DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, splattering it against that freshly painted airplane part you were drying.
WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar calluses in about the time it takes you to say, "Ouch...."
ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age.
PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads.
HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.
VISE-GRIPS: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.
OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub you want the bearing race out of.
WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16 or 1/2 socket you've been searching for the last 15 minutes.
HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new disk brake pads, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.
EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2X4: Used for levering an automobile upward off a hydraulic jack handle.
TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters.
PHONE: Tool for calling your neighbour to see if he has another hydraulic floor jack.
SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog**** off your boot.
E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool ten times harder than any known drill bit that snaps off in bolt holes you couldn't use anyway.
TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the tensile strength on everything you forgot to disconnect.
CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 16-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A large prybar that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end opposite the handle.
AVIATION METAL SNIPS: See hacksaw.
TROUBLE LIGHT: The home mechanic's own tanning booth. Sometimes called a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin," which is not otherwise found under cars at night. Health benefits aside, it's main purpose is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105-mm howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading.
PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the lids of old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splash oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.
AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty bolts last over tightened 58 years ago by someone at ERCO, and neatly rounds off their heads.
PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50¢ part.
HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to cut hoses too short.
HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts not far from the object we are trying to hit.
MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts.
EXPLETIVE: A balm, usually applied verbally in hindsight, which somehow eases those pains and indignities following our every deficiency in foresight.
10 Best Tools of All Time
Forget the Snap-On Tools truck; its never been there when you need it. Besides there are only 10 things in this world you need to fix any car, any place, any time.
1 - DUCT TAPE - Not just a tool, a veritable Swiss Army knife in stickum and plastic. It's safety wire, body material, radiator hose, upholstery, insulation, tow rope, and more in an easy to carry package. Sure, there's prejudice surrounding duct tape in concours competitions, but in the real world, everything from LeMans winning Porches to Atlas rockets use it by the yard. The only thing that can get you out of more scrapes is a quarter and a phone booth.
2 - VICE GRIPS - Equally adept as a wrench, hammer, pliers, baling wire twister, breaker-off of frozen bolts and wiggle-it-'till-it-falls-off tool. The heavy artillery of your tool box, vice grips are the only tool designed expressly to fix things screwed up beyond repair.
3 - SPRAY LUBRICANTS - A considerably cheaper alternative to new doors, alternators, and other squeaky items. Slicker than pig phlegm, repeated soakings will allow the main hull bolts of the Andrea Doria to be removed by hand. Strangely enough, an integral part of these sprays is the infamous little red tube that flies out of the nozzle if you look at it cross eyed (one of the 10 worst tools of all time).
4 - MARGARINE TUBS WITH CLEAR LIDS - If you spend all you time under the hood looking for a frendle pin that caromed off the petal valve when you knocked both off the air cleaner, it's because you eat butter. Real mechanics consume pounds of tasteless vegetable oil replicas just so they can use the empty tubs for parts containers afterward. (Some, of course, chuck the butter-colored goo altogether or use it to repack wheel bearings.) Unlike air cleaners and radiator lips, margarine tubs aren't connected by a time/space wormhole to the Parallel Universe of Lost Frendle Pins.
5 - BIG ROCK AT THE SIDE OF THE ROAD - Block up a tire. Smack corroded battery terminals. Pound out a dent. Bop noisy know-it-all types on the noodle. Scientists have yet to develop a hammer that packs the raw banging power of granite or limestone. This is the only tool with which a "made in India" emblem is not synonymous with the user's maiming.
6 - PLASTIC ZIP TIES - After 20 years of lashing down stray hose and wiring with old bread ties, some genius brought a slightly slicked up version to the auto parts market. Fifteen zip ties can transform a hulking mass of amateur quality wiring from a working model of the Brazilian Rain Forest into something remotely resembling a wiring harness. Of course it works both ways. When buying a used car, subtract $100 for each zip tie under the hood.
7 - RIDICULOUSLY LARGE CRAFTSMAN FLAT-BLADE SCREWDRIVER - Let's admit it. There's nothing better for prying, chiseling, lifting, breaking, splitting or mutilating than a huge flatbladed screwdriver, particularly when wielded with gusto and a big hammer. This is also the tool of choice for oil filters so insanely located that they can only be removed by driving a stake in one side and out the other. If you break the screwdriver -- and you will, just like Dad and your shop teacher said -- who cares! It has a lifetime guarantee.
8 - BALING WIRE - Commonly known as "MG muffler brackets," baling wire holds anything that's too hot for tape or ties. Like duct tape, it's not recommended for concours contenders since it works so well you'll never need to replace it with the right thing again. Baling wire is a sentimental favorite in some circles, particularly with the MG, Triumph, and flathead Ford set.
9 - BONKING STICK - This monstrous tuning fork with devilish pointy ends is technically known as a tie-rod-separator, but how often do you separate tie-rod ends? Once every decade if you're lucky. Other than medieval combat, its real use is the all purpose application of undue force, not unlike that of the huge flat-bladed screwdriver. Nature doesn't know the bent metal panel or frozen exhaust pipe that can stand up to a good bonking stick. (Can also be use to separate tie-rod ends in a pinch, of course, but does a lousy job of it).
10 - A QUARTER AND A PHONE BOOTH - See tip #1 above
I've tried a couple of times to use this forum on my laptop with Chrome.
First time some threads didn't load, some produced white screens and some were ok.
Today nothing in the forum shows. Either an empty index or a white screen.
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I appreciate the recent corrective action taken here to ensure it remains a positive experience as a place to visit. I am sure others appreciate it too. I will swing by more often now, and enjoy my visits more.