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Years ago my dad bought me a pretty comprehensive Husky socket set. The sockets remained safely stored in the box for a year or so until we moved into our current house and Dad bought me a tool chest. I had organized the sockets in each drawer by type and size, but over the years the opening and closing of the drawer left the sockets piled up and scattered. As I was repairing my daughter’s car a few weeks ago, I discovered that any remnant of the organized system I once had was gone the way of the steam shovel. I resolved to finally do something about it — I discovered the Tekton socket holder set and for the first time in six years I can actually find a socket in my socket drawer.

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Specialty tools for a given engine family drive me nuts. Is it really that difficult to design something which works with thousands of preexisting tools? Unfortunately, General Motors didn’t do that with their Ecotec engines’ oil filter caps, which are so common that nearly every mechanic is going to run into one at some point. Ecotecs have an unusual cartridge-style filter design. Instead of a paper filter element contained in a disposable metal casing, there’s an aluminum housing cast into the block which accepts a standalone paper filter, and it’s covered by a plastic cap with unusual artillery-pattern threads and a 32mm male hex on top.

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GMP Tools manufactures pentagonal head bolts to secure manhole covers. That’s right, not square, not hex, but pentagonal — another case of security through obscurity. Of course, if you sell bolts with heads that have an odd number of sides you need to supply the corresponding tools to turn them, so they also sell two different sockets: one with a 7/16″ hex drive for impact tools, another with a 19mm hole which you can turn with a rod.

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