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A reader in the comment stream from my post about Longacre Racing Products’ toe gauge asked about tools for setting the other two most commonly-referenced suspension characteristics: caster and camber. Caster is non-adjustable on the vast majority of vehicles. Unless you have a full-race car or some serious modifications, it’s never something you’ll need to worry about, since it’s built right into the suspension components. Camber adjustments aren’t exactly commonplace, but a few vehicles (like the famous Dodge Neon ACR) have factory-adjustable suspensions that allow camber tweaks, and you can buy aftermarket camber adjustment plates which permit slight shifts in a car’s suspension mounting points. For the amateur racer, more or less is generally all you need to know, but if you’re looking to repeat or record settings, you’ll need something like Longacre’s camber gauge.

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Let’s get the negatives out of the way: “pulley puller” sounds like a character from a kid’s cartoon, and the hefty $200+ price tags units like these carry makes them a less-than-intelligent purchase for most of us. Only garage mechanics or tuners with supercharged engines are ever likely to need one of these. But they are the only way to go if you need to remove a supercharger pulley. I rebuilt an Eaton M90 a few months ago, didn’t use one of these, and wound up needing a new pulley.

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AN hoses are the gold standard in reliable sealing and sheer function, and nearly faultless when assembled and installed correctly. Gentle arcs of stainless steel routing life-giving fluids about an engine bay between red-and-blue terminals of exquisitely finished aluminum make for a beautiful sight. However, assembling the damned things requires the patience of a Shaolin monk, and every so often, a razor-tipped barb sticks out of the housing, slips under your nail into nerves and blood vessels, and makes you cuss like a sailor. And stainless braid is heavy stuff, not something ounce-conscious users are likely to approve of.

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Disconnect the battery, hook up your new equipment, connect the battery, test, repeat as needed. It’s not so bad if you’ve just got the one project, but if you’re restoring a car or doing extensive customizations, or if you’re racing, all that disconnecting and reconnecting can get old fast. Install this switch and you can disconnect the power with just a flick of the wrist — and you don’t have to mess with twisting or stowing the cables where they won’t flop back onto the battery terminals.

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My Stolen and Stripped Honda Civic

My beloved Honda Civic was stolen earlier this week from my driveway — the picture above shows what was left of it when the cops found it. I’ll forever wonder: If I had invested in some kind of anti-theft tool for my car, would it be the stripped-down wreck it is now? So, for those of you without an anti-theft device for your car, Summit Racing is selling this Gorilla Grip 3 steering wheel lock for $53.

Made from cut-proof hardened steel, the lock fits on any steering wheel and locks in place in seconds. It also features a built-in 130-dB siren and flashing LED lights to attract attention. You deactivate and remove the lock with a key.

I hope you never experience having your car stolen — it SUCKS!

Gorilla Grip 3 [Summit Racing]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?] [What’s This?]

 
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When the finish on the bottom of your ride is as important to you as the one everyone else sees, you need a set of jack pads — like these “Prothane” pads from Summit Racing.  They’re softish, red, and look like a three-inch-wide hockey pucks, but they’re actually designed to sit on top of your jack’s steel cradle to avoide metal-on-metal contact between the jack and the car.

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Sure, you could sit that Detroit V8 you’re planning to rebuild on a wooden crate, but we can think of a number of great reasons to pick up this engine cradle from Summit Racing instead: 1) Moving a wood crate around the garage with a 500+ pound V8 on it sucks, 2) the cradle gives you open access to the engine’s underside, and 3) you’ll probably spend most of its $40 price tag on the wood crate anyway.

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Fender covers are a must if you’re working on a vehicle that you don’t want messed up when you’re finished.   They protect the wrench monkey (you) form doing harm to your ride.  Also, they make you look like a) you know what you’re doing and b) you give a damn about your paint.

Covers like these are made of thick leather-grain vinyl and are stuffed with a heavy-duty foam pad to guard damage from blunt objects mashed or dropped against the fender.  They also keep you from grinding grunge into the paint.

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