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Old 03-18-2008, 06:53 AM
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Good Tools for Beginners?

I was wondering what good tools would be to have for a beginner? Currently I have:

2 Ton Torin Floor Jack

2 Sets of JackStands (so I have 4)

250pc+ Craftsman Mechanics ToolSet


I also have some other odds and ends like Oil Filter Wrenches. What I have currently has been fine for doing basic maintenance but I'd like to start doing more work on my cars. Soon I'll need to do a brake job one of then. Some tools I was thinking would be good to have are:

Torque Wrench

MultiTester/ Voltmeter

3 Ton Floor Jack

What would be some other ideal tools to get? Can anybody suggest any tools? Also how do I learn about using specialty tools once I get them? A lot of them seem a little difficult to use unless someone has shown you. What's the best way to learn to use tools without ruining them?
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:43 AM
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I doubt you'd ever need a 3 ton floor jack, the volt meter is a really good idea, just get one with an auto off or of you're like me you'll be replacing batteries all the time.

Wouldn't worry about a torque wrench unless your building a motor.

not sure what all comes in the 250 pc "kit"

but I suggest a wobble extension or two and some u joints.

possibly some

Hand tools
Vice grips
wire strippers
a small sledge hammer
1/2 drive breaker bar
a C-clamp (or brake pad spreader)
adjustable wrenches (they come in hander than you might think)

Power Tools
Drill
sawzall
4" angle grinder
air compressor
bench grinder


This is just some of the stuff that I use most often, someone else may think of something that I'v forgotten.

But good luck and I hope you do well!
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:02 AM
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This may be better suited for the tools section but it is also basic hot rodding so we'll see how many responses you get here. However, in the tools section, there was a recent post on torque wrenches you may want to read before you buy one. If you're to get serious about wrenching, an air compressor and tools would be a good investment. Good tools are almost always a good investment, the value will keep up with inflation much better than a lot of things a person buys.
We'll leave this here for awhile, see how the response goes.
Dan
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:34 AM
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Just remember that you get what you pay for so buy good stuff.
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:20 AM
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I think that as you go along just get the ones you need as you need them..that is what I have done..On the floor jack I got one of the long frame models which has been one of the best investments I have made lately..Lifts much higher if you need to do a trans swap or something like that..Engine hoist someday and when you get a compressor get one that puts out lots of air as you will like that if you ever do any painting..or for that matter if you get an air impact wrench..Welder one of the lincoln or miller maybe hobart any way a good mig wire feeder is nice to have..

I won't say to go get it all next week just set aside a certain amount in your budget for the car..

Sam
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:30 AM
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I started with basic Craftsman and added on...and on...and on as I went along and got deeper into matters. Some people will claim their high-buck tools are better, and I do have some, but with Craftsman I can replace a broken tool on a Sunday...no questions asked. Avoid the Chinese stuff unless it's for a once-in-a-lifetime type repair.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:55 PM
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My Craftsman ToolSet mainly consists of Sockets and some Wrenches. It's a fairly basic, but proven to be more than adequate for my needs right now. I thought about getting a set with everything..... but I found out that it wasn't really in my budget. Even though that's cheaper most mechanics I talked to said it's better to just add on as you go. Most of them actually suggested Craftsman because of the "Replacements" over some of the Professional Brands. A lot of them seemed to prefer Craftsman because they said some of the more expensive tools claim to have a Lifetime Warranty and be replaceable, but that's hardly the case for a lot of the tools. I had a few old Craftsman sockets which were rusted and I replaced them when I found out you could! The Craftsman tools have already proven to be a good idea.

In terms of getting the 3Ton Floor Jack I thought that would be useful for handling more weight and just being faster. I also have a Van and have found that height on my 2Ton just doesn't cut it. I saw that some people on this forum suggest going to Costco. Is that a good idea? Any other good suggestions on where to look?

The Torque Wrench I was thinking of getting because I would like to do Tire Rotations myself. I know a lot of people don't worry about it but it seems like it can help prolong tire life. Besides if I take off the wheels for a brake job shouldn't I make sure that the tires are on tight? That doesn't seem like something you want to be messing around with!

Some of the tools Holder350 suggested I have thought about getting. I thought of getting a small Air Compressor for Tires and an Angle Grinder. I would like to start getting into some bodywork. What bodywork tools would people suggest for a beginner to start with?
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Old 03-19-2008, 09:14 PM
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When I replaced my floor jack I got This one I know it is a HF model but since I am not doing the commercial garage deal I do not feel the need to spend a whole pile of money..The long frame jjack lifts up to 31 inches and now I can jack up my truck without having to resort to blocks and such..Much better and it also lifts a car up high enough to make it easier to work under there..Of course use some good jack stands When you are working under a car....

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Old 03-19-2008, 09:39 PM
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how old are you??
what is your budget??
what kind of work do you do on cars??

answer these questions and give a little more info and you will probably get better responses.

what do you keep your tools in?? it's not a tool but i would suggest getting a roll around tool box with a --> LOCK <-- and don't loan anything out. organize your tools in the box and when not working keep it locked and always put your tools away. when i started many years ago as a teen tools were always walking away, disappearing. when i got a locking box and trained myself to put tools away and lock the box and told my friends no when they asked to borrow something and tools stopped disappearing. every tool you lose is another tool you will have to buy with no net gain.
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Old 03-19-2008, 10:11 PM
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Hi,
Using a torque wrench for the lug nuts is a sound
Idea, because running the lugs on with an impact
wrench opens up the possibility of warping the rotors, & using a four way bar is no better, due to uneven clamping forces.
A timing light, files, pry bars, vacuum gage, gasket
scraper, easy outs, test light, thread gage, punches, chisels, drift pin, wire brushes, a vice, a radio, a couple of bottle jacks, compression gage. I can't help with body working tools as I don't do body work.
Good luck,
Rich
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Old 03-19-2008, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard stewart 3rd
Hi,
Using a torque wrench for the lug nuts is a sound
Idea, because running the lugs on with an impact
wrench opens up the possibility of warping the rotors, & using a four way bar is no better, due to uneven clamping forces.
A timing light, files, pry bars, vacuum gage, gasket
scraper, easy outs, test light, thread gage, punches, chisels, drift pin, wire brushes, a vice, a radio, a couple of bottle jacks, compression gage. I can't help with body working tools as I don't do body work.
Good luck,
Rich

I agree, always use a torque wrench on the lugs unless you're stranded. I just replaced rotors because I'm sure somewhere down the line some bozo overtightened them causing them to warp. (wifey's car and she does not ride the brakes).

Each manufacturer has torque specs for their wheels. Also remove any caked on crappola on or behind the hub and studs as this will affect correct torque values.

Sounds like folks here have given you a good start. There's a recent thread here somewhere where someone like you asked the same question. Could be worth a search.

Though a test light is good for quick trouble-shooting, a good quality meter is priceless in the long run. Do not scrimp in this area. If you want specific brand names and models, PM me for info. NO CHINA JUNK!!!!!

On the air compressor..........try to get one with a large tank if possible. You'll run the air out of a smaller one real quick with an air tools. Look at local garage sales, ads in the paper, craigslist and so on for bargains.

Good luck wrenchin and have FUN!
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Old 03-19-2008, 10:52 PM
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1 - 2-ton Folding Shop Crane (Engine Hoist/Cherry Picker)

Over the years I spent more time borrowing and returning and/or money spent renting a hoist that I easily could have bought one 20 years ago!

I finally broke down and bought one at HF and even sprung the extra $$ for the air-over-hydraulic lift.

Once you own one you won't just look at it as tool only for pulling engines theres all kinds of cool things you can use a hoist for...this company sells these cradles that look pretty awesome...especially if you don't have extra bodies around to help!

Oh - yeah, and once you own a lift all your friends will want to borrow it!

Accessible Systems
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Old 03-20-2008, 06:46 AM
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For hobby use and even lower level commercial use Craftsman tools are just fine - and Sears do still honor their warranties. I have a fair number of them as well as a lot of Snap-on, MAC and others - and any time you need a replacement, they are more then happy to oblige. An example - my 13/16" combination wrench was about 15 years old, but the chrome was peeling and cutting my palm, nothing else wrong with it - they replaced it, no questions asked. I have a 1/2" Snap-on with the same chrome peeling problem - they wouldn't replace it. I do not like Craftsman ratchets tho others love 'em. I use my 40 year old 3/8" S-K most of the time tho I do have a couple of Craftsman. Both of them - dam' POS - is at least a 3rd or 4th replacement. The two - 1/4" drive ratchets - same thing - but my ancient S-K and Thorsen are still going strong.

Air compressor - get at least a 30 gallon tank with a 6-7 Hp peak 220v motor. Bigger if you have space for a stationary. If you don't, you will be replacing it real soon - as soon as you find that air driven tools are great.

I do advise that you stay away from anything that says China, Indonesia, India etc. My history is that they might survive - but for how long.

Harbor Freight tools - mostly junk but a few real bargains if you shop their specials and understand that what you bring home - it might not survive. My drill press is HF, but was reasonably priced, is at least 10 years old, and has some limits that I can work around. It needed a new chuck before it would drill a straight hole. Their current batch of drill presses - I wouldn't give shop space.

Eventually a MIG welder - stay American: Hobart, Lincoln, Miller are the best

Of course - all the above are personal opinions, and I do get some occasional minor flaming, but....my opinions

Dave W
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Old 03-20-2008, 06:54 AM
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Read both the torque wrench thread and the shop and tool tips thread write-up for more suggestions. I've seen some other informative threads on this topic as well. Happy reading.


In a while, Chet.
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Old 03-20-2008, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Highrise
Just remember that you get what you pay for so buy good stuff.

That's usually true. But! my cheapie yellow HF Centec VO meter was lost and due to needing one quick, I went to Sears and bought a $40 one. I absolutely hate it, because it wanders all over if the leads are not connected; then when you are testing a wire that finally turns out to be broken, the meter wander can misdiagnose it

The Centec cost me like 3.99 on one of their sales, and I will get another

Don't rule out swapmeets and especially yard sales; I've found premium quality tools at cheap prices. Doing that can make you end up with far more tools on the same budget. You also may find tools there that you don't use much, but are too expensive to get new.
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