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Mechanics Tool Sets

Post in 'The Gear' started by DonCT, Apr 18, 2007.

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  1. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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    Well, I haven't really had a need to establish a mechanics set at home since all my cars have been leases and I have to get the maintenance done at the dealership. But now that I have my little S-10, I'd like to use that as an excuse to my fiance to finally get a mechanics tools set.

    Recommendations? I really haven't set price point, so fire away :)

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  2. kevinmoelk

    kevinmoelk New Member

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    The sky is the limit Don. I can't even calculate how much $ I have into my automotive tools. Upwards of 20K, and that doesn't account for my shop tools... VAT40, scope, compressor, drill press, etc. And I'm on the lean side. I know techs who have 50, 60, even 70K invested in tools. Granted, these are professionals working over a lifetime, and purchasing professional quality hand tools, diagnostic tools, specialty tools, etc.

    It really depends on what kind of work you plan on doing. A decent socket set, some screwdrivers, pliers, etc will go a long way towards working on your vehicle. Devoting say $500 should do for most people. For a list of starting tools, I'd place a call into the local community college. They should have a list of necessary tools for their program, and that would provide you with a good starting point. If you have a question about needed tools for a specific job, just drop me a line to my e-mail and I'll be happy to talk.

    -Kevin
  3. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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    Hey, that's a good idea about the college.

    The last time I worked on a car was in the military and they had full shops on base you could use. Lifts, air tools, the works :)

    I can see how it could be very easy to spend an absurd amount of money on tools. I think I'll start with a basic set and go from there. Are the usual Craftsmen/SnapOn safe bets?
  4. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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  5. kevinmoelk

    kevinmoelk New Member

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    Don, I'll look and see if I have the list from the community college program I attended. It was well thought out, and included some specialty tools you'll need and that aren't in the craftsman sets. For example, a breaker bar, many more extensions, a pry bar, test light, DVOM, 2lb hammer, dead blow hammer, dental pick set, etc. That set you posted is okay, but don't be sucked into the number of pieces. For example, those allen wrench sets... you'll hardly use them, and each set counts as 10 pieces or whatever. For the socket sets, concentrate on the 3/8 stuff first. With a good 3/8 set and some wrenches, screwdrivers, and a few pliers, you can do a lot of work.

    -Kevin
  6. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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    Gotcha!!! I understand the "Number" trap. I don't even need the allens. I already have a good set. I'll keep doing my research and see what's out there. Yea, if you have that list, feel free to send it. Nothing wrong with having a shopping list ;)

    I have a friend with a decent tool set up, so I don't have to rush into anything and can plan at least a little.
  7. HalJason

    HalJason Member

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    My tool set just seems to grow over time (I'm a weekend wrench, nothing
    more). Starting with a decent ratchet/socket set, decent set of pliers,
    some combination wrenches and some screwdrivers would be a good idea.
    From there, my advice would be "buy what you need, as you need it".

    Also, watch some online boards for your S-10. Just like hearth.com is a great
    resource for woodburners, there are great resources for car repair as well.

    While I can't attest to the S10 folks, (I read the blazer forum), you may want
    to check out:

    http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=121

    Another that I've bookmarked that may be useful:
    http://www.s10forums.com/forums/index.php

    My blazer is a '95 (S-10 designation dropped, but still similar) and despite the
    fact it was born in NJ, there is a mixed bag of standard and metric sizes required
    for working on it, that may or may not be the case with yours (yours is a bit
    earlier, right?).

    -Hal
  8. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I built mine up as I went. I started off with wrenches, when I needed sockets I picked up those, etc.

    I still have some of my first wrenches. I picked them up at a pawn for $1 each when I was in high school. After I upgraded I used to carry them around in a mechanics bag until that rotted out when I layed it in a pool of some chemical... Anyway if budget is a concern, there's no shame in building as you need it.

    Oh, I think you're better off buying quality first, but back in high school I was lucky to search the couch and find gas money for the week. The $1 wrenches worked...

    Matt
  9. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I got one of those big tool chests through Harbor Freight several years ago. They're pretty handing for storing those tools.
  10. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    Hi Don,

    I bought one of those 100 piece Craftsman sets in a box. It has work out well. I can fix what I need.

    The problems are:
    - at that time, they didn't have the easy read sockets. Those are handy.
    - The tools will fit, but they are not perfect yet. Last weekend, I changed some brake pads and rotors. The ratchet wrench is just too short so you need to use a lot of power to unscrew the caliper bolts with thread locker. The sockets were too deep so I could uncrew the bolt, but not all the way. I had to take the ratchet off and use a vise grip. The bleeder nipples were stuck and the wrench too short so again: too much force needed.

    So you see, it works but not quite as nice as my mechanic that has sockets in all depths, ratchets in all different lenghts, etc. But I cannot afford all those tools (nor can I drive 45 minutes each time I need a new tool).

    Carpniels

    PS. What pi**ed me off most, is that my new hydraulic jack does not support my car properly. The top if it is more or less flat. But my car has this 'ridge' of metal that the manual says your jeack goes on to. Well, guess what; I jacked the car up, put the (also flat) car stands under it and worked on the car. Then the metal ridge bent and the car sagged on the flat car stand. Now the bottom ridge of the car is bent and the paint came off. That is going to be a nice rust spot in a year with the salt they use here in Upstate NY.

    What the heck happened? Why is the car jack and stands not useable on a regular car? Doesn't make much sense. And don't tell me to look for the frame member for jack supports, because I don't see any under my car. And I cannot use the suspension either.

    Also, does anyone know something called Tectyl? Is is used in europe to coat the bottom of your car to protect it from rusting. It is a black hard coating you spray on the car. Does something similar exist here in the USA too?
  11. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    you will need standard and metric wrenches and sockets For fome reason GM uses torx and star screws and fastener bolts even when changing a head light or tail light

    I think the crastsman 200 /250 sets are a great place to start. for weekend warriors. You do mnot need the price of snap or mac.. The home depot husky are ok for the weekend warrior and same for Lowes brands add from any automovive store a star socket set and multi tool whith different exchangeable bits screwdriver. A Like many said a decent tool box and add to your set as needed. I'm a bit more like Wrench, I have added to my tools over a life time. Don't forget carpentry tools also It helps to have a few around the houeshold things like a decent drill or cordless drill a decent circular saw. Sawsall finds its way into automotive repairs quite often using metal blands. Down the road a good floor jack and jack stands I like the speed wrench for tire removal Jumper cables also helpfull gear puller is helpfull for battery post removal also a battery post cleaner

    What I like about the craftsman sets they cover basic 14/ 3/8 and 1/2" drive socket sets

    Yesterday I replaced my pulse board in my wiper motor Izsu is a chevy S-10. I had to use star socket to remove the cover.

    Vise grips oil filter wrenches are also good to have
  12. bruce56bb

    bruce56bb New Member

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    agree elk, the craftsman sets are a great start. you also can't go wrong with their lifetime warranty.
    don't buy cheap-assed tools! nothing worse than a wrench or socket that rounds the heads off of bolts or
    screwdrivers that strip the slots.
  13. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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    Thank you everyone for the replies!!! I'm definitely going to to some more searching and thinking. I will taking the truck over to my friends to replace the rear bumper, and I'll talk to him and see what his thoughts are. It's hard to not fall into the "Number of Pieces" trap. I mean, I don't think I would be happy if I had to stop a job when I found out I was missing a tool and have to go buy it. Just thinking out loud........

    I've went the cheap route before. I bought one of those cheap 1/4 drive "Automotive" sets from WalMart. It worked for what I needed, but soon the rachet stopped locking.

    And as wierd as this sounds, I feel kinda not normal.......being a guy, and not having a garage stuffed to the gills with tools :red:. I have the basics of what I've needed (chop saw, sawsall, drill, circular saw, visegrip, various lock jaw, screw drivers, etc.)
  14. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    FWIW I started out with the 250 piece craftsman set It's 90% sockets, the stuff you don't think you need like the Allen wrenches you will use, at least to replace the allens that you've lost. I just used a mini 1/4" wrench today from my 20+ year old set on an air cylinder. I never thought I would ever use these things I think the range is from 5/16" and under. Most of my stuff today is Mac with a little snap-on for good measure. Anyway unless you earn your money from your tools then you do not need to get the Mac or Snap-on tools (it sucks spending $20 bucks to replace the 9/16" wrench you lost), Craftsman works fine Husky works too, Kobalt they just dont feel right in my hand, I dunno but don't like them.
    The craftsmen socket set is still the only set I have in my toolbox............ I'll stop now cause I'm starting to sound like Bob Vila :-/
  15. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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    I was waiting for someone to make a Bob Vila comment :coolhmm:
  16. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Boy can I tell you stories about Bob Vila I worked on a this old house project, when he was the man in Dedham ma
  17. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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    Oh......do tell!!!! :cheese:
  18. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    One of my best friends went to Umass and actually roomed with Normie the deal was to do volunteer work and get all this publicity and you could be set for life with work
    This was in the early 80 and there were no power mitre boxed all were hand cut boxes. My job was to install 3 part picture moldings in the library. Day one the scope of the job changed to building the entire library. I'm not being paid here and figured a couple days an I'm out of there. I protested but was assured my work would be featured. Let me tell you things were happening behind the seans that never made TV One day the room next door was to feature oak flooring the installer is doing his thing when v bob and the filming crew comees in. Again there are no air guns at this time but a flooring nailed hit witha 3 lb malet Bod taps a piece in place and goes to strike the nailer miss it and wacks his knee He hits it so hard he crumbles to the floor in pain. This never made TV but it gets better when he finally gains his composure the cameras begin to roll he decides to choke up on the handle to control the swing the next swing glances of the striker on the nailed and the choked up end bounces up and spears him right in the familly jewels. again he toples to the floor in pain.. Remember this story when you see him as the
    tool pitch man they never filmed him doing flooring again.

    Next he was going to detail the library and was going to demo how to cut moldings I told him they had to be cut unside down backwards, but he never could visulize it. Piece after piece he cut wrong we ran out of stock and never did the fimling make the show. When I found out my work was not going to be part of the show I picked up my tools and left. I must say I got along well with Normie. But I left and burned a few bridges on the way out. lot younger then and let my emotions out. I can tell you why Vila was let go like I said a lot was going on behind the seens a lot of wheeling and dealing.. Ive seen tools in t his hands I have nothing to fear about his mechanical abilities. I get a laugh everytime I see him pitching tools What a joke
  19. TruePatriot

    TruePatriot New Member

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    carpniels:


    Re: this:
    We have a Subaru outback. The g.f. talked me into paying for the only brake job I never did myself. It was winter, the car has ABS (which I thought you had to be a witch doctor to bleed--turns out, the shops do it the same way--with an assistant on the pedal). So...two years later, because the shop didn't properly descale the caliper supports, the rear brakes, which had been binding up routinely, quit working, the fronts did double duty, and the front rotors warped almost overnight. Nice....

    PS: I had to put the car up on 4 jackstants, and I had the same problem--that stupid "crimp ridge" all around the car, that the factory jack has a "gash" in it, to accomodate.

    Then--idea! I took pieces of 2x4, and made like 1/4" wide cuts in, and put those blocks on top of my jackstands. The grooves need to be deeper than the approx. 1/2" tall crimp ridges.

    They work great, the car didn't move, the ridges didn't bend, and the blocks didn't take off any paint.

    Now...if I can just get the shop to kick back some of the brake job money, since I had to buy new rotors for the front (Brembos) get the rears cut, and hang Onkai (spelling?) pads up front, and wagners (?) on the rear. IOW, hundreds in parts, plus my time.

    Those little, jackstand blocks may be just the thing for you.

    Oh! I don't know if I did this, but you should orient the "gash" or dado cut in the blocks perpendicular to the woodgrain. I was worried about the blocks splitting, and dropping the car down, 1", onto the jackstands, but none of these four blocks broke. Maybe I just got lucky and all the groves were running crossgrain, as opposed to parallel? I dunno--just make sure you do yours crosswise, IMHO.

    I knew I did all my own brake work for a reason.

    Peter
  20. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    Hi TP,

    Thanks for that tip. I have plenty of different wood pieces in the basement. I will make a few and use those. I will cut cross grain.

    thanks

    Niels
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