Installing retaining ring on Sanke Keg

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ClutchDude

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So after getting a bunch of sanke/sankey/sanky-modified soda kegs, I set out cleaning diligently.
Reassembling them, I chose to use the spiral rings that were on the kegs.

For the o-ring on the spear to compress completely, either a industry standard spiral retaining ring needs to be installed or a snap ring can be installed. Without either of these, the spear will not compress and the gas below the oring will leak out.

I like the spiral rings the most since they do not protrude out with ears like the snap rings do. Plus, the spiral rings require no extra tools (snap rings require special pliers). To install the internal snap ring, just insert it into the groove and use the wrench to compress it in.

Since I have YET to see a place online that shows you how to do it, step by step with photos, my roomate and I documented how to do it. Enjoy fellow Sanke users!


Photos by my roommate GreatWhiteSlark
Tools:
Channel-Lock Wrench (Vise-Grip would also work)

Materials:

1x O-ring: 1 7/8" OD & 5/8" ID(making it 1/8" thick...) I used a Silicone o-ring for mine(McMaster 9396K215)

1 x SS-316 Internal Spiral Retaining Ring (McMaster #92370A251)
OR
1x 2" bore SS Internal Snap Retaining Ring (Mcmaster #91580A246)

1. Make sure the tabs are aligned properly.


2. Feed 1/2 of ring into the bore (1/2 way is where the slight "bend" in the ring is). It should go all the way in, not restricting the tabs. Notice the end is right after the slot, allowing for quick removal




3. Using your right hand to keep the ring from turning, pull the loose side of the ring with your left hand tight. Use your thumb on the right hand to push the ring into the ring bore. It should "bend out" while inside the bore. Keep holding the end of the retaining ring, not allowing the part that is "bending out" to pop out.
 
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ClutchDude

ClutchDude

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4. Grab the wrench with your right hand. Put it right at where the bend in the ring is. With one jaw on the outside and one on the ring on the inside, squeeze. The ring should pop into the bore, compressing the o-ring.



5. Move the wrench around, "biting" the ring into the resting place.


6. The last bite is a bit tricky. Press the end of the ring and bite it quickly.

7. Congratulations! The ring is now compressing the o-ring and has a very tight seal on the spear.
 

KYB

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Awesome. Found this via search, and I'm surprised no one has commented on it. I'm going to try to use sankes for parties to have a blonde ale in or something everyone will like. I'm sure these tricks will come in handy when I try to put the ring back in. Thanks.
 

WC87

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If you use a hand pump you better be prepared to drink all that beer - you are just pumping air. But cool thread for those with kegerators and Sanke fittings!
 

KillerKellers

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I don't use kegs like this.. but yeah, thats always the downside to hand pumps =)
 
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ClutchDude

ClutchDude

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The biggest plus is that you can bring your keg with you anywhere and can almost guarantee you will find some way to serve it. My keezer can also use any commercial keg due to the notorious "beer nut" threads.

If perchance someone were to show up with a soda keg, it's a lot easier for me to throw my conversion part on than try to get their soda QD's to attach to my sanke kegs.
 

SeamusMac

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Got myself one of these kegs tonight, I'm about to open it up and clean it out. Exciting!

I'm using this keg as a party keg and filling it with cheap beer from a canned kit, so drinking the whole thing in a night between my two roommates and I will cost about $10 each ha ha. You can't even buy an 8-pack for $10 here in Nova Scotia...
 

shek

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Any thoughts on using a spiral vs using a snap ring? I already have an old pair of needle nose pliers that I hit with a file so that they will grip a snap ring just right. Do the spiral rings wear out faster? I figured they might be more likely to get warped while installing and removing over time than the snap rings. Snaps are 2X expensive on MC's website but I figured they would be more durable.
 

wilserbrewer

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IMO the original spiral rings are the way to go, no doubt. Follow the procedure in the OP and it will become very easy w/ practice.

Some very smart people designed the sanke keg system...they chose that ring for a reason(s)
 
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ClutchDude

ClutchDude

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The snap rings are much more durable and friendlier for folks that are all thumbs. The spiral rings can become bent after repeated attempts and become a REAL pain to get compressed. They are also slightly easier to get out since it's quick pull with the pliers.

This of course, only applies if you get a set special pliers designed for snap rings.

However, once you get the hang of spiral rings, they are superior. You'll probably need one or two rings that get replaced before you're confident.

The biggest problem with the snap rings is that you need special pliers AND they can interfere with the keg coupler with their ears.
 

ChadLeBald

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Any insight on usage of the sanke tool / knife? I was successful using the OP method on getting the spiral out & in with my first sanke keg. However, the next two kegs I got thus far have been impossible to pop the ring out. Sooooo, I bought the tool. Can't figure out what I'm to do with it though!

(hmm, maybe the snap ring is the way for me???)
 

garretto

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If you dont have channel locks or vicegrips, use a cresent wrench during the "bite the ring in" step.
Feed the spiral ring as clutchdude shows

Put the mouth of the wrench over the keg lip and spiral ring

Twist the cresent wrench (the handle, not the adjustment dial) to pop the ring under the lip of the keg

Work your way around till done
 

ChadLeBald

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If you dont have channel locks or vicegrips, use a cresent wrench during the "bite the ring in" step.
Feed the spiral ring as clutchdude shows

Put the mouth of the wrench over the keg lip and spiral ring

Twist the cresent wrench (the handle, not the adjustment dial) to pop the ring under the lip of the keg

Work your way around till done
Was able to figure it out. The issue I was having was getting it popped OUT (oddly enough since that SHOULD be the easier thing). Just needed a stronger screwdriver to get the ring started--thought the sanke tool was supposed to help on that front, but it doesn't. It's only good for working the ring out quickly once you've got it started. Kind of pointless, since a pair of pliers can do the job in an extra 3 seconds or so!
 

KYB

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I finally did this today. Had to grind down my screwdriver just a tad to fit in the little tab hole to pry the ring out, got some pliers, pulled around and out. Once I got my screwdriver in, took about 30 seconds to remove the ring.

Installing it again took no more than 30 seconds with said pliers.
 
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ClutchDude

ClutchDude

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I used to keep a tiny flat head around to do the removal part, but have since used a jeweler multi-bit screwdriver that has the perfect thickness and width to work.

I believe it's a Husky-brand that's avaliable at Home Depot. It's great since it has bits that will handles all sorts of tiny screws, like #000.
 

eager_brewer

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Clutch thank you! After beating my thumbs to death I said there must be an easier way to do this. I was not using the pliers to install it. Went back outside used the pliers and I was done in 30 seconds. Thank you!
 

pcollins

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Thanks for this, clutchdude!

I did this just yesterday exactly as you described and that was before I found your post. I found this post because I was hoping there was an easier way to do it. LOL I'm thinking I just need practice.

What I was hoping for was an easier way so that when I have the spear out for cleaning I can just transfer the beer in through the open hole and then replace the spear post transfer. Based on how I did yesterday there's no way I'm going to try that right away until I get the technique down. The removal was fine for me and made cleaning super easy but it took me way too much time to replace the retaining ring for me to make it worthwhile.

Thanks for the tutorial!
 

microbrewed

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I couldn't say thank you enough! Was wrestling this damn ring tearing my fingers up. Then I thought, duh someone somewhere has posted on this! Thank you again!
 

EuBrew

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great info on getting the things put back together, but that's the easy part. I always have a hell of a time getting the ring out. I've broken several small screwdrivers doing it. Thank god I found a bunch of ball locks at the scrap yard!!
 

duckredbeard

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This thread is a good find. Ty for the DIY. I have a salvage yard near me selling stainless for $1.50/lb. That makes torpedoes $22 each (ponies are $34, 1/2 bbl are $40). They have a tall 1/4 but it is punctured. Woulda been a sweet fermenter. I can have a brewery clean and purge them for me pretty cheap. Removing the ring will make filling them easy. I could just go through the coupler, but that is another opportunity for infection.
 

wilserbrewer

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If you dont have channel locks or vicegrips, use a cresent wrench during the "bite the ring in" step.
Feed the spiral ring as clutchdude shows

Put the mouth of the wrench over the keg lip and spiral ring

Twist the cresent wrench (the handle, not the adjustment dial) to pop the ring under the lip of the keg

Work your way around till done
Plus one! I have been using a large crescent wrench snugged tight and vertical rocking over the keg lip to squeeze the spiral ring back into place...works great and is my preferred tool over channel locks.
 
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Thanks for the info. Just bought 8 off of Ebay and am working up my shopping list of needed things for taps (gaskets, gas & beer line fittings) plus needed tools for dis assembly/cleaning. Getting real tired of leaking gaskets on my ball lock kegs....
 

wilserbrewer

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The trick to using a small screwdriver to remove the spiral ring is that you must be sure to be only prying on the top half of the split ring. It is a split ring with two pieces, only the too half of the ring must be pried free first If you pry both the top and bottom it won't work at all!!!


Wilserbrewer
Http://biabbags.webs.com/
 

D-Train

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I just started kegging with sankeys. I saw a technique on a youtube video and can't find the video now but I'll try to describe it.

Basically you drill a very small hole in the retaining clip at the topmost end of the clip. The hole should be centered well, but enough to the edge that the entire hole is visible when the clip is fully installed. Then instead of trying to pry the clip with a screwdriver, I use a pointed tool in the hole to pull the end of the clip out just enough so that you can slip a screwdriver in, and then remove the clip with the screwdriver. It's very fast and very easy.
 

D-Train

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Here's what I was describing above. Super easy to remove the retaining clip with some sort of pointed tool.

image.jpg
 

repeterepete

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I just purchased a new sankey sixtel from Beverage Factory - having no problem at all getting the split ring and spear in and out. However, with the ring back in place, the spear is not sealed. It certainly appears that I'm missing the o-ring referenced in this thread, I haven't seen it at any point. I know it's a dumb question, but can someone tell me where this o-ring is supposed to be located? I see I can purchase replacements, but I want to make sure I'm not missing it somehow before I do that. Thanks in advance.
 

wilserbrewer

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There should be a large o ring on the spear just below the first shoulder from the top. Easily visible with the spear removed. Sounds like it is missing.
 

Ponyryan

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I registered on this site just to thank you for the this post. I struggled to reseat those damn rings for several events. It took me reading your post twice, and I am further ahead than i was after several hours of cussing and finger slicing.

Thank you for an easy lesson in an easy topic that was really ****ing hard to get right 👍🏻
 
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