Thursday, January 24, 2008


Now that I am getting old and pedantic, let me make a few basic comments.
Get the best tools you can afford. They are the cheapest in the long run.
In Europe, these are in the order of my preference:
Gedore and Dowidat (same company)

In the States, I would say Snapon and then Craftsman. Because I have various antique machines including English, I also have a basic set of Metrinch tools.
The best side cutters I have ever seen or used were from Utica. They no longer exist, but you do see the tools on eBay.

Use box wrenches wherever possible. Don't use offset wrenches when you can avoid it. They slip off too easily and tend to ruin the nut or bolt head. In that, they are not much better than open end wrenches.

My main rachet drive is a Snapon 3/8", now over 30 years old, the chome wearing through to the nickel underplating. Both 1/2" and 1/4" ratchets are also Snapon. I use 1/2 sockets for the impact wrench and of course 1/4" sockets for smaller things and hard-to-get-to places. Try to get and use 6-point sockets instead of 12.

Two tools I find indispensible now that I have them are T-handle socket drivers. I cannot recommend these highly enough.
Likewise, T-handle Allen drivers are very handy.
Facom also offers them and I prefer these. The ONLY ball-end Allen drivers worth anything at all are from Snapon and they are so good, even aluminum bolts are not ruined.

Do not use zinc-plated screws because the galvanic treatment weakens the alloy. Try to use 10.9 or better 12,8 grade bolts, especially for Allen-head screws and bolts. That will alleviate a lot of headaches later.
Another pet peeve: don't ever use helical spring lock washers.

Where ever possible, use so-called Schnorr safety washers. These are serrated disc springs. Although they look harmless, they actually hold much better than other designs and do not ruin the part or the bolt. Use them only once!

Critical fasteners (and those the race inspectors demand) should be wired or splinted. An example; the rear axle nut; use a castle nut and a spring clip.

Use a torque wrench and the proper torque and above all, use a suitable grease such as Microlube GL 261 on the threads or you don't even have to bother with the torque wrench.

Here is table of torques to download and paste in the tool box.

Try not to use Loctite 270.

Self-locking nuts are a good idea in most places. they can be the usual nylon insert type but I much prefer KayLock nuts. Like the Schnorr washers, they can be used only once - or rather as often as you want but are then no longer self-locking. They have no insert, instead they are deformed slightly. They are also of much better steel and are smaller as well; a M6 nut takes a 7mm socket instead of the normal 10mm. Thus, they are nearly as light as titanium nuts. For hard to get at things like the exhaust studs they are ideal.

will be continued...