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Hooniverse Asks: What is the most annoying but necessary item in your toolbox?

Jeff Glucker December 7, 2017 Hooniverse Asks 50 Comments

You have lots of tools. Some of them you love. Others, there just taking up space because you might need them. It’s a necessary item for a variety of reasons, but you still hate looking at it every time you open up your toolbox.

Which tool do you find most annoying out of all the ones you own… yet you know you still need to keep it on standby?

  • P161911

    A credit card. Because sometimes you have to get the ride back on the road, but don’t have the cash on hand.

    • outback_ute

      You don’t keep it in your tool box? Probably not good for the magnetic strip lol.

  • Andrew_theS2kBore
    • neight428

      Good one. The end of mine has a nice mushroom shape from the beatings it took, primarily during a suspension rebuild on my ’81 Corvette project. If you have to use it, you’re going to have a bad day.

      • Kiefmo

        Had to use it on every single ball joint when replacing the steering bits on my W126. That was a fun evening. One of them took a handful of blows from a 10lb sledge before it let go.

        • outback_ute

          The repair involving a sledgehammer I can remember was changing a water pump that had a press-on pulley, without a shop press available. Took lots of sledgehammer blows to get the pulley off the old shaft and onto the new pump.

    • Alff

      I’ve got a couple of tie rod/ball joint presses and a couple of pickle forks. If neither of my presses fit I will drive to the parts store for their loaner press instead of pulling out the pickle forks.

  • 0A5599

    Oil pressure sensor wrench. And a spare sensor. They tend to need replacement once or twice per year, and when they fail, they can leak one quart or more per mile.

    • Wow, what kind of construction is that! I’ve seen them failing electrically, but they never leaked under pressure (only when changing them, another story).

      • 0A5599

        The lower hardware is metal and the upper part is plastic. O-ring is under the plastic and not really visible when new, but eventually could get pushed out.

        I use Borg Warner replacements. They have two different parts that fit, and I’ve tried both with similar results.

        If I pay attention, typically I’ll notice a small puddle of oil under the parked car for a few weeks, and then I’ll monitor the level until the major failure. All of a sudden, the warning light will come on and it will be 2 or 3 quarts low.

        • cap’n fast

          got experience with oil pressure sensors like that. happens a lot in the dead of winter. try mounting the sensor with the closed end-not the pipe fitting end- in the up position. engine oil being hygroscopic, sucks water out of the air when it cools off. mounting the sensor with the fitting down allows accumulated moisture in the head of the sensor to drain out when the engine or trans is cooled down after use. any moisture trapped in the diaphragm area of the sensor will expand in cold conditions and cause a failure even when mounted to the side.
          yea olde Lockheed Super Connies had a 5psig pressure switch in the R3350 oil system to detect initial oil flow on engine start. no pressure indication 5 seconds after engine start is a no go. we changed so many of them in Iceland that we had them on bench stock. and yeah, mounting them in the upright position violated tech data so we were not allowed.
          consider getting rid of the pressure switch and replacing it with a gauge. unless the pressure switch controls the fuel pump or some asinine nanny computer crap. failing that, Allied Signal makes a nice switch with an all metal can that you could adapt.

  • MattC

    I fixed a broken headlamp tab with a piece of aluminum (bent in a triangular shape) to “temporarily” fix a Saab9000 headlamp. I sold that car to an Saab enthusiast a year later with that temp fix( I told the new owner of the fix and he loved it) . Ironically the headlamp was positioned perfectly after the fix.

  • Universal joint extensions for the socket wrench.
    Docking onto the bolts gets awkward, you can’t really use it with one hand, it ruins any torque specs you intended to follow, and worst: you will go working in an area that is hard to access and potentially dirty, probably looking up so the dirt can rain onto your face.
    It says “yeah we designed this for bench assembly, you are the poor fifth owner who tries to disassemble it in-car, moron”.
    https://media.rs-online.com/t_large/R7723707-01.jpg

    • P161911

      Get the impact u-joint. They work 20x better. Smooth rotation.

      • Rover 1

        Enabling even better rounding off of screw heads from more angles

    • neight428

      Wrapping it with electrical tape helps, a bit, maybe, but yeah, I came here to post the same thing.

      • @p161911:disqus, @neight428:disqus, thanks for actual advice on mechanicking!

        • outback_ute

          I’ve particularly enjoyed having to use 2 of them to get to manifold bolts, so no real difference in bench vs in-car. Will try the electrical tape trick!

      • jeepjeff

        Heat shrink tubing is even better than electrical tape. (I need to go re-do this on my u-joints because the tape finally just fell off. Again.)

  • Victor

    I would say the metric sockets . Society of American Engineers . SAE. was what I grew up with .

    • 0A5599

      Even worse is working on a vehicle built during a transition year. So the bracket that has metric fasteners attaching it to the compressor has SAE holding it to the block.

      • Victor

        Wanted to mention that as it was something I had to deal with.

      • P161911

        I think that covers most American cars from 1975 to 2005. I know for a fact that GM had two different brake caliper part numbers with the only difference being a metric bleeder screw in one and a standard bleeder screw in the other.

  • GTXcellent
    • Rover 1

      And Renault. Working on my mum’s 25 V6 made me buy a set.

    • Torx? Try these.

  • Borkwagen

    Because when I’m using them, it means I’ve already failed.
    https://mobileimages.lowes.com/product/converted/024721/024721012579.jpg

    • Vairship

      At least they use the proper Swedish colors!

  • Kiefmo

    This stuff, because I can’t start a project on my German malaise beast without it, but I hate the smell and the mess. All of my tools are coated with it, though, so they should last forever, right?

    https://static.grainger.com/rp/s/is/image/Grainger/4LRF8_AS01

    • jeepjeff

      Oh, and the smell doesn’t wash off easily. Not quite as bad as gear oil, though.

    • jeepjeff

      Fun fact: PB Blaster cans can take the full weight of a Jeep Wrangler without exploding.

      Pro-tip: don’t leave it on your bumper.

      • dead_elvis, inc.

        How did you balance the Jeep on a can of PB Blaster?!

        (Thanks, I’ll show myself out.)

        • jeepjeff

          Very carelessly.

        • jeepjeff

          More seriously, it was just one wheel. I could have been more specific. It might have been two different wheels, but only one at a time.

  • Alff

    Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. When they don’t you have made a PITA even worse… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7ee3451e86f52b81c6336e2f05d1245f1a32417fda312a9e859637e20a44762a.jpg

    • cap’n fast

      next time they don’t split the nut, before giving up give the hex end a really sharp hit with a 320oz. delicate adjustment device. works for me.
      in the same vein of thought, once well seated into the nut give it a counterclockwise twist to loosen the recalcitrant nut. don’t you just love the hell out of spellchecker?

      • Alff

        I don’t have an adjustment device that big. I wish I did. I could make some large adjustments.

        • cap’n fast

          i only have one that big because i cast it out of brass and made it one hand capable. surprising how often i had used it at work to move something massive into position. sometimes you just gotta hit something.

  • jeepjeff
    • jeepjeff

      So says Captain Safety Third over here whilst brandishing his death wheel.

  • jeepjeff
  • mdr1220

    8 and 10 mm sockets. You got to have at least five of each one.

    • dead_elvis, inc.

      10mm should definitely be sold in bulk packs, 10 of 1/4″ drive & 3 of 3/8″.

      At least, that’s about the rate I lose them.

    • JayP

      At least five… but they are scatter to the 4 winds.

  • Luxury Lexus Land-yacht

    Two, really.

    SAE wrenches/sockets. The ’98 ZJ uses 1971 tech for the engine/drivetrain, so it’s an interesting mix of metric and English.

    The other one…yeah, they’re great to have, and really useful, but it means your day is already not going at all well.

    https://tinyurl.com/ybkhxz6v

    • Alff

      The same can be said of left-handed drill bits, which only exist to tackle the same problem.

      • cap’n fast

        the nightmares of drilling out broken screws from cargo floors on C130and C123s will be forever with me and you guys have brought them all to the light of day. the nightmare is the power tools have failed and all we have left is a hand drill. One. Hand. Drill. and about a thousand bad screws and rivets.
        thank God for Scotch to relieve the Post Traumatic Screw Disorder.

        • Alff

          That reminds me of some good career advice I got when I was young… “Be careful what you get good at.”

    • SlowJoeCrow

      Straight extractors have a much better success rate, I have a set made by Ridgid that has a bunch of rods with raised ribs you hammer into a hole drilled in the fastener and a nut that slips over the rod to remove it. The ltimate saving grace is they tend to fail by twisting rater than snapping so worst case you remove the extractor, drill oversize and put in a helicoil

      • cap’n fast

        Oh! a lesson learned long ago was to go immediately to Helicoil. but then i was involved with down time and lost production costs vs. best practice and keeping it original. damn near impossible to drill out a broken easy-out or drill bits(cobalt bits not withstanding) the Helicoil usually resulted in a better thread that wouldn’t usually corrode. really good on sparkplug holes in aluminum cylinder heads and water pump bolts.