If you could go back and develop your tool collection again, how would you do it? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 19 Old 09-18-2017, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
SDJeremy
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If you could go back and develop your tool collection again, how would you do it?

I would like to start developing my tools for working on my Jeep and any other hands-on work needed. I've always depended on my dad's garage and poorly organized tool sets for working on things, but now that I have a garage of my own I would like to start collecting my own tool sets and what-not. As of right now the only tools I have are household tools for use in an apartment. Now I'm looking to develop my garage setup and would like some ideas on the best route to get there. My question for you is: if you could go back and start your tool collection from the beginning, how would you do it?

Start with cheap tools or go for the lifetime warranty Craftsman (or others?)?

Get a socket set in a case or go for the gusto and get a tool box to fill?

What's the best way of organizing wrenches?

I found this tool cart for sale on CL and it seems like a good starting point. Let me know what you think.

https://sandiego.craigslist.org/nsd/tls/6292702803.html

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post #2 of 19 Old 09-18-2017, 03:36 PM
CJ7-Tim
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Cheap tools break at the wrong time and fit so poorly that they damage fasteners or cause you to slip and bust a knuckle. ALWAYS buy good tools. Don't waste time swirling around a drawer full of wrenches or sockets or picking up/putting down two or three every time you need a different size wrench or socket. Arrange your tools neatly so you can find things, most home improvement stores have wrench and socket organizers. I have a tool box with socket/wrench organizers and a socket set in a case, so I can have all my sockets right at my fingertips rather than getting out from under the Jeep and walking across the garage every time I need something different. Buy specialized tools, even if you only use it once, it has paid for itself by not wrecking Jeep parts or starting a string of curses that would make a sailor blush.

December is a good time of year to buy Craftsman Tools.

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post #3 of 19 Old 09-18-2017, 04:25 PM
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Estate Auctions. Buy that bulk box of wrenches and stuff that nobody else wants to sort through. Most will be good old Craftsman/Snap-On/Matco stuff. Then fill in newer stuff from the pawn shop, shop around the low cost dealers where the mechanics buy good tools then get laid off/fired and then dump them. Very few things need to be purchased new. Only new to look at is quality ratchets and gear wrenches. Old air tools can be bought cheap and rebuilt for less than new and are higher quality. With a little leg work you can put together a quality set of tools for a fraction of new.
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post #4 of 19 Old 09-19-2017, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDJeremy View Post
I would like to start developing my tools for working on my Jeep and any other hands-on work needed. I've always depended on my dad's garage and poorly organized tool sets for working on things, but now that I have a garage of my own I would like to start collecting my own tool sets and what-not. As of right now the only tools I have are household tools for use in an apartment. Now I'm looking to develop my garage setup and would like some ideas on the best route to get there. My question for you is: if you could go back and start your tool collection from the beginning, how would you do it?

Start with cheap tools or go for the lifetime warranty Craftsman (or others?)?

Get a socket set in a case or go for the gusto and get a tool box to fill?

What's the best way of organizing wrenches?

I found this tool cart for sale on CL and it seems like a good starting point. Let me know what you think.

https://sandiego.craigslist.org/nsd/tls/6292702803.html
I guess that box seems ok, but not a lot of tools that you actually need to wrench on your Jeep. You'll have add a lot to it. It's a Harbor Freight box, but a lot of guys really like them. Try to talk him down a little.

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post #5 of 19 Old 09-19-2017, 08:25 AM
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In relation to cheap tools; they definitely have their place...
When carrying tools in the Jeep they are only Harbor Freight (cheaper to replace when stolen).
If the budget is low consider Harbor freight sockets and wrenches; especially the impact sets and extensions (will work fine with a ratchet) but there are a few places that require thin wall (non impact) sockets on some vehicles, where impact sockets wont fit.
Watch out for some of the really cheap harbor freight tools they are complete junk... however some of the tools (Pittsburg label, I believe) are guaranteed and can be returned for replacement when they break.
I don't use new Craftsman (now chinese made) for any thing but free chinese replacements for the old Western forge (WF) stuff.... roughly the same as the less cheap harbor freight now, but much more expensive, IMO.
That said I really appreciate thigh quality professional tools (Snap-On, Mac etc. but they are too spendy for beginner tools for most folks).

The best deal would be to ask around and find some old guy that has a full garage, but can't work on vehicles anymore, and try to work a deal or series of deals for the better old tools (often much higher quality than most of what you can get now).

About 5 years ago I picked up a bunch of tools from someone that could no longer work on cars... also be on the lookout for; a 5 horse air compressor to run air tools, high quality grinders drills, welders and machine tools ...depending on your skill/knowledge level.

For wrenches I like the slotted plastic carriers/organizers. but most are stored in rows in drawers in the big tool cabinet.

If you haven't got the room for a big compressor consider the new Dewalt battery powered impact wrenches and other brands (I would avoid Harbor Freight tools with electric motors).

Enjoy!

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post #6 of 19 Old 09-19-2017, 10:09 AM
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Buy a quality set containing most of the common sockets and wrenches. Many good options. Most will come in a nice portable case that keeps them organized. Then supplement with off the run tools and sizes as you need them. Over time you will build up a nice random collection.
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post #7 of 19 Old 09-20-2017, 05:12 AM
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Sadly, it is an era gone forever that every young man most important purchases were his mechanical and woodworking tools. and what he didn't or couldn't purchase he waited for a hand me down from dad or grandpa. I think every man in the midwest had a complete set of Craftsman wrenches from the look of estate and garage sales of the past. This is petering out. 20 years ago I could come home with more almost new wrenches and sockets from garage sales than one could count.

Today, one could probably find a great collection of obsolete i phones in a morning of garage sales. The decent wrenches, not so much.
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post #8 of 19 Old 09-20-2017, 06:24 AM
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A couple of thoughts.......
First, no tool is any good if you don't know the system you are working on. I live in the CJ section and every day I see a "my tail light is out, what is wrong???" question. Even the most expensive tool can't fix ignorance.

Figure out how much wrenching you are doing. Daily pounding and welding on your project, constantly working with your friends rigs, or any other heavy constant use will require a better set of tools than a set to do simple fixes and minor upgrades to keep your DD on the road.

Get a set that complements your rig. Buying a metric set of tools to work on your 65 Mustang is a waste of money.

If you have an OBD system on your rig, get a scanner. The I units are expensive due to the various adapters, but if you are going to keep the rig, are worth the cost. II units are pretty cheap and the base model will be a lot easier to deal with than trying to pull the codes manually.

Any box will do.

Get a small box for the trail.

Hit the pawn shops. Don't be afraid to negotiate hard. those folks paid pennies on the dollar for their tool sets and are usually willing to flex quite a bit on price.



I've found that most HF tools are adequate for the occasional use guy. There are some caveats to this:

Snap ring pliers. Run a Snap On truck off the road and spend the 200 bucks for a complete set.

Line wrenches. While you have the snap on guy in the ditch, grab a set. They are hella expensive, but the first time you round off a brake line nut you will hate yourself for not getting a good set.

Impacts. While you can get away with the occasional use on most cheap sets, you need to spring for a quality lug nut socket. I like getting a 3/4 and 13/16'ths.

Test light. There is NOTHING worse than a 2 dollar light snapping in half in your hand.

I'm sure I'm missing something.................

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post #9 of 19 Old 09-20-2017, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
SDJeremy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ7-Tim View Post
Arrange your tools neatly so you can find things, most home improvement stores have wrench and socket organizers.
Oooo I like those organizers and there's a few different kinds. I will definitely be getting those for a tool box and possible order my dad some too. Just to give him a hint.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourtrail View Post
Estate Auctions.
That's a great idea. I'll have to keep an eye out for some estate sales.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Joe View Post
In relation to cheap tools; they definitely have their place...
When carrying tools in the Jeep they are only Harbor Freight (cheaper to replace when stolen).

I don't use new Craftsman (now chinese made) for any thing but free chinese replacements for the old Western forge (WF) stuff.... roughly the same as the less cheap harbor freight now, but much more expensive, IMO.

For wrenches I like the slotted plastic carriers/organizers. but most are stored in rows in drawers in the big tool cabinet.

If you haven't got the room for a big compressor consider the new Dewalt battery powered impact wrenches and other brands (I would avoid Harbor Freight tools with electric motors).

Enjoy!
All great advice. I didn't know Craftsman is no longer American made. I guess they went the same way as a lot of previously American made quality things.

Organizers are a definite.

I have seen a few people using the cordless impacts and I am definitely impressed. I didn't know you can get that kind of power out of a battery powered hand tool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepdaddy2000 View Post
A couple of thoughts.......
First, no tool is any good if you don't know the system you are working on. I live in the CJ section and every day I see a "my tail light is out, what is wrong???" question. Even the most expensive tool can't fix ignorance.

If you have an OBD system on your rig, get a scanner. The I units are expensive due to the various adapters, but if you are going to keep the rig, are worth the cost. II units are pretty cheap and the base model will be a lot easier to deal with than trying to pull the codes manually.

Hit the pawn shops. Don't be afraid to negotiate hard. those folks paid pennies on the dollar for their tool sets and are usually willing to flex quite a bit on price.

I've found that most HF tools are adequate for the occasional use guy. There are some caveats to this:

Snap ring pliers. Run a Snap On truck off the road and spend the 200 bucks for a complete set.

Line wrenches. While you have the snap on guy in the ditch, grab a set. They are hella expensive, but the first time you round off a brake line nut you will hate yourself for not getting a good set.

Impacts. While you can get away with the occasional use on most cheap sets, you need to spring for a quality lug nut socket. I like getting a 3/4 and 13/16'ths.

Test light. There is NOTHING worse than a 2 dollar light snapping in half in your hand.

I'm sure I'm missing something.................
I already have the Hanes manual and the FSM for my 94 ZJ. I'm sure as I delve deeper into the Jeep, they will come in handy. In comparison the mechanic skills I've seen on JF, I would say I have low-moderate skill. I can definitely change a tail light, but as for changing out the plenum gasket (common ZJ problem) that would be a stretch unless I worked really slow and followed the FSM to a tee.

I have a OBDII scanner for my DD, but I haven't broke down to get a OBDI for my Jeep. Some day I'm sure.

It seems like HF tools are really a pick and choose game. It looks like very simple tools with no moving parts like sockets and wrenches would be worth the cheap price, but things like air tools or anything with an electric motor would be a waste of money. I'll keep an eye out for any deals on tools and start gaining my collection. My girlfriend's old man was an auto mechanic, so I'm hoping she'll be real supportive of the ever growing garage setup.

Thank you for all of the great advice. Keep it coming!

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post #10 of 19 Old 09-22-2017, 06:26 PM
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Just remember there's a difference between cheap tools, and junk tools....
Most basic hardline tools nowadays are just fine, even from harbor freight.

If you're a DIYer, you don't need snapon.
If you WANT it, that's great. But don't ever let anyone convince you, you need to spend that kind of money.

Gearwrench and Carlyle are my over all favorite mid range brands though. Gearwrench for sockets, Carlyle for ratchets.
Tekton sells some cheap, but shockingly good wrenches.
https://www.amazon.com/TEKTON-Combin...eywords=tekton

Harbor freight sells my favorite budget screwdrivers.
IMO screwdrivers are a wear item, and these are the best balance between budget and quality I've ever found.
https://www.harborfreight.com/8-piec...set-94607.html


Craftsman.... Most stuff is fine, but there are better alternatives for the same kind of money. Shame.... But it's the end of an era for Sears
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post #11 of 19 Old 09-26-2017, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirbot View Post
Gearwrench and Carlyle are my over all favorite mid range brands though. Gearwrench for sockets, Carlyle for ratchets.
Tekton sells some cheap, but shockingly good wrenches.
https://www.amazon.com/TEKTON-Combin...eywords=tekton

Harbor freight sells my favorite budget screwdrivers.
IMO screwdrivers are a wear item, and these are the best balance between budget and quality I've ever found.
https://www.harborfreight.com/8-piec...set-94607.html
Excellent. I will look into those brands. I'd rather not pay for big brand names when there are others for a cheaper cost.

Are there any other lesser known brands out there with decent quality tools?

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post #12 of 19 Old 09-28-2017, 04:32 PM
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My life became a lot more easier when I finally bought a stand-up tool box with drawers (on wheels) for the garage so I could keep like-type tools separated. I should have bought one from the start.

I carry a soft-sided tool bag in both my Jeeps and truck with "the basics" at all times; if going away for an extended period of time I'll supplement it with tools from the garage. Tools to me are an insurance policy - you can't have too much coverage when away from home. I've had to change out water pumps and alternators and batteries in parking lots in the past.

Most of my away-from-home repairs have been handled with simple/basic tools (socket set/extensions/star bits/wrenches/screwdrivers/Allen wrenches/pliers/needle nose/wire cutters/vice grips/etc.). One thing I would make sure I had would be a good circuit tester, and spare wire/connecters/male-female terminals, etc. Especially with my 46 Willys - more often than not it is a simple electrical issue (simple once I figure out what the problem is). And lots of zip-ties (11" is a nice multi-use size).

I also carry a dedicated 18" long 1/2" socket cheater bar with a socket extension and a deep-well socket for my rims' lug nuts.

Most of my tools are Pittsburg brand tools from Harbor Freight (the Craftsman set I got for high-school graduation were stolen from my truck years ago). I also have a collection of Husky brand tools. Like others have mentioned - some of the tools from HF are crap, but some are more than adequate for Jeep tools - you just have to shop wisely. I've got two Jeeps and a truck I keep a tool kit in, along with my larger garage tool set.

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post #13 of 19 Old 09-28-2017, 05:24 PM
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great thread, something I'm planning to do. Subscribing. (Probably end up yanking out the rear seat in our TJ, with the fun stuff I want to get. :-)
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post #14 of 19 Old 09-29-2017, 09:30 AM
Ross
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If I could go back and battery operated tools were as good as the ones today I would want less pneumatic tools and more battery operated.
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post #15 of 19 Old 09-29-2017, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
SDJeremy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross View Post
If I could go back and battery operated tools were as good as the ones today I would want less pneumatic tools and more battery operated.
I agree. I've recently seen a couple people using a battery operated impact gun. It's amazing the amount of power those have for being only battery powered.

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