TDR - “How time flies when you’re having fun!”
It’s an old adage, but ever so true. It’s hard for me to comprehend that 2001 is history. Where did it go?? This has been an especially busy year for my lovely wife Diana and myself. Speaking for ourselves, time has just slipped away.
My schedule has consisted of weeks of taping new episodes of “Crank & Chrome”, attending car shows up and down the east coast and into the heartland, as well as making appearances at several industry trade shows.
Diana and I have also logged several miles on our motor coach. The Winnebago Gran Tour Ultra is our rolling office, base of operations, as well as our roadside lodge. The Cummins “B” series turbo diesel has been humming along flawlessly, pushing the big box through the air at cruising speeds in excess of most speed limits. Still delivering 12 miles per gallon of diesel fuel. I think quite a feat for 5.9 liters driving 25,000 pounds. How many of you have a 24 valve under your bed?
For many of us, the changing seasons have different meanings. This season might afford me time in the garage to work on my street rod projects, and even service Midnite. Midnite doesn’t fit all the way in my garage, but I hope to remedy that situation soon.
I thought I would utilize my exposure to a virtual cornucopia of new products and bring some of them to TDR Members. If you are familiar with my TV shows like Crank & Chrome, Shadetree Mechanic, and Hemmings My Classic Car, you surely have seen several unique and useful products advertised. There are also the useless products that we have to weed through, and I don’t talk about those.
I have the privilege of seeing some products that are not yet available, and are used in episodes taped well in advance of the availability of these items. This is a common marketing strategy also used in magazine advertisements, which require very long lead times. The plan is to execute the distribution and availability in conjunction with the publication and release of the magazine, or (in our case) the airing of the TV spot.
This is sort of a continuation of my last article in The TDR, where Robert Patton asked us to write about our favorite tools. In my humble opinion, some of the products I get introduced to are a “Perfect Fit” for enthusiasts like you and I, who like to service or upgrade our own vehicles.
Many of these products would also make great gifts if you were so inclined. I felt this way when I first used Jay’s Easy Funnel. What a neat tool that has so many uses, and can be carried in the map pocket of your truck, boat, or even RV. Available from Geno’s Garage, the Easy Funnel is a must for every garage, toolbox, and vehicle.
Now here are two tools that I found very exciting, and a great value.
The first item is a tool set packaged exclusively for NAPA Auto Parts. You may be familiar with the “GearWrench” ratcheting combination wrench. I’ve written about GearWrench before, because it really makes my life easier. In fact, I have been so excited about GearWrenches; I have given several sets to friends as gifts. Each recipient has thanked me over and over. It’s a great tool that speeds up the job, and gets into places a conventional ratchet won’t. GearWrenches are manufactured by General Tech International, a division of the Danaher Tool Group. They are marketed through Sears, Napa, Ace Hardware, and several other sources. Danaher also manufactures tools for Sears / Craftsman, NAPA, K-D, and Matco, and they know something about tools!
GearWrench has packaged a 47 piece set including six GearWrenches, several shallow and deep sockets, a 3/8” drive fine tooth quick release ratchet, some neat extensions, and two screwdrivers. The extensions are dual purpose. They are standard extensions, but a patented design allows you to transform them into “Wobble drive” extensions for off angle fasteners by simply sliding the socket forward about 1/16th of an inch. Pretty trick. Also included in the set, is an adapter that fits into a GearWrench to convert it into a low clearance ratchet that will accept several different sockets. This set will retail for $ 50.00 and fits nicely under the seat of any pick up. That’s about a buck per piece, for lifetime warrantee and professional quality. This set is only available at NAPA, or you can go to NAPA online. I already have a set, and it lives in the Dodge.
Here’s another great tool I’m excited about. It’s called the “Multitool”, from PA Products. Dave Bowman and I actually used this product during a recent taping session of Crank & Chrome. We used it to fabricate some sheet metal patch panels for our 1981 GMC Caballero project car. The MultiTool was easy to set up and use, as well as easy to change functions.
The “MultiTool” is an attachment that bolts directly to the side of most 6” or 8” bench grinders, transforming an otherwise mundane, and single purpose power tool into a multi function sander, grinder, and polisher. The belts change in about six seconds, without the need for tools, and it goes quickly from a 2” wide belt sander, to a polisher. The polishing belt set up is terrific, and I witnessed it delivering a mirror polish on an old cast iron connecting rod.
The Multitool is also a 7’ disc sander and there are optional accessories like a tilting miter table, and a sharpening jig that allows easy reconditioning of chisels, planer blades, and even screwdriver tips.
The belts are 3M products, and are readily available. This tool can be used for wood as well as metal work. You can purchase the attachment alone, or with a complete Multitool attached to a high quality “Jet” bench grinder. Either way, it’s a great addition to anyone’s workshop. Look for a New Product Review on Crank & Chrome.
I’ll be reviewing a new Digital Multimeter with some incredible features that make it easy for the novice to diagnose a whole spectrum of electrical malfunctions, including indiscriminate ground circuits. Until next issue, keep your oil clean and happy Motoring!
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