Problems with My Maillon

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Problems with My Maillon

Postby Amazingracer » Nov 11, 2007 1:20 am

I recently got a stainless steel MR for my seat harness. I have used it on several trips now. When I first got the thing it was kind of hard to screw closed, didn't take a lot of straining or anything like that, just felt a lot more resistance than normal.
Now though I can only get one full rotation around the first thread. In other words it wont screw closed. I can closed it with a wrench, and open it with a wrench as well, but thats not cave feasible. It looks like the first row or two of threads are bent.
Any advice for this? I tried closing and reopening the thing several times with the wrench hoping the threads could align themselves on their own, but that didn't work.
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Postby MUD » Nov 11, 2007 8:16 am

Get a new one....yer life is worth it, right?
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Postby MoonshineR DavE » Nov 11, 2007 8:57 am

If you have a tap and die set, you could always try running a die up on it before you buy a new one.
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Postby NZcaver » Nov 11, 2007 12:49 pm

I suppose you could try the tap and die option to clean the threads, and/or try flexing the maillon in a vice to help line the threads up - if that's the cause of the problem. Or... you could just get a new maillon.

Personally I now avoid that issue by using a Petzl Omni Tri-Act in place of a traditional maillon (very convenient, but expensive!) Before this, I used a Zicral (aluminum alloy) maillon rather than a steel one. My first one became a little tough to screw closed - this was my fault, weighting it once without closing it all the way first. But even so it could still be operated without tools. My second Zicral maillon survived many years of caving, and is still my spare/loaner.

Assuming you regularly clean and maintain your vertical gear, a little scrubbing of the threads with a toothbrush from time to time can also help. A small smear of silicone lubricant doesn't do any harm either. If you can't get your stainless maillon working, you might consider buying a Zicral model and see how that goes.
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Postby Amazingracer » Nov 11, 2007 9:58 pm

Im going to give the tap & die method and the vice grip method a try and test the milage. If nothing, Ill just get a new Maillon.

NZ, I had looked at the Omni, but I like the stainless steel, and I hate the auto-locking carabiners. They seem unsafe to me. It's just a mental thing for me, I know they are perfectly fine, just something about an auto locking carabiner irks me. Thats why I wont use a Freino with my stop.
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Postby FiddleCaver » Nov 11, 2007 11:18 pm

This happened to me. I just started carrying a multi-tool along, but after about a year, it has began to loosen up a bit. It's still hard to operate, but I can do it without a wrench now...
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Postby Andy Shoun » Nov 12, 2007 9:08 am

If it was mine, I'd try to remove the offending part of the threads with a small file. I have a small delicate ignition file (Sears) which has worked for me when cleaning up threads on normal bolts. I haven't tried it on climbing gear. You want the mallion to turn by hand and to fully engage. I'm confident the manufacturer would say replace any non-functioning gear, I'm just saying what I would do.
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Postby Dwight Livingston » Nov 12, 2007 9:31 am

The problem is more likely to be the spacing between the two sets of male threads, not the thread size. In one D maillon I had, I corrected the problem by putting the maillon in a vice and cranking the gap closed a little. It took a quite a few trys but I closed the gap and the thread worked fine. I also tried that for another maillon and it made it worse. I think in that case the threads were out of alignment. Anyway, it's something to try.
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Postby NZcaver » Nov 12, 2007 9:41 am

Amazingracer wrote:NZ, I had looked at the Omni, but I like the stainless steel, and I hate the auto-locking carabiners. They seem unsafe to me. It's just a mental thing for me, I know they are perfectly fine, just something about an auto locking carabiner irks me. Thats why I wont use a Freino with my stop.

Yeah, I have to admit I was once a little suspicious of auto-locking devices too. My regular carabiners were always screw-lock (or non-locking). The Omni Tri-Act and Freino are the only two exceptions, and since I got them I've never looked back. I just couldn't come up with any legitimate reason why an auto-locking device would be any worse than a screw lock in terms of safety or functionality. I physically check mine are closed and locked each time, just like I would a screw lock. There's some anecdotal evidence that auto-locks can become fouled easier, making it tough to close or open. But it's never happened yet with mine, and I don't clean these any more diligently than I do any other device.

I also know there are a number of cavers out ther (not necessarily you) that "won't trust" 20kN-rated aluminum maillons... and yet they happily trust aluminum carabiners all the time. Never understood that.
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Postby Scott McCrea » Nov 12, 2007 10:44 am

Personally, I would not try to fix such an integral/important part. They are inexpensive to replace.

I gave up on the half round screw link. I now use a Petzl Omni. I love it. It's not the auto-locking one, it's more like a regular carabiner gate. It's much faster to put on and if you forget to screw it locked, it is still closed and somewhat strongish. Unlike an unscrew screw link.

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Postby adleedy » Nov 12, 2007 8:13 pm

i would not try to fix this either...a regular steel maillion can be bought for $9...my life is worth more than that.
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Postby paul » Nov 13, 2007 7:55 am

Dwight Livingston wrote:The problem is more likely to be the spacing between the two sets of male threads, not the thread size. In one D maillon I had, I corrected the problem by putting the maillon in a vice and cranking the gap closed a little. It took a quite a few trys but I closed the gap and the thread worked fine. I also tried that for another maillon and it made it worse. I think in that case the threads were out of alignment. Anyway, it's something to try.


That's the usual reason for difficulty in screwing up maillons, misalingment of the threaded sleeve and the corresponding threaded portion on the opposite sided. Usually you can fix this by slight bending in the correct direction.

If the maillon was brand new, ask for on which isn't bent! The easiest way to bend them after use is by not screwing them up as soon as you put your harnesss on. Once the maillon has connected the two sides of the harness, if the harness is adjusted so it is fairly tight, it;s easy to exert a pull on the open maillon and cause the gap to increase slightly leading to the difficulty you describe. It only needs to a be a small fraction of an inch.
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Postby ek » Nov 13, 2007 9:45 am

NZcaver wrote:Yeah, I have to admit I was once a little suspicious of auto-locking devices too. My regular carabiners were always screw-lock (or non-locking). The Omni Tri-Act and Freino are the only two exceptions, and since I got them I've never looked back. I just couldn't come up with any legitimate reason why an auto-locking device would be any worse than a screw lock in terms of safety or functionality. I physically check mine are closed and locked each time, just like I would a screw lock. There's some anecdotal evidence that auto-locks can become fouled easier, making it tough to close or open. But it's never happened yet with mine, and I don't clean these any more diligently than I do any other device.

My Triact-Lock Omni doesn't fully auto-lock anymore, and hasn't for quite some time. I have to do the final turn myself. I always checked to make sure it was locked, so this has never been a safety problem *for me*; I just have to remember to make that turn.

On the other hand, I have a lot of trouble working it open when my hands are cold, so I'll probably buy an Omni Screw-Lock in the not-too-distant future.

I think the suitability of an auto-locking carabiner for caving depends greatly on what kind of auto-locking mechanism it uses. I have never heard of anybody having problems using the twist-lock on the Freino, and I have never heard of anybody *not* having problems with the Am'D Ball-Lock (it's hard when your hands are cold, and even if the mechanism is not penetrated by dirt, you can't find the little ball when it's all covered in mud...).

I also know there are a number of cavers out ther (not necessarily you) that "won't trust" 20kN-rated aluminum maillons... and yet they happily trust aluminum carabiners all the time. Never understood that.

Maybe they habitually leave their maillons open and are counting on steel because it tends to deform rather than shatter when overloaded.
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Postby NZcaver » Nov 13, 2007 11:07 am

ek wrote:I think the suitability of an auto-locking carabiner for caving depends greatly on what kind of auto-locking mechanism it uses. I have never heard of anybody having problems using the twist-lock on the Freino, and I have never heard of anybody *not* having problems with the Am'D Ball-Lock (it's hard when your hands are cold, and even if the mechanism is not penetrated by dirt, you can't find the little ball when it's all covered in mud...).

:exactly: That's what I've heard too - good point. If my Omni Tri-Act happens to prove problematic in the future (I've only used it for 2 years so far), my *next* choice may be the screw gate version.

I also know there are a number of cavers out ther (not necessarily you) that "won't trust" 20kN-rated aluminum maillons... and yet they happily trust aluminum carabiners all the time. Never understood that.

Maybe they habitually leave their maillons open and are counting on steel because it tends to deform rather than shatter when overloaded.

:yeah that: :doh:
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Postby NZcaver » Nov 13, 2007 8:19 pm

ek wrote:My Triact-Lock Omni doesn't fully auto-lock anymore, and hasn't for quite some time. I have to do the final turn myself. I always checked to make sure it was locked, so this has never been a safety problem *for me*; I just have to remember to make that turn.

On the other hand, I have a lot of trouble working it open when my hands are cold, so I'll probably buy an Omni Screw-Lock in the not-too-distant future.

Hey - here's a thought. Have you ever lubricated the gate? :question: That might help.

A silicone spray should do the job. Just use a little, and wipe the excess off. Dare I suggest it (and be condemned forever), but contrary to popular belief WD-40 also works well in a pinch. I wouldn't recommend submerging your rope in it, but this has actually been formally tested and apparently doesn't weaken the nylon as once thought. It won't harm your maillon, either. :wink:
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