Recommended Receiving and Installation Instructions for Expansion Joints


    • The Expansion Joint was fully inspected at the factory and was packed to arrive at the jobsite in good condition.  It is imperative that upon receipt of material that verification is made that there is no damage to the container.  The Expansion Joint bellows should be free of dents, broken hardware, and with NO loose shipping bars.

    • The Expansion Joint has been set to the correct installation length at the factory to absorb the system thermal and/or mechanical movements the expansion joint is designed for.  It may be held at this correct length with shipping bars.  DO NOT REMOVE SHIPPING BARS PRIOR TO INSTALLATION.

    • Store in a clean, dry area, free of heavy traffic. The environment should be hazardous free.


    • Before actual installation, verify the opening where the Expansion Joint is to be installed is adequate.  Make the piping systems fit the Expansion Joint.  Expanding, compressing, or offsetting the joint to fit the piping could over stress it in service and cause premature failure.

    • Remove all protective shields or covers from the Expansion Joint.  If cleaning is necessary, do not clean the Expansion Joint with cleaning agents containing chloride or any other halides.  Do not use steel wool or wire brush to clean bellows element.  Verify end connections  on the piping system (flanges, pipes, etc.) are parallel.

    • The area where the Expansion Joint is handled and installed shall be clean, free of hazards, obstructions, and sharp objects.  When detrimental or hazardous conditions are unavoidable it shall be noted and utmost precautions be exercised.

    • Do not use chains or any lifting devise directly on the bellows or bellows cover.  Do not use the tie rod, tie rod lugs, and shipping bars as lifting lugs.  Protect bellows element.  Prior to welding, cover the bellows element with chloride free, fire retardant cloth.

    • Expansion Joints with flow liners are labeled with a flow arrow.  Install the Expansion Joint with arrow pointing in the direction of the flow.

    • When a drop-in liner is used, (sometimes called top hat, lap joint, or vanstone liner) install a gasket between the liner back face and the flange face, also between mating flange face and liner face.  Drop-in liner shall be pointing in the direction of the flow.  Liner installation shall be concentric with Expansion Joint centerline.

    • When telescoping liner is used, install the liner with smaller I.D. pointing in the direction of flow.

    • When using Expansion Joints with fixed (stationary) flanges at ends, orient expansion joint flange bolt holes to align with systems flanges.  Do not force-rotate one end of the expansion joint for alignment of the bolt holes.  Bellows are not designed to absorb any torque. Premature failure is eminent.  It is recommended good practice to leave one system flange loose, fit the expansion joint and gaskets into position, then bolt-up fixed end.  When the expansion joint is properly aligned, complete welding and bolting.

    • After installing the Expansion Joint, remove shipping bars by grinding, cutting, or mechanical method.  Note:  Shipping bars are labeled with a  yellow sticker with a red label instructing, “remove after installation”.  Shipping bars in general have the geometry of an angle iron, designed to maintain shipping and installation length.  Shipping bars are not designed to absorb pressure thrust and must be removed after installation and before testing.

    • After installation is completed, the piping or system designer must verify that the expansion joint has been properly guided and anchored.  Guides in general shall direct pipe movements.  Anchors shall absorb pressure thrust and spring forces.  The piping or system designer must also verify the type and amount of movement generated by the system are identical with movements the Expansion Joint was designed for.

    Pipe hangers shall not be considered as guides.

    Hydrostatic test pressure shall not exceed 1-1/2 times the rated working pressure.

    Periodic Inspection of the installed expansion joint is suggested every 6 months.