A nail gun is quite handy, speeding up the job of fastening materials together far greater than using the old-fashioned hammer. However, nail guns are subject to breaking down just like any other mechanical device. This means when something goes wrong, it pays to know what to do so you can identify and correct the issue quickly.
While some problems with nailers, may require professional nail gun repair service or replacement parts, there are other issues that you may be able to solve on the job site. What follows are some of the more typical problems encountered with nail guns and what to do about them.
First let’s discuss compressed air leak and how to troubleshoot to fix the problem.
Types of Air Leaks
One of the more common issues is when your nail gun just blows air and not shooting the nail properly into the surface. Generally this happens due to air leak. What follows are the two most common types of air leak issues.
Air Leak through the Exhaust Vent at the Heads
If you have an air leak through the exhaust vent or the rear exhaust port, then the most common reason is the O-rings that are found around the head valve or seal at the top of the cylinder are worn and letting air through. O-rings are generally made of rubber or a synthetic rubber designed to seal the area around the head valve to prevent the air from getting through while allowing the cylinder to operate normally.
This is a relatively easy fix as you simply order new O-rings for the nail gun or perhaps a rebuild kit. A rebuild kit should match the model of the nail gun, so you get the right O-rings to replace the ones that are worn out. Even if your nail gun is still working fine, order a set of replacement O-rings and have them handy as they will wear out.
Air Leak through the Trigger
If you feel the air leaking around the trigger, then the trigger valve has become compromised. Usually this happens due to the wear and tear associated with pulling the trigger so many times. You will need to get a new trigger valve in that case. You will need to follow instructions for the brand of nail gun you are using, purchase a new trigger valve, and replace it.
In addition, the trigger valve may be defective. This is different than feeling the air through the trigger when the nail gun is in operation. Instead, nothing seems to work at all which means that the trigger valve might be the culprit. This may also be true if the trigger valve is not cycling properly.
Other Types of Nail Gun Issues
There are other common issues that happen with nail guns which you may be able to correct depending on the cause.
Sluggish Nail Gun
When you feel the nail gun does not have sufficient power or is not working normally, yet it can still drive nails. There may be some issues which you can easily correct. Try these two solutions to fix the issue;
- Raise the Air Pressure
- Lubricate or Replace the O-rings
Air Pressure: A pneumatic nailer is an intermittent tool that doesn’t require lot of air pressure. In fact you can use a low volume pancake type air compressor for nail guns. However, if you are continuously shorting nails, it might take a while for the smaller compressor to build-up the pressure. In addition to that, air pressure can also drop due to leaks in the pipes.
Lubricate: After prolonged use dust and dirt may enter inside your nailer and as a result the movement of the driver hammer may get affected. Clean your power tool and lubricate the moving parts to ensure smooth forward and return movement of the hammer.
If there is no noise or movement when you depress the trigger, be sure that it is plugged in and active. Take off the cap located on the head of the nailer, use a wooden dowel and push the driver to the bottom. If it does not move, you either have a stuck nail, a broken driver, or the trigger valve itself is broken.
A stuck nail means you have to clear out the jam by pushing the driver back up. A broken driver or defective trigger valve will need to be replaced. If the piston top of the driver looks off-center, cocked, or just plain wrong, then it may be broken and will need to be replaced.
This usually means the exhaust value is not working properly or perhaps is missing entirely. The exhaust valve normally has a rubber O-ring, that is around the cylinder itself. You will need to order a new O-ring kit if that is the case.
Other issues deal with the fastener that does not countersink. This may mean that the driver tip is broken or compromised. You can test this out by removing all the nails from the magazine, taking the cap off the head of the nailer, and using a wooden dowel to push the driver down to the bottom. If the driver does not extend past the end of the nailer, then you will need to order a new driver.
Remember to follow the instructions that come with repairing or replacing valves, O-rings, and the like with your nail gun. If you cannot locate the problem, then taking it to a repair shop or replacing it may be the answer.
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