Tool thread

Dr.Jeff

True Classic
I finally remembered where the previous discussion was about battery maintainers, and it was on another forum. So I reviewed that discussion again, here are some highlights.

A couple other members had similar experiences as me with Schumacher brand products (not good). But I also respect the good experience that @MikeHynes has had with their products. So perhaps it depends on the specific model or such? I realized I actually still have a maintainer from them in a box. It was one I was given as the replacement for a failed one a long time ago. By that point I had already given up on their products so it went into storage without ever being opened. Maybe I'll dig it out and given them one more try?

There were SEVERAL bad experiences like mine with "Battery Tenders" (Deltran), all failed in a similar fashion as I described above. Jay Leno may be biased in his opinion favoring them; I suppose if they gave me free units and endless free replacements when those failed then I'd also say good things.

The ones that were recommended by a couple people on that forum were C-Tec, Noco, and something called "IOTA". The C-Tec and Noco items are very expensive and honestly I wonder if a lot of their loyalty is due more to price than actual quality/performance. What I mean by that is the psychological tendency to believe that the more you pay for something the better it is, and the related tendency to want to believe that you got something better after spending a lot of money on it. I've never seen any actual evidence that they are in fact better products. Has anyone seen any quality testing, scientific evidence, or other factual support for them? I'd love to find a reason to justify spending the money, if indeed it really works.

That other item, "IOTA" appears to be products from a company called DLS. They make power converters and such for things like RV's, industrial applications, etc. Among their listings are several "battery chargers", or what they call "charge controllers". I recall having something like this on my RV years ago. In that application it managed several functions; converting 12V to 110V, regulating the solar panel input, maintaining the batteries (multiple), and sensing when the vehicle was plugged into a landline 110V source. The products I see on their site are not the battery maintainers we know. They are "black box" items intended to be hardwired into a system. I'm not sure if this is a good option for our intended use.

Otherwise there were no other recommendations for a good maintainer. In fact a couple commented that they just buy new batteries every few years and not bother with maintainers. But at the price of batteries these days, and especially with their incredibly short lives here, that isn't a good option for me.
 

Dr.Jeff

True Classic
Just to follow up on the battery maintainer situation. Upon looking I found I do in fact have a new Schumacher unit that was never opened. In the back of my mind I had been wondering if the low voltage readings from the Battery Tender units might be a function of the condition of the batteries themselves. So I removed one of the BT and installed the Schuie, and within a couple hours - presto a full 13.8 volts. Definitely defective BT's. I'm pretty sure they came from CostCo, and they have a very liberal return policy. Plus the paperwork says there is a 10 year warranty. So I'll attempt to return them and see what happens.
 

DanielForest

True Classic
After a comment from JimD about manual tools for changing tires (he said he used some from HF).
1599349771055.png

I was interested and start looking in Canada. Amazon.ca offered the similar tire changer for twice the price (including the translation from US to Canadian money: 49$ US vs 149$ Can.) with mixed reviews. It seems the tool often bend and is probably going to scratches the finish of your wheels. The tire balancer are closer in price (84$ US vs 109$ can to 126$ can). But I'm still jam on the tire changer. The more expensive price in Canada is one thing, but the bad reviews from buyers is what is frightened me.

I also looked at more professional tools, even used one, but they are way more expensive and they required a corner of your garage. Any comments on the subject?
 

Dr.Jeff

True Classic
After looking for a used "professional" machine I found the same prices as you did. The "manual" style changers (like from Harbor Freight) are popular with the motorcycle crowd, who tend to be frugal like us. So I ended up getting that HF tire changer, but I've modified it to prevent scratches and to make it easier to use. Basically I changed two things, the feet that clamp the rim, and the lever (bar) to change the tire. Overall the total cost for the machine (I got it on sale at HF) and mods were still very affordable, and it won't damage the rims or tires. Although I have to say any manual tire changer can be a struggle to use, especially if the tires are old and been on the rim for many years.

For the first mod (clamping feet), I saw online where some people had added plastic feet to the metal clamps on the HF machine. Here are some pics I saved with different ideas.

This is what the online mods for the clamping feet on the HF machine looked like (various examples):
116378406_S7aTEDdn.jpg
116378408_Ok8VaArx.jpg
240290799-M-0.jpg
166168273-M.jpg


There is one company that sells the same type of changing machine as the HF style, but with the improved feet included. However the price of it was quite high:
wikcomcclamp.jpg
unnamed.jpg


But then at the SEMA Show I looked at how the larger professional machines clamp the rim and did my mods a bit differently.
Most of the larger machines use feet like this:
004.jpg
005.jpg

The yellow portion is a removable/changeable cover that protects the rim, but can be replaced if it wears out.

Or some machines are like this:
SEMA 2013 013.JPG
SEMA 2013 015.JPG
SEMA 2013 012.JPG


I found some inexpensive plastic covers for the professional feet (like the "yellow" ones) and used them to make a bit of a hybrid of those last two styles. My machine is deeply buried in storage at the moment so no pics of my mods.

The second thing I did was replace the metal tire mounting bar/lever that comes with the HF machine. There are a few options available that are stronger and have replaceable plastic ends so it won't mar the rims. In one of the pics above you can see one example (with the blue machine). The one I bought is from a company called "NoMar", but there are others. The NoMar bar looks like this:
TC-MDBAR-2.jpg
download.jpg


Overall it really depends on how often you change tires. I think I have around $125 USD (maybe more) invested in my setup. Locally you can get tires changed for around $10 each, so you could have several done for the same cost as a machine. I also have a "bubble" balancer, but personally I still prefer to have my tires balanced by a shop with a professional type machine. So really there is no advantage to having my own tire changer if I'm going to a tire shop anyway. Especially since the difference in cost between just a tire change and a change with the balancing isn't that much. And to be honest the manual changer (as we are discussing) isn't always as easy to use as it might appear. I have some motorcycle tires/rims that it won't do (something about the safety beads on the tires), and as mentioned if the tires are really old and been on the rim a long time then they are a bitch to do.
 

Dr.Jeff

True Classic
Regarding the battery maintainers.

I need to get some replacements so I've been doing online research to see if there is any decent info to help guide me on a good purchase decision. These things seem to be like oils, filters, and spark plugs; everyone has very strong opinions about what's good and bad, but no one has any actual evidence....just testimonials from personal opinion. And all of it is contradictory, almost implying none of them are actually any good. I could not find a single test (scientific type evidence) for any of them. I'm certain many makers have tried to validate why their product is superior by conducting some testing, but the fact they won't publish the results tells me they were unsuccessful at finding any proof.

So the other day while I was running errands I looked on the shelves to see what's available locally. To my surprise WalMart (of all places) had some NOCO brand stuff (you know, the outrageously overpriced brand). But not the maintainer, only a few accessories for them. I tried to find out if the stores normally carry more NOCO products, but as you might expect I couldn't find any intelligent life working there. Therefore I decided what the heck, just buy a typical product at a reasonable price and see what happens. Apparently the brand of batteries they carry is "EverStart", and they have a line of chargers and maintainers from that brand. No idea who actually makes the products but I bought one anyway. Connected it to one of my vehicles and will monitor it for a while to find out if it is working correctly.
 

Dan Sarandrea (Phila)

Waitin' On Parts...
Regarding the battery maintainers.

I need to get some replacements so I've been doing online research to see if there is any decent info to help guide me on a good purchase decision. These things seem to be like oils, filters, and spark plugs; everyone has very strong opinions about what's good and bad, but no one has any actual evidence....just testimonials from personal opinion. And all of it is contradictory, almost implying none of them are actually any good. I could not find a single test (scientific type evidence) for any of them. I'm certain many makers have tried to validate why their product is superior by conducting some testing, but the fact they won't publish the results tells me they were unsuccessful at finding any proof.

So the other day while I was running errands I looked on the shelves to see what's available locally. To my surprise WalMart (of all places) had some NOCO brand stuff (you know, the outrageously overpriced brand). But not the maintainer, only a few accessories for them. I tried to find out if the stores normally carry more NOCO products, but as you might expect I couldn't find any intelligent life working there. Therefore I decided what the heck, just buy a typical product at a reasonable price and see what happens. Apparently the brand of batteries they carry is "EverStart", and they have a line of chargers and maintainers from that brand. No idea who actually makes the products but I bought one anyway. Connected it to one of my vehicles and will monitor it for a while to find out if it is working correctly.
Consumer Reports regularly tests car batteries and Walmart's EverStart Maxx series of batteries in certain group sizes always do well in their tests and are certainly excellent values. Luckily the group size for the X (I wired it to accommodate Group 34) and the group size for my DD (an Infiniti G35) happen to be in the group sizes they do well in. The thing I like about CR battery tests is that they test different versions of the same battery--that is, they often test both the cold weather and hot weather sales region version of the same battery model and occasionally one version or the other will achieve differing ratings.

In their reports they usually ID the manufacturer of different brands of batteries. IIRC there are really only 4 or 5 US battery manufacturers left.
 

DanielForest

True Classic
Consumer Reports regularly tests car batteries and Walmart's EverStart Maxx series of batteries in certain group sizes always do well in their tests and are certainly excellent values. Luckily the group size for the X (I wired it to accommodate Group 34) and the group size for my DD (an Infiniti G35) happen to be in the group sizes they do well in. The thing I like about CR battery tests is that they test different versions of the same battery--that is, they often test both the cold weather and hot weather sales region version of the same battery model and occasionally one version or the other will achieve differing ratings.

In their reports they usually ID the manufacturer of different brands of batteries. IIRC there are really only 4 or 5 US battery manufacturers left.
Recently, I visit my local Walmart and learned Walmart is no longer selling car parts in store. At least in Québec. Online is another option.
 

Dr.Jeff

True Classic
I stopped by another Walmart to see if they had more of the Noco brand products. Apparently they only have the power supply packs, not the maintainers.
 

dragonsgate

True Classic
After a comment from JimD about manual tools for changing tires (he said he used some from HF).
View attachment 36125
I was interested and start looking in Canada. Amazon.ca offered the similar tire changer for twice the price (including the translation from US to Canadian money: 49$ US vs 149$ Can.) with mixed reviews. It seems the tool often bend and is probably going to scratches the finish of your wheels. The tire balancer are closer in price (84$ US vs 109$ can to 126$ can). But I'm still jam on the tire changer. The more expensive price in Canada is one thing, but the bad reviews from buyers is what is frightened me.

I also looked at more professional tools, even used one, but they are way more expensive and they required a corner of your garage. Any comments on the subject?
Have one like the picture.
Bolted to the floor is a must.
Went out yesterday and a piece of flint had gotten left front on the X was I so fixed it.
Last time I paid to have a flat fixed it was $12.50.
Have no idea of how much it cost now so figure I saved at least twelve fifty.
The other good thing is I didn't have to wait.
Other that the 13" Fiat rims it handled 31x10.50x15's fine.
Use enough der viner slider and it is not that much work.
Breaking the bead can be a pain sometimes.
 

Dr.Jeff

True Classic
Recently I had a offline conversation with a member about some shop equipment that each of us has made over the years. He asked if I'd post some pictures. As we all know I'm really bad about taking pictures, so today as I was putting away a few tools (following recent projects) I decided to take a couple pics and post. These are not anything special. All of it was thrown together using only scraps I had around, no new parts involved. So all of it cost me nothing. And usually I make things when I need then, which means I'm in a hurry to make it and not concerned with how it looks or how nice it is...just functional (and often for a one-time use only). So please don't expect much.

This started out as a working stand for crankshafts. Just to make it easier to mic the journals, etc. But then I decided to make a crankshaft polishing set-up. So I converted the 'static' stand into a driven one. The gear reduction motor came off a broken ice maker. The bearings for the crank to spin on are from a old roller blade. The wheels for the belt polisher are from a Razor scooter and a skateboard. [My best friend's kids go through toys at lighting speed, so I salvage parts before they go in the trash]. The belt driver is a air drill with a bolt in it, and the skate wheel fixed to the bolt. It runs slower than the commercial ones but I prefer that; better control, slower polishing rate, and less chance of screwing things up. The stand is fully adjustable to allow various cranks to fit (I've used it on several VW and Fiat ones so far), and to allow the crank to be leveled:
002.JPG


A VERY simple (read as "crude") piston ring filer. Copied the concept from some online 'DIY' ones. The "cutting wheel" that is used on its side is not in place here:
003.JPG


Speaking of pistons, here's some devices to remove and install the locking clips (rings) for the wrist pins. This concept came from my Porsche days; look up "Stomski Racing" to see how they work:
009.JPG


Makeshift radiator flush, pressure test, etc, items:
007.JPG


A couple of the many transmission specialty tools. These are certainly nothing to speak about; the locating dowels to install it and a flange to pull the stub axles. But I've made a LOT of tools to work on transmissions. They often call for a specialized factory tool that is incredibly expensive to buy. So I make a cheap version. Someday when I start working on my trans again I'll dig out others:
006.JPG


Valve stem seal remover and installer. The nut on the rear end of the vice grips allows the tool to be connected to a small 'slap hammer' if the seal is really stubborn (that's something I had to add for Fiat engines, no other engine has been that difficult to remove):
005.JPG


Oil pump priming tool. Just a dizzy drive gear welded to a bolt, and a socket secured over the head of the bolt:
004.JPG


Previously I've shown several other examples in various threads; the bead former to roll a securing bead on aluminum turbo pipes, the jack pad adaptor to connect a floor jack to the X's side receptacles (stock jacking points), the pressure brake bleeder, the tire mounting machine mods and blast cabinet mods we discussed here, the 'easy-roll' creeper (more Razor wheels, thanks to Daniella and Jared...now fully grown up so no more 'donated' sports gear), etc.

A few others I've built include an adaptor for the hydraulic press to make removing Fiat valve spring retainers easier. A vacuum pump set-up for filling the cooling system. Fuel injector testing and cleaning rigs. High pressure fuel pump tester. Engine knock (detonation) tester, for tuning purposes. Flywheel lock. "CC'ing" rig to measure combustion chambers. Can't remember it all. And there's a lot that is not for Fiat stuff, but specific to other vehicles I build. Now that I've started this thread I'll try to keep it in mind when I come across the bigger, more interesting items (most of it is deeply buried in storage).

I also have a file full of other ideas. Many are either equipment I see at trade shows, or things I see online, or something derived from other industries that I want to adapt to use on my car builds. I've been inspired by what people do in other countries, when they have to improvise. Also most of the inexpensive equipment from Harbor Freight needs some upgrades and mods to get the most out of them. And there are some original ideas I have that might even be marketable.

Hopefully others will share some of the tools and equipment they've made. [ @CnC79X19, that means you ;) ]
 
Last edited:

Michael Oxman

The Journey Begins!
There are some serious tools and tools collections on this thread. I'm jealous. On the other end of the spectrum, looking back at my work this year I would have loved to have had a set of closed ended ratcheting wrenches. Maybe for the holidays!
 

Dr.Jeff

True Classic
a set of closed ended ratcheting wrenches
It's funny, you can do without a LOT of tools but there are times when it is really nice to have certain items. I remember way back when I did everything manually with simple hand tools. Today I can't imagine being without the ton of crap I have. I suppose it's really a matter of what you are accustomed to.
 

MikeHynes

True Classic
I enjoy seeing tools that other folks have fabbed up. Sometimes you don't have a choice, no one offers the tool you need, sometimes it's cheaper to make your own. Of course if you have good tools, and skills, to make tools, you are way ahead of the game. Here are a few homemade tools that I use.
Tool to turn the rear brake caliper piston in. (Really cheap and easy to make!)
20201112_114640.jpg
Here's a jig to help to dowel a SOHC flywheel.
20201112_114754.jpg
I've got several Trans tools.
Tool to remove the speedometer gear/housing.
20201112_114822.jpg
Clutch disc alignment tool.
20201112_114843.jpg
Tool to compress the bevel washers on the end of the 4 spd trans input shaft.
20201112_114928.jpg
Tools to aid in setup of a 5spd LSD.
20201112_115126.jpg20201112_115153.jpg
Trans input shaft wrench.
20201112_120059.jpg
Piston stop for various engines.
20201112_115647.jpg
Rod to clear cam to measure cam lift.
20201112_120711.jpg
Spacer to hold degree wheel on SOHC crank.
20201112_120954.jpg
Homemade leak down tester.
20201112_121339.jpg
Water level for suspension set up.
20201112_121415.jpg
Toe bar.
20201112_121815.jpg
Tire scribe.
20201112_121906.jpg
Engine stand that holds the engine by the side of the block - dist. side. Leaves access to the flywheel.:)
20201112_122252.jpg
Brake pressure bleeder cap.
20201112_120653.jpg
 

Dr.Jeff

True Classic
I enjoy seeing tools that other folks have fabbed up. Sometimes you don't have a choice, no one offers the tool you need, sometimes it's cheaper to make your own. Of course if you have good tools, and skills, to make tools, you are way ahead of the game. Here are a few homemade tools that I use.
Tool to turn the rear brake caliper piston in. (Really cheap and easy to make!)
View attachment 38319
Here's a jig to help to dowel a SOHC flywheel.
View attachment 38320
I've got several Trans tools.
Tool to remove the speedometer gear/housing.
View attachment 38321
Clutch disc alignment tool.
View attachment 38322
Tool to compress the bevel washers on the end of the 4 spd trans input shaft.
View attachment 38323
Tools to aid in setup of a 5spd LSD.
View attachment 38324View attachment 38325
Trans input shaft wrench.
View attachment 38327
Piston stop for various engines.
View attachment 38326
Rod to clear cam to measure cam lift.
View attachment 38329
Spacer to hold degree wheel on SOHC crank.
View attachment 38330
Homemade leak down tester.
View attachment 38331
Water level for suspension set up.
View attachment 38332
Toe bar.
View attachment 38333
Tire scribe.
View attachment 38334
Engine stand that holds the engine by the side of the block - dist. side. Leaves access to the flywheel.:)
View attachment 38335
Brake pressure bleeder cap.
View attachment 38328
Thanks for sharing Mike. Some of yours look a lot like mine. You've got a couple others that I should do. And you've reminded me of a few others I've done (head removal fixture, TDC finder, alignment rig*, engine stand mod - I extended the mount to move the block far enough away so the flywheel fits between the block and the stand while in the normal position). My goodness, I never realized there have been so many. I need to dig them out and get pics. And still so many more that I'd like to make.

*Regarding the alignment rig I put together. It was intended to be a rough mockup to test if the design would work. But it really needs to be made better to find out; with alignments needing to be accurate you cannot determine if it works unless you make it precise. So a crude mockup won't do, and the design includes a bracket assembly that should be machined in one piece rather than welded together. And I don't have the equipment to do that. Frankly I haven't priced the job at a machine shop but my intuition tells me it will be more than desired. But I think the concept could be a very useful "home use" alignment rig that would not be expensive to make/sell. I've discussed it with a couple of companies; one tried to copy it without my knowledge (fortunately they did not know the whole design and failed), another sounded interested but wasn't willing to actually do it, and a third wants to get involved but is way too busy with other projects already. So it never got too far.
 

Dr.Jeff

True Classic
Do you remember the name of the company?
Not off hand, sorry. I seem to recall it was intended for motorcycle wheels/tires, so maybe search the web under that? Also see if a Google image search offers any links. And I vaguely remember he also sold the "pads" and the tire iron separately for those that already had the one from HF. I think it was pretty popular so you should be able to find it. Let me know if you don't and I'll see what I can find out.
 
Top