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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. At our Jeep TJ Wrangler forum, we've been tackling the #1 Cylinder Misfire P0301 DTC issue. Member Belvedere brought up the weak valve spring issue and offered some great suggestions on changing out the valve springs on a Jeep inline six! Regarding weak valve springs on the 2.5L four or 4.0L and 4.2L inline Jeep six, weak springs can show up in a simple manifold vacuum check. At any steady throttle setting, there will be an erratic, shaky vacuum needle movement with the vacuum gauge hooked up to an intake manifold vacuum source. (Not to be confused with the wider swinging needle movement associated with a valve that is steadily leaking.) As Belvedere shared, weak valve springs can build up carbon, as the valves do not seat firmly when closed. Valve springs can actually be tested for valve seat pressure on the engine. Above is a photo of a simple tester available for that purpose. (Click here for a more upscale Moroso 62388 design available at JEGS.) With the rocker arm(s) removed, head and valves still in place, this over-the-top spring pressure tester can indicate the actual seating pressure, which is a true test of each valve spring's function. This is a sensible testing method with the least amount of teardown work: simply removing the valve cover and rotating the crankshaft to close the valve(s) to be tested. (Caution: Disconnect the negative battery cable to prevent starter engagement when turning the crankshaft by hand.) There are two off-the-engine tests for weak valve springs. If Belvedere still has the original springs, measuring and comparing the free standing height of the springs can be one test. Another method, commonly used by automotive machine shops and race engine builders, is actual spring compression testing (read in actual pounds force or as PSI) with a special gauge. This measures pressure as the spring compresses. As for removing the valve springs, Belvedere's classic rope-in-cylinder method works. (See the exchange at the Jeep Wrangler TJ forum under the #1 Cylinder Misfire thread.) So does an air hold, and this is especially easy for #1 cylinder, since the timing mark for TDC on the crankshaft damper is a quick way to find TDC for #1 piston. Here's how I do an AMC-design Jeep 4.2L or 4.0L valve spring removal: 1) Disconnect the battery negative cable to disable the starter. Remove the valve cover and spark plugs, at least #1 plug in this case, all of them to make rotating the crankshaft easier by hand. Rotate the crankshaft by the damper bolt, turning the crankshaft in its normal direction of rotation. Watch the valves open and close to be sure #1 piston is coming up on its compression stroke as you bring the damper pulley around to TDC on the compression stroke. 2) Set the damper mark at TDC to be sure the #1 piston is at the top. This will prevent fears of "losing" a valve into the cylinder. 3) Use an air hold fitting in the #1 spark plug hole to keep the valves up in position. These adapter/tools are commercially available and inexpensive, or you can make an air hold tool with an air coupler and an old spark plug. (See my comments below. Summit Racing lists the KD 901 adapters for $4.97, the best price I've seen anywhere! For that price, no need to make your own.) 4) Remove the #1 cylinder intake and exhaust rocker arms. The pedestal bolts simply get torqued back into place, there is no valve "adjustment" to be concerned about when you reassemble the rockers. (Just align the arms carefully with the pushrod tips and valve stems when you reinstall the rocker arms.) 5) With a stream of air applying pressure from any reasonable size home shop or garage air compressor, you can remove the valve springs using the "over the top" method. (80-90 PSI should be plenty, there will be some leak down, so your tank compressor should be full when you begin the spring change out. You can recharge the compressor if necessary between each spring removal.) Belvedere's approach with a pry tool attached to the rocker stud can be effective, and this tool is readily available. KD has made an affordable rocker pedestal pry bar for many years. Even if "universal" fit, however, make sure the tool is designed for the Jeep 4.0L engine application, or you will be fighting this task. 6) There is also an over-the-top valve spring compressor available, which can be easier to control for the less practiced mechanic. (OTC's version is shown at the Summit Racing page link. KD makes a tool like this, too.) This is a two jaw compressor that can compress the spring between the valve spring retainer and the spring coils. This tool is great—as long as there is enough installed spring height and adequate coil gaps for the jaws to fit. You must be able to compress the spring enough to safely remove the valve keepers. With either tool, stay centered on the valve spring retainer to prevent valve stem or keeper damage, and carefully remove the keepers like Belvedere cautions. Belvedere's magnet suggestion works for lifting out and installing the keepers. Note: If you do use Belvedere's rope method for holding the valves, make sure the piston is coming up on the compression stroke before inserting the rope. Otherwise, rope could get caught between a valve head and seat, which would reduce exposed valve stem height (or chew up the rope under valve spring pressure). As for making an air hold tool, above is a photo of the hold I made in ten minutes for a tight-access Honda four-valve motorcycle engine. The KD type adapter is so inexpensive that unless you need the tool this minute or have a unique situation (like the narrow access Honda four-valve thumper motorcycle engine, which will not accommodate the air hold adapter!), buy the KD or similar air adapters. Steps involved in making and using an air hold tool: 1) Remove the ground strap from the old spark plug shell. 2) Knock the porcelain and center electrode out of the plug shell. Use eye protection, you're breaking porcelain/glass here. 3) If the shell size allows for tapping with a pipe tap, you can drill, cut and thread for an air coupler fitting's male threads. 4) Use Teflon tape on threads of the air coupler fitting if you do use the threaded method. I find brazing works very well and can be a much quicker way to attach the air coupler fitting—if you have an oxy-acetylene welding/brazing torch. 5) Surface grind away any rough areas, like the remainder of the ground strap weld. Wire brush your "new tool" as required. You don't want loose material to blow into the engine's cylinder. 6) Thread your KD type or homemade tool into the spark plug hole. With the piston at TDC and the valves closed, hook your hose coupler to the air fitting and apply compressed air at the fitting and into the cylinder. The air hold tool is a way to hold the valves in position and also run a crude cylinder leak down test. (For details on a leak down test, see my HD video how-to at the magazine site.) Though you cannot measure the percentage of leak with an air hold adapter, you can certainly find a badly leaking valve or leaky piston rings by the volume of air leaking out of the cylinder through the exhaust pipe, intake manifold/throttle body/carburetor or into the crankcase. The leak down test is only reliable when performed with each piston at TDC on its compression stroke and both valves closed. That the PCM would send a #1 Cylinder Misfire DTC, code P0301 in this case, due to weak valve springs is "interesting". The diagnostic tie-in here would be incomplete combustion, since fuel flow volume through the injectors is uniform (whether the valves seat properly or not), and the ignition spark reliability can be easily determined with an oscilloscope analysis. Poor injector flow or weak spark can also create incomplete combustion and a misfire. So, that means that the DTC reflects poor combustion at #1 cylinder, which could also be the result of inadequate valve sealing from the weak springs. AMC-design engines do not have a history of weak valve springs, so weak valve springs should not be an epidemic or wide-ranging concern. However, it would be a factor in some cases, and "weak valve springs" can result from valve seat recession/wear, overheated valve springs or over-revving the engine to the extreme and "floating the valves". The 4.0L and 2.5L engines are known to run 250K miles without valve spring issues. Belvedere, thanks for sharing. This kind of information is very helpful to the forum members! I'm very pleased that you take time to contribute at this level! Moses
  5. In your How-to: Rebuilding a Jeep AX15 Transmission—Disassembly & Inspection you have a bench top jaw vise that’s holding the trans up off the table for better access. What is the proper name of this holding vise and would you know where something like that can be purchased?
  6. 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
  7. 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
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