For me, it’s probably this Snap-On Ratchet. I would imagine that this is probably from the 1950’s, though I’m not entirely sure. It’s got some old blue patina on it, and looks like it could tell some great stories. It’s too bad that tools can’t talk. So what’s in your tool box?
It’s a known fact that working on cars can instantly turn good intentions into horrifying mistakes. You know, like when you snap a piece off of your plastic radiator by accident, when you spend an entire day failing at everything, or when you light yourself on fire. Yes, it’s times like these when you just want to roll your entire tool box into a giant smelting-hot volcano. Within minutes, your arsenal of tools collected over decades would be nothing but a gooey ball of liquid hot magma. Then you would never have to touch a stupid wrench again. Sadly, most of us don’t live near a liquid hot magma filled volcano, and if we did, we wouldn’t have the strength to push a tool box to the summit. So, we are forced to find viable solutions to these horrific mistakes as we wrench our way into the sunset.
This brings me to bleeder screws. OMG! But how?! Well, I am fairly certain that bleeder screws are the leading cause of the current economic crisis, 98% of failed marriages, and the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Bottom line, bleeders are a black hole of happiness, and they will crush your soul. The reason for this is simple. They are made of steel, which rusts, and breaks off when you desperately need it. Every. Single. Stupid. Time. Okay, fine! To be fair, it’s more of a rust thing. It isn’t the bleeder’s fault that it rusts itself solid and becomes one with the caliper. It’s the damp weather, neglect, and road salt. LOTS of road salt. Mix iron, aluminum, salt, and time together and you have a simple recipe that encourages you to push your tools into the tar pit full of Woolly Mammoths.
That being said, there is apparently a new god-like solution to rusty bleeder screws that I found on YouTube. A solution so great that Zeus himself would rub his chin with his hand, lean back, and with Shawn Connery’s voice declare “Not bad“! It’s called the “Phoenix System 4001 Brake Free”, and it may be the best $40-ish bucks that you ever spend if it works as well as it appears to in the video. If not, then you can write your favorite offensive word on it, and then heave it into the nearest river for satisfaction.
Here is the way it apparently works:
– You insert this tool into the business end of an air hammer.
– You then slide the bleeder-screw-sized impact socket onto the end of the tool.
– Place the air hammer and “Brake Free” tool onto the potentially (always) stuck, rusty bleeder screw.
– Crank up the air hammer, and then spin the “Brake Free” with a 3/4 wrench.
– BAM! The bleeder spins out without any danger, swearing, or hassle. Life is great am I right?
Now, the guy that made this video is a regular car-guy that makes videos as he works on cars. I’ve never met him, but he makes a fairly entertaining video for sure. I can’t speak for him, but I know I’m not getting paid by the tool maker to show it off. Mine is set to arrive in the mail today, so I will be sure to report back my own results, whether they are good or bad. If you decide that you are convinced by the video already, like I was, then you can buy your own over on SummitRacing.com like I did. That also happens to be where I borrowed the above image from. Anyway, as you can see in the video, the guy takes a VW brake setup from his back yard after it had been sitting ~20 years, and with the help of this tool, he pops the bleeder free on the first try. The whole thing makes no sense, and yet makes perfect sense. It is an automotive emotional roller coaster that I don’t want to end. Does it really work? Is it a scam? I will let you know in the very near future. Looks like I’ll need to find a sacrificial caliper for the cause…
Can’t see the video? Here is the Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMVV51gyoPU
The other day, our very own Scott Young was needing to remove some fancy factory striping on his 1985 Pontiac Fiero GT. Why? Well, it’s a long and complicated story. Let’s just say that he and I swapped his car from a notch back to a fast back, and we replaced a few lower body panels at the same time. Some panels had stripes, others didn’t, and it looked completely ridiculous. As much as I love stripes, even I knew they had to go. However, I also knew the dangers of removing stripes with heat and a razor blade. I have a nasty scar on my finger to prove it. 11 years later and I still cringe thinking about that hospital trip. LUCKILY! Scott found a much, much better way of handling this task than I did so many years ago. (more…)
A friend forwarded me an email this morning that he received from Lincoln Electric (The Welding Experts). In this email was the most fantastic table that mankind has ever witnessed. It is made entirely of old wrenches & engine parts. Does it get any better than that? Let me answer that for you – no, no it does not. (more…)