Project Garage, Part IX: More Garage Tools
By Sarah Forst
My donor card declares my blood type as Mobil 1 15W50; I've got motor oil running through my veins. I buy shop towels at Costco and can identify most car fluids by smell and even taste. Bolt-ons, turbos, axles, engine and tranny swaps, clutches, suspension, and maintenance projects have all been accomplished in Project Garage. So it's only natural my chop shop is supplied with the tools ready to complete almost any car job.
|Anyone got a spare rubber donut thingee?
Let's start with the obvious. Get a good jack and some strong jack stands. For F1 quick tire swaps, Harbor Freight sells a compact aluminum rapid pump jack that will lift 3000 pounds between 3 3/8 and 14 3/4 inches in just 3.5 pumps. It weighs 27 pounds and retails for $120. A two ton capacity version can be found for $200. They also sell a 2.5 ton version that only requires 2 3/4 inches of clearance and can lift up to 20 inches. It's $140 but is quite a bit heavier, weighing in at almost 72 pounds. If you tend to buy cheap knockoff clutches, you may want a transmission jack which has a saddle to keep the tranny more secure while lifting back onto the input shaft, though I've always just used a regular jack, a beer or twelve, and some four letter words for these jobs.
|Jack stands come in different weight capacities and adjustable heights. Only use a jack or jack stands on a car that is on level ground. Make sure they are securely positioned under the car usually on the pinch welds or under the frame so they don't slip or damage your car.
|If your mechanics seat doesn't look like a greasy mess, you're not working hard enough in your garage!
|I like the convenience and ease of a strap oil filter wrench but the clamping teeth on the plier type help grip stubborn oil filters.