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Posts by: Kevin Whipps
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Recently, one of the mechanics at my local shop got himself a brand new Snap-on box with a top hutch, and I got a little jealous — ok, a lot jealous. It’s big, blue, shiny, and completely lust-worthy.

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The five thousand dollar buy-in is steep for most, but you’re really buying the Snap-on name and quality. A box like this will last through many moves from house to house, from shop to shop — and all the while it’ll hold a ton of tools without sagging or faltering like a few department store toolboxes might. Plus, you can always expand or adapt this versatile box to suit your circumstances.

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Only the buyer can say whether the Snap-on box is worth the uber price difference. But most of us can agree, this box is mighty good looking — even with all the drool stains on it.

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Rolling Toolbox And Top Hutch [Snap-on]

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When I’m trying to fit bigger, wider wheels on my car, and I just need a bit more clearance, I pull this out of my bag of tricks: the Eastwood fender roller tool. Most fenders have a flange on ‘em that’s parallel to the ground, and it can potentially cut your tire.  Bolt the fender roller onto the hub, turn the handle, and that flange will be curved up flush against the outside-fender skin. Sometimes that extra 1/2″ is all you need.

Fender Roller [Eastwood Co.]

 
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Let’s say you need to look at something in high-end detail, but it’s in a tiny corner of your car/truck/garage — and you need a light, too. Now you can accomplish this with a single tool: Moroso’s lighted magnifier. It’s a flashlight that provides 3.8X magnification.

You may laugh, but this looks to be perfect for identifying spark plug problems.

Lighted Magnifier [Moroso]

 
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When you don’t want to lug your entire toolbox out of the garage just to work on your neighbor’s lawnmower, you need something like the Macsimizer Utility Cart from MAC. It features a deep well up top for sockets and a tray up top that slides open for more tool access — plus three drawers, screwdriver storage, and space on the bottom for bigger items.

I loaded up my cart with screwdrivers, sockets, wrenches, my most-used air tools, and some other miscellaneous stuff — which means that anytime I want to work on something outdoors, I just wheel out the cart and get after it.

For pricing, you’ll need to visit your local MAC distributor. Or, if you don’t want to pay MAC prices, there are cheap-ass alternatives.

Macsimizer Utility Cart [Mac Tools]

 
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Know what’s cool? Braided wire loom, that’s what’s cool — it keeps your wiring clean and organized and also protects it from the elements. Thing is, plastic cabling is a real pain to install sometimes, and frankly I’m surprised it took so long for someone to make a tool like this. You just slip the PowerBraid Tool around your wiring, then put the split loom around it, and pull the tool along the length of the loom. Then you’re good to go. Talk about cutting your work in half.

PowerBraid Tool [Painless Wiring]

 
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When I’m doing heavy grinding, I hate having to stop and change over to a flap wheel for the finishing work, so this is the perfect deal for me. Home Depot’s offering a two-pack of Makita 4-1/2″ grinders for $80. Most comparable grinders cost $80 for just one, so when I spotted this combo package while wandering through Home Depot’s tool corral, I couldn’t pass it up. But it’s in-store only, so keep your eye out!

Makita Grinder (In-Store Only) [Home Depot]

 
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When building hoses for your car or truck, the expense can add up quick. Frequent trips to the store to crimp your custom-length lines ain’t cheap, and the tools to do the crimping yourself generally aren’t cheap either. But now Earl’s — the maker of all those cool fittings used in engine and brake work — makes a custom crimping machine designed to crimp Ultra Flex hose ends onto Ultra 650 hose, which is available in many different sizes.

The machine is super portable, weighing in at 42 lbs, meaning you can loan it out to your buddies so they can crimp hoses, too — for a nominal fee, of course.

Ultra Flex Crimping Machine [Earl's]

 
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Although bending stainless steel tubing can be a real pain, use the right tool to do it and it’s not that bad. RIDGID Tools offers stainless steel tubing benders for 3/8″ and 1/2″ tubing — they’ll bend a 180 degree bend, no problem. The handle’s two-stage design gives you extra leverage, which you’re certainly going to need.

500 Series HD Bender [RIDGID Tools]

 
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Transmission jacks don’t come cheap — they usually start around $500 — so it doesn’t make sense to buy one for that rare occasion when you have to tear out the tranny on your ’87 dually. Eastwood offers a more affordable solution: a transmission jack adapter that fits any jack with a 1-1/8″ post-style saddle. Just pull off the stock cup, put this unit in its place, and get to jackin’. Pricing is $85.

Transmission Jack Adapter [Eastwood]