View Full Version : Tools.

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January 6th, 2014, 09:04 PM
I'm thinking I'm might use this thread later, but I want to get things started:

Mityvac on Ebay. Great for bleeding brakes.

Nipple enlargement pump on Ebay. Great for enlarging nipples.

January 6th, 2014, 09:11 PM
It's good to find items with uses that the missus enjoys as well, eh?

Freude am Fahren
January 7th, 2014, 05:27 AM
Uhh, this is actually a timely thread for me. Not for nipples, but for real tools. My next home will have a functioning garage and I plan on doing just about everything myself on my car. My tool collection right now consists of:

A sizeable ratchet/socket set (Kobalt) which includes a good set of open/close ended wrenches
Torque Wrench (3/8 20-150lb I think, Kobalt)
A basic set of screwdrivers (not sure brand, Stanley maybe? I like them. They're comfy and have mag. tips) Also a good set of the same companies small screw drivers.
Damn good Lithium batteried Drill (Skil I think)
A small tool box that is overflowing.
The usual odds and ends: Hammer, a couple pliers/pipe wrench.
Four jackstands (Harbor Freight)
2 Ton Aluminum Floor Jack (Harbor Freight)

Trying to get together some of the other essentials. The main thing on my list is a good tool chest. Lowe's has a nice Stainless Steel one that's gotten good reviews. I'm waiting to find some coupons or sales on that. Also
Good, varied set of Pliers.
Shorty Wrenches
Creeper/wheeled seat

When it comes to brands, I've been shopping Lowe's mostly. From what I can tell Craftsman has kinda lost its way. They're just not quality tools anymore. I've gone with Lowe's in house brand Kobalt for a few reasons. They were priced the same as Sears (some more some less), the quality has been reviewed online as the same or better (and if I'm honest, when all things are equal I like the polished chrome and blue scheme better than crinkle and black/red). Obviously if money weren't an option, I could go for Snap-on or Matco, etc. I did find out Lowe's replacement plan is bogus. At Sears you just go in to the store with a broken socket or what-have-you and they give you a new one. Lowe's you have to send away and pay shipping, which is more than most would cost in store new.

January 7th, 2014, 06:02 AM
Tangentially related to your last few sentences, Sears/Craftsman provided me with one of my favorite minor customer service/warranty experiences ever.
12 or 13 years ago I had a craftsman ratchet strip out on me. Now, this ratchet wasn't anything terribly special- just a fairly basic 3/8 drive, but it had a really nice, smooth action, felt good in my hand and I had inherited it from my grandfather when he died, so it meant something to me.
I took it in to my local Sears to see if I could get a repair kit or something and the guy behind the counter told me that that specific style of ratchet hadn't been made since 1972, and they had no service kits for it anymore. :-(
But... they could get me a replacement. I said "no thanks/I'll just buy another/grandfather's tool/&c." Dude replies, "Don't buy anything yet, let me see what I can do," and takes my phone number.
About a week and a half later I get a call at work and the Sears guy says he's got a solution and to come in when I get a chance and bring the ratchet. So I sure up and from behind the counter he pulls up a positively ancient looking box, opens it, and pulls out a ratchet wrapped in that oiled butcher paper that you never see anymore. It's the same ratchet as mine, but literally brand new in box. He immediately starts disassembling it and says, "we might not have a repair kit, but I was thinking hell- a warranty replacement might as well be a repair kit if you want to keep the body of your old one."
So, we swap out the guts of mine for the new one, he sticks the new one with the old guts in a padded envelope for return to corporate and I walk out with a brand new old ratchet (that still had the scar from when I accidentally arced the battery terminals on my Toyota) at no cost.
So, thats my craftsman story.

January 7th, 2014, 09:53 AM
People crap on Craftsman all the time, but with just a few tiny exceptions my experiences have always been very positive. I do buy stuff from Harbor Freight, but all the important stuff is Craftsman and it's never let me down. I think a lot of people judge Craftsman based on the lowest-common denominator tools they put on sale all the time, and forget that they actually have very high end stuff at reasonable prices. Just recently I bought a xx-piece "mechanics tool set" for dirt cheap, because I wanted a fair set of tools to keep in the Falcon. They work, but the difference between the cheapest ratchet they sell and then most expensive is ASTONISHING, and the price ISN'T. That said, I think Sears cheapest stuff *is* crap, whereas Harbor Freight or Lowes/Kobalt is not... but Lowes/Kobalt is crap compared to Sears's good stuff.

FaF, a couple thoughts:

I never appreciated the importance of a good tool box until I got one. It's really a great investment. I would encourage you to buy name-brand here, because if you're like me you'll find you need more room eventually and it's nice to be able to go back to the source and buy expansion parts that match. Most tool chests are of roughly similar dimensions so you can mix & match, but a whole setup of matching components is impressive. Makes you feel good inside. ;)

When building out your garage, make accommodations for an air compressor. Just do it. A huge 240v one. Spend lots of money. I got by for years with a cheap 120v Harbor Freight compressor and it was fine, but when I look back and think about all the pain I went through because I saved $400, I cry inside. Not outside, mind you, just inside. Air runs impact tools, drills, grinders, sanders, cutters, sprayers and cleans stuff and fills stuff. Whether it's assembling, disassembling, modifying, fabricating, or decimating air can help you. A good compressor gives you access to Harbor Freight's amazing inventory of dirt cheap and totally decent air tools, meaning that $100 electric angle grinder you might have bought is now a $25 air angle grinder. 100% worth it. :)

Freude am Fahren
January 7th, 2014, 10:16 AM
Yeah, my dad had a big air compressor in our garage growing up. And I worked in a race shop that was totally outfitted with air. That's high on the list. I will be a renter so I have to look into any issues I might have there, if any.

January 7th, 2014, 10:32 AM
Ratcheting box wrenches (like GearWrench(tm) and similar) are the best thing since sliced bread, IMO.

A wheeled seat is nicefor brake jobs, if you get your car high enough.

Keep an eye on Sears/OSH's Craftsman sales for toolboxes. I got a triple stacker similar to this (http://www.sears.com/26-in-13-drawer-heavy-duty-ball-bearing/p-009CO56572812B?prdNo=2&blockNo=2&blockType=G2) (not ball bearing, though)for not a whole lot of money. The "US General" (http://www.harborfreight.com/580-lb-capacity-four-drawer-tool-cart-95659.html) tool cart at H.F. has consistently gotten good reviews, too.

I've got a portable three-drawer w/ lid (http://www.sears.com/craftsman-3-drawer-metal-portable-chest-red-black/p-00965337000P?prdNo=2&blockNo=2&blockType=G2)Craftsman box, as well. That actually has the bulk of my car-related hand tools in it, and the big stacker has my household stuff.

January 7th, 2014, 10:36 AM
I did the black "Quiet Glide" triple for pretty cheap as well, on sale. Now that Craftsman is available at OSH, Ace, Kmart, and Sears (amongst others) you have real options for sales. ;)

Oooh, also, don't overlook the Sears Outlet. Sometimes a tool box with a tiny scratch is substantially reduced. :up:

January 7th, 2014, 10:37 AM
Yeah, I think just about every male I know bought that same "Quiet Glide" set-up, in various colors. :lol:

January 7th, 2014, 11:15 AM
It was barely more expensive than the HF variety, and a much nicer quality. Although, if really pushed, I'm not sure that it's nicer in a useful way - that's tough to say. I've had zero problems, so as far as I'm concerned the ~$100 premium I paid (per chest, have two) for the Craftsman was a fair price for the insurance of it. Nothing is more frustrating than jammed up drawers.

It occurs to me I got so excited about nipple enlargement (they also work on penises, ebay tells me) that I forgot what led me to the OP... It seems vacuum pumps are a dime a dozen, but what I need is a pressure pump. I need to test the WGA on the XR4Ti, and I think reset the one on the SPG. As near as I can tell, the options are Mityvacs for ~$50 or high-end professional tools for $250+. I spent hours (apparently pointlessly) searching and have come up empty. I'm tired of using a 120psi compressor and a goofy hose/valve/gauge setup to pressurize a 10psi waste gate. At best it's clumsy, and I have a constant fear of blowing out the diaphragm in the actuator. Guess it's a new Mityvac for me.... I'm just held up on whether $50 plastic is better in some what (other than cheaper) than $60 metal... I don't think durability is an issue here - the tool will be used very infrequently.

January 7th, 2014, 12:08 PM
Ratcheting box wrenches (like GearWrench(tm) and similar) are the best thing since sliced bread, IMO.

+1 - I almost can't understand how I lived my life before those things came out. They are the bomb.

January 7th, 2014, 01:56 PM
Have ya'll given the "infinite depth" socket wrenches a go? A la og Gearwrenches and Craftsman Max Axess? Also quite nice, especially the slim/low profile ones. In some ways, they are better than box wrenches. Definitely not in all ways, though. ;)

January 7th, 2014, 04:42 PM
Ratcheting box wrenches (like GearWrench(tm) and similar) are the best thing since sliced bread, IMO.
My parents got me a set for Christmas a few years back, and they are indeed great.

People crap on Craftsman all the time, but with just a few tiny exceptions my experiences have always been very positive. I do buy stuff from Harbor Freight, but all the important stuff is Craftsman and it's never let me down. I think a lot of people judge Craftsman based on the lowest-common denominator tools they put on sale all the time, and forget that they actually have very high end stuff at reasonable prices.
That's how I feel about their screwdrivers. The cheap Craftsman screwdrivers are crap with easily broken tips, whereas I've found the Professional line to work quite well for my uses. Snap-On might be better, but it's not worth the extra cost to me.

January 7th, 2014, 06:23 PM
Have ya'll given the "infinite depth" socket wrenches a go?
What are these? I failed with the Googles.

GearWrenches are indeed the bomb. I have a set as well as a set of similar Husky ratcheting box wrenches. They're both good to have - the Huskies have more of an angle to them, and as such they have a reversible ratchet feature. Handy.

January 7th, 2014, 07:05 PM
They are basically a hollow socket, so that you don't have to worry about having shallow and deep sockets. They also are lower profile (or can be) than a standard socket wrench + socket.


January 7th, 2014, 07:09 PM

The sockets are hollow, so long fasteners fit through them. They'll drive where you'd need deep sockets without needing long sockets. Plus, they put the force at the base of the fastener. Sometimes that's a liability like when you don't have room "down there" to turn the wrench, but they do have extensions to fix that. The sockets are also not super strong (being hollow), but they are strong enough for most everything. I only ever broke my 17mm, and that was loosening a caliper that had been torqued to 125 lb ft... probably a misuse of what would be a 3/8" drive wrench.

January 7th, 2014, 10:51 PM
That is super cool! I want a set.

January 8th, 2014, 04:10 AM
Those do appear pretty awesome. I'll keep them in mind for my uncle's christmas present next year.

Also, it appears to have a very similar handle to the craftsman ratchet I mentioned upthread, so thats cool.

January 8th, 2014, 05:35 AM
Yep, bookmarked (http://www.craftsman.com/craftsman-19pc-universal-max-axess-socket-and-ratchet/p-00931088000P?prdNo=1&blockNo=1&blockType=G1). :up:

Thoughts on ratcheting wrenches (http://www.sears.com/craftsman-7-piece-universal-ratcheting-wrench-sets-standard/p-00921028000P?sid=IDx01192011x000001&kpid=00921028000&kispla=00921028000P)?

January 8th, 2014, 09:10 AM
Must have. I got by for a long time with just the GearWrench socket wrenches as they do most of the job of ratcheting wrenches, but really you want both. And you want both normal and stubby ones, because often times the thing that makes ratcheting wrenches useful is they are effective in limited space... stubby ones become even more useful in limited space! I've bought only Gearwrench brand ones, but I think the Craftsman ones you linked to might actually be better.

January 8th, 2014, 10:16 AM
Absolute must-have on ratchet wrenches, especially ones with swivel heads.

I also sell the Gearwrench brand "Pass-Thru" ratchet set, it was just in sale at Christmas in fact. Got a set myself, they are BADASS for swaybar adjusters! :D


January 8th, 2014, 10:34 AM
Something that's been on my list, and that I keep forgetting to pick up, is a deadblow hammer (or several in various sizes).

January 8th, 2014, 12:25 PM
Yep, bookmarked (http://www.craftsman.com/craftsman-19pc-universal-max-axess-socket-and-ratchet/p-00931088000P?prdNo=1&blockNo=1&blockType=G1). :up:

The only thing that Craftsman set is missing is a hollow drive extension. Gearwrench has a similar set, with extension, but only 6pt sockets which can be less useful for tight situations (ie, Z32s ;)).

Edit - here (http://www.craftsman.com/craftsman-3-inch-universal-max-axess-extension-bar/p-00935427000P?prdNo=3) it is. Or here (http://www.craftsman.com/craftsman-3-inch-max-axess-extension-bar-3-8/p-00929305000P?prdNo=1), for the chrome version which might have more availability.

January 8th, 2014, 07:29 PM
And $5 too!

I bought this dead blow:


back when I was fixing the sheet metal on that red convertible in '06 (?). I didn't expect it to really last, but I use it fairly frequently and it's in great shape. Kills me that a hammer full of sand costs as much as a prepaid cell phone or an Android tablet, but whaddayagonnado? That and this ball peen


are the two blunt instruments I use most often. ;)

January 10th, 2014, 01:54 PM
I ordered and received my Mityvac 8500 from Amazon... apparently just in time, as it's now $10 more than it was on Tuesday...


In case it ever comes up again, I think I made a mistake. I defaulted to the "Silver Line" (aka aluminum) 8500 instead of the "Select Line" (aka plastic) 8255 because the price difference was only $10, and the metal version seemed like it'd be more durable. It probably is, but good Lord is it ever heavy. I'd never seen a metal Mityvac prior to this one, so I didn't really know what to expect. It sure feels solid, but I also feel like it's going to a pain to handle. I'm going to employ it to set the WGA on the XR this weekend, so I guess I'll see.

One nice aspect, though, is that it does have pretty strong action. Compared to the Craftsman vacuum pump I've been using (also metal), the Mityvac generates substantially more suction per stroke (giggity) than the Craftsman model. I see why the Mityvac was cloned for sex organ enlargement instead of the Sears pump. Heh.

January 14th, 2014, 02:23 PM
I am increasingly irked about the lack of good quality torx screwdrivers. It's easy to find those dumb multitools that have torx bits, and 1/4" drivers that take torx sockets, but what I want is a handful of torx drivers.

Like this:


but with a few more sizes and substantially more strength. I'm on my third set of these, and they round without notice.

It's easy to find these for computer or other electronic use, but difficult for manly automotive use.

January 14th, 2014, 02:26 PM
Seems like Bondhus is the source for these!




Man, just gotta complain about stuff I guess! I swear I've done a bazillion Google searches for these things in the past and always come up empty handed!

January 14th, 2014, 02:28 PM
Snap-On's got them for about $20+ each. :toolbox:

January 14th, 2014, 02:48 PM
Yeah, no. I'd keep breaking Craftsman tools before forking over $20ea! I just ordered the Bondhus 34534 and 13532 (ball tip). 16 drivers, $70. I've bought Bondhus torx tools before and they are top notch. I don't know why it never occurred to me to see if they made screw driver versions! I am very excited about the ball tip ones - so many times in recent memory being able to turn a torx screw at a slight angle would have saved much work (and cursing!).

January 15th, 2014, 02:28 PM
Not exactly a "tool," but still a vehicle repair device...

Has anyone ever used anything like this:



It's like some sort of epoxy or rubber or something. I dunno. Maybe it is magic. Since I'm now on a mission to buy a '90s Mercedes or Volvo, there is a high probability whatever I end up with will have a leather interior and I'm looking for a way to prevent any upholstery issues that may exist from getting worse. There are actually two Benzes I'm interested in, and both have rips in exactly the same place. Left alone they will get much worse very fast, but I think that if I can fix the weak spot, the seats should stay nice looking for a while. I truthfully don't care about "a perfect repair" so much as a presentable repair that keeps minor damage from getting worse.

I've seen informercials on these types of products years ago, but have zero firsthand experience. Anyone?

January 15th, 2014, 02:38 PM
Oh, and also, anyone know anything about porting exhaust manifolds? Not sure whether I should be using a carbide deburring type thing or sandpaper rolls. :/ I tried a grinding stone on a die grinder, but that didn't do anything except wreck the stone. Heh.

This is what a Fiero exhaust manifold looks like:


It's a positively shit construction technique. I want to turn the decidedly oval-shaped ports into round shape ports.

Edit for a better picture...

January 17th, 2014, 12:25 PM
Are you just cleaning them up and/or port matching, or hogging them out?

Carbide is definitely what you want, and then you finish the job with sandpaper rolls. Just remember that carbide works quickly and it takes getting used to porting with it because, with a good die grinder, you can accidentally take off WAY too much material. I would even say practice on a junk manifold or head first.


January 17th, 2014, 12:28 PM
Street-ported rotary! :hard:

January 17th, 2014, 12:30 PM
Acutally, that's useful information for me in another way--I've got a knife kit that I haven't gotten around to building because I got stuck at working on the guard, which is nickel-silver and hella hard. :| Looks like I need a carbide burr kit for my Dremel.

January 17th, 2014, 01:26 PM
Are you just cleaning them up and/or port matching, or hogging them out?

Pseudo-port matching. I'm eliminating the "inner oval" so there is no restriction between runner and plenum, as there is now.

Thanks for the advice - now I just need to find carbide bits designed for air. All Summit seems to have is bits for electric drills, and that sounds really uncomfortable to work with.

January 19th, 2014, 03:23 PM
Someone mentioned the ratchet wrenches. A few years back at Menard's I picked up two three packs(1 SAE, 1 metric, each wrench is a different color, two sizes per wrench) of them. I think they were maybe $10/set. They've worked great the few times I've used them.
Today's addition was a $10 back pack that I promptly stuffed with ratchet straps(2"x20' (http://www.ebay.com/itm/310394994868?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649) & 1"x12') and a bungee cord for work. I got tired of the straps laying around in the hatch of the car, so now with the back pack I have a little more order and neatness.

February 25th, 2014, 09:40 AM
Ya'll may recall (ha, that rhymes) a while back I did a compression test on the Fleetwood and came back with initially disappointing results... a bunch of 120psis with a 90psi in the middle. Last week, I did a compression test on the parts E320 and got a bunch of 120psis with a couple 90s in the middle. It didn't initially hit me, but late Saturday night while watching Paranoia (which wasn't an all-bad movie) it hit me... what are the effing chances that two completely different motors would yield numbers even remotely similar? About zero, IMHO.

I never really trusted my crap Actron tester even when it was new, but figured it was likely "a little inaccurate" rather than "limited to two results." I did a little looking around and couldn't find any compression tester I liked better than the OTC one, so I ordered a 5605 through Amazon.com:


The magic in this kit is this:


An 8" long 14mm adapter for modern deep-well spark plugs. Ah, it makes doing compression tests on DOHC motors so much nicer.

I did a quick test with it last night on the Benz and yielded six holes with numbers ranging from 180 to 200psi - awesome on a cold motor. (I'll warm it up tonight and repeat.)

Like all OTC stuff, it's of very reasonable quality and nicely packed in a plastic case. It even comes with a bag of spare o-rings for when the seals on the fittings invariably give up which is very cool. Amazon+OTC makes my life just so much easier. :up:

February 25th, 2014, 10:52 AM

I have the 5606. Without that metal adapter. Even little old me still got to the plugs deep within the heads of the Z. But it's probably quicker with that extra accessory you got. :)

Also, good news on the Benzmotor!

February 25th, 2014, 11:23 AM
Yeah, my old tester had an extension for dealing with the wells, but it just never felt right twisting the hose to seat the fitting. This thing just screws right in using its big ol' ears and it's very obvious when it's properly installed. It saved real time running the compression test. I'm glad to have this tool in my arsenal!

February 25th, 2014, 11:36 AM
I just noticed this smilie... :toolbox: ... I have nothing else to add.

April 25th, 2014, 11:31 AM
Holy crap! I've been agonizing over a thingy I need to make for the XR4Ti - some sheet metal bent into a u-shape. I was trying to figure out how to make perfect, 90 degree bends. With no really good ideas I thought I'd see how much a metal brake is, and it turns out not much.. Now to find something local so I don't have to pay a fortune to Eastwood for shipping.

Learn something new every day...

April 25th, 2014, 12:08 PM
Blue Collar Supply might be able to direct you?

April 25th, 2014, 01:43 PM
They suggested Harbor Freight. :lol:

... and that may be an option. I was hoping to find something that could do 14-16 gauge aluminum, but it seems brakes designed for that thickness also expect huge widths and are thus very expensive. As such, I may buy the HF unit for $40, and see how flexible it's 18ga rating is. :D

April 25th, 2014, 02:25 PM
:lol: Pics or video of the attempt.

April 25th, 2014, 02:39 PM
Ye of little faith! :lol:

I think Imma pick it up tomorrow.

April 25th, 2014, 08:16 PM
When talking about harbor freight and designed use, with thoughts of almost doubling the thickness of material....yeah

Truth though, I just want to see shit break.

May 24th, 2014, 08:01 PM
FWIW, the cheapo Harbor Freight metal brake works awesome. They don't tell you that you'll need an assortment of c-clamps, but you do. I made it work with the clamps I had, and I've bent 16ga 8" wide aluminum easily. I also bent a 2" strip of ~10ga aluminum easily. I think its limitations are only published if you're using its full width, but short widths of very thick metal seem like no problem.

In other news, this thing:


is currently rocking my world. Should have bought one years ago, I just didn't know it existed.

May 24th, 2014, 10:19 PM
A drill press made from a dremel??!?!?!?!

May 24th, 2014, 10:22 PM
YES! And you can put other bits in it like side cutting or grinding to use it to cut out the centers of things, or debur things. It has changed my life. When this project is done, I'll post it up. It really could not have turned out better, and with very little effort.

May 24th, 2014, 10:24 PM
Well fuck.

I don't NEED one. But it looks like one of those tools I NEED, if you catch my drift.

May 25th, 2014, 08:42 AM
It's $50 and works with any corded Dremel. I agree - nobody needs this thing, but when I think back at all the shaky bullshit results I've gotten from a Dremel that would have been amazing if I could have held the tool totally steady... well, it's just sad.

July 23rd, 2014, 10:06 PM
They suggested Harbor Freight. :lol:

... and that may be an option. I was hoping to find something that could do 14-16 gauge aluminum, but it seems brakes designed for that thickness also expect huge widths and are thus very expensive. As such, I may buy the HF unit for $40, and see how flexible it's 18ga rating is. :D

The $40 Harbor Freight thing worked perfectly. Excellent bends in 14ga (IIRC) aluminum stock. The sheet is only 8" wide, much narrower than the tool's maximum width, and I'm sure the reduced width allowed for increased thickness. I made a perfect... um... thingy. I'll post a picture tomorrow.

Unfortunately, the thingy isn't going to work as I'd planned. Not even close. Poop.

Next tools I need to come up with are tools for doing both straight and fairly complex cuts in the same material. I need to turn that 44"x8" thingy into one 13"x4" rectangle and two 10"x10" vaguely triangular shapes with only one straight edge. I can do (and have been doing) straight cuts with a steady hand and a pneumatic cutting wheel - it's not ideal but adequate (and my cuts are getting VERY straight). The wavy triangle things though are going to be a challenge. I'm thinking maybe a bandsaw? Googling shows people recommend tin snips and shears but those are way too clumsy. It's possible what I want to do isn't possible with common tools. I could try an air nibbler - I just hate using the thing because it makes an impossible mess.

More research is called for.

July 23rd, 2014, 10:08 PM
Hmmm... maybe this thing?


Rare White Ape
July 24th, 2014, 01:02 AM
I now have tools, but more oriented towards construction than garage monkey stuff, due to needing them for work. Jewel in the crown is my impact driver, that sucker can effortlessly pump a tec screw into hardwood in a matter of seconds. I bought it as a pair of screw guns with some top-of-the-line li-ion batteries for $320. All tax deductible.

Also fun is this fluoro camera tape stuff, expensive to buy but very very good. Sticks like hell and leaves no residue. Again, tax deductible.


In fact, all my future tool purchases will be fully tax deductible. Cool!

July 24th, 2014, 01:09 AM
I sorta miss being self employed and writing all my toys off... Oh well, I have paid-for health insurance lower taxes, so there's that.

I really need to buy a table saw. That's on my construction tool list for the fall.

July 24th, 2014, 01:39 AM
I sorta miss being self employed and writing all my toys off...

Only a cynic would suggest that is what self-employed people do!

July 24th, 2014, 05:37 PM
The brake made this - I am totally satisfied:


July 24th, 2014, 06:52 PM
A little bit of trickery and you can make rounded corners with a brake also. ;)

July 29th, 2014, 07:47 AM
Anyone have opinions on three jaw pullers?

July 29th, 2014, 08:29 AM
Is one not enough?

July 29th, 2014, 08:47 AM

For big things or small things?

The one I use the most is this one:


I like it because it converts to a 2-jaw. It's not terribly big, but pulls most automotive pulleys without issue.... crank, power steering, etc.

I also have a big but far less nice 3-jaw puller that could be Harbor Freight, maybe Autozone. Definitely not anything special. It's clumsy, but I've yet to break it. :)

July 29th, 2014, 10:12 AM
Medium things? Pulling a bushing + shell that's about 3" round. (LCA bushing, Tyler)

I figure it can't hurt to have one around for other eventualities, as well.

I was looking at these (http://www.amazon.com/TEKTON-5696-Gear-Puller-3-Piece/dp/B000NPT698/ref=pd_sbs_auto_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=0J0KJ0AVQBFTCJY11YE5), but I have no idea of TEKTON makes something that will last more than one use.

July 29th, 2014, 10:26 AM
My opinion is that virtually all of these tools come from the exact same factory, and Tekton is probably the same as Harbor Freight. If you're not going to buy something explicitly nice featured or high quality, just go for HF. At least you can take them back there. I completely mangled a crank pulley on a Sebring at Pick & Pull with my Harbor Freight puller - my guess is even the cheap pullers will do a lot of damage before they break, and you're unlikely to hurt them doing anything even remotely sensible with them.

July 29th, 2014, 10:35 AM
On the subject of tools, I realized last night I loaned my AN wrenches to someone - and I don't remember who. I think it may have been a coworker, someone who doesn't work here anymore. Bummed about that.

I need to replace them - tightening anodized aluminum fittings with steel wrenches kinda sucks. Last time I bought a set of wrenches in various sizes, but I'm thinking about going with an adjustable one this time. They don't need that much force on them, and an adjustable one seems convenient. While looking, I found this:



which I am strongly thinking about buying. It's expensive, but when the alternative is dumping $50 in synthetic oil all over the garage it seems like a small price premium. An alternative is to just buy the AN -10 tester right now for ~$15. I think I've only ever made -10 and -8 hoses anyway. Can't immediately think of a time I'd make bigger or smaller ones... not for what I do.

July 29th, 2014, 10:52 AM
Not really car related (unless I say, get an RV), but I picked up a Little Giant M17 15' ladder at Costco for $160 the other day. Cheapest I've seen them for online with shipping is ~$200.

July 29th, 2014, 01:17 PM
Medium things? Pulling a bushing + shell that's about 3" round. (LCA bushing, Tyler)

I figure it can't hurt to have one around for other eventualities, as well.

I was looking at these (http://www.amazon.com/TEKTON-5696-Gear-Puller-3-Piece/dp/B000NPT698/ref=pd_sbs_auto_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=0J0KJ0AVQBFTCJY11YE5), but I have no idea of TEKTON makes something that will last more than one use.

Hmmm.. I just used a harbor freight 10ton press.

Yrying to do it with a three jaw puller would be tough (see small amount of area to get the arms to but on). it very well may be doable.

July 29th, 2014, 01:28 PM
I'm doing it on the car--no room for a press. The various online demos all use some variation of a puller or screw set-up to get the bushings off the car. I think I can cobble together something to drive them back on.

July 29th, 2014, 01:50 PM
Check zdmak tools to see if there is anything that could do it.

July 29th, 2014, 02:04 PM
Yeah, they have a $220 version of the $140 BavAuto tool. :toolbox:

July 29th, 2014, 02:05 PM
If a screw puller is an option, do that. That's always a great approach. Usually the rough bit is finding a die to pull with, but if you have that sorted, just get a big ass grade 8 screw and nut from the hardware store.

July 31st, 2014, 02:58 PM
I may need a thingy to nicely bend 5/8" aluminum tube.

I also need some 5/8" aluminum tube.

August 13th, 2014, 07:12 AM
Got my PhD hooked up with some sweet new handles! :D

*realizes what that means for this weekend* :smh:

What was I thinking? :eek:


August 13th, 2014, 09:12 AM
Yeah, that's terrible work. Best of luck.

October 14th, 2014, 10:03 AM
I am going to buy a drill press. Every time I drill a jenky hole in something I think how much easier life would be with a drill press, and since I have a specific need right now to not do that I'm going to pull the trigger. I obviously don't need anything too fancy and I don't need anything too giant - I'm thinking something in the 10" arena will do. I'd like a floor mount, but will surely get a bench mount. I don't need the added expense & space consumption of a floor mount (although bolting it to a chunk of wood and being able to take it outside would be nice...). I considered the Harbor Freight one (http://www.harborfreight.com/10-in-bench-mount-drill-press-12-speed-60237.html) but think I want to get something a little higher quality. The Craftsman one seems to be decent (http://www.sears.com/craftsman-12inch-drill-press-with-laser-and-led/p-00934985000P?prdNo=1&blockNo=1&blockType=G1) but as with anything from Sears the reviews are literally all over the map. The advantage of Sears to me is that I can sort of get stuff free there (credit card rewards program on the card I use for work - $10k in charges a month) - it's almost worth taking a risk. Maybe a Wen (http://www.homedepot.com/p/WEN-12-in-Variable-Speed-Drill-Press-4214/204994931)? If I do talk myself into a floor mount, maybe a Porter Cable (http://www.lowes.com/pd_78742-46069-PCB660DP_0__?Ntt=porter+cable+drill+press&UserSearch=porter+cable+drill+press&productId=3162489&rpp=32) - Lowes is on the "free to me" list as well. ;)

October 20th, 2014, 08:43 AM
I think the answer is going to be Wen. After further research, it seems many of these tools are still using belts and reduction to get varying speeds, but the Wen actually uses a variable speed motor. It's highly possible that a variable speed motor is not as consistent as a single-speed motor running through reduction, but I don't think my needs are going to affected by such a small variance and I really am not interested in changing belt positions. Infinitely variable speed sounds delightful instead of a 6-12 speeds. Sears carries the Wen, so that works out nicely too.

October 27th, 2014, 08:54 AM
Good weekend.

Got me some more "free" Sears gift cards, ordered a 12" Wen drill press. It shipped this morning, and looks like it's scheduled to arrive on Wednesday. Am excite.

Spent some time cleaning out the garage and sold a bunch of parts that came off the XR. Racked up three bills over the course of the weekend. Got that stuff all shipped out on Sunday and put the proceeds towards an Autel MD802 "All System." I've gone around in circles for months on this topic, and in the end went with a $333 version off ebay instead of the $488 version from my favorite high-end tools place. There is the absolute risk that my cheapo version is a copy and won't register (thus denying me of software updates), but since the auction explicitly stated "authorized reseller" and "one year of updates included" if I have a problem registering it I can send it right back. For a tool I realistically expect to only get 2-3 years out of, the $150 spread was worth the risk. I hope. ;)

October 28th, 2014, 09:00 AM
Mind: Blown

That Autel thing was in China on Sunday night. It's out for delivery to my house right now. It takes longer to order things from San Francisco!

October 28th, 2014, 06:14 PM
... and it registered and updated to boot. :up:

Now, to build a drill press.

October 29th, 2014, 11:30 AM
It is, in a word, amazeballs.

I was incorrect about the variable speed - it's not the motor which is variable speed, it's conventional like other drill presses - one speed. Instead, it has a CVT with a lever to shove the bands around and change reduction. Best of both worlds!

I am going to drill the shit out of some shit this weekend.


October 30th, 2014, 10:40 AM

October 30th, 2014, 12:06 PM
It is. I wanted to test a couple holesaws I had to see if they would do what I needed so I chucked them up in the drill press and made some holes. I have been struggling WAY too long. Should have bought one of these years ago.

December 11th, 2014, 10:48 AM
Anticipating the influx of end of the year funds (bonus, unused vacation payout, taxes) I ordered myself a battery cable crimper:


Been looking at one of these for a really long time, as the place that I used to have make all my battery cables stopped carrying anything but black 1/0 welding cable, and I like my battery cables properly color coded. :lol:

I ordered a variety of battery lugs and eyelets and about 60' of battery cable in both colors and a couple gauges. It killed me spending $4/' for the largest gauges (1ga.), but the only alternative was to order it in 100' spools for $1.50/foot. I just didn't need like 300' of battery cable sitting around, even if it wouldn't have cost that much more. Bah.

The SPG, XR, and Fleetwood all have kind of jenky battery cable setups because I've been largely working with scrap (the Fleetwood actually has the SPG's stock ground cable ;) ) and shitty Autozone "universal" battery cables. I'm looking forward to being able to get them sorted out. Although, with the tool investment, making them myself is actually about the same price as having Battery Bill make them, they'll all be high quality cable, fit just perfectly and be properly color coded. ;) And next time I need to replace a battery cable, it won't even be a big deal. ;)

January 20th, 2015, 09:13 AM
I ran out of options for getting the Suburban's fuel pump output fitting off. It's a 5/8" IFF and it just shouldn't be this hard. I ordered these:


It's a last ditch effort. I don't know what else to try. Hopefully these things work as well as they look they can.

On a side note, I keep trying to order stuff from ntxtools.com as they sure seem like a one stop shop for automotive tools, but they always get blown out of the water on price. Like, always. These pliers were $80 from where I got them, $100 after 2nd day shipping. NTX's price was $130. I'm okay with a small premium, but 30% is excessive. JB Tool Sales, whoever they are, won this business.

March 26th, 2015, 03:08 PM
Anybody had any success removing barbed air chuck fittings from the rubber hose of an air pressure gauge? Trying to find out if there's a trick to it before I just cut off the old fitting.

March 26th, 2015, 03:19 PM
You'll have to cut it. Even if you could pull it out you'd rip the rubber to holy hell.

March 26th, 2015, 05:16 PM
So it turns out that if you "open" the "package" that the new air chuck comes in, there's a sheet of "instructions" that tell you to cut off the old chuck. Mind blown.


All done. :up:

March 27th, 2015, 09:12 AM
So, RTFM? :lol:

March 27th, 2015, 10:01 AM
I picked up some Astro Pneumatic wobble head socket sets in 3/8" and 1/4" for $16 each on Woot, vs the regular Amazon price of $50, along with some damaged hex bit extractor sockets. I figured that the wobble heads may come in useful for working in tight spaces, and they were cheap enough.

The damaged hex head extractors were a timely pickup because I almost stripped out an exhaust mounting hex bolt that the dealer presumably overtightened when they un-crated my Ducati and mounted the mufflers and mirrors. Since it was the first one I tried, I wondered if they'd been applied with red threadlocker (the only threadlocker at the factory in Bologna, whether it needs to resist heat or just vibration), but the others came out easily. Because it was a small bolt without much room to work, I came pretty close to stripping it before I realized that it would be better to mangle the non-recessed outer head of the bolt with my toothed Knipex mini-pliers (http://www.amazon.com/Tools-00-20-72-V01/dp/B009RXXZI0/ref=sr_1_2?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1427478063&sr=1-2&keywords=knipex+plier+2+pc) (which have saved me from destroying things while working in tight spaces more than once).

March 27th, 2015, 10:09 AM
My f-i-l swears by his Knipexes. Good buy. :up:

March 27th, 2015, 11:08 AM
Don't know if I'd pay $90+ for them, but they were a gift from my father, and they've been come in handy with both my Suzuki and my Ducati now. Given my experience with them along with my father's and his buddy's (who was a super for a building for decades), if I see them at a substantial discount, I'll buy them ("Let's see what's in the tools section of Woot today... full-size Knipex? Nice! [compares to other prices online, adds to cart]."

April 11th, 2015, 08:39 PM
Picked up a 2nd rack for my box wrenches, so now my non-ratcheting wrenches are organized in their drawer snuggled up with my ratcheting boxes. :up:

Also picked up a set of plastic socket trays (http://hansenglobalinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/6pack-trays.jpg). Very cool and very satisfying to arrange everything. It did, however, make me sad at how small my socket set is. :( I didn't even bother using the 1/2" drive tray, since it took up a quarter of the drawer for 5 sockets. :lol:

May 5th, 2015, 03:43 PM
Socket puck. Comes in very handy.

May 6th, 2015, 11:08 AM
Well, that's neat!

May 6th, 2015, 06:29 PM
There is yet another item I am kicking my own ass because I didn't think of it first.

May 6th, 2015, 06:31 PM
Does it ratchet?

May 7th, 2015, 01:47 PM
No, Russ.

May 7th, 2015, 06:49 PM
*runs off to patent one that does*

June 14th, 2015, 12:47 PM
Holy cheapness, Batman!

I finally discovered a Harbor Freight store, pulled into the parking lot 'cause why not, and went inside to investigate.

I spent less than ten bucks.

I'll be back.[/Terminator T-800 Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 voice]

June 14th, 2015, 02:19 PM
How can you never have been to a Harbor Freight? That shit is wack.

July 21st, 2015, 09:44 AM
A long time ago I bought a crappy pulley puller to get me through some job - I don't even remember what it was now, it was a long damn time ago. Well, that POS completely failed me when doing the power steering pump on the Southwind and then, more or less, totally failed itself. I need a new one. I am currently torn between an OTC 4530 (a dedicated pulley remover/installer), an OTC 4529, or a 4534.







These are all overlapping products, but prices range from $30 to $120. The 4530 is aimed at GM products and probably very effective at them, the 4529 is a little more generic so more flexible but less effective, and the 4534 is the $120 jack of all trades master of none. The first two have an installer, whereas the third is exclusively a puller. Because I am lazy I really like specialized tools, but because I hate clutter I really like the idea of combining several tools into one. Quite torn, and while I don't need any of these at the moment I absolutely hate when I get stuck in the middle of a job and remember the tool I need to complete it isn't around. I want to move on this while the issue is fresh in my mind - I almost ended up having to buy something overpriced and undergood at Autozone!

July 21st, 2015, 09:05 PM
I went with the 4529, since the 4534 doesn't have an installer and 4530 isn't on their website, leading me to believe it's an old product that's been replaced with the '29.

Does anybody know anything about woodworking? Anybody ever made a box joint? Anybody own a table saw miter or a router table? Do I need to join a woodworking forum?

July 22nd, 2015, 07:32 AM
My father in law the retired contractor knows all those things. Got a specific question?

July 22nd, 2015, 10:39 AM
Our old water heater closet is in the downstairs bathroom and now that we installed a tankless it's just wasted space. I want to build some shelves in there, including a drawer or two. I know I'm not good enough to build a dovetail joint, but I think I can manage a box joint or a finger joint. I don't have any of the equipment necessary to do that - all I have is a nice miter saw. I think I can do either box or finger joints with a table saw and miter or with a router table, but I don't know which is more reliable. I'm willing to buy either but can't afford both - I just need to know where the smart money is. :)

(This also filters back into the storage in the Suburban - if I can build a drawer for the bathroom I could also build a false floor and drawer in the Suburban!)

July 29th, 2015, 12:39 PM
Another question for FIL: I need to drill about 28 3/8" or 7/16" holes in a beam that is comprised of two 2x6s fixed together. The issue is that one side of the beam twists or tilts on its vertical access - eg, the top of the beam leans away. I was going to acquire my first set of spade bits for this project, but I am concerned that spade bits will follow the tilt, which is not desirable. I need the holes to be perfectly parallel to the ground. Is this not actually a problem, is there a way to solve this, or just use normal twist bits?

July 29th, 2015, 03:00 PM
Another question for FIL: I need to drill about 28 3/8" or 7/16" holes in a beam that is comprised of two 2x6s fixed together. The issue is that one side of the beam twists or tilts on its vertical access - eg, the top of the beam leans away. I was going to acquire my first set of spade bits for this project, but I am concerned that spade bits will follow the tilt, which is not desirable. I need the holes to be perfectly parallel to the ground. Is this not actually a problem, is there a way to solve this, or just use normal twist bits?

Forstner bit is the droid you are looking for, I think. They are good at boring straight holes and not following wood grain, etc.


The perfectly parallel to the ground part is going to be up to your eye, or maybe duct tape + hand level on the drill.

July 29th, 2015, 03:20 PM
I was under the impression keeping a Forstner bit straight was tough as they have almost no guide. Maybe start the hole that way and finish with a spade? I need to pass a 4" long bolt through the hole, so it needs to be pretty straight. I guess that's probably an important detail. :P

Nothing is ever easy.

July 29th, 2015, 03:24 PM
Maybe an adjustable drill guide?


$20 at Harbor Freight for a works once or twice model...

That might work pretty well as I could then potentially use the drill's level as a, you know, level.

July 29th, 2015, 03:29 PM
FIL used a Forstner to drill the bolt holes for our patio structure, IIRC. *shrug* I think the wings of the bit help center it. You're only going through 3" of material, too.

I have a 18"-long cable installer bit that would probably work. :D

You'll have to reset the drill guide each time, I'd guess, if you want perfectly level holes.

edit: a slightly oval/not-right hole is easy to deal with: 1) stick bolt in hole until it doesn't move, 2) apply hammer, 3) ???, 4) Profit.

July 29th, 2015, 04:44 PM
Most of the beam is straight, it's just the end that gets twisty. Maybe four holes need to drilled at an angle, the other 20 are straight. Hopefully. :D

July 29th, 2015, 05:46 PM
Fwiw, I bet that twist comes out when you run a bunch of bolts through it. :)

July 29th, 2015, 06:30 PM
The thought occurred, including soaking the thing in water and actively trying to untwist it. :D

But, it's probably been like that since the '60s - it may very well be set in proverbial stone.

August 16th, 2015, 09:04 PM
Adam Savage talking about his tool cart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWQAYfGxsPE

August 17th, 2015, 10:23 AM
That is a really good idea! A few years ago I bought a rolling cart that I thought I would use for exactly that purpose but more temporary... just to keep tools for the current job handy before they made their way back to the tool box... but that did not work out. The cart quickly became covered in long-term stuff. Now it might as well be a shelf. Something limited by design to tool storage is a very cool idea. I might have a go at making something like that.

Also, that guy has a LOT of hand tools. A LOT.

I am nearing the time I need to rip plywood (for the first time ever!) and am looking at the Dewalt DWE7491RS, a jobsite table saw. The thing that draws me to it is a 32/24" rip capacity, which is just about the best there is. Bosch makes a similarly priced saw that is 25/25". Either would do just fine. I'm leaning towards the Dewalt simply because accessories for it are more widely available, and I'm going to need a Dado blade & throat pretty quickly. You can't go really wrong with Dewalt anyway...


Seems rad.

August 31st, 2015, 11:36 AM
What should I buy with my HF gift card?

August 31st, 2015, 01:02 PM
Depending on how much it is, there are two things I consider must-haves:

1. Aluminum racing jack. Even if you have one, two seems so, so worthwhile.
2. Air compressor. If you don't have a decent sized one, I'd really consider it. I think this is the updated version of what I had for seven years: http://www.harborfreight.com/21-gal-25-hp-125-psi-cast-iron-vertical-air-compressor-61454.html

If it's less than a couple hundred bucks, there are a bunch of things I buy there regularly like nitrile gloves, hand cleaner, headlight polishing kits, marine grade heat shrink tubing (so good, so cheap), and combination wrenches I massacre and adjust to different lengths and sizes.

Lacking anything else, this is on sale for $80 right now. Never know when you might need it. http://www.harborfreight.com/65-hp-212cc-ohv-horizontal-shaft-gas-engine-epacarb-69727-8815.html :lol:

August 31st, 2015, 01:02 PM
Also, I need some air shears. :D

October 5th, 2015, 02:55 PM
Went with the DeWalt - http://www.dewalt.com/tools/machinery-portable-table-saws-dwe7491rs.aspx

Home Depot says it's a week to arrive which means my garage door project will languish for another 10 days. Maybe for the best, work is a killer this week... in at 5a all week. Boo.

October 27th, 2015, 03:22 PM
I found this elsewhere on the web and thought it would go nicely in the Tools. thread.

I haven't seen this show in years but I remember when it first came on I thought it was great.


Freude am Fahren
October 27th, 2015, 03:35 PM

October 27th, 2015, 03:47 PM
I swear, WD40 is the bane of my existence. NOBODY KNOWS WHAT IT'S FOR!

October 27th, 2015, 05:19 PM
Mr. Hill is pretty darn quick with that straw.

October 27th, 2015, 07:21 PM
I swear, WD40 is the bane of my existence. NOBODY KNOWS WHAT IT'S FOR!

Displacing water.

October 28th, 2015, 08:46 AM

November 2nd, 2015, 02:26 PM
Maybe a loose fit into this thread, but I am finally acknowledging my need for a battery maintainer and having trouble deciding. There just isn't much tech in a <1a 12v charger, but I'm torn between brands and styles. Like, do I want one that can charge 6v batteries? One that (ostensibly) desulfates? One that's solar? One that can do more than one battery at the same time? I DON'T KNOW.

I like the idea of solar (waste not want not, right?) but paying a premium for something that is ultimately more fragile and might do a less good job when the dollar savings is literally pennies a month is hard to rationalize.

A 1.1a single-battery desulfating full charger for $40 - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004LX3AS6?keywords=battery%20trickle%20charger&qid=1446505747&ref_=sr_1_6&sr=8-6
A 4x1.1 version of the same for $180 - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004LX3AS6?keywords=battery%20trickle%20charger&qid=1446505747&ref_=sr_1_6&sr=8-6
A 4a model that can do 6 batteries at once with additional cables for $100 - http://www.amazon.com/BatteryMINDer-Charger-Desulfator-Batteries-Model-2012-AGM/dp/B005EKY20K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1446506643&sr=8-1&keywords=BatteryMINDer+2012-agm
A desulfating power supply for solar panels for $100 - http://www.amazon.com/BatteryMINDer-Volt-Solar-Charger-Controller-Desulfator/dp/B001DZJX6I/ref=pd_sbs_328_10?ie=UTF8&dpID=41K59Rr-6lL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=0NZKMTT4MWCR0F3ZHS5K

Bah. Analysis paralysis.

November 2nd, 2015, 02:29 PM
Sounds like you need the one that can do 6 batteries at once to keep the whole unified fleet ready to roll at a minute's notice.

Also, overheard in the office today: "This [squeaky, swiveling office] chair needs some WD-40!"

November 2nd, 2015, 02:40 PM
I don't know who said that, but I hope you educated them.

What I "need" is a two battery charger - one for the Fleetwood and one for whatever else is in the garage, right now the Falcon. If it had more positions, I could use it to keep a spare battery charged which right now is happening via a solar panel. *Ideally* I'd plug the lawnmower into a charger as well, but it's clear on the other side of the garage so it doesn't make a great deal of sense to use the same charger. For what I'd spend on two-conductor wire and some staples I could just buy a second charger. :lol:

I'd like to put up 2-300w of solar panels on the roof, which would probably, realistically, make about 3-4a on average during the day. Then my battery maintenance becomes $0. But that would require like $500 in parts. $500 is my electric bill in total for six or seven months, including charging the Fiat. So, like, not a great use of money. I want to love the environment, but it's expensive. :(

November 4th, 2015, 12:05 PM
I decided to give the "NOCO" brand a try with the $40 G1100. If it seems as good as some of the reviews, I'll dedicate that one to the lawnmower and pick up the 4-battery one for the cars if it works out. Committing $180 to an experiment was more than I could handle. :)

November 5th, 2015, 03:37 PM
I left a really nice Craftsman 3/8 drive ratchet with a wobble extension and 10mm socket still attached, at the pick a part today. Had that ratchet and socket since 95. Only realised when I got home.

November 5th, 2015, 03:51 PM
That thing is probably gone, but once or twice I've been lucky and gotten a tool back... especially on weekdays when traffic is relatively low. Worth a shot?

December 23rd, 2015, 11:25 AM
My 6" beak jaw adjustable wrench went missing - it's possible it got crushed with the Focus. SOAB... they don't make it anymore. This was a great, great tool!


December 23rd, 2015, 05:41 PM
I told my wife I needed a deep well set for Christmas. Lets see how well she does.

December 23rd, 2015, 05:47 PM
:lol: Hopefully, well!

January 11th, 2016, 11:51 AM
Forgot to comment on what I got.

Kobalt 3/8" Ratchet with deep well sockets ranging from 8mm to 19mm and English equivalents. Not bad.

January 11th, 2016, 12:11 PM
Now that Sears future looks bleak, I think buying Kobalt makes good sense. Lowes is pretty good about exchanges so long as whatever it is hasn't been terribly abused.

Hey, speaking of Sears I gave them some business over the weekend - I bought a Nextec Autohammer.


When I first saw autohammers my thought was "What idiot is too lazy to swing a hammer?" I still stand by that, but I needed this contraption to install some cable clamps in a space where I could barely reach much less swing a hammer. I ran copper tube for a refrigerator's ice maker at the top back of our kitchen cabinets. Literally could not have done it otherwise.

Here's the result, if anyone cares:


The device itself is a little iffy in terms of nail handling, but it not only offered the benefit of driving nails in a place where I couldn't get, but since it does thousands of little taps instead of big bangs it was able to drive them into the backs without knocking the backs off the cabinets. I am not sure how or if I will ever use it again, but it was worth the $50 to have a good solution for my problem that saved what could have ended as broken cabinets or, down the road, fatigued/cracked copper tube.

Why the Sears Autohammer? It's the only one with an articulating head, which was key for this operation.

January 18th, 2016, 02:14 PM
Kinda can't believe a big company like Channellock named their product this way.


January 18th, 2016, 03:52 PM
Some intern can't believe they used his/her suggestion.

January 18th, 2016, 04:08 PM
That's a G'Day name right there!

January 26th, 2016, 06:01 PM
Let's talk floor jacks. It's time I got one, as I have some tires to rotate front-to-back on the same side. I guess I need a couple jackstands also, for safety, as I learned in auto mechanics class in high school. I used to have a pair, but I think I left them in our outdoor utility closet in our house back east when we moved (we didn't have a garage there, just an outdoor closet in the back of the house on the driveway side).

I want to buy one once and be done, but I don't need a $$$$ NASCAR-endorsed Pit Crew Supreme model or anything, I don't think. I needs to be able to lift a Honda Pilot, or maybe a Chevy Tahoe, or maybe a crew-cab half-ton 4x4 pickup. I'm just trying to think of the heaviest vehicle I might ever own and need to rotate tires on, or install snow tires on in my garage. Right now, that's a Honda Pilot.

I have a lot of brick & mortar stores in my vicinity to choose from that probably sell them:

Harbor Freight
Pep Boys
O'Reilly Auto Parts
Ace Hardware
Home Depot
Murdoch's Ranch & Home Supply

and probably some others.

Any tips and tricks to buying a floor jack and jack stands? I've used floor jacks many times but have never owned one.

Thanks, tool-meisters.

January 26th, 2016, 07:26 PM
In my experience, as someone who has changed tires more times than he can remember, most cars' jack points on the side rails are also the jack stand points, so it's not really practical to use stands in this case unless you don't mind wrinkling the non-reinforced section of the side rail. I'm not an experienced mechanic but my rule is no getting under the car without jack stands. Tire changes, though, don't need stands IMO. A battery-powered impact wrench has been most helpful for me but if you only do this a couple times a year and don't mind hand-spinning the lug nuts, it's not needed.

I only lift lightweight (ish) vehicles, 3500lbs and under, and for that my HF jacks have been fine. The modern ones, anyway. 15 years ago I had one of the aluminum ones that started to let the car sink after a year of use, but these days they seem to be good for a lot longer. I've probably had my current aluminum one for 10 years. My steel HF jack (http://www.harborfreight.com/automotive-motorcycle/floor-jacks/2-ton-low-profilelong-reach-steel-heavy-duty-floor-jack-with-rapid-pump-60678.html) (it stays in the garage and doesn't travel with me like the aluminum jack does) is awesome sauce, but it's designed for low cars so may not quite have the lift you're looking for. My only other experience is with a small Craftsman steel jack, designed for portability, which pretty much sucked. Also 15 years ago.

If you want jack stands, though, I've found pretty much anything to be good. I picked up a pair from the local parts store, also about 15 years ago, for $15 or $20 and they're holding up the 350Z as we speak. I also have some blue ones that work fine. I couldn't tell you the brands on either of them. I would say, though, for larger or higher vehicles you may want to pay more attention to the tonnage rating and height range. Me, I have to jack up one end of the car a fair bit to fit my stands underneath at their lowest settings. :lol:

My 2pence.

Edit - You mentioned Home Depot. I will say my Husky Pro hand tools, once again ~15 years old, have been totally reliable and awesome. Dunno if that'd carry over to jacks, but I like my Husky Pro tools better than the miscellaneous Craftsman/GearWrench/whatever that I've also had.

January 26th, 2016, 09:11 PM
To grotesquely oversimplify, I'd break jacks down into two basic classes: aluminum and steel. Steel jacks are much, much cheaper (like, 50%) but aluminum jacks are much, much easier to move around. I personally wouldn't consider anything but aluminum, even for casual use, because dammit, they are that much easier to move around. :) When it comes to aluminum, I think they are all made by the same company in China and resold under a million names. HF carries them, they're the same as Sears and everywhere else, even pricier outlets like NTX. They're about the same price everywhere, but HF has about the easiest to live with warranty and the cheapest extended warranty. So, TL;DR, just buy the HF "aluminum racing jack."


(Your 20% off coupon is not valid on jacks, BTW)

There is a heavier duty 3-ton but the 2.5 should handle the Pilot fine. Be aware you may need to buy & return a couple times to get one that doesn't leak, but their QC is *far* better today than even a few years ago. Also, you may find the 1.5' lift height of most jacks (including this one) aren't sufficient to get the Pilot off the ground. Get some 4x4 from Home Depot. :)

I have had a different experience than Cuda with lifting with the exception of the XR. Every other car I've owned has a lifting point at a subframe or suspension mount point so you can use a jackstand on the sills where the factory scissor jack goes. I use some thick pieces of rubber in the cradle of the jackstand to prevent it from scraping or bending the sill, which is usually a sandwiched metal edge. I can say from experience you can lift your-generation Accord this way. I don't remember offhand whether the jack points on the Accord are in the Owner's Manual, or in the Factory Manual... I have the latter if you need it!

For reference, here's an Evo diagram:


You can see the front & rear "main" jack points and the sill stand points.

Same deal with a Maxima:


My piece of super-thick rubber is the "safety stand adapter" for a 350Z:


I have two and a half sets of jackstands. A pair of dinky parts store specials that are *great* for small cars like the Fiero. A set of mid-size Craftsman jacks which are a perfect size (but a notably crap design) for most cars. A pair of giant starts-with-an-L jackstands from Costco that are so big they are scary to put a car on, but nice for trucks. Check the minimum and maximum heights of whatever you buy to ensure you can get what you're lifting high enough to get on them. :lol: Related, I would not buy a jackstand that's a tripod, which some of the cheaper ones are. Make sure the footprint is square. Some jackstands have a flat base which is great for a garage floor that's smooth, others have legs which are useful everywhere else.

Terrifying: http://upload.ecvv.com/upload/Product/20099/China_jack_stand20099116052810.jpg
Flat: http://atdtools.com/images/pics/ATD-7449.jpg
Legs: http://www.bendpak.com/s/79xQyC6i_UyiFyUn2oONQA/RJS-3T-Jack-Stand.png

That's IME!

January 26th, 2016, 10:17 PM
Oh yeah, for getting all 4 corners up in the air on stands I use the front and rear jack points, too. George mentioned front-to-back tire rotations, which made me think only one side of the vehicle would be in the air at a time. Hence, just jack up by one end of the sill (front, for most vehicles...) until both wheels are in the air, and get to work.

Also, just you try and get a jack all the way in to the front jacking point on a 350Z. :lol: Even my long-n-low HF jack can't do it without putting a 2x4 (or two, if the car's lowered) under one or both front tires first.

Freude am Fahren
January 27th, 2016, 06:32 AM
Same with my BRZ. The front jackpoint brings the handle of the jack right up to the front bumper, which means right where the frame of the jack gets too tall. I have the 2 ton jack, but I don't think the 1.5 would fit either. That's not lowered, but with a small lip on the front. Without the lip I think the jack was touching the bumper, but would make it. I drive up on to some textbooks. :lol: Something like these would be great if they were about $50 less: https://www.rallysportdirect.com/part/tools-and-accessories/cus-a517-sl99-cusco-jack-assist-ramps

That jack point on the Evo makes me jealous.

January 27th, 2016, 08:15 AM
Have you guys tried bleeding your jacks? The Fiero and Saab are both similar - jack points way back and barely enough ground clearance to get the jack under. On the Saab, I get a running start and ram it under. Once under, I just wiggle the handle up and down, no more than an inch of travel under the bumper. That's enough to build pressure and get some lift. This is with the HF 3-ton, anyway. Over time the fluid gets old and aerated and there is too much slop to get action with small strokes. That's when I know it's time to change the fluid. ;)

January 27th, 2016, 08:38 AM
Much appreciated, gents! The diagrams are cool too, although I know a little about jack points from rotating tires over the years with scissors jacks, or those funky old VW jacks that were inserted into a hole under the running board and lifted the whole side of the car as a crank on the vertical part of the jack was turned. Those worked better than the flimsy Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Honda scissors jacks I've used since the early 1990s.

just buy the HF "aluminum racing jack.

Thanks. I can do that. That's why I asked here rather than googling user reviews. I don't have to wonder what shill wrote a hundred positive reviews for some piece of garbage when I read about it here.

George mentioned front-to-back tire rotations, which made me think only one side of the vehicle would be in the air at a time. Hence, just jack up by one end of the sill (front, for most vehicles...) until both wheels are in the air, and get to work.

That would probably work, and surely it would on my Accord, where I need to rotate the more worn front snow tires to the back and bring the like-new rear snow tires to the front so they will wear more evenly. Yes, I know they say the better tires should be on the rear, but the difference isn't that great yet, which is what I'm trying to avoid, so all four tires will last longer.

I figured jackstands would be a wise idea, especially if my kids are in the garage watching and learning for now, and doing it themselves in a few years. My high school auto teacher scared us (or at least me) into believing you never go near a car that's not secured with at least two jackstands, and you damn sure never crawl under one that's only held up by a jack.

I'm reminded of my Mitsubishi pickup which had a scissors jack that would only get one wheel in the air at a time (safely). I was young and poor and lived in an apartment, so I wasn't yet acquiring serious tools. I'd pull the spare tire down from under the bed and put it on when I'd pull off a front wheel. Then lower the front of the truck, jack up the back, remove the rear wheel, install the wheel that had been on the front. Then I'd lower the back, jack up the same side of the front AGAIN, remove the spare, and install the wheel that had been on the back. Then repeat on the other side. That was a crazy way to rotate tires, but it was free, and I had lots of free time then, as compared to now.

A blast from the past, before selling the green Accord - here I was swapping (and rotating - hence one car backed in) the better tires and wheels from the green car to the silver one, using the two stock Honda scissors jacks...and no jackstands. :eek:


I didn't notice this before:

I don't remember offhand whether the jack points on the Accord are in the Owner's Manual, or in the Factory Manual... I have the latter if you need it!

Amazing offer. Thank you. I'll pass, but thanks just the same.

January 27th, 2016, 10:01 AM
*Gives George a heart-attack*


While on floor jack:
- Tire change
- Driver change
- Top off fuel tank
- Deal with onlookers (officials/reporters) and traffic
All in about 30 seconds.

On a serious note, some people (like NA Miata folks) are comfortable jacking up their car just inboard of the sill, in the middle, to be able to easily put a stand under both stand points on that side sill. I don't believe all cars will tolerate this without something being, uh, re-shaped.

TSG, none of my jacks will even fit far enough under the 350Z nose to even do the 'wiggle till you make contact' move. :p Unless I destroyer the bumper.

January 27th, 2016, 06:09 PM
With the Miata, you can also stick the jack on the pinch weld just under the side mirror. It's not an official jack point, but it appears to be strong enough (IME) and frees up the jack stand locations.

On topic, I have a ginormous steel Lincoln jack and an aluminum HF job, and they both work fine. Get the HF, it's cheaper and easier to move around.

January 28th, 2016, 01:10 PM
as much as I hate to say this....get the hf jack.

February 15th, 2016, 09:38 AM
Still haven't bought a jack yet, just because I tend to procrastinate when spending money is involved, but I will, one of these days. The front tires are looking more worn than the rears, and we're in for a week of warm weather, so I shouldn't hesitate much longer. Thanks again to all for the advice.

In other news, I am considering one of these:


February 16th, 2016, 12:06 PM
Okay, well, if we're posting goofy tools, I am posting this - which you may or may not have heard of by now:


I'm sure it's only a matter of time before there is a CCV of it, but right now "KeySmart" is the gadget. It's like a Swiss Army Knife, but modular so that you can design it yourself AND it stores keys as well as tools.

A coworker got one and I gotta say, it's pretty cool. Ordered one myself! It's completely obvious in retrospect, but well worth $9 to me. :D

February 16th, 2016, 02:59 PM
I've seen a few of that type of thing recently. Seems like a cool idea, until I realize that I only have two keys that would fit it anymore.

Freude am Fahren
February 18th, 2016, 12:32 PM
Yeah, I only have one normal key like that that I carry with me, which is my house key.

The rest are: small mailbox key (which may fit), over-sized DO NOT REPLICATE style key for neighborhood pedestrian gate, small plastic handled office drawer type key, keyfob for car.

All of those short of the fob could theoretically be normal keys, in which case I'd totally get one to clean things up.

February 18th, 2016, 02:24 PM
Most of my key carrying is for work - we have lots of closets that have unique keys so we can keep various things secure. That is primarily what I'm addressing, however I'm pretty sure I can make one work for the motorhome, too, which has eight keys - driver's door, side door, ignition, basement storage, gas cap, propane door, and two I have never used. Getting those all into one holder that is usable would be fantastic.

February 28th, 2016, 08:13 PM
Self-adjusting wire strippers vs., uh, non-self-adjusting?

I have a set of these: http://cdn.xl.thumbs.canstockphoto.com/canstock22888129.jpg but they are kind of bulky, plus having the stripping portion bewteen your hand and the hinge can be awkward.

edit: looking at these: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000302WM?ref_=cm_sw_r_other_awd_Cb80wbTGBY8BA
simple and to the point.

February 29th, 2016, 04:07 AM
I'm not a fan of those multi-use stripper/crimper/etc things. Seems like they're pretty flimsy and don't do a good job at much of anything - I've f*cked up more than a few wires because the insulation was unnaturally tough/cutters were dull, & I had to really clamp down on it.
I've got a pair like the blue handled ones you linked, and they consistently do the job that they're supposed to.

February 29th, 2016, 08:57 AM
That particular "type" of multi-tool is the worst, the one that comes free at Radio Shack and such. I think a combination of poor materials the location of the features results in a tool with a limited lifespan... especially the latter, where the cutting/crimping parts tend to lever out the hinge making the whole thing worthless. I think the concept of the tool is okay, it's just a matter of finding an adequately high quality tool. I have these:


and another one I can't immediately find but are similar to:


The 1010 has the cutter/stripper at the nose, and the other one has the cutter/stripper in the valley. Both have their uses, so it depends on what you're trying to do. Typically I find the 1010 to be the most useful as working with wires in the valley is a PITA. But, sometimes you need that extra leverage. :)

Edit: I have come to judge the crimper portion based on the shape. Those half-moon crimpers are from the 1950s or something. Useless. We're better than that now. Notice the shape of the crimping parts on the Klein tools - they are far more effective.

February 29th, 2016, 09:26 AM
Self-adjusting wire strippers vs., uh, non-self-adjusting?

I have a set of these: http://cdn.xl.thumbs.canstockphoto.com/canstock22888129.jpg but they are kind of bulky, plus having the stripping portion bewteen your hand and the hinge can be awkward.

Yes, but still better than using scissors!

March 28th, 2016, 01:47 PM
In the pursuit of grotesquely over-analyzing 1980's technology I am trying to monitor some wave form outputs - specifically a sine-wave AC output and a square-wave DC output. That means an oscilloscope, and sadly that is not one of the features included in my Autel MD802... much more expensive scanners might legitimately have that function.

I know that "USB oscilloscope" is a thing with prices starting at under $100 - this guy is $200 and very highly rated:


What I did not know what a thing until 30 minutes ago was this:


It's $100, and doesn't even need a PC!

I don't think automotive-grade oscilloscopes need to be particularly high end - the things I need to measure are substantially less than 1000Hz and potentially less than 250Hz. Not a lot going on in automobile-land.

Wish I knew an actual EE who could weigh in. :(

March 29th, 2016, 03:54 AM
Isn't Drew an EE?

March 29th, 2016, 08:29 AM
I dunno - I thought a meche or civile!

April 1st, 2016, 10:02 PM
I'm hunting for a tool that will make quicker work of hard to reach header nuts.

Extra long reversible ratcheting combination wrench.
- a small angle offset
- good quality and reasonable price (love my Husky tools for this reason, but alas, they don't appear to make this item)
- preferably spline drive and small head
- preferably a full metric set, but a single 14mm will do for the specific job I have in mind. You never know when you'll need another size though...
- the smaller the ratcheting arc, the better

Can't find squat. :) Basically would love a longer version of what I have now, which is pretty much these (http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p/gear-wrench-8-piece-reversible-ratcheting-combination-wrench-set-metric-9543/25984326-P) but made by Husky.

This is the closest I've found: http://www.gearwrench.com/wrenches/ratcheting/gearwrench-86114-14mm-120xptm-universal-spline-xl-flex-gearbox-ratcheting-wrench.html

It's expensive. The metric set is $400+! I could swallow $50 for this one tool if it makes the job much easier, but I'm not convinced by flex-heads right now. I have set of GearWrench flex head combination wrenches (standard length) and the head flexes right off the nut, making them pretty useless (unless you have a second hand to hold the head on the nut, but I rarely do for this job). Tightening the flex head doesn't last long. Wish there was a way to lock the head in place. I keep reaching for my Huskys instead. One of my GearWrench ratcheting wrenches broke its ratcheting function after not much use, too, so I haven't been very impressed with the brand. Most people seem to like them as a mid-range tool from what I've read.

The good part about that long GearWrench is the 120-position ratcheting end. That's pretty slick.

What am I overlooking? My Google-fu is tapped out. :)

April 2nd, 2016, 08:38 PM
I don't think you're overlooking anything, but you might reevaluate the reversible requirement - unless you are doing off/on without removing the tool it's not too difficult to just flip the tool around to change direction. I have personally not run into the scenario where reversing is a feature worth paying for. Not sure losing that feature wins you anything in money savings or availability but thought I would throw that out for consideration.

Does this get you anything?






April 2nd, 2016, 09:35 PM
I'll come back to check those links later, but the reason for wanting reversible + small offset angle is that sometimes I need to angle the tool a little bit one way, and sometimes a little bit the other way, and the reversible function lets me tighten or loosen as I please while getting the angle I need. Also it's easier for me to one-handedly check by feel (or even by eye!) whether I'm about to start tightening or loosening when I get on that nut. Idunno, just functionally better for me. :)

Flex head would allow me to play with those angles but I need the stiffness in the neck to put accurate pressure on the nut and avoid rounding it off.

April 2nd, 2016, 09:36 PM
Locking flex head :up:

April 4th, 2016, 07:46 PM
I see that now on the sets you linked to. That's what I need. Those 3 sets all look to be a little on the short side (I just need a couple more inches, twss). I should measure my existing 14mm against this one (http://www.gearwrench.com/wrenches/ratcheting/gearwrench-86414-14mm-120xptm-universal-spline-xl-combination-ratcheting-wrench.html).

This (http://www.delcity.net/store/Double-Box-Flex!Locking-Wrench-Sets/p_807000.h_807001.t_1.r_IF1003) looks pretty cool but A) expensive, B) not locking.

April 4th, 2016, 09:05 PM
The seconds are expensive, but they are locking, so there's that. :)

How long are we talking? And, how much "vertical" you got? Would a pass-through ratchet work? They are pretty shallow, and a pipe over the end makes them long. :)

April 4th, 2016, 09:06 PM
Unrelated, this seems kinda cool:


April 4th, 2016, 09:23 PM
Pass through ratchets are bomb. I have these: http://www.sears.com/craftsman-19pc-universal-max-axess-socket-and-ratchet/p-00931088000P

Very handy, and the spline drive is sooo much better than traditional 12-pt. But these don't work on the header nuts - too fat near where the nut is. The header collectors curve really close to most of the nuts. It's why I'm liking the thin head on the GearWrench 120XP line.

How long do I need? I'll have to measure my existing 14mm ratcheting wrench. I need 2-3 more inches so that I can turn the wrench with my hand instead of two fingertips. Stuff gets in the way of my hands being where they need to be with my existing wrench.

If by "vertical" you mean space away from the nut/stud, I have varying degrees of it... Long story short, atm with my existing tools there's pretty much a different combination of wrench or socket/ratchet/extension/wobble/swivel that needs to happen for each nut. :lol: And sometimes two different magical elixirs for a particular nut because sadly, half the nuts don't get finger loose once they're broken free. They need some torque to come all the way off the studs.

The tool I'm after, if it exists, will make this job go much quicker. And probably be useful in other areas too.

Everything but locking (http://www.amazon.com/Mountain-MTNRM6-Universal-Reversible-Ratcheting/dp/B00DDO1DPG/). :x

April 5th, 2016, 10:08 AM
All makes sense - what you described is as I expected, I was just looking for a difference approach.

You know, it's completely ghetto but you could go get a cheap(er) wrench, hack off one side, and have an exhaust shop weld on a length of steel round or tube to it. Great use for a Harbor Freight tool - you could even get a non-flex-head wrench and bend it into just the right shape and have a specialty tool for $10. Well, maybe $20 once you flip the shop $10. :) I've massacred a number of Harbor Freight wrenches for this purpose, zero regrets - especially when it saves me from having to buy a $100 Mercedes tool. :D

April 5th, 2016, 10:34 AM
(I just need a couple more inches, twss)
Just coming here to applaud your subtlety.

April 5th, 2016, 10:36 AM
All makes sense - what you described is as I expected, I was just looking for a difference approach.

You know, it's completely ghetto but you could go get a cheap(er) wrench, hack off one side, and have an exhaust shop weld on a length of steel round or tube to it. Great use for a Harbor Freight tool - you could even get a non-flex-head wrench and bend it into just the right shape and have a specialty tool for $10. Well, maybe $20 once you flip the shop $10. :) I've massacred a number of Harbor Freight wrenches for this purpose, zero regrets - especially when it saves me from having to buy a $100 Mercedes tool. :D

Yeah, the DIY approach is actually the pro approach as well. Tim has a number of "specialty" tools that he has fabricated. :)

April 5th, 2016, 10:40 AM
Something like that never occurred to me til I peered in my Ford mechanic's friend toolbox one day. "This one is for a '97-'99 F150, this is for a 2003.5 Contour, I don't know what this does anymore." :lol: I'm sure it's great having carte blanche on the Snapon truck, but.... ;)

April 5th, 2016, 10:52 AM
That certainly helps. And the fact that they will warranty wrenches that have been torched in half, etc. :D

April 5th, 2016, 11:09 AM
Do you have to pretend it broke during normal use, or can you just tell them "I was trying to MacGuyver something and shit went sideways," or do you just not say anything other than give me a new one.

April 5th, 2016, 11:12 AM
The latter. :)

April 5th, 2016, 11:19 AM
There is a Tim Allen bit on that, but with Craftsman.

April 14th, 2016, 03:35 PM
Someday soon I'm getting a Hole Pro.


April 19th, 2016, 12:09 PM
I am down to either:






The Velleman has a signal generator and the Sainsmart does not but the Sainsmart has a much better form factor. Both have plenty of bandwidth for automotive crap - 20 or 40MHz of bandwidth where a few hundred Hz is enough. I think they have comparable, barely adequate software. Velleman has an actual website and maybe customer service, Sainsmart has "a lot" of traction in the hobbyist community.

There is a third option made by Hantek which is more directly aimed at cars, but apparently the software is completely unstable. It'd be nice to have a button that says "test crank sensor" rather than having to figure out what settings to punch in, but I have six months of college, so I'm pretty sure I can figure it out.

April 26th, 2016, 08:55 AM
I am continuing to research this and learning a little as I go - stuff that's so far above my pay grade it's not funny. I have ruled out the Sainsmart products entirely based on really bad feedback on the software. The Velleman is still in the running, but something yesterday caused me to have doubt, possibly about the software as well. New leader in this race is the Picosmart 2204A



It's a recognized brand, and from what I've read they supply the same software on all their scopes, from this $160 doodad to the multithousand dollar ones. It gets good marks all around. This review is the one that got me going on it:


It has lower specs than the other units, but it seems a) those other units may be embellishing, and b) if the software isn't reliable who cares? The Picoscope is 10MHz and 100MS/s, and I am measuring hundreds of hertz so it should be fine.

I don't know how I missed this one earlier... weird.

April 26th, 2016, 03:05 PM

Anyway, my old Craftsman cheapie tool chest is falling apart due to being overloaded. But I'm not in the garage every day so I can't justify thousands of dollars on a nice used second hand Matco/SnapOn/etc tool chest. Has anyone slammed drawers on one of those US GENERAL ones at HF? The online reviews seem positive anyway.

April 26th, 2016, 03:41 PM
I have not - I wrangled a good deal on Craftsman "Quietglide" chests that made the decision non-starter. But, after looking at the USG ones just this last weekend (while configurating a totally sweet water heater cleaner) I'd say there isn't much difference between the two! I have been looking for some additional tool storage, so it's hot on my mind. :)

April 26th, 2016, 09:01 PM

This one has pretty consistently been pointed out on forums over the years as actually being worth the money.

ps. I got my current Craftsman stack on sale at Sears, FWIW. They were having one of their annual blowouts, and it was listed for about half it's normal cost. It's pretty similar to this one: http://www.sears.com/craftsman-26-in-13-drawer-heavy-duty-ball/p-009CO56572812B?prdNo=6&blockNo=6&blockType=G6 but I didn't pay anywhere near what they have it selling for currently.

April 27th, 2016, 08:53 AM
Makes me wonder how often those blowouts actually happen. I have two identical roller/middle/top stacks, purchased at separate times both on big sale. I could probably dig up the receipts, but IIRC each setup cost about $350, and it's easily 2x the storage of that USG part. I guess look for sales at Sears!

June 22nd, 2016, 10:08 AM
I mentioned in that one other thread that I picked up this:



to go with one of these



I put it to work yesterday, and I gotta say this combination is awesome. I have some 4x8 engineered siding that I am using for a door surface and I need to trim it to 87" long in various widths. Yesterday, that was 47" (1" cut) and 4" (44" cut). Worked perfectly. I was anticipating a big battle getting this plywood trimmed down, but it wasn't a big deal at all.

I am still not very good at any of this - the past three months has been my first real use of any power saws at all in my life - but I am getting completely satisfactory results. Also, learning a lot along the way. I still don't feel like I could accomplish anything delicate or intricate, but I guess there is time for that later. I need to watch more youtube videos and understand more approaches & techniques. And, I suppose, figure out what to build after I'm done with these doors so I can continue to learn. I have a neat idea but, as always, I think my reach exceeds my grasp. I don't think I am prepared for bending wood yet. :D

June 29th, 2016, 01:18 PM
Anyone have any thoughts on auto-ranging vs manual ranging multimeters?

My very nice Fluke multimeter (received as a gift from teh in-laws) doesn't measure high resistances--maxes out at 1kOhm--so I am in the market for an additional multimeter.

June 29th, 2016, 01:30 PM
I prefer autoranging, but I think that's not pro. ;)

I have this:


and have been very happy with it. There have only been a couple times where the autoranging function has gotten in the way, but only because the component being tested was broken. So, you can't see how it's broken, but you know because the value isn't predictable it is. :)

June 29th, 2016, 01:33 PM
INNOVA fanboy! ;)

I was looking at something little less bells and whistles-y: https://www.amazon.com/Extech-EX330-Autoranging-Multimeter-Thermometer/dp/B000EX0AE4

June 29th, 2016, 01:49 PM
I'm a fanboy insofar as the products work as advertised and are available via Amazon Prime. I definitely would not seek them out otherwise - they're fine, but I don't really have any opinion beyond that. Kinda like OTC - adequate and available. ;)

No specific opinion on the Extech model, but it seems to check all the correct boxes, including radiant E-Wave emission reduction. :up:

June 30th, 2016, 11:16 AM
Orderededed. Plus the INNOVA timing light that you like. :)

One-day shipping!

June 30th, 2016, 11:39 AM
That is still blowing my mind. Same day!!!!

July 26th, 2016, 09:03 PM
I'm loosely considering a small (6ton? 12ton?) Harbor Freight press and a cylinder punch kit or whatever you'd call it, so I could do my own bushings, wheel bearings, etc. Space is at a premium but I think these small presses are small enough to not take up much floor space.

This is all coming about because I'm needing to change 6 bushings and a wheel bearing, and if I have to do something similar a second time I'll have probably paid for the press vs paying a shop to do the work.

That is assuming I wouldn't be fighting a piece of junk that can't do the job properly. Right tool for the right job is soooo the way to go (and I'll include HF jacks and my ball joint tool in that category).

July 26th, 2016, 09:33 PM
I have this for about eight years:


My friend has one that might be double that. I know he had it in 2001, and probably in '99.

It's never had any sort of issue. I was in the same boat - some project that I could have outsourced or made space for a press and I chose to make space. It's definitely been an asset over the years.

October 19th, 2016, 09:45 AM
Man, I cannot wait for Harbor Freight to come up with a discount version of this:


Even at $1600 I'm thinking about it!

November 14th, 2016, 08:09 PM
Tap and die kit or a thread restorer kit? (https://www.amazon.com/Lang-Tools-2584-15-Piece-Restorer/dp/B000XJ48V0/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1479185475&sr=8-12&keywords=metric+tap+and+die+set)

I have never actually needed to thread a bolt or tap a bolt hole, just clean up stripped/mangled threads. Seems like the Lang Tools kit is right up my alley?

November 14th, 2016, 08:22 PM
Should do you fine! I keep thinking about getting one every time I do work in a grimy place where chasing threads is advisable, and I never do. ;)

November 14th, 2016, 08:55 PM

November 14th, 2016, 09:13 PM
Nice! Let me know how it does - next time I tool up I might grab one!

November 14th, 2016, 09:52 PM
Speaking of tools, I played the "buy more things to save money" game the other week and picked up a Milwaukee 18V lithium drill w/ two batteries + charger ($160) and a "bare tool" Milwaukee 18V lithium 1/2" impact driver ($160) for less than the price of the impact driver + 2 batteries kit ($380). :erm:

Have used each once and they worked fine. Great success!

The impact driver actually frightens me a little: 450 lb-ft max torque will fuck up a lug in a hurry if I cross-thread it... :eek:

November 14th, 2016, 09:56 PM
I love those promotions - although it definitely creates some unreal expectations for expansion. ;)

November 15th, 2016, 04:32 AM
:up: :up:

I was looking at the Dewalt cordless impact drill recently (just as a metric). I definitely will look for the best bang for the buck option tho' so this is good to read.

November 15th, 2016, 09:12 AM
Buying cordless tools is so hard (What battery? What tools? What chargers? ARGH!) that I always fail from analysis paralysis before anything gets done. But s 450 ft lb cordless impact sounds pretty magnificent - a legit game changer. I have an old big ass DeWalt corded impact I don't think makes that much torque! I was gonna sell it off because, you know, air tools, but I kept it thinking it might be handy in the motorhome someday. Much rather have something cordless I could use when I'm at a junkyard or something!

Mr Wonder
November 15th, 2016, 12:44 PM
We have a lot of the DeWalt impact wrenches at work and they are outstanding. Very compact and lightweight with a high torque rating - definitely a game changer.

In terms of cordless tools and batteries - just bite the bullet and buy into a system. We use all DeWalt stuff and the 18V line ("20V MAX" in the US, because freedom) uses the same battery type which is available from 1.5AH all the way up to 5AH. The batteries even have a charge indicator built in. As Random found out it's often cheaper to get the batteries and charger in a kit, most commonly with a drill, when it's on offer, then buy the bare tools that you want to make up your own set.

Just to rub it in I've just recently spent 17.5k of taxpayers money on some torquing equipment which turned up last week. Some pneumatic torque guns which I was really impressed with; 275-1350 Nm (200 - 1000 ft lb) and they only weigh 3.4 Kg (7.5 lbs). Complete with custom reaction arms, nose extensions and air supply conditioning units. They're lovely!

Freude am Fahren
November 15th, 2016, 01:39 PM
I've been wanting a wireless impact wrench for the garage for a while. But like you said, so many choices on size and such, but impact wrenches are actually pretty sparse and expensive. They seem to be pushing the impact drivers now, which I don't know much about, and don't think they're want I would want for working on cars/bikes. I did find this though: https://www.boschtools.com/us/en/boschtools-ocs/combo-kits-idh182-49845-p/ But it's not cheap. Also, it's "only" 18V, but 20 and 24V seem to be more popular. Not sure if that's really necessary?

November 15th, 2016, 02:18 PM
An impact wrench and an impact driver are two different things. An impact wrench uses anvils to knock a fastener loose in the normal direction of rotation. An impact driver is somewhat like a hammer drill, where the anvils smack down in addition to rotationally. Impact drivers are typically used in construction, really not an appropriate tool for anything mechanical. You usually see impact drivers in these kits because people are buying them at Home Depot or whatever. You wouldn't find them in an automotive-themed kit. Voltage as it applies to cordless tools is mostly marketing. 24v is more than 18v is more than 12v. In broad terms, the bigger the number the more "performance" - but you can't equate that directly into power or run time, certainly not across brands.

November 15th, 2016, 07:11 PM
Er, yeah. Mine is an impact wrench. Sorry if that confused anyone.

My father in-law has a nice DeWalt impact driver that I am pretty sure he sleeps with...loves it. :lol:

November 16th, 2016, 08:26 AM
If it's rated in ft lbs, it's a wrench. Wood people don't care about that sort of specificity. :D

Freude am Fahren
November 23rd, 2016, 07:52 AM
Ah, I just thought the difference was the type of tool and the way they attach, and that drivers were generally less powerful, didn't realize the actually worked in a different way. So an impact driver that takes sockets doesn't really turn it into a impact wrench? Good to know.

November 23rd, 2016, 12:24 PM
It'll work as one, for small stuff. Generally you'll end up breaking the socket adapter you used, though, for anything big.

November 23rd, 2016, 01:52 PM
... but you typically don't want to use an impact driver on machine threads. You can bugger them up pretty readily that way. Impact drivers are for putting screws into softer materials like wood, not for putting fasteners into threaded holes.

November 23rd, 2016, 07:57 PM
So I am officially looking at welders. It's going to be late winter purchase, but I'm writing it into the budget and failing something Really Bad happening, I'm gonna buy one.

I don't know anything about welding, including - no joke - how it works. I've spent the last six hours reading and I think what I've resolved on is that I want a MIG welder. In the scope of stick-MIG-TIG, stick is too messy and TIG is too delicate and I don't need the all-conditions functionality of stick or the "unusual materials" capability of TIG. I "need" something that can do ~1/4" steel, and a good MIG can do lighter and maybe a little heavier, plus maybe some aluminum. I like that a wire-feed MIG is "semi automated" so there is less to manage - that seems like a real bonus for learning - and there aren't consumable electrodes to worry about. I just can't think of a good reason not to go MIG.

Now the debate becomes what tool to buy, and whether to look at new vs. used. Seems like Miller, Lincoln, and Hobart are the big, recognized brands but there are lots of players in the market - some newer ones offering various low prices or fancy technologies. I think the advantage of buying new is knowing (to the degree it can be known) everything works and there is someone to call if it doesn't. I have a fear of buying a used one, because I have no idea how to evaluate it and I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a broken one and my own inability. This sucks, because used welders are plentiful and kinda cheap. But, I guess, a good welder might last forever so a higher up-front cost isn't the end of the world.

I'm looking initially at the Millermatic 211, which I guess is The Best in terms of a low-volume/hobbyist welder.



It's kinda neat as it's inverter-based and will run off 110 or 230, giving it some flexibility. Plus it weighs under 40lbs giving it a degree of portability. From what I've read their "autoset" feature works pretty great in terms of setting temp and speed automagically, maybe taking guesswork away from a noob.

It's a damn $1000, which is a bit more than I ever considered spending, but it's not cripplingly expensive - I could make that work. Especially if I ever get the Jeep back so I can sell the Santa Fe. I ended up "buying out" the client on it since I became the holdup, so now that's cash out of my bank account. Whatever. Plus, who knows, maybe I can somehow use the tool to make some money somewhere down the line. I've definitely been able to do that with some other more expensive tools. But, the real goal is Get the Duratec in the Falcon! Unfortunately there are costs there I can't handle in the near future and, obviously, I think I'm going to want to practice welding before attempting to just put a motor in a car. :lol: So, getting the welder now and having some time to practice is a good thing.

The backup (right now) is the Lincoln 180:



which is a little less expensive. It does not handle dual voltage, but has their "Diamond Core Technology" which (they claim) produces a more uniform weld, and it's compatible with their spool gun which a) does something and b) gets some bad reviews. But, it does cost less than the Miller, and since I do have 230v to feed it I think it would satisfy my needs.

Running third is the Hobart 210:



Which, spec-wise, is similar to the Miller but offers some features like the Lincoln - including the lower price.

All of this is inconclusive. :)

Does anyone know if this is all crazy talk or if this is a reasonable direction? I may go sign up on garagejournal or weldingweb and get some more advice. I just don't (think) I know anybody who can advise me. I might also sign up for a class at a local CC, see how that goes. Maybe I will luck out and meet someone who's taking the auto shop course... where the BAR sends all the referee cars for inspection. Those would be good people to know. :lol:

November 24th, 2016, 12:23 PM
My experience welding is mostly on Lincoln's products. None on Hobart.

MIG is what you want. I wouldn't look anywhere else.

Don't forget you will need argon gas too. I'd recommend taking a class because you don't have the advantage of someone else showing you the ropes. If you had someone standing over your shoulder, I'd say you could wing it. But the ability to do some dangerous stuff, I'd run the safety and fun of a good controlled environment.

Welding with a MIG the settings are everything and once you have them down, the world is your oyster.

November 24th, 2016, 12:30 PM
ARC has a good intro class, from what I've heard, FWIW.

December 2nd, 2016, 05:37 AM
Speaking of tools, I played the "buy more things to save money" game the other week and picked up a Milwaukee 18V lithium drill w/ two batteries + charger ($160) and a "bare tool" Milwaukee 18V lithium 1/2" impact driver ($160) for less than the price of the impact driver + 2 batteries kit ($380). :erm:

Have used each once and they worked fine. Great success!

The impact driver actually frightens me a little: 450 lb-ft max torque will fuck up a lug in a hurry if I cross-thread it... :eek:
Ok this post needs much more tech. :lol: What model is this, Russ? How much does it weigh?

I'm looking at this MILWAUKEE 2759B-22 M18 Fuel 1/2 In. Compact Impact Wrench w/ Ring Kit (https://www.amazon.com/MILWAUKEE-2759B-22-Compact-Impact-Wrench/dp/B0195M3726/ref=pd_day0_469_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0195M3726&pd_rd_r=0S5Z1MMR0Q469E4NJV9Z&pd_rd_w=o4XVA&pd_rd_wg=RPaEE&psc=1&refRID=0S5Z1MMR0Q469E4NJV9Z)on Amazon. It's 4 lbs and rated up to 220 ft-lb.

Alternately there's this monster, the Milwaukee 2763-22 M18 1/2" Inch Impact Wrench (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GFUA7FC/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=LV2399B0TDIT&coliid=I3CWU0DXEI9T1G). It weighs 15 lbs and will fuck up you and your friends to the tune of 1,100+ ft-lb of the torques. :hard:

As I live my life by the cheap > performance mantra, can I get serious automotive werk done with a peak of 220 ft-lb. of twist and a breaker bar/PB Blaster for loosening and torque wrenches for final tightening? Lug nuts typically are around 100 ft-lb. so I'd think so...


EDIT: An initial review on the Milwaukee M18 2759B-22 four-pounder. (https://www.workshopaddict.com/tools/milwaukee-m18-fuel-12-compact-impact-wrench-with-one-key-review/)

Some of our frustration with the standard impact wrench modes are the low RPM when using a low toque mode. There are many tasks that we still would enjoy a higher rpm to get through a longer bolt but still not over fasten the nut. A great example is when fastening lug nuts on a truck. We always do our finally tightening with a torque wrench, but we tighten up the lug nuts with our impact wrench.

With some adjusting, we were able to lower the torque and raise the rpm so we could get the job done faster.

December 2nd, 2016, 09:28 AM
If you don't mind that initial break using arm strength, 220 lb ft is enough for just about anything. Too much for most things! Manage the torque settings and apply the trigger cautiously, or you will break off a bolt in your thermostat housing and be very sad. Or so says my buddy who was real proud of his new Makita cordless a while back. :lol:

Freude am Fahren
December 2nd, 2016, 02:11 PM
Yeah I bought a whole wireless tool set from Lowes on Black Friday. Drill, impact driver, Saw set + 1/2" Impact wrench bare tool. Then I saw the 3/8 impact wrench was only $70, so I picked that up too :lol: I just like completing a set.

December 2nd, 2016, 07:26 PM
I got the Milwaukee 2663-20 impact wrench (http://www.cpomilwaukee.com/milwaukee-2663-20-m18-18v-cordless-1-2-in--lithium-ion-impact-wrench--bare-tool-/miln2663-20,default,pd.html?cgid=milwaukee-impact-wrenches), and the 2606-22 driver kit. (http://www.cpomilwaukee.com/milwaukee-2606-22ct-m18-18v-cordless-lithium-ion-1-2-in--drill-driver-kit/miln2606-22ct,default,pd.html?cgid=milwaukee-drill-drivers)

Looks like the impact wrench is 5+ pounds without the battery?

And yeah, I'll eventually get the reciprocating and circular saws. :D

December 2nd, 2016, 07:40 PM
450 ft lbs in a cordless is the definition of nuts!!!

Freude am Fahren
December 13th, 2016, 05:47 PM
I got this Kobalt one: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Kobalt-24-Volt-Max-Volt-1-2-in-Drive-Cordless-Impact-Wrench-1/1000061641 (along with the 3/8 one for an extra $80) on Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. Says 650lb of breakaway torque. Don't know if breakaway torque is some kind of special measurement combining the impact part, or if it actually applies a constant 650 ft-lb. I'm guessing the former?

Anyway, something else I picked up at Walmart the other day are some LED shop lights on the cheap. What a difference:

http://www.freudeamfoto.com/gtx/b4led.jpg http://www.freudeamfoto.com/gtx/afterled.jpg

(taken at the same exposure on my Nikon, 1/40 f/5.6 iso800)

Only problem was hanging them, since the garage is all cement and I rent. I'm using the exposed PVC plumbing right now :lol: I tried to keep the weight right at the hangers for the pipe itself.

December 13th, 2016, 06:37 PM
I finally broke down and bought a vacuum pump with a gauge. Mytivac is the brand.

I figured I could use it to bleed brakes easier, diagnose vacuum leaks, etc.

I bought it to diagnose if my vacuum operated hubs on my truck had a leak. They didn't, so I took everything apart and re-lubbed the CV axle gear, the IWE gear, and the hub gear.

I was getting a growling noise from the front every so often that led me down this road. Good news, is I fixed the problem..

January 3rd, 2017, 03:51 PM
For years I have been resisting the urge to buy cheap Chinese clones of dealer tools. Back when you could order a Tech2 from GM for $2400-$3000, or a Chinese one for $800 it wasn't hard to stave off the urge... $800 for something you just don't use that often seemed silly.

Well, with the Aero I'm pretty much going to have to buy a Tech2. The 9-3 is full of computers and you can't do anything without formally addressing the computer. It's useful, it's a toy, and hey, maybe it'll talk to the Suburban! And if I ever get around to an engine swap on the Fiero, Tech2 can help with that, too.

What's crazy is how cheap these things have gotten - this specific URL is The One people recommend:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/891045251/891045251.html?aff_platform=aaf&sk=VnYZvQVf%3A&cpt=1482866916806&dp=7c0bb3d70d9ac576e5afea1b77eb69f4&af=240682&cv=47843&afref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.saabcentral.com%2Fforums%2F showthread.php%3Ft%3D260738%26page%3D149&aff_trace_key=5bed3c3e30ca42a4b3d513c0c2a2e529-1482866916806-01241-VnYZvQVf


I know the Tech2 needs to phone home to get authorized, but someone hacked that and you can fake it out by setting up a local server. Or something. I think I found those files, but I don't fully understand how it works. Need to do more reading I suppose, but everyone's doing it, why can't I?

(I do think this means I will finally be converting the Windows 7 server to VMware ESXi and setting up a couple guest OSs to do it... hopefully my WiFi network is strong enough outside. Or I will also be investing in Eero so that it is.)

Unfortunately I can either order the tool with US support or Euro support, but not both. The company selling the clones has not replied to my email asking how I get the other one... not sure what to do about that. :|

I think it's great that we live in an age where you can buy multi-thousand dollar proprietary tools off the internet for a couple hundred bucks, then plug them into your car and brick it with just one or two incorrect buttons. You don't even have to start or drive a car to ruin it these days. AMAZING PROGRESS!

January 3rd, 2017, 08:58 PM
Plus it comes from China with Best Quality in the product description. How could you go wrong! :lol:

January 3rd, 2017, 09:05 PM
I have the option of OK Quality and Passable quality, but cost is no concern of mine. Best quality ONLY.

January 3rd, 2017, 09:27 PM
I may buy from these guys:

http://www.obd2tool.com/goods-1568-GM+Tech2+GM+Scanner+-CANdi++TIS+(Works+for+GMSAABOPELSUZUKIISUZUHolden) .html

I'm sure the product is the same, but I feel more comfortable buying from a company instead of a random seller on AliXXX. Also, they let you buy the additional PCMCIA cards right there. :up:

January 3rd, 2017, 10:07 PM
Oof. $101 in shipping. Crazy I can buy 10lbs of metal crap off ebay from China for $40, but a $300 doodad costs an additional $100 to ship.

Gonna have to wait a couple weeks on that, or go the AliXXX route for FREE SHIPPING *and* BEST QUALITY.

January 3rd, 2017, 11:01 PM
Fuggit. Went with the far cheaper Aliexpress seller. I figured out how to search their store (like, not what button to click but what term to search) and was able to order both the GM and Saab cards at the same time. That's the convenience that lead me to looking elsewhere in the first place. :up:

Of course, the reason to have two card is because finding something that can read much less write PCMCIA cards in 2016 is tough. However, in the process of that searching for the cards, I found a link on a Corvette or S10 forum to a program that will let you write bins directly to the card installed in a Tech2, which sort of eliminates the need to have a second card anyway.

I bought both cards, figuring that's less writing to crap old memory, but maybe it'll end up being a spare. Total including shipping was under $300. In a way, unbelievable; in a way a crazy price tag for a 16MHz CPU coupled to a few k of memory that uses PCMCIA for storage. A $50 Android tablet has about 100x the capability. :smh:

I am excited and nervous about this. As a diagnostic tool, no worries. But I don't want to brick the car. Hopefully any flashing becomes necessary when something is already borked. :lol: Hey, my buddy's wagon has a problem with the anti-theft system - maybe we can experiment on it, first. :D

January 4th, 2017, 06:17 AM
This feels like the prologue to Maximum Overdrive 2.

January 4th, 2017, 08:52 AM
Is it weird I'd feel better about that than if I brick the ECM?

January 4th, 2017, 08:56 AM
No, because you're intrinsically weird, so it'd be weird if you didn't think something weird.

January 4th, 2017, 09:05 AM

January 4th, 2017, 03:15 PM
No, because you're intrinsically weird, so it'd be weird if you didn't think something weird.


January 6th, 2017, 08:18 PM
"NO.1 Auto Diagnostic Tool Store" has shipped my semi-pirated Tech2, so that's rad. Time to start gearing up for a learning curve, and figuring out the best way to get Windows 7 into the garage. I have this crazy idea of putting an old, spare 47" Vizio TV in there and connecting it to a computer. My garage - as seen in the whatever thread in the place I don't go - isn't exactly modern or air tight, but I wonder how long that stuff would last out there. The only alternative I've got is buy a damned laptop. That sucks, because over the summer I purged all the old laptops at home... "When will I ever need a Windows 7 computer again?" Dammit.

Unrelated, I need to find a small, cordless tool that can cut plastic tubes with as little noise and as little mess as possible. In the past I have used a Dremel with a cut-off wheel, but that's not quiet or clean. Maybe a Dremel with a side-cutting bit, or a Rotozip, or maybe some big-ass tin snips? Hmmm.

Edit: Oh snap... I thought I read you can use Win7 Pro 32-bit, but maybe you need XP Pro 32-bit. That's an added challenge!

January 9th, 2017, 09:21 AM
I dug up an old Compaq Athlon-powered PC over the weekend... Replaced the ancient 160gb HDD with a 32gb mSATA SSD and installed XP Pro. A little googling led me to "Unofficial SP4 for Windows XP" which is a rollup of nearly every XP patch & update plus additional parts that were reserved for XP Embedded. Neat - especially because it means this system never needed to be connected to the internet. The B22 is a late '09 CPU so is way past the end of XP, but still has full XP support. Throw in an SSD and it's a kick-ass XP machine. Boots in maybe four seconds. With everything loaded, there is still 18gb of free space on the 32gb drive, and Ghost images compress down to 8gb so I can keep an as-new backup. :up:

Amazingly, DHL picked up the Tech2 on Thursday, and

09 Jan 17 9:55 AM - With delivery courier - SACRAMENTO - MATHER,UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

it's being delivered today. I didn't expect anything for a couple weeks - one weekend is insane!

Really excited about being able to fully mess up GM cars.

January 9th, 2017, 11:05 AM
Unrelated, I need to find a small, cordless tool that can cut plastic tubes with as little noise and as little mess as possible. In the past I have used a Dremel with a cut-off wheel, but that's not quiet or clean. Maybe a Dremel with a side-cutting bit, or a Rotozip, or maybe some big-ass tin snips? Hmmm.

What kind of plastic? PVC? Flexible?




January 9th, 2017, 11:19 AM
I'm not sure - it could be PVC, doesn't feel like ABS or nylon. It's not rigid, but more brittle than flexible. They are plastic channels that are vaguely K shaped, so on a manual tool the blade needs to be pretty big. That mini sawsall looks about perfect - maybe Lowes or HD carries something like that!

January 9th, 2017, 11:56 AM
"Compact cordless reciprocating saw" is the money -


Seems about the right price & capability for the occasional-but-important use it will see. :up:

January 9th, 2017, 12:00 PM
Combination of a mini sawzall and a jigsaw, looks like. :)

January 9th, 2017, 02:27 PM
Yep - I think it'll work. I need to measure one of the channels to ensure the blade will cut straight through, but if not I don't know what Plan B is... I definitely do not want to wave an actual sawzall around here.

Well, I kind of do, but it would be inappropriate.

Tech 2 arrived just like I expected it to - with a plain brown box and really poor packaging. :lol: It seems to have arrived complete and functional regardless:


Despite being shitty at IT, I lucked out and got the serial port, Java, Firewall, and webserver configuration right the first time - software connected up without hesitation and didn't complain about credentials, licenses or servers. Nice.

Now I need to move this stuff into a position where I can actually connect it to a car... I am not immediately sure how to do that, but I'll work it out. In the meantime, I am researching whether the inclusion of an ALDL adapter means the Tech2 will talk to the motorhome and the Fiero. That would be amazing!

January 9th, 2017, 04:20 PM

I was going to say, it can't be that difficult, as it had to be reliable for dealership monkeys to use it

January 9th, 2017, 06:00 PM
I don't know how dealerships get it - whether there is a spec they buy or someone from GM comes out and hooks it up.

I can definitely see how people running not-XP would have issues, so I am glad I took the XP route. Kinda sucks I can't connect it to the network (would be nice for remote desktop, or using it for other purposes) but OTOH it just worked. Maybe KISS isn't all bad when it comes to the possibility of bricking your car. I read a horror story of a guy whose laptop went to sleep in the middle of a security operation. Oh damn, you're fucked! That reminds me, I bloody well oughta turn off power saving on the computer before I use it.

I did confirm TECH2 will talk to the Fiero - I still don't know whether it will talk to the motorhome. The verbiage is "GM cars, will not communicate with trucks" but I don't know whether they're talking about commercial GM trucks, or anything that isn't strictly a car. I guess that potentially includes the Suburban, too. Hmmm.

January 11th, 2017, 11:33 AM
It appears one of the problems with clone Tech2s is (surprise!) the use of cheap components. Seems crazy that in 2016 there is actual money to be saved on building cheaper versions of 1990s technology, but whatever. ;) One of the side effects of the cost-savings is that the voltage regulation in the device is lacking and it can suffer damage from alternator spikes and won't survive voltage sags, such as might occur when starting the car. Since some procedures require starting the car while the scanner is attached, that's a problem.

Some ambitious folks have specified replacement components, but I am not into dismantling a brand new part that might be a little sketchy to start with, so instead I think I'm going to pick up a DC-DC buck/boost converter, similar to what I use in the motorhome.


You program this guy and it turns 5-25vdc into a fixed output - so I can turn saggy-starting 8v or alternator-spinning 14v into a fixed 12v supply for the Tech2.

Really happy I found the thread about "tech2 reboots when car starts" ahead of time, before the car or the scanner got borked. :up:

January 11th, 2017, 09:35 PM
Are you sure it's not running Windows 10 in the background?

January 12th, 2017, 01:11 PM
I complained on an internet forum, so everything that can be done has been done. All I can do is hope.

January 12th, 2017, 07:46 PM
Welcome to my daily reality. :)

January 12th, 2017, 07:54 PM
Hoping or complaining? :lol:

I made a decision on an adjustable hole saw:


So if you ever need something like a speaker adapter cut out of wood (or drywall) just let me know. ;)

January 12th, 2017, 08:54 PM
Complaining as an expression of hope. ;)

Next time on the speaker adapters!

January 13th, 2017, 04:10 AM
I complained on an internet forum, so everything that can be done has been done. All I can do is hope.

:lol: :up:

January 13th, 2017, 03:06 PM
It seems to work - Tech2 connected to the car, got both security and service programming information and then got clearance from the XP machine. I can now program keys, modules, and flash software onto the Saab.

1. Kinda cool. Although shady, it's great that this option exists to save DIYers you know, like $3800.
2. Kinda shitty. I remember when getting access to a car meant a screwdriver from Sears. Now it's a compu-relic from China. :smh:

Tech2 also talks to the Suburban, but won't talk to the Fiero. I didn't realize it has a hard 1991 cutoff - even late '80s OBD1-compliant cars are excluded. C'est la vie. I haven't yet tried it out on the Southwind, but I plan to this weekend. With only 90,000 miles, the GM part of the Southwind works pretty flawlessly, but it never hurts to be able to read performance data from ECMs. :up:

January 17th, 2017, 11:41 AM
I made a decision on an adjustable hole saw:


This thing makes a huge mess but works AWESOME in wood. Cut three 8" holes flawlessly. Compared to the $80 or so a good 8" hole saw would cost, it's an awesome deal so long as you've got a drill press. :up:

January 24th, 2017, 10:45 AM
Whelp, guess I gotta buy a toolbox now.



January 24th, 2017, 11:37 AM
That's neat.

What are the dimensions?

January 24th, 2017, 11:49 AM
They're not listing which ones will get branded models yet, take a look at these: https://www.sonictoolsusa.com/storage/toolboxes.html