IIf you’re already deeply into the street machining hobby, you know that you can spend a king’s ransom to finish off the toolbox of your dreams. But what tools do beginners need to get started in the game? As someone who’s had to build their own toolbox from scratch twice, here are my suggestions for the essential kit you’ll need when diving into the project car life.
But before we hook up, if you don’t have a pack of cable ties in your toolbox, you’re about to swear by the car gods. These things aren’t just the cornerstone of drift car fabrication, they’re also gold for making parts, moving brake calipers out of the way, or fending off unruly apprentices (please don’t).
Other small tools you’ll need in a pinch include circlip pliers, a sharp knife, extension bars of various lengths, a window removal tool, torx bits (if work must be done on European cars), interior trim pliers and allen key set included. . These can be added over time to avoid large initial costs.
When you’re starting out, you can get the best bang for your buck by buying a comprehensive, good-quality half-inch metric and imperial socket set. The shaft in the brand name kit will have better, better action, and the sockets won’t round on first use like the super budget junk.
Finally, you’ll ideally have metric and imperial sockets in both 3/8in and 1/2in formats. 1/2in sockets are perfect for cracking tough, large-diameter bolts, while smaller-format tools are easier to get into tight spaces and prevent fatigue while hanging upside down while removing dohkeys from your busted whatsit.
Your socket set should be connected to a meter long 1/2in breaker bar. ‘Big Bertha’ will save your bacon when it comes to removing rusty, old or just plain stubborn bolts.
Buying your spanners and screwdrivers in kits is an easy way, and you’ll need different sizes in both length and head size. Try to find a screwdriver with a soft handle rather than old-school plastic jobs, as these will be nicer to use and offer a better grip.
The best screwdrivers will have a hex lug on the shaft where you can use a spanner for extra torque when loosening stuck fasteners.
When you’re starting to build your tool kit, I’d recommend buying combination ring and box end spanners first, then adding ratchet head spanners (great for tight spaces that make non-ratcheting tools work). Next, add more special types of bent and stubby spinners (for tight, tight spaces) as needed.
Skipping a few nights at Denzel Frothingtons to save up for a quality spanner role is a great idea. Good tools prevent skin bones, are good to hold and outlast Keith Richards.
Tools of the Force
Battery powered tools are the bomb – light to hold and super easy to use. When you’re starting out, you really only need three pieces of power gear: a good-quality 125mm battery-operated grinder, a drill driver, and a half-inch impact wrench.
When setting up your powered tools, at least one high-amp-hour (6Ah or more) battery per tool, with a spare and a twin-port charger. Your grinder will chew up a 4Ah or 5Ah battery when you’re stripping paint or dressing MIG welds, so a 6-9Ah battery will take you less time recharging. Likewise, drilling through thick stainless steel or removing many rusted undercarriage bolts will require plenty of juice, so don’t damage the battery springs.
A half-inch impact gun will make your garage life a lot easier, as larger bolts are quickly bolted into place (or unzooted when finished) before being torqued to spec. . With a 9Ah battery, you can easily strip the entire drivetrain, suspension and most of the chassis within a day.
Next Christmas, ask Santa for a high-output light or two. Most power tool manufacturers sell battery-powered workshop lights like the one pictured. One of these with a really big battery (around 9Ah) will cope with the workout when it comes time to turn the spanners at night.
Places of Interest:
- There is no maximum load speed of 9,200rpm.
- Anti-kickback protection
- 125 mm interchangeable discs
- Fully adjustable safety guard
- 4 year warranty
Any project car needs some shaping, so to make your life easier, grab a bench grinder, a drill press and a decent vice. All of these can be found second hand, or you can buy cheap ones from a major hardware chain. One thing you should never tamper with is your personal protective equipment (PPE). Buying a few small clamps to hold your work without endangering your hands is also more than a recommendation.
One of the most important things you’ll discover when cracking Project Car is how many special tools you’ll need. These can be added over time, so try to see when the big sales are happening. More often than not, though, these will be the things you’ll be rushing to buy five minutes before the store closes on a Saturday afternoon.
It’s worth spending the extra money for a good quality torque wrench, and make sure you take good care of it. The internet may think you’re a legend for putting your engine back together, but it’s a cold and lonely wait for a tow truck to avoid torqueing the parts properly. Wheel nuts, head bolts, suspension bolts and more all need proper torque setting.
Locking pliers allow you to get an iron grip on stubborn bolts or fasten two parts together, while adjustable-jaw pliers are useful for removing hoses. Alligator jaw pliers are great for crimping, while side cutters are a must for wiring jobs and trimming cable ties.
Getting yourself a test light, multimeter, and soldering iron will give you a leg up on simple wiring jobs. A ratcheting wire stripper is an extra expense but makes the job much easier than pliers. Throw a roll of black electrical tape and some heat shrink into the toolbox and you’ve got all the electrical kit you’ll need – at least until you have to rewire the whole car. Don’t have to.
Choosing pry bars will always get a workout. Certainly, a proper pry bar is a much better option than your flathead screwdriver for moving engines into position or prying apart stuck parts. An inexpensive set of picks is perfect for pinning wiring plugs or clearing clogged hoses.
Get a claw hammer, a mallet for gentle hitting, and a heavy dead blow for proper percussion maintenance. Hammers are also useful for threatening the car if it doesn’t start playing ball and how it should!
Two basic tools that are very simple and very inexpensive are a set of feeler gauges and a magnetic pickup tool. Like a large breaker bar, they’re not needed all the time, but they’re a great addition to any kit so you can gap a spark plug, install a valve lash, or find that important bolt you’ve been missing. Just dropped into the depths of the engine bay.
If you’re using a battery impact gun or a decent air rattle gun, even a cheap impact socket set will prevent you from chewing the drive off the back of your chrome hand socket. When starting, pay attention to large bolt sizes (above 14mm or 9/16in), as the torque required to loosen them will damage your chrome socket.
Keeping your tools organized prevents them from getting lost and wasting money replacing them. For around $100, you can buy a decent benchtop locking toolbox, which gives you a secure place to stash your hand tools. And of course, decorating the box with cool car stickers is a rite of passage and an important part of the Project Car life. Don’t bother buying a Flash-Harry Roll-Cab toolbox right off the bat. Put that money into more tools.
Instead, start with a benchtop box, and, if you think you need a lot of tools (and you have the room), you can add a roller cabinet later for a full roll. can be prepared. Taxi box. Once the toolbox is loaded, you’ll need to be very careful moving it, as it will be as heavy as the engine block. And remember to lock the drawers before moving them, or they’ll all pop open, unbalancing the box and tipping it all over the place.
Cutting a sweet toolbox isn’t too expensive. You can still build a really worthwhile collection of tools without blowing your Smoke Pi budget.
Garage sales are a great way to score odd spanners, screwdrivers, hammers and toolboxes. Some of these old hand tools were manufactured in a different era when things were built to last, so they will be ready to go.
Online venues such as Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Gumtree always have second hand tool sets and kits for sale as people upgrade or downsize their tools after leaving the trade. This provides a great opportunity for hobbyists to pick up professional-grade tools at a bargain price.
However, just like buying a car over the Internet, take some precautions by inspecting the item in a well-lit area, and if it seems too cheap, you should think carefully about why; Don’t buy someone else’s stolen tools.
Look out for the big tool stores around Boxing Day or the end of the financial year, when they launch their big sales promotions. Pool your money with colleagues in Bulk Tools and get big discounts or extra rewards to spend on more tools! Whatever you do, don’t buy those horrible, low-rent tools in a plain black plastic case.