Toolkit recommendations - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2012, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
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Toolkit recommendations

Having found myself in the joyless position of having to build up my toolkit again from scratch, I'm now in the market for a whole new set of ratchets, Allen keys, and so on (plus the box to keep them in). The old kit was mostly cribbed from my father's tools, so I've never had to buy a whole toolkit for myself because I've had that to build on.

Any good recommendations on brands? My old kit was mostly old-line Craftsman (late '70s or early '80s vintage), with some other things bought piecemeal from wherever I happened to be shopping at the time. I never had much of a problem with those. Is Craftsman still any good for ratchets?

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2012, 08:45 AM
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Get used snap on ratchets from craigslist or ebay. Soooo nice. The new craftsman ratchets dont get the best reviews.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2012, 11:21 AM
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Craftsman are still very good tools for the most part and hold up excellently for a home /hobby mechanic. Snap On is just about the best for a pro mechanic. They are more expensive (justifiably so) but other than price the only drawback with Snap On is if you need to use the guarantee it's a bit more of a hassle than going to Sears or ACE hardware.
If you're really on a tight budget and want decent quality I've had good luck with the Kolbalt brand available at Lowes. I don't have a full kit of them but the few pieces I've bought have served me well and I think they also have a lifetime guarantee. They are not made in the USA, though.
As far as tool boxes go I would only go with Craftsman. The quality is the very best for the price. You can buy better but they will be expensive with a Capital "E"!

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2012, 11:34 AM
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If you don't mind going piecemeal, I've found it's best to invest in high end ratchets, then get craftsman or whatever is in your budget for sockets, screwdrivers, etc. I'm tired of returning Craftsman or other ratchets because they don't hold their drive direction. So a Snap-On or MAC ratchet with whatever sockets sure beats busted knuckles.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2012, 11:40 AM
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^^^Agreed, some of the tools you need will be Expensive and a lot of them will be cheap.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2012, 12:05 PM
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For a SET, get Craftsman. Best product with the best and easiest warranty. Easy replacement policy. Try to get the 6-point if you can.

As you build some budget back, I'd suggest buying extra sockets for the key sizes, and getting some deep well sockets as well.

When you have EXTRA money, nothing beats the SnapOn. That said, I have ZERO SnapOn tools, and have been working on my bikes for quite some time without any problems whatsoever. If I were a pro, I'd be all SnapOn.

Get a couple of screwdriver sets.
Get a couple of hex key sets
Get 3/8" drive hex to put on your ratchets
Extensions
Converters - 3/8 to 1/4, 1/2 to 3/8
Get a decent torque wrench
At least a Break bar (maybe a cheater for the break bar)
Dead blow hammer
Wire Tie pliers

That would be a good start and will get you through almost everything you might need.

I probably forgot something major, but I am sure the CLSB guys will fill in my oversights.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2012, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wink View Post
For a SET, get Craftsman. Best product with the best and easiest warranty. Easy replacement policy. Try to get the 6-point if you can.

As you build some budget back, I'd suggest buying extra sockets for the key sizes, and getting some deep well sockets as well.

When you have EXTRA money, nothing beats the SnapOn. That said, I have ZERO SnapOn tools, and have been working on my bikes for quite some time without any problems whatsoever. If I were a pro, I'd be all SnapOn.

Get a couple of screwdriver sets.
Get a couple of hex key sets
Get 3/8" drive hex to put on your ratchets
Extensions
Converters - 3/8 to 1/4, 1/2 to 3/8
Get a decent torque wrench
At least a Break bar (maybe a cheater for the break bar)
Dead blow hammer
Wire Tie pliers

That would be a good start and will get you through almost everything you might need.

I probably forgot something major, but I am sure the CLSB guys will fill in my oversights.
This very neatly lists out the contents of the toolbox that I had stolen, so I can vouch for it being an excellent working list of what tools to get. I also had a couple of feeler sets (duplicates) and a really ratty plug gauge, plus the plug socket and prop rod from the TL's tool kit and the cheapie Motion-Pro front axle hex drive. That seems to round out the tools for most of the routine work.

But I have to say that I've bought Sears socket sets before (once, as a present to my sister), and I'm not thrilled with the idea of getting all those 1/4" sockets that are virtually useless and, worse, tend to duplicate what they give you in 3/8" drive. I'd probably wind up building the set myself off the rack, if I can get it cheaper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonely Raven View Post
If you don't mind going piecemeal, I've found it's best to invest in high end ratchets, then get craftsman or whatever is in your budget for sockets, screwdrivers, etc. I'm tired of returning Craftsman or other ratchets because they don't hold their drive direction. So a Snap-On or MAC ratchet with whatever sockets sure beats busted knuckles.
I was thinking along these lines myself: a good durable ratchet, but then get all the sockets and stuff at Sears or someplace. I guess the other way around to the same place would be to get a Craftsman set in order to get back in business fast, and then save up for a Snap-On ratchet. Then I could have the field ratchet in the box, and the good one in the cabinet at home.

If I do decide to get something top-end like Snap-On, are those sold at retail locally? I know I can mail order them, and might even be able to con their sales rep into visiting my office (once), but beyond that I have no idea how to get anything better than Sears stuff and especially not with any speed.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2012, 01:29 PM
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If you want snap on (unessary except for specific tools) find someone going to school and use the student discount for 30% off
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2012, 02:03 PM
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I have an assortment of snap-on as well as a 60 piece kit from craftsman and it works just perfectly.

I'd recommend getting a '60 to 100 piece kit' from Craftsman and buying/borrowing other tools when they're needed.

Don't shy away from American (standard) tools too; they CAN be handy around the house! so if they're included in the set, just take them.

For Japanese bikes these tools would pretty much cover 90% of what you need:

open end wrenches from 6mm to 19mm
3/8 Ratchet 12 point socket Set 8 to 14mm typically good enough
3/8 ratchet allen head 4 mm to 12 mm
torque wrench
t-handle socket 6mm to 12mm
t-handle allen 4mm to 12mm
rubber mallet
Phillips long and short in #1 and #2 (think stubby handle)
Regular screwdriver medium length small and medium head
needle nose pliers and wire trimmers.
2 each 2X4 wood blocks in 12' and 24" length (good for propping things up)

I've got a few other specialty tools (flexible extensions for 3/8 and so on) but the above should be a good starting point.

You can cut open milk jugs for drain pans; no need to purchase special stuff for that.
Old towels work for catching and keeping things scuff free.

Other items good to have:
Honda Cleaner (for cleaning up the shiny bits)
Contact Cleaner (for degreasing the oily bits)
Steel Wood (for cleaning up the rusty bits (old fork tubes, chrome fenders and such)
Magnet (extendible, because you KNOW you're going to drop a bolt somewhere hard to get)
(magnetizing the tips of your tools doesn't hurt either, just don't use THEM on computers and stuff. LOL)

Hope that helps!

Last edited by crashomon; 04-29-2012 at 02:23 PM.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2012, 03:30 PM
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Although this price is hard to beat

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...G1#reviewsWrap

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2012, 05:26 PM
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2012, 06:00 PM
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It is NOT cheaper to buy pieces from Craftsman. As a matter of fact, it is cheaper to buy the full metric and standard set than it is to buy pieces for metric only. Buy the bigger set, and then modify from there as your starting point.

WRT to the 1/4 duplicates, I use the 1/4 all the time for the 6, 8, 10, 12.

Esp when 2 people working on the bike at once. I'd also make sure to have at least 2 3/8 ratchets, 2 break bars (for axles) and then you need to buy the oversize sockets for axles.

Double up on the 10, 12 and 14s as well.

Bummed you have to do this out of pocket.

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-30-2012, 10:00 AM
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the oversize sockets for axles is especially important for those doing trackdays or racing.

But most owners (street only) can either use the one supplied with their tool kit (but with a bigger breaker bar) or borrow it. Its not worth the cost of owning a 19, 21 or 22mm wrench if you'll only use ONE of them maybe twice in 5 years.

Win'ks points are (as usual) spot on: double up on the common sizes and ratchets; that really helps.

Good luck.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 04:18 PM
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Morrand, we (you and I) get 25% off of SnapOn through work. It's done through Snap On Industrial and is payment on delivery. If you need contact info pm me and let me know.

Craftsman is owned by the same parent company as MATCO, Armstrong, Gearwrench, Stanley, Apex, Kobalt Ect. There are differences in specs for each and where they are made, but it is good to know it isn't as bad as it was for a few years.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wink View Post
It is NOT cheaper to buy pieces from Craftsman. As a matter of fact, it is cheaper to buy the full metric and standard set than it is to buy pieces for metric only. Buy the bigger set, and then modify from there as your starting point.

WRT to the 1/4 duplicates, I use the 1/4 all the time for the 6, 8, 10, 12.

Esp when 2 people working on the bike at once. I'd also make sure to have at least 2 3/8 ratchets, 2 break bars (for axles) and then you need to buy the oversize sockets for axles.

Double up on the 10, 12 and 14s as well.

Bummed you have to do this out of pocket.
this is all good advice, but what i would add is that a toolkit that you take riding (in the truck) that might get stolen (like your last one) i would stock with harbor freight tools, yes they are cheap for all you tool snobs and yes i own a fair collection of snap-on and craftsman and S-K that mostly stay in the garage, you can do well with HF sockets and screwdrivers, and they sell a composite ratchet in all 3 sizes for cheap that saves some weight (assuming you take tools to the track ) if you use your brain and look at what HF sells, some is junk but alot is very useable, you can tool up for cheap
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 06:33 PM

 
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Last week I went to the Wilmot WI.flee market and bought a 9 piece set of craftsman sockets for 10 bucks.

With a hundred dollars and some gas money you would do well next Sunday.

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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by resurrection View Post
Last week I went to the Wilmot WI.flee market and bought a 9 piece set of craftsman sockets for 10 bucks.

With a hundred dollars and some gas money you would do well next Sunday.
Hell, with a hundred dollars and some shoe leather, I could probably go down to the flea market on Division near Kolmar and get my own tools back. But I'll keep that in mind, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Devil Dog View Post
Morrand, we (you and I) get 25% off of SnapOn through work. It's done through Snap On Industrial and is payment on delivery. If you need contact info pm me and let me know.
Hah, they failed to mention that on our employee discounts list. PM on its way.

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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-03-2012, 05:31 AM
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no doubt snapon and sk and matco are great tools

Craftsman is very good. Also check out Husky tools from HD and Lowes has their own brand too.


Harbor freight is trial and error.



Craftsman pretty decent with ratchets. its good to open them up and lube them. I do break the 1/4" rachets. I did buy a HF 1/4 rachet which held up very well.
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