but as I tell my wife: Just like calories consumed during the holidays don't count, neither does money spent on tools.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Loza View Post
    Getting back to the Joker, yeah, not cheap but as I tell my wife: Just like calories consumed during the holidays don't count, neither does money spent on tools.

    Erik
    I think this is why so many "Man Caves" are poorly lit.

    "What, this old thing? It's been here forever."

  8. #8
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    wesome wrenches, they also make a fixed-size version. https://chadstoolbox.com/joker-ratcheting-wrenches/
    The video for this reminds me of why one shouldn't drink a lot while working on a car or other project.

    Likely better pricing than Amazon on adjustable Jokers here: https://chadstoolbox.com/6004-joker-wrenches/
    The range of the self adjusting wrenches seems rather small:

    WERA Joker Wrenches.png

    Give me a six point socket or box wrench any day for the tough ones.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Kelly View Post
    Tankless water heaters mounted outside seems to be pretty common feature of homes in Central to South Texas. Not sure I understand the logic or advantage behind this, you'd think it'd be simpler to just mount it on an interior wall and not have to worry about weatherising the unit or install location. ....
    Neat tool(s), I'm trying to talk myself into a set of Wera ratcheting box-ends but just don't use them enough. The adjustable may make the cut!

    ^^Every tankless WH I've seen is gas-fired, and builders just slap it on an outside wall - no venting required - done.

    This is a different world. It is 900-odd miles from Texline to Brownsville; Texline can see Canada, but Brownsville grows oranges and grapefruit. Freezes are a once in a generation issue in south TX, and generally only last 1-2 hours. I'd hazard a guess that typical heat loss thru a wall would prevent tankless freeze ups even up into the TX Hill Country (center mass of TX). And then we get a generational event. Que sera.
    Last edited by Malcolm McLeod; 03-01-2021 at 2:25 PM. Reason: typo

  10. #10
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    Seems like a space age pipe wrench...interesting1
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Loza View Post
    Gang, exterior wall mount is "the" method in this area. I have actually never seen one mounted indoors here in Austin. I assume this is due to cost, easier to vent, etc. To be fair, we had ours for 10 years with zero issues and several hard freezes during that time. The unit apparently has an internal heating element that kicks on if the temps drop below freezing but, of course, you need power for that to happen and nobody expected the power to be out for as long as it was. That was the part that so many of didn't expect/plan for. Rinnai actually makes a dual-solenoid kit that drains the heat exchanger if the unit loses power. I'm going to order that later and install it prior to next season.

    Getting back to the Joker, yeah, not cheap but as I tell my wife: Just like calories consumed during the holidays don't count, neither does money spent on tools.

    Erik
    I wouldn't bet a lot of money on an autodraining kit like that. In my experience, tankless heat exchangers drain unreliably because they have relatively small passages that are prone to retaining enough water to be problematic. When I winterize our guest house (which we only operate when temperatures are above 0oF ), I don't *just* drain them, I also fill them with a PPG based antifreeze. I do this to the entire plumbing system, because just draining fixtures and valves is also insufficient. It's really easy for a shower flow valve or any valve that isn't specifically designed for frost proofing to retain enough water in narrow passages to be junked by freezing temperatures. If I couldn't do that, I'd definitely want to use plentiful positive air pressure on the system to make sure I got enough water out.
    Last edited by Steve Demuth; 03-02-2021 at 8:32 AM.

  12. #12
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    Steve, that is good to know. Thanks for the feedback. "I don't know what I don't know". Do you have any thoughts on this?:

    https://www.rinnai.us/hugo-x-1-battery-backup-system

    I was also recommended by the Rinnai Guy. IN the future, I can just manually drain the tank if I suspect a bad weather event but the scenario I am trying to avoid is if are out of town for Christmas or something like that. When nobody is around to take preventative action.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  13. #13
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    Erilk, I don't have battery backup on our two tankless units, but would absolutely consider it if we didn't have a whole house generator. I do have surge protectors on them, however...I had one fried from a spike about a year and a half agot. The cost to replace the circuitry was 75% of a new unit. I bought the new unit.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
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    I'm sure it's just me, but I'll only use a Flare Nut Wrench (Line Wrench) on line nuts. Back in the days of plumbing with compression sleeves, and soft brass line nuts, I never had any trouble with them. On the last tractor repair, I ended up replacing every hydraulic hard line because the last person that worked on them distorted every nut with a regular wrench.
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  15. #15
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    I learned something, water heaters outside, I've never seen that where I live.............Thanks Erik..................Regards, Rod.

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