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Home-made Tools and those you've adapted or modified. And also "tips and tricks".


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Just looked but can't see a thread to share home made or modified tools, so I thought "well as I'm interested to see what others have done or got.. then why not"..  so to kick off here's a simply but actually quite useful modification ..and then if you look carefully an adaption of something else which I find invaluable in the garage.  My apologies if this thread is somewhere else that didn't come up in the obvious listings or in a search.

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^ aside from removing wheels or working on suspension parts I rarely now use the 1/2" drive socket set.  And because I'm largely working on motorcycles or engines  I use 3/8" drive sockets more than 1/4" drive.  But there are occasions when a little more leverage offers better control.  Spark plugs for example can sometimes take a little more effort to break the seal,  but are then finger tight.  However if I just use the 3/8" drive on its own then it can twist and break the plug's insulation.  So a little more leverage undoes that plug's seal without effort ..and with lots of control.  I modified an old trolley-jack handle to use with the 1/2" drive ratchet, but here I modified my (already longer ratchet) by grinding the end of the handle to take the 1/2" square drive extension bar.  .

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^ suitably smoothed off so it doesn't dig into my hand ..when not using the 1/2" extension bar.

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Plugged in and ready to go. 

Dead easy mod to make, and cost nothing but a few minutes with the angle grinder, and a couple more minutes with the power-file to smooth it off.  Of course the 1/2" ratchet handle could similarly be modified so it can be used with the extension. That would be handy when carried in the tool roll and then is needed to release the wheel nuts.

NB.  my other 3/8" drive is a stubby rubber handled one (.. £5.99 from B&Q  5 years back) which is just 5" long, and that is very handy for quick turning.

. . .

       so did you spot the other invaluable adaption in the background ? ? B)

Pete.

Come on now -  Let's hear about and see photos of tools you've made, adapted, modified, or seen.  From ingenious storage ideas, or car rotisseries, to parts cleaners and grit blasters, to the humble spanner which has been suitably ground to fit in a tight corner &/or its handle bent . . .  Oh yeah , useful vintage tools too !

 

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My engine-wheelabout-thingy (dolly?) was originally a hospital wheelchair. Nice big castors to make wheeling easy, plus a brake, the engine is supported by the two sides after the seat, arms and back were removed. I can hoist the engine out of a Triumph, lower it onto this and wheel it off to an area where it can be safely worked on. All I had to do was provide support (the wooden slats)  for the engine base / sump.

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Home made rotisserie for my Herald pick up rear tub.  Constructed from old garage door 3 x 3 wooden frames, salvaged on a regular basis in my work. This was one use only for spraying.

I also made a work platform to mount to the completed rolling chassis for bulkhead repairs.. Just the right height!  When that was completed, the platform was demounted on to castors and served for repairs and construction of the rear tub...

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Some of the above are a little large for general use.   How about some smaller tools, like Steve's?

For instance

Jacking the rear of any small-chassis Triumph is best done under the chassis cross piece, but that is mounted at an angle, so that a jack tends to slip off, a dangerus and potentially damaging event.      I use a wooden jacking block, cut with a sloping upper surface that ends in a step to catch on the edge of the cross piece.   

Jacking block.bmp (click on this to download the pic)

It is reinforced with long woodscrews, to prevent the step from breaking off.

 

Another useful device is disposable!     Folded from any old piece of cardboard, I use one every time I do an oil change on my VItesse.     The oil drain plug sits just above the lower edge of the chassis rail, so that the jet of hot oil hits it, and spatters everywhere.         The folded cardboard keeps it off the rail and giudes the oil into a receiver below.

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How about a piston stop?  Take an old spark plug, knock out the porcelain, run a tap down the centre, from memory a 12M one and fit a length of threaded rod.  Weld a nut to the top, and grind the end to a rounded finish.    Invaluable, I'd say essential, to determine where TDC really is, and useful if you want to undo the crank nose bolt. 

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John

PS can you see the jacking block pic?

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Assembling a gearbox to the engine, especially with the engine in the car,  is assisted by 'wiggling' the output flange with the 'box in gear.   This moves the tip of the input shaft and helps insert it into and through the clutch friction plate splines.

This tool helps with the 'wiggle' .   That shape here was dictated by the shape of a piece of scrap plate, could be anything you can grip - wrapping with tape helps!     The two bolts in the plate are long enough to project and engage with the bolt holes in the output flange.  Can be used in one hand, while you guide the 'box with the other.

 

gearbox insertion tool.jpg

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Limited space puller.

There's not much room in front of a Vitesse engine, certainly not enough to get a conventional 'spider' puller onto the crank pulley.    This device will fit between radiator and engine and get the pulley loose enough to slide off by hand.    The photo is taken on a dismounted engine, for clarity.

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Fabricated from scrap lengths of rectangular section tube.     The bolts on each end secure the 'hooks' made by cutting a short length of such tube diagonally, so that they can engage in the V of the pulley.     Different lengthed hooks make it usable for different sized pulleys and sprockets, and washers allow for them to be differently depthed.     Hold in place and undo the crank pulley bolt, until it presses on the cross piece.    Continue to undo the bolt and it pulls the pulley off!

A tiny bead of weld where the centre of the crank bolt presses, prevents its rotation putting a torque on the cross bar and dislodging the puller.

JOhn

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And while we're on crank pullies, highlighting the timing marks.

Scrape out the graduations, and the figures with a sharp point, a scriber is best, follow with a fine wire brush.  Clean them out with thinners and dry throughly

Paint the area with white paint, or whatever will show up best.   Dry thoroughly!

Carve the paint back with a sharp knife, until the figures show against dark metal.  I find this works better than sanding.

Cover the paint and metal with a varnish or clear top coat paint. 

This pulley has been half carved back - the clarity of the markings is obvious.

JOhn

 

Highlighting timing marks.jpg

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2 hours ago, JohnD said:

Assembling a gearbox to the engine, especially with the engine in the car,  is assisted by 'wiggling' the output flange with the 'box in gear.   This moves the tip of the input shaft and helps insert it into and through the clutch friction plate splines.

This tool helps with the 'wiggle' .   That shape here was dictated by the shape of a piece of scrap plate, could be anything you can grip - wrapping with tape helps!     The two bolts in the plate are long enough to project and engage with the bolt holes in the output flange.  Can be used in one hand, while you guide the 'box with the other.

 

gearbox insertion tool.jpg

That will save a lot of skin - good idea!

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1 hour ago, 68vitesse said:

Concrete forms from when I made the stainless steel engine side valences and air cleaner box for my Vitesse.

Regards

Paul

 

 

Paul,

please explain!

You made moulds, that originally would have been for a giant press, out of concrete?

Did you do so from the original side panels?

And then formed your new Stainless panels on those?  How?   With a hammer?

If I may, a lighter and no less durable mould could be constructed from glass fibre - but maybe you were more familiar with, or had access to, concrete?

A fascinating project!

John

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2 hours ago, JohnD said:

Paul,

please explain!

You made moulds, that originally would have been for a giant press, out of concrete?

Did you do so from the original side panels?

And then formed your new Stainless panels on those?  How?   With a hammer?

If I may, a lighter and no less durable mould could be constructed from glass fibre - but maybe you were more familiar with, or had access to, concrete?

A fascinating project!

John

I have more experience with concrete than glass fibre and as I was going to fix the bits of the panels together, after shaping, and clamping them to the molds cast from original panels, by butt welding concrete seemed a good idea. The side panel was formed in three main pieces, plus some smaller bits and the top edge is just an angle welded on, mainly by folding and a little bit of hammering with a large rubber mallet.

If I was to do it again would I do it differently? probably and take more time with the grinding afterwards.

The stainless heater box was made by making a new front to fit the old box then the new box to fit the new front etc a few grind marks but not to bad. Yes it was an interesting project which only took me about two years of and on from making the first mould to the last bit of polishing.

Regards

Paul

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