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Old 03-03-2003, 02:52 PM
kip Foss kip Foss is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: S. Texas
Posts: 1,237

I have been working on mechanical stuff, everything from lawn mowers to 40,000hp Fiat super tanker engines, for about 45 years. A couple of words of advice.

First, buy good tools. Don't waste money on either cheap **** or expensive stuff. Snap-On and the like are good but are no better than Blackhawk, which are actually made by Proto. Get Blackhawk at your local parts house. The Popular Mechanics brand found at, and I hate to say it, Wal-Mart were voted a good buy by Consumer Reports mag. They also have a good set of jack stands. Remember, expensive tools dosen't make one a good mechanic. They help, but unless you are making your living with your tools middle of the road tools made by a reputable manufacturer are as good as any.

Many tools boast that they have a lifetime guarentee, and charge accordingly. This is great, but I will tell you honestly that in all my years of pulling wrenches I doubt that I have replaced, through guarentee, more than 5 tools. Besides, most all tool companies offer this guarentee so it isn't really a selling point.

Some Craftsman tools are good but I stay away from their hand wrenches. They have sharp edges around the head and hurt your hands. Their sockets are as good as any but pricey unless you get them in complete kits. Williams flat wrenches are good.

Stay away from pawn shop tools except for anything but pipe wrenches, large wheel pullers, etc.

Work on a cement floor inside. Use good quality jacks and jack stands. Use a hydraulic jack type engine puller and a proper engine stand. Both Harbor Freight and Great Weastern have a good and moderately priced selection. Have good lighting, a good work bench, a parts cleaning vat, and plenty of room. Don't try to do rifle drill in a phone booth.

Go by a couple of independent garages and ask the owners what they would recomment. I am sure they would take it as a compliment.

Good luck.
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