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Old 05-05-2002, 09:49 AM
thebern's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Knotts Island, NC
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Hit post new topic intead of reply

I hit the wrong button in replying to you question. Look at my post Stanely tool sets.
1982 240D 313,000 (4 speed)
1984 300CD 172,483
1985 German Shepherd Dog -Lacey- R.I.P.11/04/05

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Old 05-05-2002, 10:43 AM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
I have never bought anything but the best in anything I can afford to do. As a result I have never used many craftsman tools except when I used my dad's growing up.

There is a lot to be said for the kit idea, but the best kits are more expensive than the sum of their components. Aquiring a set to carry on the road is a different condition. If I were gathering tools to facilitate real DIY / suspension, brakes, service/maintenance, electrical, diagnostic operations, I would first pick a tool storage system (box, cabinet, etc) that would accomodate twice my anticipated needs. I would then start with socket sets in 1/4 and 3/8s and two good ratchets. I would buy SK sockets from any of the tool warehouses online (I imagine they are cheaper than Craftsman but CM will be fine for sockets if the price is right). I might get nicer ratchets used or online.

Buying assortments of sockets and/or wrenchs gives the best overall price but as one gets to larger sizes a lot can be spent on sizes that are never needed such as18, 20 and 21mm (these are used on a lot of domestics and asian cars). To do much suspension work one will need 22 and 24mm all over the place. My suggestion would be to buy the smaller sets (up to 19 usually) and buy the larger sizes individually where ever you find them (a good place to look is at used tool in flea markets [STAY away from the new tools there!!!]).

From this point one should get individual tools or groups as they can be found or afforded. The online tool stores have many good lines of tools - SK, Visegrip, Channelock etc. I will find the appropriate brand for good long service and quality of use and then find the place to buy it right; sometimes used - I'm sure one could stock a box with Snap-On tools at Craftsman prices on ebay every day.

For many MBs a good spark plug tool and one to pull the boots can be real handy. If you buy a big general assortment these are the things that will suffer. A Hazet or Snap-On magnetic in the proper size is a good choice. Hazet and Stallwille (sp?) make some good pliers for pulling the leads undamaged.

Radio Shack makes good cheap durable DVOMs but my last Fluke 87 (about a $350 meter) was about brand new at 120 off ebay.

Buy as you have need and ask questions to make good choices; assemble that box all your life.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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Old 05-05-2002, 11:34 AM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Cape Cod Massachusetts
Posts: 1,427
Lightbulb Tool Quality/Value!

Most name branded tools are pretty good overall, Craftsmen are probably on the higher end of the average brands, and the return policy is attractive. Snap-On, MAC, S-K, and Armstrong are good professional tools.

Hazet, Gedore, Stahlwille are very good professional quality tools that are worth every dime they cost, which is a lot.

So for me personally it's a matter of whether or not to invest more money in a higher quality tool that will perform better and longer or less on a tool that will work good enough to get the job done.

I generally will spend the most on the tools that I will use the most. A Hazet ratchet that works as smooth as butter and has little or no play between its' moving parts is truly a pleasure to own and use and when your in the middle of a tough job its darn nice not to have the added aggravation of a "good enough" tool. So I pay the double or triple price for a tool like a ratchet that I will be using thousands of times over the years to come. An there is nothing better than a 5 degree swing when your bent over, upside down, turning a fastener that you can't see, and barely feel, in a tight space!

The second place that I am willing to spend the extra $$ is on the tool that makes actual contact with the fastener. This is, in the long run, probably the best place to spend your hard earned first. You can most likely make do with a standard ratchet to turn a high quality tool but a high quality ratchet turning a standard tool isn't nearly as effective. As you decide which tools to buy an interesting thing to is to take a vernier caliper with you to the store (Sears for instance) and when you decide to buy a socket or the like, take a measurement of the tool and measure a couple of the same ones, you might be surprised to see just how much the inside measurement of any given five 17 MM sockets vary, my experience is the .5 MM +- is not unusual! Some people will opine that this condition is desirable given the variation in fasteners in the world, but my experience with at least with MB that their fasteners like most other aspects of these machines are subject to higher tolerances than most. Some will say so what! but I will offer that when your trying to remove say the water pump or your motor mounts and the use of a low tolerance standard tool leads to a damaged or destroyed fastener and all the time, energy and money that will then be expended to make things right, the price difference between a Sears 10 MM Allen head socket at $3 and Hazet tool that costs $6 is in my opinion a very wise investment. The fit and finish of these high end tools is immediately apparent to a discerning tool aficionado.

Another thing to consider is whether the replacement of a fail or broken tool is enough. Earlier in my life I ran a sport fishing boat for a wealthy family from Palm Beach. Each spring/summer we spent three months of a fishing diving safari in some of the more remote and pristine areas of the Caribbean. We carried almost every spare part that could possibly be replaced on board and a complete outfit of Armstrong tools that never failed. Many of the repair and maintenance tasks that took place would have been impossible if a Craftsman replacement guaranteed tool had failed then and there! 500 miles from Sears is a mighty long way and time when your blower is lunched or you genset is down you and your 1/2" ratchet has a broken pawl and teeth ripped off it's gear or your only 11/16 socket has rounded out! Ditto that water pump/motor mount/brake job that was to have taken the only two hours that you had available on Sunday from 1-3 PM (Sears is an hour away, but closed!)so you could drive to work through rush hour traffic without over heating/not stopping to work early Monday morning.

Someday and sometimes it might be worth it to have a functioning tool rather than an unlimited supply of replacement tools!

Last but not least, with tools, just like your MB itself there is more value than the sum of the parts. The pride in ownership of a piece or collection of finely engineered and finished "tool art", the security in knowing that your ability to complete the task is limited by your capabilities not those of your tools, and the understanding that when than time comes for you to pass over to the big boneyard in the sky you might have passed on all this appreciation to a son or daughter who might very well be wrenching their own 85 year old 3,000,000 mile 1985 300CD with their son/daughter in 2050 using Grandpa's 14 MM Allen head socket to change out the differential fluid it will be a couple of more dollars, well spent!

What is the sense of investing in disposable tools if you don’t invest in disposable cars! Invest in the best you can afford for the long run! Just think of how much satisfaction you’d have using the same 13 MM wrench to open your oil filter housing for the 333rd oil change at a million miles and the your wrench fits as perfectly then as it did way back when, the first time you performed this most sacred of rituals! It is such simple things in life that can be so good!

By the way I have plenty of Craftsmen tools I usually pick them up in used tool stores quite cheap knowing I can eventually swap them for new! Just picked up a Craftsman 24” X ˝” drive breaker bar for $4 that will make turning the engine over by the crank much easier! Just some things to consider. Good Luck and Good Wrenching!
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Old 05-05-2002, 03:16 PM
engatwork's Avatar
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
Posts: 11,878
Good points BillyBob

I will say too that I have some SK and Snap-On tools. Keep in mind that Sears is the closest store to some of us - next to WalMart that is. I purchase my oil from WalMart.
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Old 05-05-2002, 03:18 PM
Ashman's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
Posts: 4,748
Those are great points to consider.

For the average DIY'er Most craftsman tools will suffice.

I prefer to get 12 point sockets, I feel they grip the best, and chances of rounding out a bolt or nut are less.

'92 300CE - Sold
2004 C240 - C7 Wheels - Android Radio
2015 ML350 - P1, Pano, Ash poplar wood, Sport Dinamica interior, Running Boards Keyless go.
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Old 05-05-2002, 05:49 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 788
I looked at some Stahlwille on the web...nice tools!!! You can get socket sets, you can get allen head sockets, everything. They even have a specialty oil change tool for Mercedes, and other specialty tools. These folks definitely cater to the german car crowd...all they sell is metric. Will I need anything other than sockets and allens for my car? Also, will I need a small torque wrench for low torque specs? I'd hate to spend $200 on a Craftsman 140 piece set and then only use a fourth of it, if I can buy a less amount from Stahlwille, pay the same or even a little more, but use all of it and know I am getting damn good tools.
'86 420SE Euro
904 Midnight Blue, Gray Velour
Dad bought it new, now I own it.

"A Mercedes-Benz is like a fine wine, it only gets better with age."
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