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How to repair old King Dick socket extension?

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bugbear650227/09/2019 09:09:59
78 forum posts
6 photos
Hello - I recently bought this 6" x 1/2" socket extension with tommy bar hole.

I guess it's from the sixties, since it's made from chrome vanadium steel.

Sadly, the ball catch (or at least the ball) that holds the sockets in place is missing. I can see that opposite the ball catch, there is the rear of some kind of insert
(the brown circle is a just a piece of wooden dowel supporting the piece)
1) How where these fitted?
2) Is there any way a guy with a shed (vice, electric drill, files, hacksaw, usual hand tools) can repair this?
It's just too nice a thing to see scrapped.
bill ellis27/09/2019 09:41:06
71 forum posts
2 photos

It looks like the ball catch is just pressed into the square head. If it were me I would try and get the appropriate sized ball (and a spring) , insert into the hole and peen over the rim to lock the ball into place (that is how they are usually held in place). Might be fun getting the right combination of ball size and spring tension but could be worth a punt.

HOWARDT27/09/2019 09:42:31
934 forum posts
39 photos

It is probably a pressed in insert with a ball and spring, or was. I would press out the piece/socket you can see, get a ball that just slides into the bore of the socket. Then put a spring into the socket power fulll enough so that when you sit the ball on top you can press the ball into the socket. Now with the ball depressed punch the top with a centre punch to close up the bore to retain the ball and spring and press back in.

You can buy detents from various mechanical engineering sources such as WDS, but may not find you size.

not done it yet27/09/2019 10:01:59
6891 forum posts
20 photos

Replacing the ball and holder insert is the obvious way - press out and press in a new one. Unlikely to be available, but one never knows unless one asks. Option is to make or repair the insert or try to secure a suitably sized ball, with a spring behind, in that socket by peening the edge.

I think I might make a cone for a ball, parallel behind and threaded to take a screwed in cap that to be loctited in place. Ball may need drilling to make space for a spring.

Looking at it, there may be a sneaky suspicion that the hole in the extension is not parallel and may have compressed the insert sufficiently at that end, during insertion.

Chris Evans 627/09/2019 10:02:10
2069 forum posts

As HowardT says try WDS. If no luck these are a standard part from a lot of the Injection mould standard parts suppliers. Try a search for Hasco DME or DMS. They may only be available in metric sizes though,

Just another thought look at RDG they may stock them. Good luck.

Clive Foster27/09/2019 11:03:28
3173 forum posts
113 photos

Agree, make a new insert and press or loctite in. Don't over think it quick, easy and works is what you want. Frankly its faster to make summat than to search for anew one even if such were available.

As NDIY suggests easiest way is to drill from the back leaving a small rim to retain the ball. I'd drill until the drill just breaks through then machine the front back until the ball projection looks about right. My socket sets seem to have a bit ofer 1/3 rd diameter projection.

Screwed insert for the cap is engineering, loctite is practical!

If the bore in the extension is tapered drill it out parallel first.


Hopper27/09/2019 11:14:44
6725 forum posts
348 photos

Do it the easy way.

The ball popped out of that existing hole. So if you get a ball the same size, you should be able to pop it back in through the same sized hole. (After putting a spring out of a ball point pen into the hole first.) A tap with a brass drift might help pop the ball in through that hole

Then all you need to do is peen that hole closed a few thou to hold the ball in place. Centre pop marks would do the trick. The hardened end of a flat-nosed drift might make a tidier job. Or whatever you have to hand.

Henry Brown27/09/2019 11:25:43
559 forum posts
119 photos

Stating the obvious but cut the spring to length to be sure it doesn't bind!

John P27/09/2019 11:59:08
415 forum posts
265 photos

It is fairly obvious from the photo that a repair has already been
attempted ,the tatty chamfer around the insert no doubt done
removing the old detent ball .
These detent balls are nearly always fitted in a blind hole and the
a press tool used to peen the edge over.
It would be a mistake to find a ball that fits in the hole,if you
look at a new socket end and examine it you will find that the ball
has quite some side clearance in the hole,as these things are used in a
dirty environment debris soon finds its way into the unit and renders
it useless if you have a close fitting ball .
Using centre pops the close the hole is equally useless as it leaves an open
gap for the dirt to get in ,again examine a new one and you will see
what i mean.
The sketch here is nearly to scale with 5 mm ball made in two parts
and would require the use of a lathe to make.Doing it this way you can
assemble and test it before fitting in the existing hole with some
low strength adhesive.
detent ball.jpg

Vic27/09/2019 12:14:52
3092 forum posts
16 photos

Whilst I agree that the common method of fitting these detent balls is into a blind hole followed by peening that may not be the case here. What is assumed to be a repair plug may in fact be original? Could not the plug be pushed out, a suitable ball and spring fitted and the plug pushed back in? This does of course assume that the face of the hole doesn’t need some kind of remedial work.

Vic27/09/2019 12:36:41
3092 forum posts
16 photos

There is another option, it may never have had a ball in the first place. I’ve just been out to the garage to check and one of my Snap-On 6” extensions doesn’t have a ball but instead has a rounded pin. It has the same looking plug on the back. Similar to this:


Edited By Vic on 27/09/2019 12:39:42

old mart27/09/2019 16:31:03
3913 forum posts
268 photos


Edited By old mart on 27/09/2019 16:33:34

Lambton27/09/2019 17:10:50
694 forum posts
2 photos


I have an identical King Dick socket set to yours contained in a blue painted steel case complete with sockets, also extension bar, sliding T bar and a very neat ratchet handle all of have the same arrangement for the retaining ball.

john Pace undoubtedly illustrated the general arrangement.

I have measured/estimated the ball as being 5/32" diameter - a standard size cycle bearing. I believe after comparing your very clear photos with my extension bar that you are only missing a spring and the 5/32" ball.

Once you have obtained replacements you will need to somehow peen the edges of the insert around the ball by compressing it into its housing and use a centre punch to slightly distort the rim of the housing. Use an automatic punch as it can be used one-handed - Mind your eyes when attempting this. The "factory" peening on my three bars is very neat obviously done in one operation using a form tool - simple but very hard to exactly replicate in the workshop.

You are quite correct this is a very nice and workmanlike socket set representing British Engineering at its best.

Good luck


Lambton27/09/2019 17:34:51
694 forum posts
2 photos

Further to my previous post King Dick still exist in England as a maker of all sorts of spanners, socket etc. so it maybe worth giving them a call 01675 467 778

Howard Lewis27/09/2019 17:57:43
6317 forum posts
15 photos

John Pace's drawing shows what used to be there.

If you can find a suitable spring and ball, fit them, and just stake the edge of the insert to retain the ball into place.

The spring loaded pin arrangement gives better retention, but the sockets have to have a through hole for it to fit into.

Removing the socket is less easy, since you need a small rod to press in the rod, to release the socket.

Can be a right PITA, definitely slows working.

IMHO stick with the ball and spring!


Mike Poole27/09/2019 18:06:43
3383 forum posts
77 photos

I think the pin type retainer is really for industrial tooling where the end tool needs replacing regularly whereas a mechanics type application needs changing often to suit each task.


bugbear650227/09/2019 18:46:55
78 forum posts
6 photos
Posted by Lambton on 27/09/2019 17:10:50:


I have an identical King Dick socket set to yours contained in a blue painted steel case complete with sockets, also extension bar, sliding T bar and a very neat ratchet handle all of have the same arrangement for the retaining ball.

Sadly, I do not have a set - just the extension sad. I have always liked King Dick stuff - their spanners are beautifully fine and good to in the hand.


Lambton27/09/2019 19:32:26
694 forum posts
2 photos


I have sent you a PM. Please look out for the green INBOX flashing at the top of the page.


Farmboy27/09/2019 20:08:21
170 forum posts
2 photos

oops! wrong thread blush

Edited By Farmboy on 27/09/2019 20:11:22

Speedy Builder527/09/2019 20:50:57
2654 forum posts
219 photos

Guaranteed for life ?? My Elora set is.

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