Professional tools for hobbyists

Tools, spit
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In the photo at the head of this story there is a half-moon of a valve spring securing plate somewhere. A pin.

That it is such a mess in the photo, that cannot be defended. But the real misery was because valves were dismantled without a real valve spring pliers. Possibly the approach is known: with a piece of gas pipe from which a bite has been flipped and an improvised arrangement under the column drilling machine, pressing down its valve spring trays. If the shaky construction does not slip away. Arrangements with a large clamp with a piece of welded-on pipe also have their limitations. All this often results in the shooting of one of the half-moons that hold the valve spring plate in place, the valve spring plate and the valve spring. And you will never find such a pin again.

But before it happened, everything went well. The heads came loose easily.
The valve tappet blocks came sucking from their guides. And with a dry tap on the head of a matching cap nut, the valve pins and valve plates were shocked by their caked berths. Then came the pointless ant with that piece of pipe.

Owning good tools is a joy anyway. It is beautiful to see and it makes our key work so much easier. You will usually not find it on the Aldi offers, on the Gamma shelves or at the local metal goods trade. But at the car parts trade. The suppliers of garage companies. And somehow we don't get there that fast. Funny enough, all those professional tools don't have to be horribly expensive. There is an impressive number of providers between Kinzo and Snap On. Brands such as Midlock and Kraftwerk offer great stuff at a reasonable price for our working level. Because even with intensive use, tools that last twice as long as lifelong use often have too strong a price tag.

We report the existence of an excess of spark plug hole tap including adapter bush in an earlier story. Following the disappearance of half a moon, we went to the automotive equipment store again. Scoring a valve spring pliers was the first option. It got out of hand nicely.

Valve spring pliersValve springs
A valve spring tong is a tensioning device with which the dish is pressed down on top of the spring. The valve spring is compressed. That resilience is where improvisations go wrong. With a dish pressed down, the skewers that hold the dish in place can be removed. Almost all possibilities to remove them fall under the law on gambling. The workspace is small, the skewers are small and greasy. The best way to remove it is with a screwdriver with a magnetic tip or such a handy, telescopic magnetic pin. Immediately store the spit in a jar. They tend to disappear without a trace. There are highly professional valve spring pliers that are only suitable for one engine type. That kind of tool is in the corner of exotics with double overhead camshafts. Incidentally, these are not usually the brothers who work on their own. But luckily the automotive materials trade, the Internet or the next spare parts trade also offer enough 'universal' valve spring pliers. And the joke 'universal, because it doesn't make sense' now and then doesn't. These pliers are for use with heads that are still mounted and for use with heads that have already been dismantled. For us, the last kind is the most sensible purchase. At the top, the clip rests on or covers the valve spring plate. Because the pressing is perfectly in line with the valve stem, the construction remains stable. Due to the controlled tensioning of the valve spring, the skewers come to lie on the dish without tension. With the magnet tip, they can be taken out calmly without the technician having to be afraid of parts flying around his ears. From the moment the tongs are placed, this approach is very good for the rest of the business. Like all good tools, the thing does not bring instant craftsmanship, but it does calm the job.

Piston ring terminals
Ever been muddy with strips of plastic strips and hose clamps cut from a Remia bucket? With pieces of cans? Piston ring clamps look professional on the tool board and they turn a drama into a party. The ones that are tensioned with a threaded spindle are fine. But this system works faster. They are often sold individually, and not only as a set.

Threaded repair kits
"Helicoil" is a brand name. Over time, the patents of that brand have expired and now everyone can make 'Helicoils'. That also happened for a number of years with Velcro Velcro. In daily speech, we now talk about Helicoils and Velcro, while the factories concerned have nothing to do with it. But 'thread repair set' simply means less than 'Helicoil'. The replacement makers have done everything to make holes in the sale of the real Helicoil line. In the Chinese way they released 'Helicoilsets' of sad quality. For almost no money. Avoid Chinese reference like the plague for the next ten years. In a smarter way, they no longer sold their high-quality products in expensive, complete sets of M4-M14, but made sets with the things to repair, for example, M6 or M8 threads.

About ten loose threads (inserts) in it and you're ready for any hobbyist. Except when the hobbyist buys such a set on an all too unclear stall. Because also in this sector there is a lot of Chinese waste for sale. At the local car parts trade there is usually always a cheaper but equally good alternative to 'Helicoil'. After all, the locally operating trade wants customers to be satisfied and to return. Please note, however, that when mounting such a loose thread, careful handling is carried out in accordance with the regulations and with extreme ease. A well-deployed 'Helicoil' is stronger than the thread ever was. An 'insert' that is placed crooked or with irregular force development can be good for hours of hassle before it is removed again.

Honing stones
Is that familiar: an engine in which the final play of the piston rings is a bit sad, but where the further dimensions are still acceptable? Then fitting new piston rings is a nice approach. But piston rings do not break in when they have to learn to walk in a cylinder bore that is 'glazed' in the course of its existence. In the old days, cleaning up a bore was a job where an overhaul company did not turn around. The sonic sets were, at the time, beautiful, generous 'engineered' devices. And the entire action was performed while the block or cylinder was impressively clamped. Craftsmanship is mastery.

That feeling. Now we find three-stone sonic sets at the car parts store that you can simply put in the drill. In terms of design, they have become much more aware of it. That actually means that they look pretty light around dense and tinny. But that calculated poorness does not detract from their effectiveness. And now we can - with some policy and calmness - prepare our cylinder bores neatly for walk-in. And because the sonic sets are spring-loaded, a whole range of bores can be refreshed with just one size. And because such a set lasts a lifetime with hobby use, the purchase is one that can always be defended. Moreover, it is just nice to have professional tools.

'Pound keys' or torque keys
There are still those who have the fingertip feel to tighten every screw connection by feel. Or to screw up. Some even have more feeling than the people who have learned for it. For example, in the early XNUMXs, a car manufacturer was inundated with complaints about broken head gaskets. And if the head gasket was replaced under warranty? Then it broke down again. And again. The stream of complaints showed that there was only one dealer in all of Europe where the cars continued to drive after repair. The dealer called for a heavy delegation to the floor and the first mechanic was invited with awe to tell what his secret was. The man shrugged and said: “You see immediately that the tightening torques you give for the head bolts are not good? I just tighten them a bit ”. When the researchers asked 'how much firmer' they got another shrug: 'Just until it feels right'.

The torque wrenches that sometimes lie in the buckets, those are the things with a pointer that runs over a bowl by the handle. Let them lie. A real torque wrench is spring-loaded and calibrated. In the business world, they are even regularly revised. And we don't talk about the fact that some representatives there see an opportunity to sell a new torque wrench. Such a good torque wrench gives a click when achieving the correct tightening torque. After the first click, it's okay. That click is also a very easy way to calibrate your own torque wrench. Call a key friend with a torque wrench too. Set the keys at the same time and connect them together with some reducers. Then start applying pressure. If the torque wrenches click at the same time, you can assume that the adjustment is still acceptable.

Handy too
Some things you never think about until it's too late. For example, a window cutter is a fantastic tool. But when do you replace a glued front or rear window yourself? This has recently been done in one of the editorial vehicles. And then you notice that removing and installing a window pane can be a rewarding do-it-yourself job. If you have a diamond cutter, a creasing knife, some thinner, caulk and duct tape. It does not have to be left with the costs. Cost-wise, a buckled feeler gauge is also a joke. But in practice, it can be just the thing that makes the difference between swearing and humming. A stethoscope is a much better sound finder than the often used long screwdriver. And with the current failing health policy you can also do additional jobs with it. Also handy: the exhaust pipe cutter. The big brother of the pipe cutters that every plumber uses in his kitchen sink installation work. Prevents despondent crooked cuts with frayed edges. The infrared thermometer found at the British classic specialist Imparts ( is something completely festive. With the device, which costs less than 70 euros, radiators can be checked for cold spots. Exhaust (manifold) curves can be checked for thermal equilibrium, the temperature of the (disc) brakes can be measured with it and with the laser finder of the device you can drive the house cat completely crazy.

The alternative purchase route
Good tools have a price. And even suppliers like Midlock and Kraftwerk live their things for a good price, but not for nothing. The usual car and motorcycle fairs are of course known for people who like to search and browse. What many of us do not yet know is that there is a lot on offer at, for example, the Beverwijk Black Market - the Bazaar - and the much cozier and less massive Free Market in Cuijk. ( The range there is so wide that it is a good idea to go there with a few couples. Then the ladies can turn left and the boys turn right. And then we have to wait and see who spent the most when meeting on the covered terrace. That could be the girls. Because the cheap tools at these fairs are often of high quality. Then we do not go for the buttresses, but for the range of used, professional tools. Part of it may have once fallen off the truck. But many of the impact, stab, ring, and torque wrenches come from the Domains. Ex army material. And our army never went for Kinzo. Not even when it came to hammers, screwdrivers, cutting irons, electric and hydraulic tools and everything you can imagine.

From the motorcyclist corner there was a nice tip about purchasing via the alternative route. A hydraulic motor bridge makes tinkering a party. But hydraulic motor bridges are a good price. The alternative came from the Naardense Kringloopwinkel. A hydraulically adjustable hospital bed was purchased there for € 150. The wheels fell out and the mattress was replaced by a piece of aluminum tear plate. The maximum lifting weight of the table was specified for 300 kilos. But a hospital staff friend was able to say that this type of hospital material always has a margin of 100%.

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