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Filling up the tool chest, Help with some basics

1626 Views 14 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  dohcrxl
Ok, I'm still constantly finding that I don't have all the tools I need as projects keep springing up.

I have bought 2-3 150+pc craftsman tool chests so I have multiples of about every socket and box wrench I could ever want. I've bought 2-3 screwdriver packs, again to have miltiples I cna keep in the car, in the toolchest, and in the Jeep.

I know I need to get a good toque wrench, does anyone have recomended specs for one I plan to use on the CRX? What ftlb ratings should I look for?

Also, I have a nice complressor I rarely use, I haven't a foggy clue what air tools to buy, what would you recommend?

What do you have in your toolchest/bag/box that you couldn't live without when doing big jobs on the car such as a motor swap, transmission change, etc...?
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Well, for air tools you're going to want a good impact wrench (a nice 1/2" drive) and a 3/8" drive ratchet. You'll also want a die grinder and maybe a reciprocating saw. Obviously a blow gun and a tire inflater are good to have too.

For hand tools, a good breaker bar is something to add (you'll use it a lot). Also, an impact driver (lets you get stuck screws out very easily). An oxygen sensor socket is nice to have if you'll be changing those out a bit.

There's tons more stuff, but I'm a tool-hoarder and have a skewed view on tool purchasing. I can't walk in to a tool store without buying something (a wrench or something at least).
Mike's Tool Box Basics

It's an excellent writeup that covers what you need to start working on your car.
A really good 10mm socket, Ive broke so many its not even funny. I went and bought a craftsmen 10mm and rachet.
I'd agree with that. I just ended up using an impact socket. I've already got the impact wrench, so it just kind of ended up that way. That particular socket will never break.

BTW, if you're breaking a lot of sockets, move from 12 point sockets to 6-points. They've got a lot more metal behind them and are much less likely to break.
how are you guys breaking 10mm sockets??? i break 10mm BOLTS, but not sockets...

since i only work on hondas, i filter all my sockets to just 10, 12, 14, 17 and 19. why bother keeping any other, its just dead weight. they are organized in a separate tool box, just a plain plastic bin thats easily portable.

10-14 i only use 3/8" drive.

14-19 i only use 1/2" drive.

i have both normal and deep sets, both 6 and 12 pts too. id choose 6pt over 12pt if i had only one.

you need a 32mm socket for axle nuts.

for ratchets, i LOVE my snap on fine tooth 3/8" drive ratchet. but its not the best tool for all occasions. i also have a 3/8" drive craftsman FLEX head with a LONG handle i use for most my work. it can take the abuse. (ive broken my snap on from too much use, which i replaced but now i wont use it unless im working with 10-12mm head bolts.) also a great ratchet i like is a small stubby craftman flex head. perfect to put in my pocket and walk around the junkyard with. again, only useful for 10 or 12mm head bolts, but then so many are on a honda.

then for wrenches, i have again, 10, 12, 14, 17 and 19. make sure that 17mm is 6pt. you need it for the transmission bolt. also a 12mm 6pt is needed for distributor bolts that like to strip. otherwise, i recommend a combination 12 and 14mm box end wrench. i find it handy for rear suspension work.

you also need a 22mm wrench. 22mm is needed for the tie rod lock nut. theyre always a pain, which sucks, because honda made that lock nut 19mm in later years. (replace them with the 19mm ones from the junkyard asap).

any removal of brakelines REQUIRES a 10mm flarenut wrench! very important. dont even think about using a regular 10mm. just get the 10 and 12mm combo flarenut wrench from craftsman.

i recommend having a separate set of gear wrenches. theyre great. but not necessary if you already have a set of wrenches and sockets i already listed.

the worst tool i for some reason never have a good set in my tool box is screwdrivers! there really isnt much need for them in general. but you do need em. so i just get a multi tool, 6 in 1 type. its great because without a toolbit, its a 8mm driver. useful for the air box cover.

some other misc things are a 3lb sledge hammer. easiest way to break loose ball joints. another thing is an impact driver. you really only need it for the brake rotor screws. to push back the caliper, you should just get a big channel lock plier. perfect for calipers, instead of a C clamp. its also useful to grip the HUGE steering gear box lock nut. you also need various needle nose pliers and 1 pair of dikes (wire cutters). also a snap ring plier, for balljoints and tranny casing removal. and then a oil filter tool. why struggle with the oil filter by hand. just buy a $3.99 adjustable adaptor.

one more thing. 3 metric taps! 8x1.25, 10x1.25 and 12x1.25. very important. i chase any thread now that i think is questionable. i wasted so much time with stripped threads, i dont ever want to NOT have these. (yeah its a double negative). they also work great to rethread the stretched castle nuts for the balljoints (thats the reason they are always hard to put back on) get the same spec dies as well if you want, you can chase the threads on the balljoints too.

all of this i can keep in a regular toolbag.
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tyson is pretty spot on. from there you just start adding in more stuff you encounter along the way.

i have lots of need speciialty tools that make jobs way easier (crank pulley tool, badass snapon valve adjustment tool, flywheel locker, fedner roller, brake caliper tool, etc etc) but his beginnings is dead on. Ive been seriously considering making a portable tool setup, im loving it.

now if i only had a garage....
ah i forgot the "caliper tool", aka channel lock pliers. added.
ha! yeah for teh front that works good. i like using that piece tha tlocks into the back caliper, but now i dont have to worry about stupid rear calipers ever again!

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I love ratcheting box end wrenches.

I love off-set box end wrenches.

Swivels can be a mechanic's best friend.

An impact driver is always nice.

A magnetic telescopic pick-up tool is a must.

Not so much on CRX's but I've found on other cars that a medium depth socket set saves headaches for those situations where space is tight and wont allow for a deep wall but a shallow wont cut it.

Most of all, I love my power tools. zip zip zip!
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No rubber mallet guys?! I use that a lot, it's definitely a help. You may also want to grab a soldering iron and some wire strippers/cutters. Easy-outs might be a good idea too, if you're working on a heavily corroded/neglected car.
For the torque wrench, we have a set of Crafstman ones in 3 sizes at the shop, you can get away with only the 1/2" drive (up to 100 ft lbs I think). The Snap-On one is better, I've personally had to replace a few of the Craftsman torque wrenches, but they see a lot of use at the shop. Either way you definitely want to get the 1/2" drive, you'll use it for lugnuts (80ftlbs) a lot.

For more advanced stuff: A nice vernier caliper, overhead valve spring compressor, cylinder hone, feeler gauges, spring compressor (suspension). There's ton's of stuff you could get, and you can never have too many tools!

For the air tools, I have a few Blue Point (Snap-On) things, but we have mostly Crafstman stuff at the shop, and I have no complaints about them. I'm very impressed that we never really replace anything with the amount of use and abuse they get. In my experience the best die grinder is the Snap-On with the adjustable speed setting, it's really hard to control speed on those things otherwise, and that can be really bad when you're working with soft aluminium.
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downest said:
In my experience the best die grinder is the Snap-On with the adjustable speed setting, it's really hard to control speed on those things otherwise, and that can be really bad when you're working with soft aluminium.
I have a Dremel, which I sub out for a die grinder. There's probably an advantage to a die grinder, but for most things, a multispeed dremel works for me.

Gloves are another nice thing to have, unless you like bleeding all over your car :p I have a set of Craftsmen control grip gloves... I can pick up needles with them, unlike most gloves I've used.
i can make this easy for you just buy my tool box i have at work. it has everything you need to fix anything on a honda or your jeep. actually any mopar pos. im thinking a career change is in order anyways. lol

it can be all yours for the low low price of $42,842.00 if your interested i can get you the vin number and find a rollback to deliver it to you .. ha

but seriusly air tools

half inch impact gun i would highly recomend the ingersol rand 2135ti yes a bit pricey but i have yet to not get a crank pulley bolt off with it
3/8 air ratchet ingersol rand ir1200
1/4 air ratchet ingersol rand ir 1103
air chissel any cheep one would work for most stuff but a heavy duty air chissel is always better and i tend to grab that all the time. i have been using this cheep hd nesco air chissel...

I have two Craftsman torque wrenches a 1/2" that measures torque up to 210 foot pounds and a 3/8" that measures in inch pounds. Get the kind that click when you hit the proper torque. Stay away from the cheap ones that have a pointer and scale (but they'd be better than nothing).

If your car is lowered you'll want a nice low profile floorjack. Most inexpensive floorjacks are too tall to roll under a lowered car. So you end up using your Honda emergency jack to get the car high enough for your floorjack to work. That's a pain. I have a great aluminum low profile 2 ton Craftsman.

Next you'll want to have at least four jackstands. That way you can remove all four wheels for rotating tires, exhaust work, etc.

Nitrile gloves. They're slightly tougher than latex gloves. For really messy jobs like brakes or greasy engine work nitrile gloves can help keep your hands clean without losing the fine "touch" of your fingers unlike "Mechanix" style gloves.

Finally, yes I'm completely serious....knee pads. Whether you get 70's basketball player style or high tech skater type pads they'll save your knees. Hours of kneeling on concrete is murder on your knees
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Money saving tip on torque wrenches:

Don't fork out the cash for snap-on, mac, matco, heck not even craftsman. Just get a 20 dollar half inch and 15 dollar 3/8 inch from Harbor freight. I've had mine for years and they're great. From time to time when I get a chance I'll check them against 150 plus dollar items like the ones mentioned and they don't seem to fall out of calibration. My craftsman just sits in the box because it's big and bulky and clumsy to set and use. Harbor Freight rules when it comes to some things. Just don't trust their channel locks to not let loose and pinch your hands. Or their line of impacts to really last. Or their snap ring pliers to not easily round the tips. Man, I'm A.D.D'ing again - so yea, torque wrenches, go to the Harbor.
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