Nail guns are the most practical tool for fastening materials with a far greater pace than traditional hammers.
But they are more prone to breakdown than hammers. It is because a lot of small mechanical parts are attached together to develop the nail gun.
Different parts break down in different conditions and they need different troubleshooting techniques to fix them.
Your tool may fail in the middle of work without any prior notice because of an almost negligible problem in a small part of the tool.
Though some problems require a professional touch to get repaired or replaced, there are some issues that you can fix even on the job site.
To do this you need a thorough understanding of the possible troubles and how to fix them without professional help and sophisticated tools.
This article is here to help you. Read the article and be a troubleshooter for your handy nail gun.
Types of Problems in A Nail Gun
You may face the following easily fixable problems while operating a nail gun.
- Loading problem
- Firing or jamming problem
- Air leaks or air pressure issues
- Lethargic nail gun
- Stuck driver problem
I am describing each of the problems with their solution in the next part of this article.
Loading Problem with Solution
You might get frustrated if you cannot load nails into the magazine. But the fixing of this feeding problem is very easy to conduct.
You can overcome the loading problem in a great deal if you use compatible nails with your gun. Using nails with different lengths will cause jam in the magazine resisting a new strip of nails to load.
You need to check the following parts to identify where the problem is.
Once you have identified the broken part follow the repairing procedures below along with the manufacturer’s manual.
A damaged magazine can squeeze the nails preventing further loading of nail strips. Magazines get damaged due to the mishandling of the nail gun.
Damage can be either a bend or a depression caused by extensive pressure. Remove the damaged magazine by detaching it and replace it with a new one.
To replace the broken pusher, uncover the magazine. Pull out the pusher from the magazine and separate it from both spring and hub. Install a new pusher into the hub, then install the spring.
Reinstall the pusher into the magazine with hub and spring and then cover the magazine. Do not bump the pusher otherwise, it will fly out. Tighten all the screws that were removed previously.
Spring is a vital part of the magazine to keep the nails in position. To replace a damaged spring, you need to uncover the magazine. Then pull out the hub, pusher, and lastly the spring from the magazine.
Install a new spring into the magazine and reattach the detached parts maintaining the order of disengaging.
Make sure the pusher is properly locked into the magazine to avoid bumping the pusher.
The hub is firmly attached to the spring and magazine. If the hub is broken the spring will not be able to pressurize the magazine for holding nails.
The fixing of the hub includes uncovering the magazine, pulling out the pusher from the magazine and detaching the hub, installing a new hub, reattaching it to the pusher, and finally reuniting all the detached parts in order.
Bent or wrongly fitted nails can cause jamming in the nail gun. If you face this problem, uncover the magazine, and remove the faulty nail with a screwdriver or small punch.
Firing or Jamming Problem
Suppose you pull the trigger as hard as you can, but still, you are unable to shoot a single nail. You must be astonished if you experience this. The reason behind this is that the tool has got a jam and there is a firing problem.
Jamming is the most frequent problem experienced by users. So, you need to know how to unjam your gun correctly for shooting nails without a problem.
Causes of Jam
Many reasons cause nail jamming. I am listing some of them here.
- A mishandled fastener or wet paper tape: Fastener or paper tape are used to maintain proper line up of the nails. If they are mishandled, nails will surely jam into the magazine.
- Incorrect loading: If nails are put into the magazine in the wrong direction, it will cause jamming.
- Wrong collation angle: Suppose, it is said in the manual to put the nails into a 34-degree paper collated nail strip. But you put them at a different angle rather than 34-degree, jams will occur. Do not alter the angle.
- Improper oiling: If the magazine, air cylinder, and other parts are not properly oiled, jams will cause an interruption in operation.
- Misshapen coil: The coil may get misshapen due to frequent loading of nails. This twisted coil causes nail jams.
How to Clean a Jammed Nail Gun
So, you are now aware of the issues that cause the nail gun to jam. Let’s go through the ways to clean a jammed nailer.
- Wear protective gears: Cleaning the jammed gun is risky to do. So, to be safe wear protective goggles to protect your eyes and heavy-duty gloves to protect your fingers.
- Disconnect the power source: Unplugging the gun from the power source is fundamental for any kind of maintenance work. For a pneumatic nail gun, you need to disconnect the air hose. For the electric nailer, remove the battery from the tool and unplug the cord from the electric outlet for the corded type.
- Remove leftover nails: In the next step, you need to remove all the unfired nails from the magazine to avoid unintentional firing.
- Remove jammed nails: To do this,you need to strictly follow the manual since different manufacturers suggest different ways.
For nail guns with a release lever, you can clear the jammed nails by opening the barrel using the release lever. This is the easiest and convenient way to clean stuck nails.
The flip-style nail gun nose opens the magazine by sliding without the help of any tool. You can then use the claw of a hammer to clean the jammed nails and make the magazine free.
- Reload the magazine: Once you are done with cleaning jams, reload the magazine with nails in the right direction.
- Reconnect to power source and test: Now, run the tool after connecting to the air hose or electric outlet to check if it is okay. Shoot some nails on a spare wood piece to be sure that you resolve the problem of jamming appropriately.
Air Leaks or Air Pressure Issues
Sometimes nail gun just blows air and does not shoot nails with proper hammering force. This is one of the most common trouble you may encounter. Air leaks on different associated parts are the main reason for blowing air.
Here are two main types of air leaks and their solution.
Air Leaks Through the Exhaust Vent
O-ring attached around the head valve or seal at the top can be broken due to corrosion on the moving parts. This damaged O-ring causes air leaks on the exhaust vent or rear exhaust port.
O-rings are susceptible to worn out because they always move during operating the nail gun. It is wise to order a set of replacement O-rings that is compatible with your nailer.
You can replace the damaged O-ring with a new one and get rid of the air leaking problem at the exhaust vent. Oil the O-ring frequently with a little amount of oil on your finger to prevent corrosion.
Air Leaks Through the Trigger
The trigger valve can get damaged due to the repeated pulling of the trigger during shooting nails. The worn-out valve causes air leaks from the trigger.
You need to replace the broken valve with a new one that is compatible with your nail gun according to the manufacturer’s manual.
In some cases, the trigger may not work appropriately. This may occur because of malfunctioning of the trigger valve that is not cycling properly.
Lethargic Nail Gun
Sometimes the nail gun does not provide adequate hammering pressure or move slowly, though it can drive nails into materials. This problem will reduce your productivity and you will be lagging in completing your task.
There could be two solutions to this problem. They are described below.
Raising Air Pressure
If you get less hammering pressure from the pneumatic nail gun than required, increase the air pressure. You can use a larger air compressor with an air hose of greater diameter to increase the pressure.
Do not use a smaller air compressor for rapid firing and heavy-duty works. The air compressor may burst due to excessive pressure.
Oiling the Moving Parts
A nail gun is a tool with lots of moving parts. Corrosion occurs in different mobile parts because of continuous movement. This causes a reduction in the movement of the driver hammer which results in less hammering power.
It is fundamental to oil the moving parts of the tool for smooth and efficient movement of the hammer. Proper oiling of the mobile parts will also prolong the life of the gun.
Stuck Driver Problem
The driver often gets stuck. No matter how hard you try you cannot move the trigger for an inch. This usually refers that the exhaust valve is broken or missing entirely.
You need to replace the O-ring attached to the valve for smooth movement of the driver.
Overall, troubleshooting the nail gun is not difficult because of the simple design of the tool. I hope this guide will help you to identify what’s wrong with your gun if it is not working. Follow the simple steps to fix your gun on the job site. If you cannot locate the problem, then take your nail gun to the repairing shop or replace it if it is unrepairable.