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Vanilla Ice all the way baby!
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
first tool set (plz help)

ok so for my birthday my parents gave me a $250 craftsman giftcard, since i'm taking auto tech classes, and we are aloud to use our own gear

I don't do alot of heavy tool work, but i'd like to be prepared incase i need to (possibly might need to during the restore of the Z). So i need some advice as to which size kit i should get, so i've narrowed it down to these, please give me your opinons on these sets, and which one you think would make the best auto tech's starter kit

137 Piece 154 Piece 167 Piece 254 Piece

(eventually once i'm at a dealership i'm getting snap-ons for work, and these will stay home)
 

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The more the better.

Less that you'll have to buy later... Get the 254... That's what I got. Along with a Jesse James Mac tools kit.
 

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Stay away from the smaller ones if you're plannign on doing mechanic work.. those nut drivers and such just aren't needed and you're wasting your money on them, IMO.

The larger tool sets have all the stuff you need, but they have too many. you don't need 6 and 12 pt standard and deep sockets on all of those. again, waste of money IMO.


Are you planning on wrenching only on imports, or will you do domestic stuff as well?

Imports will be 100% metric, but most domestic cars are a mix of metric and SAE. very annoying.

For Nissan, you'll need 8,10,12,13,14,17,19,21,22,24,27, 32, 36 mm. that should get just about every bolt on the car..
you'll need the 27, 32, 36mm when working on suspension components. The engine stuff usually gets no larger than 19mm, and many are allen/socket head bolts.

If you work on Ford, you'll need 10,11,13,15,18,22,24 mm sockets as well as a handfull of SAE stuff.


Of course, more tools are always better than not having the right ones, but many of these things are either unnecessary, or way too much "stuff" in the boxes.


My tool set at home consists of:
8,10,11,12,13,14,15,17,19,21,22,24,27mm combination wrenches
10,12,14,17,19mm ratcheting wrenches

1/4" drive: 4-14mm sockets. 8 and 10mm deep socket
3/8" drive sockets: 10-21mm standard and deep sockets. regular set of allen type sockets in 3/8" drive. forget the sizes, but I've used most of them on the engine. like 3-10mm or something.
1/2" drive: 10-21mm impact sockets, 19,20,21,22,24,27, 32,36mm chrome deep sockets. (I've used those with my impact wrench for years and never snapped one)
Security torx bit assortment. Sears has a set from Lisle for about $35 that has all of them you need from like T-25H to T-50H. get the security set with the hole in the center because all the airbag stuff is bolted down with T-50H bolts.

Handfull of extensions for 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 drive. Craftsman sells a good assortment set of extensions in each size. just buy them, and then a couple extra 3" extensions for 3/8" drive and you'll be set there.

"u-joints" in each size- 1/4, 3/8, 1/2" also buy an impact quality U joint in 1/2"

1/4, 3/8, 1/2" ratchets AND a set of breaker bars.. the craftsman ratchets will work, but as soon as you can, step up to some Snap On ratchets. you'll want to give them a blow job the first time you use them over the craftsman ones.. I have these swivel head ones in 1/4 and 3/8" drive and that's all I use for ratchets now: http://buy1.snapon.com/catalog/OBJECTS/42500/42426.JPG
(they're pretty expensive, at $75 for the 1/4" and around $120 for the 3/8", but they're VERY worth it!!!)
If you don't spring for the snap-on ratchets, at least buy a few pivot-head craftsman ones. they'll save your butt sometimes, but I don't like using them every day. they get too floppy. The snap-on ones have adjuster screws so you can tighten them down when they get floppy.


full set of regular allen keys. don't get the ones that fold out of the big holder like a swiss army knife.. you can't get that into many places sometimes.. get a full set of SAE and metrics. they're like $15

Full set of screwdrivers from #1 to #4 phillips in short, regular, and long handles, plus a set of flat heads. Craftsman sells a 25pc screwdriver set or something. it's great, but be prepared to take the flat heads back every few months because the tips snap off when you use them for prybars (trust me, you'll use 'em for prybars!). I would recommend buying a few #2 and #3 phillips drivers from Klein Tools- you can find them at Lowes or Home Depot usually. they have hardened tips on them and will last much longer, but run $6-10 each or something. My stepdad is an electrican and that's all he uses. you hand him any other brand and he'll throw it across the room and tell you to get him a real screwdriver. ;) they also have comfy rubber grips which helps a lot.

pliers- get as many sizes and types as you can. various sizes of vice grips, channel locks, needle nose, large and small wire cutters (side cutters), and anything else you can afford to buy. you can never have too many pairs of pliers!

EZ-outs and broken bolt extractors.. you can buy these later, but I would recommend every mechanic have a set.


Still reading? Prolly not. ;)
Anyway, that's the jist of my hand tool collection at the house. That list will probably cost you $500 or so (if you don't buy the snap-on ratchets). That's what I would consider bare minimum for someone that's going to be working on cars for a living. I've been a semi-pro mechanic for several years now and still find myself going to Sears once every few months for a new tool. namely the odd-size 32/36mm sockets or wrenches for a perticular job I've never done before, but you will need them eventually- might as well buy them all at once.


All in all, that's a smaller set of sockets than what's in the largest tool kits you linked above, but also includes the stuff you'll need that are not in there- larger wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, extensions, u-joints, etc.


Good luck. hope that helps. :)

edit.. holy crap that's long! you better kiss my feet for that one!
 

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SanMarcosZfreak said:
what? where you'd get the mac set?

It's not the full size huge red box... It's a smaller sized Mac set and I got it from Mac.... I don't know if they sell it anymore but it's really nice. 4 drawer with top space. Ball bearings, lock.....
 

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Nice list Matt
I would suggest tho
at least 2 sets of 3/8 rachets as they are sometimes better than the wrenches.
Also double up on 10,13,15,17mm sockets never enough of those around
6pt ones kick ass, but sometimes (flywheel) 12pt is the only one that will work.
also a c-clap pliers are nice and you hate yourself for not having one when you work on stuff sometimes.
OH yeah
ANTI-SIEZE, Gallons of it. Its your friend
Gasket maker, Black, Permantex (sp)
Hammer. 3 kinds. Rubber mallet, regular hammer for the stubborn parts, and a copper (i think thats what it is anyway) mallet.
Consider getting a compressor too.
Cut-off wheel, Impact, blow gun, Impact, Air rachet, Impact, Air Hammer, Did I mention IMPACT????

Also good torque wrench, and a 4 way for taking off the wheels. 3 ton jack.
Holly cow I could go on almost forever with this.
 

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Vanilla Ice all the way baby!
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
kane2g said:
Nice list Matt
I would suggest tho
at least 2 sets of 3/8 rachets as they are sometimes better than the wrenches.
Also double up on 10,13,15,17mm sockets never enough of those around
6pt ones kick ass, but sometimes (flywheel) 12pt is the only one that will work.
also a c-clap pliers are nice and you hate yourself for not having one when you work on stuff sometimes.
OH yeah
ANTI-SIEZE, Gallons of it. Its your friend
Gasket maker, Black, Permantex (sp)
Hammer. 3 kinds. Rubber mallet, regular hammer for the stubborn parts, and a copper (i think thats what it is anyway) mallet.
Consider getting a compressor too.
Cut-off wheel, Impact, blow gun, Impact, Air rachet, Impact, Air Hammer, Did I mention IMPACT????

Also good torque wrench, and a 4 way for taking off the wheels. 3 ton jack.
Holly cow I could go on almost forever with this.
no impact stuff lol i'm only 19 im not a full mechanic yet, and our garage is cramped already, durango and Z, and i got the 254 peice set :thumbup:
 

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you think thats cramped???
240sx, Donor SR20DET swap, 5lug, ENTIRE Z32 suspension
Fiero with the top chopped, Donor ZZ4 entire aftermarket suspension.
1 compressor, 3 Jacks, 2 toolboxes, 2 engine stands, 1 engine hoist, and a crapload of other misc stuff that regular garage has.
AND I STILL HAVE room.


On the side note, I forgot to add Locktite to the list.
 

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Your electrical friend
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Good job on the 254 piece set. It's a great deal for $200 and you'll only have to add a couple sockets and wrenches to it to have everything you'd need in that department. I have the 241 piece set but right now it costs the same as the 254, and the 254 appears to have everything the 241 does, plus some.
 

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we sell a lot of those 254 pc sets...i'll get u some "hidden" part numbers from tool sets the stores do not have on display but do carry in store for some reason...
 

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kane2g said:
you think thats cramped???
240sx, Donor SR20DET swap, 5lug, ENTIRE Z32 suspension
Fiero with the top chopped, Donor ZZ4 entire aftermarket suspension.
1 compressor, 3 Jacks, 2 toolboxes, 2 engine stands, 1 engine hoist, and a crapload of other misc stuff that regular garage has.
AND I STILL HAVE room.
On the side note, I forgot to add Locktite to the list.
You don't wanna go there.
3 engines- VG30E, VE30DE, KA24DE-all in pieces, spare auto tranny for the 240, hoist, 3 sets of track wheels & tires, all my inventory for the business, drill press, sandblasting cabinet w/ siphon blaster, 20lb tank blaster as well, welder & equipment for it, 4 toolboxes, powdercoating rig, 60 gallon air compressor, slabs of granite for my entertainment center I'm building, 2 shelves of spare car parts, all the equipment to clean and service the hot tub, lawnmower, 4 gas tanks for race gas, mower, diesel fuel, weed eater, 300 ft of steel tubing for building parts....
2 full suspension setups, stuff leftover from my parts car, turbo parts, manifolds, and other associated crap..
cars? Maxima, altima, 240SX, and next week I'll have an Integra to cram in there as well.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. :rolleyes:
 

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Matt93SE said:
You don't wanna go there.
3 engines- VG30E, VE30DE, KA24DE-all in pieces, spare auto tranny for the 240, hoist, 3 sets of track wheels & tires, all my inventory for the business, drill press, sandblasting cabinet w/ siphon blaster, 20lb tank blaster as well, welder & equipment for it, 4 toolboxes, powdercoating rig, 60 gallon air compressor, slabs of granite for my entertainment center I'm building, 2 shelves of spare car parts, all the equipment to clean and service the hot tub, lawnmower, 4 gas tanks for race gas, mower, diesel fuel, weed eater, 300 ft of steel tubing for building parts....
2 full suspension setups, stuff leftover from my parts car, turbo parts, manifolds, and other associated crap..
cars? Maxima, altima, 240SX, and next week I'll have an Integra to cram in there as well.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. :rolleyes:
Packrat! :loser:
J/P
I tottally understand, I was just saying that a garage can hold more than a Z, durango and a simple toolset. ;)
:cheers:
 

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Matt93SE said:
You don't wanna go there.
3 engines- VG30E, VE30DE, KA24DE-all in pieces, spare auto tranny for the 240, hoist, 3 sets of track wheels & tires, all my inventory for the business, drill press, sandblasting cabinet w/ siphon blaster, 20lb tank blaster as well, welder & equipment for it, 4 toolboxes, powdercoating rig, 60 gallon air compressor, slabs of granite for my entertainment center I'm building, 2 shelves of spare car parts, all the equipment to clean and service the hot tub, lawnmower, 4 gas tanks for race gas, mower, diesel fuel, weed eater, 300 ft of steel tubing for building parts....
2 full suspension setups, stuff leftover from my parts car, turbo parts, manifolds, and other associated crap..
cars? Maxima, altima, 240SX, and next week I'll have an Integra to cram in there as well.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. :rolleyes:
you got the plans for the garage that you have all that stuff in, sounds like my kind of garage :thumbup: HUGE :thumbup:
 

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heh... I wish I had a garage I could fit the cars in... right now it's jst a tiny 2 car garage, and, and the tools take up the entire thing. poor car sits outside, and is freaking yellow from all the pollen right now. yucko.
 
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