Looking for tools and tips to make working on my car easier and faster

#41

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Your tools are very basic. I understand why you are frustrated. Other helpful tools for you:

1. A 3/8 socket drive with a long handle and a flexing head.
2. Two or three longer 3/8 extensions so that you can reach a bolt from 2 feet away.
3. Wobble 3/8 drive sockets - The wobble joint is built into the socket. Very handy.
4. A ratcheting set of wrenches. These have one fixed open end, and closed end that ratchets. Extremely handy compared to a standard wrench. Get the ones with the flex head on the ratcheting side.
5. Since you said you are going to do brakes, a set of brake tools would be helpful. Though you can do it with regular tools, these get the springs and keepers on/off much easier.
6. An air compressor with a 3/8 air ratchet, 3/8 impact driver, and 1/2 impact driver will save you loads of time. You can start out with a smaller one until you get a garage built, and then you'll want a large one.

Lastly, working on gravel with a jack and jack stands requires a lot of care. Make sure that thing is solid before you climb under it. The danger here is no joke! You should consider something more substantial than jack stands to hold the car up.

I was going to try and give you some links on your tool site..... aber... (my).... Deutch ist nicht gut!
 

sam dupont

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Here's what looks like a better model. It has 154 pieces. I don't build models, but 154 sounds like a lot to me.

 

Kern Dog

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Good advice. Though when I’ve encountered hassles where some serious thinking is necessary for some way out of my dilemma…I shout some expletives, maybe throw a wrench (in a safe direction) piss & moan some more, depending on how much deep-shit I’m in to get out, and then it usually comes to me on a fix it, sometimes after a night’s sleep, or ask members here, or car buds. One a those usually has worked sometimes with a beer or two in the mix.
I'll bet that I am a lot like most of the guys here.
I never had any actual training. I just had the inclination to jump in and try to fix what was broken. Along the way, I learned from my mistakes. I learned from others. I asked advice and took some of it. I read magazines, I read books and when the internet forums came along, I joined and learn from them as well.
I have a habit of taking on tasks that are new to me and sometimes wonder if my poor results are from my lack of knowledge or if my cheap tools are partly to blame.
As a Carpenter, I know that good tools can really make a good carpenter great BUT they cannot make up for a hamfisted dipshit that has no clue what he is doing. When air powered nail guns became commonplace, I developed a belief that the guns allowed hack carpenters to do bad work quicker.
I've fantasized that if I were to win the lottery, I'd hire professionals to train me in the skills where I need the most improvement.
More to the point at hand here though.....
Some people have natural talent that just comes from within. These people somehow see shortcuts that others don't see. They find faster and easier ways to get jobs done. I hear of a one hour motor mount swap and instantly call bullshit but maybe it is possible. I've worked with guys that have incredible framing skills and get an impressive amount of work done while working next to another guy that struggles to get 1/3 of the same work done in the same amount of time.
One thing that I continue to struggle with is the tendency to think that I don't need to take some things off to do a job. So often, the things left in place tend to present an obstacle that makes the job far more difficult. I need to remind myself that simply removing the obstacles clears the way to do the job in less time overall.
Example....Under dash work. Now I'll remove the front seat so I don't have to lay in some contorted shape to wiggle my arms and hands up in there.
I'll remove an alternator sometimes if I need to change a fuel pump.
In some cases, you have to remove a lot of things just to replace what is bad.
Regarding tools: Air ratchets allow you to R&R nuts and bolts in small spaces where a wrench or ratchet has limited room to spin.
Cordless impact drills and ratchets are great to have too.
I have u-joint adapters in 3/8" and 1/2" drive. I have wobbly sockets, wobbly extensions, wrenches that I purposely bent for a specific need.
I've used a box end wrench with masking tape covering one side to hold a nut in the wrench when feeding it into a tight space where I couldn't get my hands in. I've also used thick wheel bearing grease for the same situation. A magnet on a telescopic extension is great for getting lost nuts and bolts or to remove fasteners that are at risk of falling out of sight if they get dropped.
I always use anti-seize on spark plugs in aluminum heads.
I started using Locktite on high stress fasteners like motor mount brackets, steering box bolts and caliper mounting bolts.
I recently learned that synthetic oil with high detergent is bad for old cars because it strips the zinc from the engine parts rather than allowing it to stick to them.
 

MoparLeo

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It has been touched on a few times but nothing is more important. SAFETY. Your picture in the first post showed so many no no-s that they can't be stressed enough.
Never, ever get under a car without proper support, or you can die And it will be painful first..
The front of the Factory Service Manual ( somebody already gave you a link) is all about basic maintenance info and will tell and show you where the factory recommends the jack stands or lift pads, or support blocks your choice should go. This is where the cars center of gravity is located and where the car has enough strength to support the cars weight safely.
As said before never use any sort of jacking or support device on a non stable surface. It needs to be rigid and level. At least 2 layers of a at least a 6-8" wide, solid wood or 3/4" plywood in thickness ( not particle board) under the supports. If the hood is going to be in the up position, add some type of support rod to keep the hood from falling in the case of movement or weak hood springs. Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery and shield it to guard against shorts. Have good lighting, dry area to work. First aid kit handy for cuts etc... Plenty of clean rags a clear, clean area for your tools. No need for anything fancy just picture an operating room on tv where they have all the surgical stuff, just neat and organized.
Take pictures before you remove or disassemble anything. Try to not get distracted when you work. Always helps to have someone help. Take your time. Know your limits.
 

Ron H

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Unless there’s some need to be in a hurry, I’m pretty methodical – anal. Yeah slow. Good buddy who knows cars and I have worked together on several projects and we can drive each other nuts (pun?). He’s always in a rush and I can irritate him and his rush can piss me off, especially if some rework becomes necessary. We’re retired and I’ve said “Dude! You got to be somewhere or what?” I’m more cautious trying to plan each step of the job and double-check what I’ve done; likely to a fault at times. I take after my talented dad who was a perfectionist; but didn’t inherit all of the skills he had; but in the ballpark. Yeah, I have car buds that are much faster, know their stuff, and one that does a lot of side work making cash fixing cars, so he’s really efficient...poetry in motion. My elder brother was a car mechanic at a couple of dealers back when before he changed careers and is sharper than I am like that. Super organized with his tools. But, I hate having to do rework or fix something I broke, or forgetting something out of sequence – like installing something too soon then having to take it off again.
Lol, at my age this isn't going to change.
 

451Mopar

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already mentioned
#1 - Factory Service Manual.
#2 - Wobble extension sets. When socket is pushed all the way on, works like a normal socket extension, 3/8" and 1/4" get used the most. I am using the GearWrench brand and they work for me. Avoid the real cheap ones as they won't hold the sockets on.
#3 - Full set of combination wrenches 15 piece or more usually SAE 1/4" to 1"+, Metric 8mm to 22mm+
#4 - Socket and ratchet wrench set(s). 1/4" drive, 3/8" drive, 1/2" drive. I like the old Craftsman 280+ piece sets in the large multi drawer molded case (I think discontinued). The molded case doubles as a tool box and socket organizer. It has SAE and Metric sockets in 6 point and 12-point, standard and deep well lengths. Some of these sets come with a few common sized combination wrenches, but having two of the same sized wrench is nice when holding a bolt head while tight the nut.
#5 - Safety stuff as mentioned. personal protective equipment (PPE), fire extinguisher, wheel chocks, Good 4 leg jack stands (stay away from the cheap 3-leg stands that are just a split piece of tube.)
 

gkent

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I have a very well equipped shop BUT there are some things that I can't justify buying. For the amount of use I'm further ahead to rent of borrow. An engine hoist is one of those things. Seriously, how many times will you use it ?!?!? I quantify things by price, anything under $25 just gets bought regardless of the amount of use its a cheap price to pay for convenience. Anything under $100 should see moderate use at least. Anything over that needs some serious justification. But don't get me wrong, I've made plenty of significant purchases. One of the best things I ever bought was a scissor lift. I chose this over a two-post and four-post for a few reasons and I have no regrets. The point is, find the balance between cost and use. Some may have no use for a welder - but I have three.
 

69a100

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The longer i think about it, the more confident i get that i would do much better with a lift and concrete floor.
Or to put it differently that my current working environment makes me perform far less efficient as i could be.
Norm Abrahms said it best when he says. "Any jobs easy when you have the right tools" applies to everything!
 

66Satellite47

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Probably very true. But sometimes you need to figure out how to use what you have.
 

Ghostrider 67

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Buy 100 each 10mm sockets and wrenches. Put them behind glass and a sticker that says, "break glass when you lose one". You'll thank me later, over and over again....lol.:bananaweed:
 

Michael_

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Your tools are very basic. I understand why you are frustrated. Other helpful tools for you:

1. A 3/8 socket drive with a long handle and a flexing head.
2. Two or three longer 3/8 extensions so that you can reach a bolt from 2 feet away.
3. Wobble 3/8 drive sockets - The wobble joint is built into the socket. Very handy.
4. A ratcheting set of wrenches. These have one fixed open end, and closed end that ratchets. Extremely handy compared to a standard wrench. Get the ones with the flex head on the ratcheting side.
5. Since you said you are going to do brakes, a set of brake tools would be helpful. Though you can do it with regular tools, these get the springs and keepers on/off much easier.
6. An air compressor with a 3/8 air ratchet, 3/8 impact driver, and 1/2 impact driver will save you loads of time. You can start out with a smaller one until you get a garage built, and then you'll want a large one.

Lastly, working on gravel with a jack and jack stands requires a lot of care. Make sure that thing is solid before you climb under it. The danger here is no joke! You should consider something more substantial than jack stands to hold the car up.

I was going to try and give you some links on your tool site..... aber... (my).... Deutch ist nicht gut!

Vielen dank!
There have been a few good suggestions but this might be the best so far.

When changing the passenger side mount i could not fit a socket together with the ratchet because there wasn't enough space when trying to remove one of the bolts.
I ended up using a basic wrench. But i very well could've fit a ratcheting wrench! I see those are even available with a joint for even more flexibility.

I will take my time going through those tools and probably end up buying some. :)

Regarding tools: Air ratchets allow you to R&R nuts and bolts in small spaces where a wrench or ratchet has limited room to spin.
Cordless impact drills and ratchets are great to have too.
I have u-joint adapters in 3/8" and 1/2" drive. I have wobbly sockets, wobbly extensions, wrenches that I purposely bent for a specific need.
I've used a box end wrench with masking tape covering one side to hold a nut in the wrench when feeding it into a tight space where I couldn't get my hands in. I've also used thick wheel bearing grease for the same situation.

Yes this stuff looks very useful to have.
 

Kern Dog

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I have a very well equipped shop BUT there are some things that I can't justify buying. For the amount of use I'm further ahead to rent of borrow. An engine hoist is one of those things. Seriously, how many times will you use it ?!?!?
The engine hoist helps with lifting heavy things into and out of the pickup. Ever try to lift a Truck Dana 60 by yourself?
 

Ron H

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Yep, feel the same w/ an engine lift and one I have probably 20 years old I got a sweet deal on, easily disassembles for stowing if space is a hassle. I wasn't given sons; but two beautiful daughters, thinking some young un sons might be around to help their old man. Lol, I have a buddy with two grown boys he taught well for DIY skills - BUT - they work long hours on their jobs and have little kids so it can be a long wait for help anyway. I end up working alone most of the time and the engine lift has been my strong ahh, buddy. It got a lot of use last summer when I redid my Dakota.

Dak resto 2.jpg


Dakota 3.jpg
 

gkent

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Someone once asked Albert Einstein what his phone number was, to which he replied "I don't have that information but if I need it I know where to find it".

I don't own an engine hoist but if I need one I know where to find one ... in the way and gathering dust in someone else's shop !!
 

DeltaV

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When i was ranting about the fact that it took me 5 hours to change 1 motor mount and that it's hard to do because there is so little working room
people kept mentioning they can do it faster because they have superior tools and techniques or people asking what tools i have.

Well i'd like to start off saying that this is my working environment & car (1969 Dodge Charger R/T 440/727):
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And i got these tools (I might have forgot something)

Code:
2x Basic Wrenches: https://rs-werkzeuge.de/ringschluessel-maulschluessel-zoellig-25-tlg.
Socket Set 1/2": https://www.hoffmann-group.com/CH/de/sfs/Handwerkzeuge/Schraubwerkzeuge/Steckschl%C3%BCssel-Sortimente/Steckschl%C3%BCssel-Sortiment%2C-1-2-Zoll-Vierkant%2C-z%C3%B6llig-20-teilig/p/630049-20
Socket Set 3/8": https://www.hoffmann-group.com/CH/de/sfs/Handwerkzeuge/Schraubwerkzeuge/Steckschl%C3%BCssel-Sortimente/Steckschl%C3%BCssel-Sortiment%2C-3-8-Zoll-Vierkant%2C-z%C3%B6llig-28-teilig/p/630047-28
Socket Set 1/4": https://www.hoffmann-group.com/CH/de/sfs/Handwerkzeuge/Schraubwerkzeuge/Steckschl%C3%BCssel-Sortimente/Steckschl%C3%BCssel-Sortiment%2C-1-4-Zoll-Vierkant%2C-z%C3%B6llig-27-teilig/p/630045-27
Jack: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B0047J771U/
Jack Stands: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B006VD8Z2U/
Syringe: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B00D1XJC84/
Water Gun: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B075TYLM7V/ (We also have an air compressor of course)
Breaker bar with joint: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B07WCKBK7L/
Torque Wrench 3/8": https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B07NQ23493/
Torque Wrench 1/2": https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B07NQ4FMZ3/
Measuring Device 1: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B01N3YUZ8H/
Measuring Device 2: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B000Y8PXRI/
Measuring Device 3: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B00ATJPGM4/
Measuring Device 4: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B079Q2CBQT/
IR Thermometer: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B003U3U5JK/
Spark Plug Gapping Tool: https://www.moparshop.com/Online-Shop/Werkzeuge/44493/Zuendkerzen-Einstellwerkzeug-0.020-in.-0.100-in.-Gap-Range

Of course i got screw drivers, vice grips, pliers and other basic stuff aswell.
My dad has a welder (not gas) but i never used that because i never welded so far.

As i mentioned before i have a garage that even has a service pit but unfortunately the garage is to small for the charger.
Even the driveway is almost to small as i cannot even fully open my cars doors.

I know that if i want to keep working on this car in the future i have to build a bigger garage, lift, engine hoist and some other stuff because i don't
see me working on that dirtfloor for the rest of my life.

But since this is not going to happen this year i wanted to ask if there are any tools or tips that would make my life easier
given my current working conditions?

Someone mentioned an 18 year old could swap those engine mounts in under 1 hour in a driveway.
So i obviously must be doing something severely wrong. (I need a second person helping and 10 hours)
It's a given the parking brake is set, but don't rely on it. Both rear wheels need to have wheel chocks in front and behind the wheels. Do not ever place the car on 4 jack stands. Work on level ground.

I used to use large sheets of 5/8 inch or 3/4 inch marine grade plywood under the car. Place the jack stands, floor jack, and bottle jacks on thick plywood. Plywood make a nice surface for your body to slide on and keep the rough ground from digging into you. Also, jack stands will gradually creep/sink into a dirt/gravel surface; and possibly while you're under the car. Surprise!

You're in Germany...you know BMW means Buy More Wrenches. :)

Combination wrenches (long & short handle)
Combination wrenches (stubby length)
Box end wrenches
Offset box end wrenches
Starter wrench (it's curved)
Breaker bars (various drive sizes/lengths)
I have a few ratcheting box end wrenches, but I never use them.
I have a large air compressor, but I do not use air tools. Call me crazy.

Sockets:
6 point in all sizes and drive sizes of various depths.
12 point, but I don't use them often; if ever
Magnetic insert to help hold the screw or bolt in the socket.
Extensions of all lengths for each drive size.

Tools I have:
Good Craftsman: they are more than 40 years old.
Crap Craftsman: they are 30 years old and junk. I will convert them to fishing sinkers one day when I take up fishing.
NAPA: They are ok, but the ratchets are getting sloppy.
Kobalt: Ok for an "emergency" kit. Kind of sloppy tolerances on fitting the bolt/nut.

My best tools come from:
HAZET
Stahlwille
Gedore
Cornwell
Klann (specialty tools)
 

6PKRTSE

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Not your average basic tools. However, over the last 36 years of wrenching. I built my own rotisserie, built an overhead crane with electric hoist, also have a cherry picker (engine hoist) and now a 4 post lift in the garage. All have had their own benefits over the years. When I restored my Challenger. I picked up the entire rolling chassis with my overhead hoist at one end and the picker at the other end to mount up on the rotisserie. Then rolled the car over. Loosened/removed all suspension bolts while vertical and then rolled completely upside down to take out last remaining bolts and lifted the entire rear axle assembly and K frame with front suspension off of the body with the overhead crane. Never even had to get under the car or get dirty.....
 

66Satellite47

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The basic hand tools are the start. The floor jacks and heavy duty jack stands come next. As you get more advanced Oxy/Acel torches, wire feed welder are very valuable. But one of the most valuable tools I ever bought was the 4 1/2" angle grinder. That grinder with various grinding wheels or sanding/scotch brite wheels have done more work than I can recall. I've rented or borrowed a cherry picker a few times.

Edit: I did forget to mention the engine stand. I built my own. MUCH beafier than any production I've seen.
 
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ChryslerKid

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Cherry picker + engine stand. Lifts are nice but unless you plan on working on cars on a very regular basis its a bit of overkill. My old boss used to have me replace fwd engines and transmissions on the shop floor while he used the lifts for car storage just to be a richard. However the first time i put a motor on a stand i knew i could never go back. Can you replace heads, oil pans, timing covers rear seals and other things in the car? Sure, but scraping factory gaskets on a stand and doing everything all in one shot will save your back and sanity. These two are a must have with an old car.
 

chtampa

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After you get all the tools, remember that it is just mechanical. Anything that goes together can come apart and vice versa. I didn't read all the posts, but a set of swivel sockets and a 2 and 3 foot extension will bail you out of a lot of spots.
 

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