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How to buy your basic tool kit

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Old Jan 2nd, 2008, 23:50   #1
Mike_Brace
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Default How to buy your basic tool kit

With a view to start at the beginning and for the benefit of the person who wants to either start or do more of their own maintenace on their Volvo it seemed logical to start with the essential of running through what basic tools you need. I have included some pictures as well for those who might not know exactly what any given tool looks like. I am suugesting what I would regard as a minimum for basic work - as I cover other jobs I will endeavour to say what additonal tools may be needed.

First of all there is one essential that is needed before any work can commence but is not available form the tool shop:



This is one of the most used tool and is invaluable when you run into a problem - I guarantee it should solve at least 75% of them!


The pic below illustrates the first part of your tool kit:



The first tools needed will be your sockets, ratchets and extension bars. A lot of sets are only 3/8 inch. Your 240 tends to have bigger and heftier everything than most cars. A 1/2 set is better to start with - you can buy a set or individuals.
Starting from the left there is a 2", 4" and 9" extension bars with wobble ends. A wobble end enables the socket which fits onto to work a little out of square (useful in tight spaces) Ordinary square ended ones are better for anything very tight and in the early days was all I had.

Next is the ratchet - there are various types. I prefer the chrome one which has a little lever on the side to change direction of the ratchet. The one with a slider (or a twist) tend to move when your hand is applying light pressure to help the ratcheting. I have also shown a little stuby ratchet with a wobbly head - useful in awkward places but not essential. The hammers are essential - the 2lb ball hammer is the stock mechanics hammer. The lump hammer can also be very useful as well.



Next starting from the left is a Stanley knife - has many uses with the blades being useful for scraping off old gaskets. Next there are a couple of pairs of pliers standard and fine hosed (there are many other different types) Going from top right there two pairs of mole grips which have many uses and also a large (18") waterpump pliers (handy for changing brake pads). Across the bottom is a pry bar (a set of different lengths are handy for a variety of uses).



Going on from there is a set of combination spanners. You will need the following sizes 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 22

Next you will need your sockets:



There are thre different styles. From the left there is the flat sided or hex socket - this I find gives excellent grip but in very confined spaces will not always work easily. Next is a relatively uncommon one which grips on the centre of the flat - supposed to be very good for gripping damaged heads but find hex as good usually. The one on the right is the bi-hex which is quite common - good but on a tight nut ot bolts the hex is far less likey to slip off.

You will need 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 22

Also need is a 25mm socket or spanner for the sump plug.

Moving on to this also needed for oil changes will be something to remove the filter. There are many types - on 240s I find the best is this one:



This three legged oil filter remover which fits best into the limited space. There are others such as this chain one:



This tends to get in the way of the alternator.

Finally it is worth get a set of allen keys (preferably with a ball end which enables them to be used off square):



Also if you have one of the last 240s torx fittings are used are used in places so a set of these are useful. They look like the allen keys but have a star end.

I have found that the cheapest place for a lot of these is your local market - most have a tool stall and you can often get items for 1/2 or less of the price of the likes of halfords. Just have a look to see if the same reasonable quality. The oil filter removal may well have to come from a tool shop or halfords as it is a little more specialist.

In addition to this once you start needing to raise the car you will need to invest in jacks and axle stands. The 240 is a heavy car so make sure what you buy is substancial. The little trolley jacks at 10-20 are ok but if your budget will stretch to a garage type jack down the line they are far better and more stable. I tend to carry one of the small trolley jacks in the car in case of punctures. A good pair of strong axle stands that will lift to a reasonable height or also essential. Many people like to use car ramps instead - again look for ones that will take the Volvo - ie big and strong.

I hope this gives you some idea of what I condider a good starter tool kit - you will dubtless find there are other things that will be useful and if the bug gets you spend hours drooling over various tools.

Mike
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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 00:25   #2
caveman
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shouldnt there be this piccy in there as well? for when youve had enough!
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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 00:32   #3
Mike_Brace
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I like the thought but picture #1 is supposed to stop that happening!!

Mike
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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 01:24   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_Brace View Post
I like the thought but picture #1 is supposed to stop that happening!!

Mike
i like the fact youve got 2 hammers in piccy no.2! 1 for each hand!
seriously though, its a good post!
regards
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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 03:59   #5
John Tancredi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_Brace View Post
First of all there is one essential that is needed before any work can commence but is not available form the tool shop:



Mike
I thought you were going to say some functioning grey matter - also not available from the tool shop! Thanks Mike... Good opportunity to see what tools I've actually got - my main ones to date have been a cellphone and AA card! Thanks again, John.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 09:51   #6
Clifford Pope
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I'm so glad you haven't started with that tedious old opening line "always buy the best tools you can afford". In my experience it is better to start with anything that works, and then upgrade when you experience the need and can appreciate the difference.

There's one item that in my opinion is worth it's weight in gold, and that's a workbench with a decent vice. So many car and household jobs are made much easier if you have a way of holding the item properly when working on it.

Another is a really substantial way of supporting the car when jacked up. Just a stack of sawn-off lengths of railway sleeper takes some beating, in combination with a trolley jack.


Little things can make a difference too - I'd add a mole wrench, and a really long substantial screwdriver like those old ones with wooden handles.
But the list goes on, and is of course endless.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 10:10   #7
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Great post - it reassured me that I hadnt wasted my christmas money (project thread)

I think snap on and similar, although may be good quality, are overpriced 'designer' tools. You're mostly paying for just a name. Similarly, cheap chinese tools are a waste of money (especially ratchets) because they are bound wo break.

I think the bast thing is to buy tools of reasonable quality from companies like draper and laser etc - I have laser ratchets and socket sets.

Couple of other things to add:

A screw driver set!
Some WD40
One of those magnet things to pick up nuts and bolts
A magnetic parts tray
One of those bars to put sockets onto when first undoing rusted on bolts so that you do not break your ratchet.
An adjustable spanner.

Wireless internet and a laptop so you can access this forum!

Steve
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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 10:50   #8
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Small boxes, cartons etc for putting dismantled bits in as you go.
Clipboard (with paper) and a pencil with a thick lead on a string for doing quick diagrams before you forget or go in further.
Biros run out just when you want them, and won't write on damp or greasy paper, or upside down.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 10:55   #9
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You forgot the swear box and first aid box. lol
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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 11:39   #10
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I tend to use Halfrauds Professional range of tools. Cheap enough to buy with their trade card and actually pretty good quality. I have one of the 120 piece socket sets, bought for about 100 quid and in 2 years have only managed to round off one of the little torx attachments - replaced under warranty with no problems.

For me, the most important thing is having somewhere dry to work. I use my warehouse at work, overhead halogen lights and a clean floor! (understanding boss helps too) Really is good tackling a job and knowing that you won't have to abandon it due to bad weather

Oh, a cheapo digital camera is handy too for recording component positions etc.

I don't think my tool kit will ever be complete, I know my Dad still buys tools even after 30 years! His workshop is more towards non automotive engineering and wood work and his old profession as an upholsterer.
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