For rebuilding, tuning, troubleshooting and repair work, niche specialty tools can help. For decades, I have shown Jeep owners and 4WD specialists how to improvise when practical.
Years ago, I learned the value of specialty tools. Unfortunately, many of these tools become obsolete over time. Sometimes, a limited usage tool may not be cost-effective. Quality tools may be attractive, but do you really need a $40,000, four-wheel alignment rack to properly set up a Jeep® 4WD link-arm suspension lift kit?
I operated and trained others in the use of four-wheel beam alignment racks. Here is a functional alternative, SPC’s FasTrax 91025 alignment gauge set. (For complete details, see the website article or the ‘how-to’ video or download the July 2010 back issue of 4WD Mechanix Magazine. Review pages 25-51 of the July back issue.)
This 91025 equipment accomplished the task—for 1% of the four-wheel alignment rack cost! A fundamental knowledge of alignment makes up for complex and expensive equipment. Reflect on the goal. A basic tool and some improvising can serve well!
Drivers, clamps, stands, guideplates—if you can fabricate metal, many specialty tools can be built within your shop. I have created service tools for restoring vintage automatic transmissions, steering gears, axles and manual transmissions. Most of these tools, described in tattered and faded shop manuals, are simply not available today.
There are many ways to reduce tooling costs while achieving professional results. This applies to any Jeep® mechanical work, including the axle setup pictured here. At 4WD Mechanix© Magazine, I test and evaluate both new and used tools. I will suggest tool options, alternatives and even ways to improvise or construct a tool!
Learn how to buy new tools, where to find quality used tools and proper methods for repairing, modifying or creating tools. Solve your tool challenges—get your question answered at the website’s ‘Q & A’ section for tools and equipment—click here.
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