Useful beginners' tools for the new jeep.

JeepAustinWeird

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It’s not new and not a secret, but my Mac daddy impact would be hard to live without. When my old impact crapped out, I decided to give this one a try. Game changer!

I use it on my scissor jack to lift the Jeep to change a tire. I used it on the pitman nut when I did the sector shaft brace, spun that nut off in about 5 seconds. I use it as much as possible. I’ve got to where I can torque lcas to with it to within an eighth of a turn with torque wrench to finish them off.

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When I’m installing lifts, I think this has cut my installation time in half, which is significant because I’m borderline psychotic ocd when it comes to dialing in a suspension....:facepalm:

I also have the m12 3/8 ratchet and 3/8 stubby impact. Love these tools.......:)
What jack base is that? How tall is it, ie how much lift to the jack does it provide? Thx
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Roky

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What jack base is that? How tall is it, ie how much lift to the jack does it provide? Thx
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I think it’s between 2.5-3” never measured it to be honest with you. In the front, under the shock mount it lifts the tire 3-4” off the ground. Which is way more than I need, the closer to the ground the better when I’m wrestling one of these heavy bastards back on the lugs...🤣 . In the back it lifts higher being the shock mounts are closer to the ground.
 

JasonInDLH

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I've learned a lot from this forum, and highly respect the mechanical/electrical/software-ical acumen of its members. Thank you all. (Well, the helpful ones at least)

I've enjoyed being able to tinker with an automobile again, and throughly enjoy the "What have you done to your jeep today?" thread, even if many of those modifications are beyond my means, or scope of usefulness even.

Many modifications you can perform/adjust/add/remove with just a basic wrench, driver, clamp, and/or hammer, combined with extreme determination and minor bloodshed. But sometimes, (more and more) it seems you'd be better off with a specific tool that many people might not have heard of. (A large, torque-wrenched crow's foot is one that was recently needed. Not uncommon, but not very common either. Used an adjustable wrench and adapter instead.)

This post is for tools that have made things easier/more fun for modding jeeps.

Now personally, I've tons of tools already. To many even. That, or just enough tools to let me realise that I don't have enough tools.

But many people here are just starting out, and may not even yet know the difference between Phillips 1 , P2, or "please, please, please, use the correct driver for this, or it will be stripped forever P3". So let's recommend some slightly uncommon tools, new or old, that have been especially useful in the jeep.


My personal recommendation, even though everything in the jeep is supposedly metric now, is to still get an SAE socket set. Tooling tolerances in both the jeep fasteners and your tools are all probably a bit off, so always see what fits best. E.g. the oil plug. And maybe get a few extra 10mm sockets.


Also, a thing that has brought me a surprising amount of happiness is this cheap interior panel kit:
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When running wires everywhere, this is great for prying panels off willy-nilly, stuffing wires, and popping clips, without undo damage.


What other common or uncommon tools have you all found useful? My wallet can be angry at you later.
I have the same exact trim removal set and has come in pretty handy on my Yukon.

So I just started working on my Jeep last night, but have been working on vehicles (on and off) for 20+ years.

Heres a couple tools (not sure if they are uncommon or not) that I have found extremely useful:

1. Telescopic/bendable magnetic light pickup tool (I’ve actually used this around the house as well😉):
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2. Brake Piston Tool to push in Piston after pad replacement (you can use large C-Clamp and block of wood as well😉
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3. Capri Tools Vacuum Bleeder for bleeding brakes, helping remove trans fluid from dipstick on my Yukon prior to dropping pan, etc)
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4. Recently my absolute favorite is a Husky 250 ft/lbs torque wrench from Home Depot (I currently have 5 differing torque wrenches with various torque specs, but I went far too long without this one, especially with the 130 ft/lbs wheel nuts on the JLUR and 140 ft/lbs on Yukon) :
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5. I’m loving my Ryobi cordless impact wrench (I realize there are higher torque ratings out there, but this has worked well removing rusted on bolts on my 14 year old Yukon):

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6. ESCO 21.5” Jack Stand (I caulked rubber pads to the base as I have a slippery garage floor) works perfect supporting axles without any nicks to axles and is SUPER solid:
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eck

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"lady slipper" style pry bars for prying at odd angles and most importantly using the tapered end to help align bolt holes

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LittleDog

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"lady slipper" style pry bars for prying at odd angles and most importantly using the tapered end to help align bolt holes

68339_W3.jpg
Yep, these strange-shaped pry bars are great for lining up bolt holes, and making fine adjustments to heavy items in tight spaces. There's one in the jeep.

I've always called them a lady's foot.
 
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LittleDog

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The best tool. Not uncommon but finally bought an electric wrench at harbor freight. It saves hours. hours of my life, that thing is amazing.
A tiny rechargeable drill is also a fantastic thing to have in general, not just for the jeep. When there are a lot of screws or bolts to do, start or break loose by hand first, then spin them all off in no time.

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Great for removing the door pins, windshield, and top too, just start them by hand first.
 

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*We should consider posting where the unique tools can be found (purchased).
 
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LittleDog

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*We should consider posting where the unique tools can be found (purchased).
Well, it's 2021, and this is a jeep forum, so I'd say 95% of newly purchased tools here are from Harbor Freight, Snap-on, or Amazon.

Having said that, I think I got this super useful tire step from etrailer:

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Great for short me when messing around under the hood. Adjustable to almost the top of the tire, so useful for organising roof racks or boxes for extended periods, as standing on the tire usually requires one arm for balance. Just remember to set the parking brake.
 
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LittleDog

LittleDog

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Just had to use this, and it had previously been useful on the jeep as well, a stubby extra wide-mouth adjustable wrench:

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You can use it in conjunction with an adapter like this:

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To attach it to a torque wrench instead of looking for crows feet or flare nut heads. I used this combination to correct and torque my Apex quick disconnects a while a ago.
 

omnitonic

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Here's one nobody has mentioned. I've used my fish tape more often on my Jeep than I ever have on my house. The engine compartment sucks. Running wires sucks. I've run wires for a winch, air compressor, light bar, LED turn signals, etc., and this thing has been damned useful.

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My Chief die grinder has been super useful for dealing with aftermarket stuff that only sort of fits. I got some carbide burrs to use with this thing, and it's great. (Honking home air compressor required, because this tool sucks a LOT of air.)

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I've used the hell out of my soldering iron and heat gun. I screwed everything up doing the aux switches, and I spliced in a whole new connector to replace my mangled fuster cluck.

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For that matter, my lathe... (holy broken economy Batman, it's over $1,000 more expensive than when I bought it!!!!)

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and mill.... (holy shit! so is it! I'm so glad I bought these a few years ago!)

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Have been super useful for this that and the other.

For that matter, my forge...

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...and anvil... (actually cheaper than when I bought it!)

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Were really useful when I fucked my Hauk MULE skid plate bracket all to shit and gone on a rock, and had to fix it.

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LittleDog

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I second a torque wrench.
Agreed. A torque wrench should be one of the first things a person purchases if they are going to start adding/removing things on the jeep.

@omnitonic fishing tape is a great recommendation. Tie wraps and tape work in a pinch.

I noticed that a Dremel only pulls around 85 watts, so that could be a good alternative to a die grinder for people who aren't shaping quite as much 1/4" plate as you!

Anvils, or just sturdy places to hammer stuff on, are surprisingly under appreciated. Mine are getting rusty though.

I really dig the blower location on your forge. How are you firing it, that you can get away with so little insulation?

The lathe and mini-mill are good investments. I'm definitely jealous. Probably want to hold off on large tool purchases until the supply chain gets untangled.

@omnitonic You seem like a great preson to be neighbors with! (Well, maybe excepting forge days)
 

jlang

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  • Trim Removal Tools
  • Torque Wrench
  • Metric Deep Sockets
  • Dewalt 20V Impact (by far the best purchase)
 

omnitonic

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Agreed. A torque wrench should be one of the first things a person purchases if they are going to start adding/removing things on the jeep.
It's probably worth having at least a couple of them, with different working ranges.

My latest acquisition has been pretty awesome. GEARWRENCH 1/2" Drive Micrometer Torque Wrench 30-250 ft/lbs. - 85066

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I got it to do the control arms, though I could never find a way to hold a wrench tight enough on the back side to torque the control arms, and I settled for just hammering the hell out of them with an impact.

My DeWalt XR impact is a lot stronger than my air impact. Everybody makes a good one at this point, so people should just buy whatever system they already have batteries for. I'm a DeWalt guy, but if I was starting over, I'd probably be a Milwaukee guy.

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I noticed that a Dremel only pulls around 85 watts, so that could be a good alternative to a die grinder for people who aren't shaping quite as much 1/4" plate as you!
I got a chuckle out of that. I have definitely logged some hours whittling on 1/4" plate! :CWL:

I agree that a Dremel is really useful. I have two of them, both with flex extensions. The flex attachment really makes this tool shine, but I typically use mine for smaller jobs.

Sadly enough, I keep one of them just for taming my horrific toenails. :blush:

I really dig the blower location on your forge. How are you firing it, that you can get away with so little insulation?
That was actually a stock photo from the Whitlox forge page. Mine is locked up in the shed at the moment, and honestly, I use my propane forge much more often. Everybody has seen a propane forge, and I wanted to show off something different.

I fire mine with lump charcoal. It's the fastest way to get a fire going. I don't actually use that forge too much, because of the fire flea problem. I have the hood and stack on mine, and all the stack does is focus the stream of embers. There's a reason the old wood-burning steam locomotives had those gigantic balloon stacks.

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One time, the stream of embers set my buffer on fire. I turned it on to try to blow out the flames. That was fun! And totally ineffective! :CWL:

Still, the wood-burning forge is an absolutely wonderful thing to keep in my back pocket as insurance for civilization collapsing. There is a lot of wood to be had, and there is a lot of scrap metal in the world. I can make plow shares or shovels or whatever. I don't seriously lose any sleep worrying about this kind of thing, but if it happens, I'm prepared.

The lathe and mini-mill are good investments. I'm definitely jealous. Probably want to hold off on large tool purchases until the supply chain gets untangled.
No joke there. I paid ~$1,500 each for my lathe and mill. Now they're $2,500 each. Ouch!! It was painful enough a few years ago. Those were definitely purchases I could have made do without, but when you have a mini machine shop, a lot of things become possible.

My son and I were changing the oil on his '77 F350 one Sunday evening when I noticed that the drain plug was stripped. Where to buy a drain plug for a 45 year old engine at 6:00 pm on Sunday? (Edit: If you're doing the math, you will see that this doesn't add up. They didn't put a 390 into any '77s, so this engine is at least from '76. We have no idea where the last guy got the engine. He converted the truck from automatic to stick shift, swapped the engine, and did all kinds of things. Then we got our hands on it, and $10,000 into a $3,000 truck later..... Boys and their toys, right?)

So I made one. He didn't think I could do it, and he was wrong. I don't feel like digging that far back on the camera roll. Use your imagination. I made a very good copy of an old Ford drain plug. I used my dividing head, since it was installed on the mill at the time. Only thing was it ended up taking a different sized wrench.

@omnitonic You seem like a great preson to be neighbors with! (Well, maybe excepting forge days)
Come on by! You can play with my toys just about anytime. If you break any cutters, you pay to replace them! Machine tooling is $$expensive$$. :CWL:
 
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LittleDog

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A crawler with cut-outs for your arms:
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Way better than my old 1" square tubing crawler that would cut off circulation. Built-in pillow and tool recesses are pretty great too.

Edit: Keeping in mind that some people are just starting out and suddenly purchasing and storing so many tools can be daunting, instead of a crawler, you can use a big sheet of cardboard instead.

In fact, on a stock jeep, you can slide underneath using cardboard without even having to use jacks. Well, depending on clearance. Yours, not the jeeps'.

Easy to change your oil this way, especially if your oil filter is on top. Just cut open a trash bag and place it underneath, or better, between two layers of cardboard, and you'll also catch any spillage. (Instead of getting three random spots of oil on the pavement. That stay there forever, until you get a power washer)
 
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