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Thread: Must Have Tools

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    NH, USA
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    95

    Default Must Have Tools

    As my planning for the new arrival continues I am thinking about tools, what are "must haves" and what are "nice to haves" etc. I have a reasonable socket set (3/8" drive" and wrenches, all the typical screwdrivers, pliers vice grips etc. Right now the top of my list is a trolley jack (Harbor Freight Low Profile) and Jac/Axle Stands, what else would you consider immediate needs?

    I think my main debate is a torque wrench, it's pretty clear I need one but there seems to be a very broad cost curve, any thoughts on the Harbor Freight $20 Torque Wrench or (although I can't find it now) using a digital torque adaptor as a "converter" for a socket set?

    I'll have some poppers to fix so a rivet gun too although one may be coming with the car.

    What am I missing that is a necessity?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    179

    Default

    UKChris,

    Ref: "I think my main debate is a torque wrench, it's pretty clear I need one but there seems to be a very broad cost curve,..."

    Grassroots had a lab test a couple years ago. The wrenches ranged from $12 Harbor Freight to $100+ as I recall. ALL were within 2% accurate, with no apparent relationship to price. You may want 1/2 inch sockets and wrench. Consider 6 point rather than 12. I use the $12 job, and nothing has fallen off yet. Maybe I should change my screen name to Po Boy 7.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    North Potomac, MD
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    7,083

    Default

    A deflecting beam torque wrench really doesn't go out of calibration - although it's tough to use in tight spaces I guess. Just make sure whatever you use, you're not near the top or bottom of the measurement range.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Arkansas and . . .
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    Default

    Here’s a’rule of thunb’ for must-have tools: any tool, one that is required to do a job properly (even though the tool may be used only once) where the cost of rental/purchase is less than the cost of having the job hired out, IS a must-have tool. As for tools you can use day in and day out, at the top,of my list is a good set of both SAE and metric ‘stubby’ wrenches (preferably two sets of each if you do quite a bit of wrenching on your car. These wrenches can reach areas where longer (standard sized) wrenches cannot. Regarding tools mentioned here, my ownership of each are as follows, and yes, I use them all:

    • Floor jacks - 3, Herbor Freight
    • Jack stands - 4, local parts store (would suggest getting all jack stands the same size)
    • Torque wrenches - 3, 2 from Harbor Freight and one from NAPA


    Can add more tools to this list if you desire.
    Stalker V8, chassis #85

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    Get up in the morning and give the day your very best. You don’t get it back.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    NH, USA
    Posts
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    Default

    Three floor jacks? I was assuming I can jack it front/back or a corner at a time to get jack stands under... do you have the "just because" or do you feel it's a need?

    I'm thinking about a 1/2" socket set, will definitely pick up the HF torque wrench. For Jack stands was leaning toward Amazon, $25/pair.

    Quote Originally Posted by xcarguy View Post
    Here’s a’rule of thunb’ for must-have tools: any tool, one that is required to do a job properly (even though the tool may be used only once) where the cost of rental/purchase is less than the cost of having the job hired out, IS a must-have tool. As for tools you can use day in and day out, at the top,of my list is a good set of both SAE and metric ‘stubby’ wrenches (preferably two sets of each if you do quite a bit of wrenching on your car. These wrenches can reach areas where longer (standard sized) wrenches cannot. Regarding tools mentioned here, my ownership of each are as follows, and yes, I use them all:

    • Floor jacks - 3, Herbor Freight
    • Jack stands - 4, local parts store (would suggest getting all jack stands the same size)
    • Torque wrenches - 3, 2 from Harbor Freight and one from NAPA


    Can add more tools to this list if you desire.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Erie, CO
    Posts
    4,003

    Default

    I have a list of the torque specs I used on my former Caterham. I ran this torque check before every track day and several times a year when I didn't do any track days. Its an Excel spread sheet and I can't attach it here. If you want a copy PM me your email address and I will send it along.

    I agree on buying whatever tools you need, you can never have too many tools. I have a few that I thought I needed but are still unused. I have two large roll around cabinets full of tools from a lifetime of working on cars, you can see them under the Caterham.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I generally use 3/8" drive sockets rather than 1/2" drives which are sometimes too large or bulky to get into the small spaces.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    156

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    The three power tools I have used most in the construction of my car are a Makita cordless drill (with extra battery), a 4" cutoff wheel for HF and a Bosch saber saw. I found a old but lightly used drill press on Craigs list locally the has come in very handy. I have found over the years that cordless drills last about the length of time equal to the construction of a house. By then the clutch is slipping a bit and the batteries are not lasting as long. The saber saw is useful for cutting heavier steel metal and light tubing. The better saws have a decent guide wheel behind the blade that improves accuracy and blade longevity. I have used the cutoff wheel to cut stuff too heavy for the saw and to trim excess bolt lengths.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    179

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    Ref: "I agree on buying whatever tools you need, you can never have too many tools."

    I completely agree. However my son differs. We recently scavenged a building where they told him to take anything he wanted. I got a number of great quality tools and supplies. He jumped on me, saying I should get rid of stuff and have too much already......

    I shut him up when I asked where he has to borrow tools, and who seems to usually have the right tool for the job?!

    UKChris, Hint. Used tools of high quality are often as useful as new, for 10% of the money.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    North Potomac, MD
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    You can never have enough saws, hammers and chisels.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Arkansas and . . .
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    3,197

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by slngsht View Post
    You can never have enough saws, hammers and chisels.
    So true. My last count on hammers was at 21; peen ball set, dead blow set, rubber mallet set, and, and, and . . .
    Stalker V8, chassis #85

    Stalker Chassis #85 Build Gallery
    Stalker Chassis #85 Owner Thread

    Get up in the morning and give the day your very best. You don’t get it back.

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