’67 Firebird Restoration Project: Part 6 – Engine Rebuild

We’re now up to the sixth installment of the Harbor Freight Tools 1967 Firebird Restoration Project.

Recapping — HFT invited former Rod & Custom editor, Jeff Tann, to restore a First Generation Firebird using only products from Harbor Freight Tools. The car is all original with a 400/325-hp V8 engine, so he’s approaching the project from scratch.

Now in Part 6, we come to the meatiest phase of the Firebird restoration to date– the engine rebuild. The Pittsburgh Professional 1/2″ Drive Click Stop Torque Wrench is pretty much the star of the show, a multipurpose tool utilized throughout the footage. That said, check out the great details and tips employed in this installment. Chances are you’ll see a thing or two you’d like to adopt for your next project.

Whatever your labor of love, if it has to do with tools, Harbor Freight Tools has got what you need– and sends you home with extra cash in your pocket!

Enjoy– and stay tuned! There’s still tons more to come!

 

Truckin’ Magazine: The Ultimate Work Truck– with Harbor Freight Tools

The Ultimate Work Truck Stocks Up on Harbor Freight Tools

If you thought “ultimate work truck,” how do you envision it might be outfitted? The staff at Truckin’ magazine recently took up that challenge, and in their October and November 2012 issues ran a 2-part series on creating the “Ultimate Ford F-150 Work Truck”– with a little help from Harbor Freight Tools!

Taking a 2012 F-150 SuperCab in Part 1, they installed a cool bed slide, a monster ladder rack (capable of holding 1,000 lbs) and a sweet commercial-grade diamond-plate toolbox.

In Part 2, they went on a shopping spree at Harbor Freight Tools and picked up a Predator 4000 Watt Portable Generator– to which they installed a shock/motion-activated alarm in the back of the truck, lest any covetous individuals think bad thoughts– a 17 Ft. Type 1A Multi-Task Ladder as well as a full stock of tools for the toolbox:

Then to fortify their heavily-equipped new rig, they installed a ladder lock, and secured the toolbox and everything else with a myriad of cables and locks, including the hitch. The end result: a “certifiable worksite on wheels.”

Take a peek at Truckin’ magazine’s drool-inducing articles– with lots of pics– and while you’re at it, check out the low prices and great reviews of the aforementioned tools on Harbor Freight’s website!

The HFT ’67 Firebird Restoration Project: Part 2 – Disassembly!

Welcome to the second installment of the Harbor Freight Tools 1967 Firebird Restoration Project. As previously noted, HFT invited Jeff Tann– car enthusiast and former Rod & Custom editor–to fully restore the legendary muscle car using only low-priced tools sold at 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 introduced to the vehicle, inside and out, and presented Jeff’s challenge. In this segment we watch the dismantling process. As Dr. Albert Hirsch had to break down David Webb before he could build Jason Bourne, so Jeff has to take apart the old, battle-weary Firebird before he can build… a classic, hotter Firebird!

To get the ball rolling, his garage was equipped with a U.S. General 700 lb. Capacity 5-Drawer Rolling Tool Cart, which was stocked with a Pittsburgh Professional 301-Piece Mechanic’s Tool Kit. Also used in this segment, the Central Pneumatic 3/8″ Professional Air Ratchet and 1/4″ Mini Air Ratchet Wrench.

During the display, it was suggested that you should keep the bolts, nuts, washers, etc., for each portion together in ziplock bags– and who doesn’t have a horror story that supports that?

Stay tuned… the best stuff’s still ahead!

JP Magazine: Axle Upgrade with Harbor Freight Tools

If you like to play hard in your Jeep, you’ll definitely want to soup up your front axle– not exactly a light-duty job. Nevertheless, JP magazine shows us how to do just that– affordably and professionally– using tools from Harbor Freight! In an article entitled “Straight and Narrow,” in the Sep 2012 issue, JP editor Cole Quinnell takes us through the steps of getting it done in a weekend and be ready for work Monday morning. To do the job, however, Cole advises that you first need to collect a few special tools:

“In addition to the normal selection of hand tools, you’ll also need a Pickle Fork, a Ball Joint Press and a 35mm Socket to fit a spindle nut, all of which we picked up at Harbor Freight.” (capitalization added)

He added that you’ll need a decent MIG welder capable of welding 1/4″ steel. The Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder would be a quality, affordable tool for the job. Of course, gearheads across the country already know, when you’re looking to do a  heavy project, Harbor Freight’s your tool headquarters.

This is a great article for prepping your Jeep to “handle all but the most abusive off-roading on 35-inch tires”– and no one knows their stuff like JP.  So get yourself a copy of their September issue and check it out!

That’s the Gift That Keeps on Giving the Whole Year, Clark

Once again, we see how Harbor Freight is a favorite toy store for tool heads.

Recently on The Garage Journal forum, a member wrote how his boss gave him a $200 Harbor Freight gift card for his birthday, and asked what he should get with it. The replies, of course, were all over the place: 44” rolling cabinet, swivel-head ratchet, composite ratchet, and other Pittsburgh PRO ratchets, 1” belt & 5″ disc combination sander, 2-ton engine hoist, 20-ton shop press, 4”x6” horizontal/vertical metal-cutting band saw, blast cabinet3/8″ Central Pneumatic Earthquake air ratchet, cutoff discs, grinding wheels, welding gloves, dead blow hammers, cable ties, sandpaper, rip and claw hammers, magnetic LED palm-sized light, shrink tubing

It reminded me of when my Aunt Anita sent me $5 and the guys were all telling me how to blow it (“Hot Wheels!” “GI Joe!” “Silly Putty!”).

The lucky birthday boy ended up getting the US General 700 Lbs. Capacity Five Drawer Tool Cart–which has a 4.5-star rating with 112 reviews and, by the way, costs exactly $199.99! Then he created a dead-serious custom welder cart with it (and did a damn fine job)!

How would you spend YOUR $200 Harbor Freight gift card?

 

Car Restoration Tools Every Garage Needs

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.

Engine Work

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.

Another tool you cannot live without is the Torque Wrench—two, actually. Get both a 1/2″ drive and 3/8″ drive for your tool cabinet. These are essential to torque all your bolts to factory specs.

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.

Body Work

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.

A Spot Weld Cutter works great in restoration projects and does just what its name implies. Also, a Plumber’s Torch is great for softening and shaping metal.

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.

Additional Work

Make sure you include various Brake Tools, a Tubing Bender and brake flare tool.

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.

Now, get out there and make that Vega Funny Car a reality!

This Quick Release Breaker Bar Won’t Break the Bank!


breaker bar

This heavy duty breaker bar is the tool to reach for when you need extra torque!

When you need high torque, a standard length socket wrench just won’t cut it.  The Pittsburgh ¾” Drive 20” Quick Release Breaker Bar (Pittsburgh SKU 98270) from Harbor Freight Tools is just the tool you need for breaking loose tight fasteners without breaking your tool budget!

This 20” long breaker bar tool is fashioned from chrome vanadium steel for durability and enables you to generate significantly more torque than any standard length socket wrench so you can power through jobs in no time!uick release mechanism on this heavy duty breaker bar makes it easy to switch between different sized sockets so you’re ready for just about any application.  Removing lug nuts and performing roadside tire replacement is made easier with a breaker bar that offers more leverage for the loosening of tight bolts. Whether you’ve got stubborn bolts or fasteners, this amazing quick-release breaker bar from Harbor Freight gets the job done quickly and easily!

Other breaker bars could easily run you double what you’ll pay for this tool at Harbor Freight.  Why spend more for the same amount of torque?  With 750 foot lbs. of maximum torque capacity, the ¾” Drive 20” long Quick Release Breaker Bar won’t bend and break under pressure like other tools.  When you need to break loose tough fasteners reach for the breaker bar that’s both powerful and affordable!

Harbor Freight Has a Bearing Puller You Can Depend on

Slide Hammer and Bearing Puller Set

When removing those tricky pilot bearings, you need a bearing puller you can really depend on

When you need to change an internal set of bearings, there’s no need to pay someone else to do this job for you. Instead, pick up a Slide Hammer and Bearing Puller Set from Harbor Freight (SKU 95987). This internal puller can turn hours of tedious work into an easy task that only takes a few seconds. With a little practice, using a slide hammer and bearing puller will become second nature. Let’s take a look at why this is the right internal puller to help you get the job done:

A Tool that Truly Pays for Itself

A typical bearing job at an auto repair shop generally costs much more, and you may need to replace these items several times if you like to keep your favorite truck for years on end. Almost every type of small engine includes one or more pilot bearings.

The Versatility of the Harbor Freight Slide Hammer and Bearing Puller Set

Once you’ve added the Slide Hammer and Bearing Puller Set to your arsenal of tools, there’s virtually no limit to what you can do. To see just how versatile this tool actually can be, take a look at this list of projects homeowners just like you have taken on with this internal puller:

  • Replace wheel bearings in a vintage motorcycle
  • Rebuild the water pump on a snowmobile
  • Replace the gimble bearings in a motor boat
  • Complete a rear-axle bearing job on a 4WD truck

Whether you enjoy browsing through the interesting selections that fill the shelves at your local Harbor Freight outlet or you prefer to do your shopping online, take a look at this Slide Hammer and Bearing Puller Set. This tool is a must-have for most types of engine or wheel repair. Why not pick up one today to make sure it’s ready and waiting for your next big project? Or check out this 3-Jaw Pilot Bearing Puller, which removes sleeve-type bearings between 3/4″ and 1-1/2″ (19mm – 38mm) inside diameter quickly and easily.

A Tap and Die Set is a Staple Addition to Your Tool Chest

tap and die set

This 40 Piece Tap and Die Set is made to provide years of dependable use

The 40 Piece Alloy Steel Tap and Die Set (SKU 39424) from Pittsburgh Tools has virtually everything you need to repair stripped threads, refresh old screws and bolts, or create new fasteners. Use the sturdy taps to manufacture new internal threads, also known as the female portion of a connecting pair, and the rugged dies to form external threads like those used on a standard screw. Although most do-it-yourselfers don’t make it a regular practice to create their own nuts and bolts from raw materials using a tap and die set, this option can come in handy when just one more item is needed to complete a project. More commonly, the tap and die tools are used when threads are stripped or when rust or other debris make it virtually impossible to reconnect the item. Here are just a few reasons why this Tap and Die Set from Harbor Freight is the best choice for your tool box:

Heavy Duty Steel Lasts for Years
Like other Harbor Freight hand tools, this 40 Piece Tap and Die Set is made to provide years of dependable use. Designed for both ease-of-use and precision, this tap and die set includes three different die and tap wrenches, a screw pitch gauge, an adjusting screwdriver, 17 different taps, and 17 different dies all enclosed in a convenient storage case.

Harbor Freight Die and Tap Sets Won’t Break Your Wallet
Best of all, this set of tap and dies is just as affordable as it is dependable. With only a few uses at critical times, this tap and die set will more than pay for itself. Instead of letting a few stripped screws ruin your day, you can rely on this set of tools to quickly make the repair so that you can complete any critical project.

The Right Tool For the Job
There’s nothing like knowing you have the right tool for the job on hand when you really need it. Although many mechanics like to keep a die and tap set on hand just in case they strip a bolt or need to machine a part on the fly, this product adds value to anyone’s tool collection. These days, almost nothing comes pre-assembled. Whether you’re putting together a bike for your child or a new computer desk for your home office, it’s not uncommon to come across an improperly tapped hole. Most of the time, this means putting up with a shoddy assembly job or taking everything apart and returning it to the store. With the right tap and die, you can solve the problem in seconds and prevent a lot of wasted time and aggravation.

And Harbor Freight also carries a pipe tap and die set too!