Engine Removal Tools
Last week I started a series illustrating how much could be saved buying products from Harbor Freight Tools-- as opposed to the competition-- for the '67 Firebird Restoration project. Breaking it down phase by phase, we're comparing the prices of tools used in the project with similar (if not exact) products that the competitors advertise. The competitors I chose were Craftsman, Northern Tool, Home Depot, Lowe's and Grainger. It should be noted that exact matches weren't always found, so I substituted the closest comparison available. As I suggested last week, I don't think this compromises the test because we're only talking about differences in size and shape, not function. It should also be pointed out that not all the listed competitors carry all the tools used in the project.
This powerful shop crane delivers the lifting power you need to easily hoist engines and transmissions, move heavy machinery and load equipment. And when you're done, it just folds vertically up against the wall or in a corner, taking up very little space. Made of heavy-duty steel, Harbor Freight's rock solid and sturdy shop crane is an invaluable, cost-effective addition to the garage.
- Sears - Dragway Tools 2-Ton Engine Motor Hoist Cherry Picker Shop Crane Lift - $279.99
- Northern Tool - Torin Big Red Folding Shop Crane - $279.99
- Home Depot - N/A
- Lowe's - N/A
- Grainger - Shop Crane, 4400 lb. Cap. - $517.50
- Sears - Black Bull 1000 lb. Four Wheel Engine Stand - $69.99
- Northern Tool - Torin Big Red 1250 lb. Engine Stand - $109.99
- Home Depot - 750 lb. Engine Stand - $104.16
- Lowe's - N/A
- Grainger - Automotive Engine Stand 750 lb. - $186.25
- Sears - Eastwood 1/2" Drive Twin Hammer Air Impact Wrench - $59.99
- Northern Tool - Wel-Bilt Air Twin Impact Wrench - $79.99
- Home Depot - PowRyte 1/2" Heavy Duty Air Impact Wrench - $69.99
- Lowe's - Kobalt 1/2" 500 ft.-lbs. Air Impact Wrench - $79.94
- Grainger - Chicago Pneumatic Impact Wrench 1/2" Drive - $334.25
Check out The Video to see the tools in action during the engine removal process!
In the next installment, we'll take a look at the tools used for stripping and priming the car, and compare them to the competition's. Until then!
Welcome to the third installment of the Harbor Freight Tools 1967 Firebird Restoration Project.
For first-time readers: HFT invited Jeff Tann-- car enthusiast and former Rod & Custom editor -- to fully restore the legendary muscle car using only discount tools from Harbor Freight. The car is all original, with a 400/325-hp V8 engine, so he's basically tackling the project "from scratch."
In Part 1, we were given a tour of the original vehicle, inside and out, and presented Jeff's challenge. In Part 2, we followed the body-dismantling process and introduced the U.S. General 700 lb. Capacity 5-Drawer Rolling Tool Cart, which housed the Pittsburgh Professional 301-Piece Mechanic's Tool Kit. Also in this segment, we saw how Jeff made quick business of the job with a Central Pneumatic 3/8" Professional Air Ratchet and 1/4" Mini Air Ratchet Wrench.
This time we follow Jeff as he lifts the engine, using a 2-Ton Capacity Foldable Shop Crane. It's probably the first time the 45-year-old engine's been taken out since it was on the assembly line, so it's not gonna be pretty. Jeff then removes the tranny from the engine with a Central Pneumatic 1/2" Twin Hammer Air Impact Wrench before he mounts it on the Central Machinery 1000 Lb. Engine Stand, and proceeds to take it apart.
A Central Hydraulics Pickup Truck Crane is like a smartphone (girlfriend? TiVo?): For years you've managed without one, but once it came into your life, you can't imagine going on without it.
This brute lifter mounts to your truck bed-- or other solid base-- swivels 360 degrees and can lift up to 1,000 lbs! Lift scrap metal, firewood, motors, heavy machinery, beehives and more. It's a favorite tool among Harbor Freight customers and, rather than me going on pitching the sucker, I'll let them tell you how awesome it is:
"Bought it and put it in my Dodge to make it easier to load scrap... does a very good job lifting motors and scrap metal, in and out of my truck."
How about for at the dock?
"I mounted this to the stern of my boat to lift my dingy and motor out of the water. It is perfect for this job. I also had it powder coated for corrosion.This is the best buy I've made in a long time. Thanks Harbor Freight."
Or transporting heavy equipment?
"Bought this crane and mounted it to my welding trailer about two or three years ago, and about a month ago I used it for the first time to lift my engine-driven welder off the trailer. The crane works very well. Very happy with it."
A common modification is to switch out the manual winch with an electric one, such as the Badlands 12-Volt 2,000 lb. model...
"This works great on my log splitter. Put an electric winch on it and makes job much easier. Also made base for trailer to load big wood on it."
...or adding an electric hoist, like the Best Value Chicago Electric 1,300 lb. Electric Hoist:
"I bought this truck crane & mounted it to my 9' deck behind my house to raise loads of firewood off the ground. Reconfigured it with an electric hoist and built 2 wooden boxes for the lift. The crane mounts through the floor near the deck railing & with the proper angle swivels out and clears the rail. My wife operates the winch from above. While I'm loading the lower box from the woodpile she's unloading & stacking the other load to the deck woodpile. What a backsaver. Great product for the money!!!"
Whatever your load, the Central Hydraulics Pickup Truck Crane at Harbor Freight will make your life a whole lot easier.
Working in the garage is always therapeutic—until you find yourself with a three-person job, and the only guy who answers to you is… you. And, more often than not, that usually involves lifting something heavy. I can give you three reasons why a 1-Ton Telescopic Gantry Crane is a lifesaver in the restorer’s—and any project man’s-- garage:
- It provides a strong, stable lifting platform.
- The I-beam height adjusts from 8’ to 12-1/2’, ensuring its capability in various situations.
- It’s got your back (literally) when you’re trying to single-handedly lift, load or unload heavy objects.
Add a 1-Ton Push Beam Trolley, and the Telescopic Gantry Crane is one of the best investments a lone hobbyist or gear head can make.
It’s funny how, as you get older, you start doing all the cool stuff you wanted to do when you were a punk teenager. Back in the 70’s we were all car crazy, and many’s the time I envied the guys in the neighborhood who were out on their front lawns, working on their Dodge Challengers or GTO “Goats”—
—not just because they HAD them (which would have been enough), but because they could actually work on them. Somehow, they managed to have the tools and supplies it took to keep their wheels “cherry.” Nowadays, though, when you hear (and feel) a carb-powered 426 Hemi thundering down the road, it’s a geezer you’re more likely to see behind the wheel than a punk. And chances are that geezer is one of us.
Classic car restoration is more popular than ever, and with the help of online parts stores, chat forums and YouTube videos, guys who thought they’d never get to rebuild their favorite classic rides are now living in their garages (and on their lawns), doing just that.
If you’ve decided to restore a vehicle yourself, I salute you. Not only will you save thousands of dollars, you’ll be embarking on a long, challenging-- even therapeutic-- journey that will reap dividends for years to come. But before we start doing that victory lap to “We Are the Champions,” let me suggest some basic tools you’ll want right out of the gate to make the dream a reality (unless, of course, you like repeatedly going back & forth to the store when you’re in the middle of something):
The Must-Have Tool
The Air Compressor will quickly become your best friend over the course of your restoration. It’s the first thing you’ll need to get for your arsenal. Between the Die Grinder, Paint Sprayer and Impact Wrench, you’re going to get a lot of use out of it and, believe me, you’ll thank yourself every time you’ve got a big chore that you don’t have to do manually. It needs to have a decent enough CFM—at least 5-6 CFM per minute at 90 psi-- so that the long bursts of sanding, buffing or cutting won’t wear too hard on the compressor. You could get the job done with a 29-Gallon Tank Unit, but if you can swing it, go for a 60-Gallon Compressor, with power to spare. By the way, the Die Grinder is great for polishing the inside of the head ports, cleaning up metal and using with a cut-off wheel to repair panels.
A Compression Tester will help diagnose vital motor issues, such as worn piston rings, burnt valves and bad head gaskets. This is a great first tool to use when you get your new project car home. You can even take it with you to test a car before you buy it!
While it’s not vital for the project, you may want to consider picking up a “cherry-picker” Engine Hoist, especially if you’re planning to restore more than one vehicle. A good 2-Ton Shop Crane should be sufficient, and will more than pay for itself in the long run.
Most likely, you should have the cylinders re-bored. A cylinder bore gauge is needed to check for taper, out-of-round and oversize on the cylinders if you are rebuilding the motor yourself. Any critical wear on the cylinder can be reached with this gauge. An Engine Cylinder Hone will de-glaze the cylinder walls and give them a nice, smooth finish.
Next, you’ll want a valve spring compressor to remove the valves for a rebuild. Also a cheap valve lapping tool, with grinding compound, helps reseat the valves.
Piston Ring Pliers will help you remove and replace the rings on the pistons without breaking them. A Piston Ring Compressor is needed for the installation of the pistons. Also, a piston groove cleaner will remove the carbon crud from the piston grooves.
A Dial Indicator is used to measure run-out on things like the flywheel, and endplay on the crankshaft. While there are various types of mounts, including magnetic base and screw mounts, I recommend the clamping mount because it’s faster and easier to work with.
Next, a Stud Puller is a must for removing stripped, rusted and otherwise stubborn head studs, as well as exhaust & intake manifold studs.
Have a complete Tap and Die Set on hand, preferably with both SAE & metric. You’ll find this invaluable for cleaning up old bolts and restoring rusted holes.
A good Digital Micrometer is needed to precisely measure anything.
MIG Welder. You won’t get through a restoration job without it. Why a MIG welder, as opposed to another type? Well, for starters, if you’re new to this kind of project, the MIG is the easiest to learn. Also, they work with the most common types of metals, overhead welding is easier, and the MIG welder works fast.
You’ll also want a Hammer & Dolly Set, otherwise known as a “Body & Fender Set.” These tools go a long way in repairing and straightening steel panels, and all-around custom fab work. This one, made by Pittsburgh, probably has the best price you’re going to find, and one look at the customer reviews should convince you there’s no need to keep looking.
A Step Drill is essential to make quick, clean work out of drilling large diameter holes for auto-body jobs such as installing chrome trim, and for firewall holes.
As you work on your project, you’ll find a Bench Grinder and Drill Press are extremely helpful in the auto restoration process. Plus, a Wire Wheel on the grinder is a must and makes cleaning up parts quick and simple.
Finally, get a Creeper, Paint Stripper, Transmission Jack, Dent Repair Kit, and a Comprehensive Mechanics Tool Kit, and you’ll be equipped to tackle most everything involved in your car restoration, as well as many other future projects. Of course, you’ll inevitably be needing cleaners, sealants, lubricants and the odd part along the way, but consider yourself the proud owner of an equipped auto restoration garage.