TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
Without the proper tools and equipment it is impossible to properly service your vehicle. It would be virtually impossible to catalog every tool that you would need to perform all of the operations in this book. It would be unwise for the amateur to rush out and buy an expensive set of tools on the theory that he/she may need one or more of them at some time.
The best approach is to proceed slowly, gathering a good quality set of those tools that are used most frequently. Don’t be misled by the low cost of bargain tools. It is far better to spend a little more for better quality. Forged wrenches, 6 or 12−point sockets and fine tooth ratchets are by far preferable to their less expensive counterparts. As any good mechanic can tell you, there are few worse experiences than trying to work on a vehicle with bad tools. Your monetary savings will be far outweighed by frustration and mangled knuckles.
Begin accumulating those tools that are used most frequently: those associated with routine maintenance and tune−up. In addition to the normal assortment of screwdrivers and pliers, you should have the following tools:
- Wrenches/socket sand combination open end/box end wrenches in sizes from 1/8−3/4 in. or 3−19mm,as well as a 13/16 in. or 5/8 in. spark plug socket (depending on plug type).
If possible, buy various length socket drive extensions. Universal−joint and wobble extensions can be extremely useful, but be careful when using them, as they can change the amount of torque applied to the socket.
- Jack stands for support.
- Oilfilter wrench.
- Spoutor funnel for pouring fluids.
- Greasegun for chassis lubrication (unless your vehicle is not equipped with any grease fittings)
- Hydrometerfor checking the battery (unless equipped with a sealed, maintenance−free battery).
- Acontainer for draining oil and other fluids.
- Rags for wiping up the inevitable mess.
All but the most basic procedures will require an assortment of ratchets and sockets
In addition to ratchets, a good set of wrenches and hex keys will be necessary
A hydraulic floor jack and a set of jackstands are essential for lifting and supporting the vehicle
An assortment of pliers, grippers and cutters will be handy for old rusted parts and stripped bolt heads
Various drivers, chisels and prybars are great tools to have in your toolbox
Many repairs will require the use of a torque wrench to assure the components are properly fastened
In addition to the above items there are several others that are not absolutely necessary, but handy to have around. These include an equivalent oil absorbent gravel, like cat litter, and the usual supply of lubricants, antifreeze and fluids. This is a basic list for routine maintenance, but only your personal needs and desire can accurately determine your list of tools.
After performing a few projects on the vehicle, you’ll be amazed at the other tools and non−tools on your workbench. Some useful household items are: a large turkey baster or siphon, empty coffee cans and ice trays (to store parts), a ball of twine, electrical tape for wiring, small rolls of colored tape for tagging lines or hoses, markers and pens, a note pad, golf tees (for plugging vacuum lines), metal coat hangers or a roll of mechanic’s wire (to hold things out of the way), dental pick or similar long, pointed probe, a strong magnet, and a small mirror (to see into recesses and under manifolds).
Although not always necessary, using specialized brake tools will save time
A few inexpensive lubrication tools will make maintenance easier
Various pullers, clamps and separator tools are needed for many larger, more complicated repairs
A variety of tools and gauges should be used for spark plug gapping and installation
Inductive type timing light
A screw−in type compression gauge is recommended for compression testing
A vacuum pressure tester is necessary for many testing A vacuum/pressure tester is necessary for many testing procedures procedures
Most modern automotive multimeters incorporate many helpful features
Proper information is vital, so always have a Chilton Total Car Care manual handy
A more advanced set of tools, suitable for tune−up work, can be drawn up easily. While the tools are slightly more sophisticated, they need not be outrageously expensive. There are several inexpensive tach/dwell meters on the market that are every bit as good for the average mechanic as a professional model. Just be sure that it goes to a least 1200−1500 rpm on the tach scale and that it works on 4, 6 and 8−cylinder engines. The key to these purchases is to make them with an eye towards adaptability and wide range. A basic list of tune−up tools could include:
- Tach/dwell meter.
- Spark plug wrench and gapping tool.
- Feeler gauges for valve adjustment.
- Timing light.
The choice of a timing light should be made carefully. A light which works on the DC current supplied by the vehicle’s battery is the best choice; it should have a xenon tube for brightness. On any vehicle with an electronic ignition system, a timing light with an inductive pickup that clamps around the No. 1 spark plug cable is preferred.
In addition to these basic tools, there are several other tools and gauges you may find useful. These include:
- Compression gauge. The screw in type is slower to use, but eliminates the possibility of a faulty reading due to escaping pressure.
- Manifold vacuum gauge.
- 12V test light.
- A combination volt/ohmmeter
- Induction Ammeter. This is used for determining whether or not there is current in a wire. These are handy for use if a wire is broken somewhere in a wiring harness.
As a final note, you will probably find a torque wrench necessary for all but the most basic work. The beam type models are perfectly adequate, although the newer click types (breakaway) are easier to use. The click type torque wrenches tend to be more expensive. Also keep in mind that all types of torque wrenches should be periodically checked and/or recalibrated. You will have to decide for yourself which better fits your pocketbook, and purpose.
Normally, the use of special factory tools is avoided for repair procedures, since these are not readily available for the do−it−yourself mechanic. When it is possible to perform the job with more commonly available tools, it will be pointed out, but occasionally, a special tool was designed to perform a specific function and should be used. Before substituting another tool, you should be convinced that neither your safety nor the performance of the vehicle will be compromised.
Special tools can usually be purchased from an automotive parts store or from your dealer. In some cases special tools may be available directly from the tool manufacturer.Ford Ranger, Explorer Mountaineer service repair manual