Tools

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Tool Sources

I just read Gary Milgrom's report on Facom tools and I have also heard that they are great but I have an another place to buy them from. Steve D'Gerolamo from the Ultimate Garage (http://www.ultimategarage.com - 201-262-0412) is a great guy and has all kinds of cool stuff for sale, including Facom tools.

On the E36M3 mailing list, he is practically famous for his customer service and is very well respected. Maybe we could even convince him to make one of his great brake bleeding kits for the NSX (I just bought one for the M3). He is only about a half hour away from me and I was there last week talking to him about making a bleeder kit for the NSX but he needs a temporary donor fluid reservoir for development purposes and mine just happens to be attached to the car. I have nothing to gain from this but am just one of many extremely satisfied customers.

NSX-Specific Tools

Photo Tool Acura Part # Price Notes
  Brake caliper piston tool 07916-6390001 $24 @ Hoehn Acura You can use a generic piston tool
Servicemat.jpg
      This mat not only protects your paint, it looks really cool.

Jacks

[GM] If your jack does not have a notch like the factory jack, you can remove the steel cup it came with and substituted a rubber coated steel pad (flat steel). I got mine from Griot's Garage. Now the rubber pad contacts and surrounds the jacking point, protecting the finish and safely raising the car. If you do this make sure the jack you purchase has a removable cup, some are permanently attached to the lifting arm.

[AMW] Here is what I used to do to jack my Lotus Esprit Turbo. Go to the lawn and garden store and get four of those square cement walk-way blocks. They are a foot square and 2 1/2 inches high. Position them strategically in front of each wheel and drive the car up on them. Then any old jack will do. You can even push the car up on them if you need to.

[NM, BH] NAPA Two-ton All American low profile jack - a must have for the NSX. It is pricey but it is the only commercially available one that I have found that can get under the NSX without having to drive it on to wood pieces. This jack is as well constructed as it gets for hydraulic jacks. With my car lowered with the springs, this just slides under. If you have super lowered springs, (greater than two inches) you may want to take measurements before you buy this. NAPA Part number 91-642 and retails for $299.00. You will need 3-4 days to order as it is rarely a stock item. Visit http://test.napaonline.com/sitemap.htm   to find a store near you.

[JR] Just thought I would mention that I found a floor jack that will fit under my NSX without modification, and that doesn't cost $299.99 like the NAPA jack. The saddle has slots that fit the jack points on the NSX just fine. It is the Craftsman 5000 LB. Service Jack - model 50114. I think it cost me $59.99.

LJACK.jpg[VB] For those interested in the Lincoln floor jack I mentioned recently, point your browser to: http://www.ai-supply.com/html/lincoln.html

They have it for $288. I believe they are offering free shipping (this guy weighs 90lbs).  You can get the same jack rebadged as a SnapOn or Napa Auto Parts. It clears the NSX easily (even with the 1/2 inch plastic pad) and can lift 4000 pounds. It's lowest pick-up height is 3 3/4" and can lift as high as 20". It weighs 90 pounds and is the best floor jack I've ever used. Nothing I've seen compares to its quality for the price. I bought it for $270 and I've seen Napa Auto Parts sell it for $300. I highly recommend it.

[SA - 99/2/25] after looking around at an auto parts store and a megastore, I concluded that there weren't jacks that could reach under my 4.75 inch NSX and not set me back close to $300. I called NAPA, and they had the Lincoln in stock -- at $299. I found one on the web for $288 including shipping.

Driving home last night, I stopped at an independent tool and machine retailer. I had the a sales person go through their catalog of in stock floor jacks. "Nope, the lowest I have is 5 1/4." OK, I guess I am out of luck. Sales guy: "Yep, I have one here that lifts to 20 inches." Steve. "Great, but does it get down to 4.5 inches". Sales guy. "Nope, says 3.5 inches". REALLLY! Well that's what I want. Let's see it. And, the encounter ended with my buying a 3 ton, Catci Shanghai floor jack for $77.

Yes its made in China. But, I just need it now and then. I'm not going to be jumping over the wall at a NASCAR event with it.

It weighs close to 90 lbs. It's on the large size, with 2 big steel rollers in back and 2 steel casters in front. It comes with a two piece lift arm (probably about 40 inches). The cradle piece that sits on the end of the jack is removable, which drops the lift height to about 4 inches (not what the sales guy said, but low enough).

It takes several pumps to get the car up, but does lift to 20 inches (which is A LOT). The release mechanism is real smooth as I can drop the car slowly and stop the drop easily. So, for $77 -- I am happy. I won't know about reliability for sometime -- but I could buy 4 of these at the price of one Lincoln.

I went to work to get my car up on jacks. I lifted one side about 18 inches and slipped the two floor jacks under (I bought 6 ton jacks because they were so much more wider at the base than the two ton models). I then found that with the car jacked up to such a steep angle, the floor jacks don't really mate to the lift points. So I backed it down to 16 inches and put the jacks under (still not mating that well). Then jacked up the other side. Getting the car up on both sides then resulted in all jacks mating very well to the lift points.

My front right jack was set up about 1/8 lower than the others, and there was NO WEIGHT on it at all. The frame is incredibly stiff.

Catci Shanghai: 4" clearance, 20" lift, 3 ton $77. I purchased it at Northern Tool and Equipment Co located in Maplewood MN. Their phone number is 651-490-9735.

[SS - 99/2/22] There are 3 jack points on each side. If you are trying to jack up one side completely, install stands, then go to the other side, I would recommend using the small jack on the rear jack point to raise the car enough to get the big jack on the center lift point.

Under no circumstances should the car be lifted using anything but the provided jack points. Remember to use heavy rubber pads.

My floor jack is large, orange, 2 1/4 ton built by Allied Hydraulic (Chinese) It has a wide wheelbase, very stable, and a large ~5 inch removable bucket, which I remove for the NSX and replace with a block of hard wood which has the peg for the bucket, and slot for the jack point. This jack cost $60 from Price Club a few years ago. It weighs about 55lbs, rear wheels dont turn very smoothly, and the pressure release is a little abrupt. But, all in all, I think an excellent $60 spent. I use the crap out of it and loan it out to friends and neighbors.

[DOH - 99/2/22] You can initially "raise" you car by driving the front tires up on something like a 2"x10" board or use the jack stored in the trunk to initially lift up one of the ends. I used to drive my car up on 1" concrete blocks to get my jack to fit, but it's a hassle. Now I use the expensive Lincoln. It raises the car up a little more than the other less expensive jacks (20"), and has excellent release control (a real bonus).

[AV - 00/2/25] I have a 2 1/2 ton floor jack, and it is one of the smallest available, so it would be light and small enough to fit in the trunk of the NSX longitudinally (front to rear). I had modified the lift point of the jack so it would be as low as possible to clear the lowest of cars, and removed the cup to make it look like the jacking point of the factory jack (with a slot).

My car has only 4" of clearance from the jacking point to the ground. I still have about 3/4" of room to spare between the jack and the car. Cost is $29.99 for the jack, $5 to machine the slot, and the welding job was free (a friend did this for me).

[BHA - 99/2/21] I finally got a floor jack. Jimmy Raineri pointed me to Sears. Today they had an ad for a 2.25 ton jack for $29.99. Relatively small and comes in its own plastic case with handle. It said on the jack that it was good for 5.125 inches to 14+ inches. I knew from measuring that my jack points are 4.75 inches (stock springs, etc). I went to Sears to see other ones they may have and measured this one. Even though it said from 5.125 it actually measured 4.625 inches at its low point. I bought it and tried it. Seems to work fine to me. Take your tape measure and go for it.

[VB - 99/10/23] I use the Lincoln jack which is low enough to fit under the NSX but not practical to haul around since it weighs close to 100lbs. I needed a small portable jack so I went to a local auto parts store and saw one of those small China/Taiwan made jacks. The display model was wrapped in plastic and the lifting point was too high to use on my NSX. I measured it for myself. Here's the intersting part...

The store clerk said floorjacks that come with a plastic carry case must have a lower lifting point in order to fit in the case. He dragged one out for me and took the floorjack out of the plastic case. The plastic case stated the same lifting height as the display model BUT the lifting point was LOWER by a half inch. Plenty enough to clear the NSX. It was about $40 and works great plus I can throw it in the trunk and haul it with me to the track.

Check the lifting height on floorjacks that are packaged in plastic carry cases. You may just find an inexpensive portable jack that will work for your NSX.

[ACH - 99/10/23] If you're willing spend a few addition minutes, you can save yourself some money by keeping and using your current jack. Just use the small jack that's in your trunk to lift the car a little until there's enough clearance to use your floor jack. Works well at the two rear jack points on the NSX.

[JCR - 2000/2/20] Since I already had a regular floor jack, I took a slightly different approach. I went to the local flea market and bought a small floor jack that is very light and easy to pick up. Coming from the floor jack capitol of the world (i.e, Taiwan), it was only $15. I believe Sears and Walmart have similar a jack in a plastic case for $25-$30 or so. I took the jack home and cut off the lifting pad, then trimmed the lifting arm to obtain the lowest position for welding on the flat plate that replaced the pad. I now have a small, lightweight jack that I use to raise the car so I can either slide my regular floor jack underneath (an indestructible Hein-Werner I've had for 20 years) or swing the arms under the car when I put it on a car lift. Works okay for me.

The opposite extreme would be one of the lightweight aluminum jacks the NASCAR guys use for their pitstops. I haven't looked at one for a while, but about 10 years ago they were $1200 or so. Not cheap, but I'll bet it makes you feel kind of racey when you're rotating the tires on the Family Truckster.

[HS - 2000/2/20] Griot's Garage has one that has a saddle height of just 2-3/4-inches and lifts to 18-1/4-inches (item #77715). It's pricey: $389 plus $100 for a rubber saddle pad (item#77712). Griot's is 1-800-345-5789 or http://www.griotsgarage.com 

Jack Stands

Jackstands.jpg

Jack Safety

[AWN - 99/8/6] Properly used and intelligently placed, jack stands are safer than just about any alternative available to you.

If you live in earthquake country or are planning on swinging a sledgehammer or cranking really hard on a fastener with a long breaker bar while you're under the car -- or if you're just really cautious -- you should have some sort of redundant backup for the jackstands.

Smart people backup their jackstands by putting their dismounted wheels under the car, figuring that a dented wheel is less expensive than a crushed ribcage.

Stupid people use concrete cinderblocks; when the car falls and the blocks shatter, they get what they deserve.

If you want to be REALLY safe, invite a friend to hang out in the garage with you. Working on a car's always more pleasant when there's someone to hand you tools and chat with... And if you set yourself on fire or get brake fluid in your eye or drop an engine on your chest or cut off a finger or whatever, he can call an ambulance.

Lifts (now we're getting fancy!)

[AWN] The nicest home lift  I have seen is the model HR-6 lift from Western (619 674-3361). The HR-6 has a 6000-pound capacity and lifts that weight about 4 feet high in 10 seconds (faster if the car weighs less).

It's real solid, has an automatic safety lock, and can be moved around on its own dolly if you don't want to bolt it to the floor... It costs $2600 or so, including the dolly.

[KKA] I'm a *very* happy Rotary (http://www.rotary-lift.com) customer. See http://www.kaplanfamily.net/dormer.htm to see what I did to get a little extra headroom for the lift. Yes I am crazy. I have my brother in law's [not an NSX] on it as I type, and it was _so_ much safer & easier dropping the engine out with the lift than it was when I pulled the engine from my [same model of non-NSX] and also my [other Japanese mid-engine car that wasn't an NSX] the old fashioned way with jackstands and cinder blocks, etc. Haven't had the X up on it yet, but I certainly plan to replace my clutch with the lift's help.

Mid-Rise Lift

Midrise.jpg Midrise1.jpg
6,000 pound lifting capacity

Electric/hydraulic power system
Hands-free safety system
Rubber lifting blocks included
Dropped cross bar for added clearance
Heavy-duty steel channel frame
Lifting height: 26/660 mm.
Lowered height: 4"/102 mm.
Dimensions: 82
x 70"/2083 mm. X 1778 mm.

Motor: 120/220 VAC, 50/60 Hz.
Midrise3.jpg

Wrenches

Combowrench.jpg
Combination wrench (L)
Gear Wrench (R) 

Standard / Flat Wrench

Standard wrenches or "flat wrenches" are typically one of three types:

  1. Box end wrench
  2. Open end wrench
  3. Combination wrench

The most common is the "combination" wrench (pictured at left) which has both the box end and the open end. This is the most versatile type wrench and sometimes needed when working on the NSX.

Use the box end as much as possible to prevent the rounding off of your fasteners and knuckles as it grips the head on all six sides. Use the open end only when necessary.

In tight spots, where the wrench doesn't have much room to turn, the open end can be flipped over and over to loosen the fastener, this is why the end is angled.

Sizes Needed: 10mm, 12mm, 14mm and 17mm

Tip: Ace Hardware has a "gear wrench" which incorporates a ratchet into the box end which is a real time saver especially for removing caliper bolts 14mm, and caliper bracket bolts 17mm and sway bars 17mm. The gear wrench is a real time saver

Socketwrench.jpg
Socket Wrench

Facomratchet.jpg
FACOM 1/2" 72-tooth Palm
Control Ratchet

10mmdeepsocket.jpgUniversaljoint.jpg
10mm deep socket (L)
Universal Join (R)

Extension.jpgSparkplugsocket.jpg
5" extension (L)
Spark plug socket (R)

 

Socket Wrench

Socket wrenches are by far the most common tool used when working on the car. Sockets are like the box end wrench, they grip all six sides of the hex-headed fastener. Socket wrenches are comprised of a socket and a drive tool.

There are four common sizes for the socket-to-drive tool interface: 1/4", 3/8", 1/2" and 3/4" these sizes are referred to as the "drive size". Since your torque wrench will probably be 1/2" drive, it makes sense to buy 1/2" drive sockets.

Sockets also come in 6 point and 12 point styles. This refers to how many "teeth" the socket has. Generally it's better to go with the 6 point style as they fully grip the fastener on all six sides which will resist rounding the fasteners.

Sockets also come in a "deep well" style which are useful when working with long screws and places where the wrench needs a little more clearance to turn. I have a 3/8" 10mm 6 point deep-well socket attached to a 3/8 ratchet which seems reach almost all the 10mm screws in the NSX.

Sizes Needed: 10mm, 12mm, 14mm and 17mm

The most common drive tool is the Ratchet. I won't explain this tool any further because you already know what it is. In fact, this tool is used so much, it's worth having at least one good one in your garage.

FACOM makes a real nice ratchet with 72 teeth (48 standard) which makes working in those tight spots easier. This has been one of my favorite additions to my tool collection.

TIP: To put a ratchet in tightening mode, turn the control counter-clockwise, clockwise to loosen. This is counter-intuitive, but remembering this tip will keep you from testing the direction of the wrench every time you use it.

Adapters are available to convert your drive sizes, for example I have a micro-torque wrench and an air ratchet which are 3/8" drive, to use my 1/2" sockets with these tools I use a 3/8" to 1/2" adapter.

Extensions make getting at those hard-to-reach fasteners possible. Having several different lengths is a good idea like: 3", 5" and 10" for starters.

Universal joints and wobble extensions are not used often, but come in handy--especially working with the exhaust system.

Spark plug sockets are deep-well sockets with a rubber grommet in the base to hold the tip of the spark plug for easy removal and installation

Torquewrench1.jpgTorquewrench2.jpg

Torque Wrench

[FML] I have a cheap $20 torque wrench from Post Tools for a little dirty jobs. For serious work like torquing down engine internals (head studs, cam shaft holders, rod bolts, crank bearins... etc.) use nothing other than the best stuff such as Snap-on's. There IS a big difference in quality.

Couple things to do on your torque wrench:

  • Never drop it or bang it on anything. If you do, get it calibrated. Don't bump it around like regulator tools
  • When not in use, set it to zero
Oilfilterwrench1.jpg Oilfilterwrench2.jpg Oilfilterwrench3.jpg

Oil Wrench

There are three basic kinds as pictured here from left to right: Strap, Cup and Clamp.

 

Cordless Drills

You can use an adapter on a cordless drill in order to use it with sockets.

[FG - 99/4/14] You can find that adapter at most Home Depots or other similar hardware stores. As for cutting a socket extension, you will not have the correct end on both sides. The socket/drill adapter has a hex end on one end and the 3/8" socket is on the other

[DS - 99/4/15] [The one I have is] actually two peices. A hex-to-1/4 goes into the cordless drill. I think I got that at Sears, but it may well have been Pep Boys. The second part is a 1/4-to-3/8 adapter that's definately from Sears.

 

Cordless Impact Wrenches

[DHA - 99/4/14] If you and your buddies are going to be doing a lot, the tool to get is a Makita 1/2 cordless impact wrench. It is expensive, but heavy duty, and is now my favorite tool since we changed about 20 tires last weekend with it. http://www.gwiweb.com/store is the only place I have found one, even the big hardware stores around here don't carry them.

[TS - 99/4/14] I recently bought one of the best car tools ever: A 12V impact wrench kit from J.C. Whitney for less than $60. Used it at the track last week, works great! Go to: http://www.jcwhitney.com

[VB - 99/4/14] Harbor Freight Tools (http://www.harborfreight.com) carries a 12V, 1/2 IMPACT WRENCH especially designed for loosening lug nuts on cars. It's fitted with cigarette lighter adapter and has two connectors to attach to a car batter if you'd like. The unit is manufactured by Chicago Electric and goes for $40. It works instantly. The one from JC Whitney has to spool up to a certain speed and then a clutch engages and applies the torque. I don't own this unit yet so I can't comment on it's performance. I have handled it before and it is indeed a rugged piece of equipment. The URL is:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/taf/DisplayItem.taf?ItemNumber=36175

Crush Washers

Crushwasher.jpg Crush washers are used in various places on NSX, like the oil drain plug, transmission drain and fill plug, on either side of the fuel filter banjo bolts and on either side of the brake line banjo bolts. These washers are made of soft aluminum and when you torque a bolt down on them, they "crush" a little bit and make a perfect seal between fasteners. These washers need to be replaced for three reasons: 1) they only crush once, so after that they won't have as good of a seal compared to new ones. 2) The suggested torque recommendations assume that new washers will be used so the torque specification allows and assumes this crushing will take place. And 3) the service manual says so.

To Add: 

Liquid wrench, loc-tite, anti-seize

Safety tools:
glasses
gloves

Clean up
soap
spray bottles

Personal tools