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Old 08-19-2019, 01:01 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Silicon Valley
Posts: 161

2008 Astra XR
Default What Cool Tools Are In Your Car/Tool Box?

I buy tools because I cannot/will not pay crazy fees for labor.

.....for a $4500 car, at least on paper, worth much more to me because of no car payment and cheap insurance.

I have done about $1350 worth of labor on car projects since April, and have another $900-1100 to save in labor charges if I perform my own timing belt replacement. Labor charges at independent garages in Northern California range from $110-180 per hour. There are also some mechanics that will travel to your home with a van full of tools and they range from $65-85 per hour.

When I cannot do a repair myself, the repair shop I like has let me know that they will honor fees determined by They are also friendly to my bringing parts to them, but I know I cannot mess up and bring the wrong items.

I owe a posting for the suspension replacement I did over three weeks in July, but thought I'd start here by mentioning some tools I picked up that became indispensable for this and other projects. I have reviewed the previous threads on timing belt replacement, but would welcome any suggestions on what you think is the best kit or method to keep from causing interference/bent valves.

Brands and Marks

Up until recently, I have been a tool snob. When I was stationed in Germany, I was able to get my hands on some beautiful and inexpensive Solingen steel tools. As I have needed additional things over the years, I have tended to buy high quality used tools at swap meets or on Craigslist. I had not been successful finding things I needed like this for at least five years. There have not been enough examples to consider and they were often too far away to make the drive. Amazon and Harbor Freight (HF) have come to my rescue.

Not everything from HF is terrible stuff from mainland China. A lot of it is pretty good stuff from out capitalist brethren in Taiwan. After the Canadians here, my favorite is a crazed Quebecois who slices and dices tools from all over the world in his madcap review style. He refers to HF as "Harbor Fraught" "Had-a Fake" and other names. Keep the women and kids on the other side of the house when indulging in his rants. Have a look:

HF Torch or Flashlight

This Bauer flashlight might be the best $40 I have ever spent. If you get on the HF e-mail promotion list, you will find they offer this thing 3-4 times a year for $25. I have two because I can no longer think about the one going down and working on my car without one.

Picture One

Picture Two

HF Earthquake XT 1/2" Air Impact Wrench

See the review of this item and see why this guy is my favorite foul-mouthed (in 2-3 languages, no less) SOB in the world. Of course I'd prefer Ingersoll-Rand.MAC, or Snap-On, but this is a device I will only need 2-3 times a year. While supercritical and I like his style, others have convinced me this item is fine for a hobbyist. Taiwanese made. Mine has an appointment with a crankcase bolt next month.

EQ XT With Shroud

EQ XT Without Shroud

Tekton Drive Set

I have always had a ratchet set in my car. This Taiwanese set is new and the lightest by far, especially if I take out the SAE sockets.

Tekton 1

Tekton 2

Unless somebody begs me not to, I'll stop back and present some Astra specific items.

What's in your car/tool box?


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