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Found 7 results

  1. Choosing an air compressor is not a light subject. This can be an expensive purchase, and an unwise choice is costly and frustrating. This is not an item for "cutting corners" or bargain shopping. You will get what you pay for... When I needed an air compressor for the magazine's shop/studio, my thoughts were about air tool operation. My previous shop was well served by a DeVilbiss 80 gallon upright compressor and a quality black pipe system. That compressor was a two-stage (not "twin stage", avoid these!) iron compressor model that ran on 230V. Bought it in 1995-96 timeframe from Costco for $800. Our new, smaller scale shop/studio, I thought, could get by with a 20-gallon upright portable compressor and an iron, two-cylinder unit compressor head (two-stage, of course). The Ingersoll-Rand 'Garage Mate' fit the specifications I wanted, and that purchase proved wise—initially. There are jobs that require high volumes of air, and one in particular is bead blasting. The smaller compressors, you will discover, often make higher output ratings by running the compressor's rpm up the scale, to the point that service life becomes an issue. The DeVilbiss unit, in fairness, held up in this category with its 7.5 HP motor. (The I-R Garage Mate gets used so little that it should also last "forever".) Horror stories about sucking a reed valve on the DeVilbiss never happened, and that unit served faithfully for fourteen years—it was still working fine when we sold the shop property and the complete air system stayed at the shop. When I discovered the need for another bead blaster (had one at the previous shop, a very nice T-P Equipment unit), I thought a smaller unit would work fine with the Garage Mate compressor. It didn't. After much research and study, I realized that volume is everything for blasters, and my quest turned up a terrific solution: a used commercial compressor with a huge, slow speed Champion R-15 compressor head, 120 gallon horizontal tank, and a 5-horsepower, industrial strength Baldor 220V motor with magnetic starter. If you'd like to know more about this compressor, and perhaps what amounts to my sense of humor, read this account at the magazine: http://www.4wdmechanix.com/Downsizing-and-Air-Compressors!.html. For $250 less than the new I-R Garage Mate cost, I'm in business and so is the bead blaster! There are values like this around if you'll look and be patient. The Garage Mate works fine for quick, shorter burst air tool chores or inflating tires. I'll keep it, as the resale price is ridiculously low, and the unit is in "as new" condition. Moses
  2. Hi, guys. Today i had an unusual issue on my utility trailer. It was towing funny, and when i checked it, i found that rocks had somehow become embedded between the tire and the bead, dont ask me how, because i have no clue. Anyway, i was going to take the tires to a shop and have them take care of it, but my neighbor said he could do it right in the bed of his truck, so i said ok, show me. We took the tires to his house, and he has a portable, easy to use and also somewhat easy to store hand tire changer that he attaches in the back of his truck using heavy duty hood pins, like Nascar cars use. I asked him where he got it, and he said harbor freight for less than $50. We took the cores out of the valve stem, and he proceeded to pop the tires off the rims with almost no effort. We cleaned the rocks out, aired the tires back up, and they seem to be holding up just fine. There are a couple of downsides i see to it, such as it has to be attached to something solid for it to work. Also, it does take a bit of muscle to get the tires off the rim, but, for the most part, i see where it could be very useful in an off road situation as long as you can find a place to attach it in the back of your vehicle or in a trailer. It also has no provision for balancing tires, but, as a quick and easy way to get back on the trail, it looks to me like it might be a worthwhile idea to have one. You can always have the tires balanced once you are back at "civilization". The changer has a built in bead breaker, and also a screw-down steel plate to hold the wheel securely to the changer while taking the tire off and putting it back on. I have enclosed a couple pics from harbor freight's website, so you can see what it looks like:
  3. In the article "How-to: Rebuilding a Jeep AX15 Transmission—Disassembly & Inspection" in the magazine, what are the dimensions of the angle iron that you used in the hydraulic press to remove and install bearings? I'm guessing 3" x 13" long and 1/4" thick from the photos? I'm rebuilding a R-154 Toyota transmission. Some of the techniques are similar. Miller makes a rectangular box shaped fixture but they want a whole bunch of money for it. (Miller tool 8227.) Bru
  4. Many of my current hand tools date to the 'sixties. The oldest, to my recollection, is a Craftsman beam-bar 1/2-inch torque wrench that I bought in 1965—for $7.39 out of the Sears catalog! My most recent acquisition is a deep set, Pittsburgh axle nut set from Harbor Freight, intended for occasional use. Tools have various functions and purposes, and their price and quality can range accordingly. When I first worked professionally as a light- and medium-duty truck mechanic, Proto tools were popular. By today's standards, that would be Craftsman or S&K quality. I ran a motorcycle repair shop at Carson City in the early 'seventies and discovered Snap-On and Mac Tools. Craftsman tools at the time offered an extraordinary lifetime warranty, and I have Craftsman sockets, ratchets and extensions still in my boxes to this day. I did, however, migrate to Snap-On for box ended wrenches, screwdrivers and a 3/8" tilting head ratchet. A Champion spark plug offset handle, swivel head ratchet wrench carries forth from the late 'sixties, pre-dating the Snap-On tools. The Champion 3/8" spark plug ratchet was a private label tool, likely built by Proto. It has weathered extremes of use and, in hindsight, abuse from excessive torque application on some occasions. Yet it survives. When picking tools, the quality and warranty are important. So is the "feel" of a tool if you're working with it professionally, day in and day out. Cost aside, my best ratchets have been Craftsman, not Snap-On. The reverse levers on the Craftsman tools fit my fingers and hands much better than the ratchets I bought from Snap-On years ago. In fairness, Snap-On may have improved this design, or your hands may be happier with one design over the other. Some hand tools are simply better quality. I mentioned Snap-On screwdrivers, their tips are exceptional and long lasting, handles feel right, and they prove superior. That said, however, the newer Craftsman "Professional" line of hand tools have come a long way for both fit and durability. Tool boxes are another story altogether. Boxes often get purchased on the basis of brand names that carry cache. When I worked at a GMC truck dealership as a line mechanic, Snap-On tools, and especially its boxes, stood for a true professional investment. Since I believe a mechanic's worth is his or her work quality, boxes are not the end all for me. I like Craftsman professional series boxes and have a shop full of them. Weight being a factor, if you want "big", you'll pay by the load capacity. Even the Harbor Freight U.S. General big boxes have a high load capacity and unloaded weight. On that note, don't dismiss Harbor Freight—just be selective and know the "line" names. I've done very well with the black, six-point Pittsburgh impact sockets and knockoff tools like the ball-joint removal and installation kits. Pittsburgh brand often means something. For torque wrenches, however, I opt for contemporary high-end electronic types and quality, known brands like Mac, MATCO, Snap-On and such. It just depends on your intent and plans for the tools. If day in and out use is the plan, buy better. When it's a one-shot or rare project and everything appears acceptable with the tool, consider an inexpensive item. Harbor Freight's heavy steel products tend to be the best buy on this side of the ocean, especially at the price, though these products all come from the other side of the big water! I'd be happy to elaborate on any aspect of tools, welding equipment or automotive testing/diagnostic equipment. I've been at this professionally for forty-six years and can cast a broad light. When time permits, I'm planning a tool box walk-through for the magazine's HD Video Network. The tour will cover all of my hand tools, air and impact tools, specialty tools and pullers, welding tools and diagnostic equipment. I'll watch for your posts and reply! Ask away... Moses
  5. There are many times when a pinpoint reading of brake hydraulic pressure is useful. Brake safety and vehicle handling require the right hydraulic force at each wheel of the vehicle—at the right time! Knowing precisely how much apply pressure is available at the master cylinder, combination valve, ABS system, wheel cylinders or disc brake calipers can help troubleshoot weak brakes, grabby brakes, brake pull, erratic handling under hard braking, hazardous wheel lock-up and more. Whether you tackle your own vehicle service or operate a 4x4, OHV or motorcycle shop that depends on customer satisfaction, one valuable tool for brake system diagnostics is a hydraulic pressure tester. Maybe you're installing a retrofit rear disc brake upgrade like some of our forum members. Or you put oversized tires on your 4x4 and now a major braking issue has developed...If you take brake work seriously or find yourself in need of pinpoint information on a brake system's performance, consider a hydraulic brake and ABS diagnostic tool kit like this: This tool kit can pay for itself quickly in pinpoint hydraulic brake system diagnosis. Click on images to enlarge. (If you cannot see the pictures, join the forums for free, and get full member access!) I find this tool valuable. You can separate hydraulic problems from mechanical issues, or ABS issues from defects in rotors, brake drums and friction materials. With the assortment of fittings, the kit can work on most domestic and import vehicles. If you're having trouble separating brake performance issues, don't waste time and money on parts replacing that fails to solve problems...Take the guesswork out of brake work. Know how the hydraulic system performs before you leave the shop or driveway—not by trial and error. Invest in the right diagnostic tools! Moses
  6. When you work with brake, fuel and vacuum steel lines and fittings, you need the right wrenches! The quickest way to round the corners on tight or frozen flare nuts is with an open ended wrench. The recommended tool for flare nuts is, not surprisingly, a "flare nut wrench". Even with a flare nut wrench, there are times when frozen brake line nuts or old fuel line flare nuts will simply not want to come loose. The hex corners begin to round, the sign of real trouble ahead! I have high quality Bonney flares wrenches, a backup set of Craftsman flare nut wrenches and several chain wrenches—including a small, Wheeler Manufacturing chain wrench from the 1960s. That Wheeler chain wrench has saved my hide more than once, and it is probably my most versatile tubing work tool: Click to enlarge photos...Forum members can view all photos...If you're visiting, consider joining the forums—it's free! In a pinch, if the chain links are short enough, you can grip a softening flare nut. A chain wrench can also grip the base of a collapsed oil or fuel filter! My small chain wrench will grip a rusted brake flare nut securely, and that's small. It will also grip a collapsed oil filter canister near its solid base. There is also this Vise Grips model: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Delectronics&field-keywords=Vise+Grips+chain+wrench. It's useful and contemporary, although its chain link size will only drop to 5/8" diameter—okay for hardware but not good enough for smaller brake tubing nuts and most fuel fittings. The side benefit of the Wheeler chain wrench is that when used properly, it does not leave a mark on the steel fitting nut! I've used these wrenches on high-end restoration work where the OEM hardware must appear original. You simply cannot achieve this with higher torque settings and a flare nut wrench. Even the most expensive flare nut wrenches will, by design, spread under load. A tip and caution: Wrap the hardware with a layer of shop towel before gripping with the chain wrench. This will help protect the surface (although it will shred the towel!). Modern chain link wrenches with a toothed, flat leverage point are very rough on hardware and will leave marks if not used with extreme caution...See my Wheeler Manufacturing wrench's design (above), much easier on corners and flats of the nuts and other hardware! So the next time you're at a garage sale, estate auction or used tool source, keep your eye open for a Wheeler Manufacturing chain wrench and other specialty tools "from the day". They truly do not make smaller chain wrenches like they used to... Trust this helps your tubing flare nut and stuck oil filter situations! Moses
  7. So you bought a vintage Willys or Kaiser Jeep or an AMC/Jeep CJ with Model 20 rear axle? You're restoring any older vehicle with a rear axle that has tapered hubs and keyed axle shafts? Splines rusted, and you can't get your later 4x4 front axle shaft loose from the unit bearing/hub? There's a right way to do this and the wrong way...I just finished an HD video on the use of an OTC 7394 Hub puller and the OTC 6574-1 adapter plate. If you're staring at a wheel hub and axle shaft that needs force to separate, check out the 11-minute video on how to do this properly: http://www.4wdmechanix.com/HD-Video-Tool-How-to-Using-the-OTC-7394-Hub-Puller.html. Click on photos to enlarge... Since the late 'sixties, I've been using this kind of tool setup on early Jeep tapered and keyed axle shafts (later on the AMC Model 20 CJ rear axles), plus vintage Ford, Chrysler, Studebaker, early I-H Scout and other vehicles—this is a safer way to remove and preserve these hubs and axle shafts! Moses
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