Specialist Tools

There are a huge range of specialist tools on the market some of these are either essential or very usefull during some maintenance procedures.

3D Printers

A 3D printer

Rapidly becoming a must have tool for customisers, these can be used to print bespoke parts for projects. even if the material is too week for some applications, it an excelent way to prototype before going to the machine shop.

I have personaly used the Rapman and Makerbot 3D printers to good effect, although both have reliability issues. CEL are currently working up a very interesting printer that solves some of the issued connected with print quality and reliability. Check out the CEL Robox.

Review of the RapMan 3.1

Body work tools

If your planning to work on the body of a car there are loads of tools to help although many are seldom worth investing in because you will rarely use them, consider rental or befrending a local body shop.

Spot weld drills

a spotweld drill bit Cheep and very usefull for removing metal that has been spot welded togeather, the centre spike is ajustable so the drill does not go right through the work. The teath then drill arround the spot weld releaseing the welded metal.

Spot welder

spot welder Quite a specific welder designed to weld thin metail togeather buy melting small spots of the two metals togeather. It is not very versitile but it is good at what it does. Different probes can be purchased to work arround box sections.

Pannel hammers

pannel hammers In the right hands pannel hammers can work wonders on dammaged bodywork, however it takes years of practice to master these and in many cases it is often cheeper and quicker to replace a dammaged pannel completely.


polisher Finishing a paint job to a mirror finish requires polishing compound a polisher and a good eye. Over polishing can be as bad as none at all. These tools are great for speeding up the process and achieving consistant results but care must be taken not to over do it or burn the paint.

Paint Gun

spray gun

Paint guns come in two different kinds, gravety fead guns (as pictured) and suction fead. Personaly i prefir the gravety feed but its really a personal preference.

Using compressed air with these guns requires an inline filter, otherwise water and possably oil from the compressor will enter the line and mess up the job.

Underseal gun

underseal gun After repairing the underside of a car or on older cars with poor underbody protection applying a coat of underseal is a good idea. However its a horrid messy business. Getting a good even finish can be quickly achieved with an underseal gun. Take care to keep the gun warm, constant use with compressed air will chill the gun and cause the underseal to clogg up the gun.

Waxoil Gun

waxoil gun

An excelent product. This system is a great way of spraying wax oil in to all the box sections of a car, this can literaly add years to the life of the cars metal. The kit comes with different attachments and grommets to cover any holes you may need to drill to get in to those hard to reach places.

Tip: do not use the highstreet waxoil they are terrible! Use a good quality product like Dinotrol. These will coat your car well and not melt in the hot summer months like some other products, they also come packaged in Schutz cartrages which attach directly to this gun or you can pore it in to the bottle provided.


Engine & Gearbox tools

Valve lapping

vavle lapping set

When reconditioning cylinder heads valves seats often need a small amount of grinding to ensure a air tight seal. In there most basic form these tools are basicaly a dod of wood with a sucker on the end. Grinding paste is then applyed to the valve and seat, then the valve is worked left and right with the lapping tool. It can take some time, especialy as modern engines have up to five valves per cylinder, but results can be well worth the effort.

Garrages have power versions that speed up the job however unless you do it every day its not worth it, and you have to be more cairful not to over do it.

Valve Spring Compressor

valve spring compressor

If you plan to rebuild a cylinder head then you will need a valve spring compressor to remove the valves. They are held in place by springs with two collets on top, to remove the collets the springs are compressed with this tool.

There are a huge variety of valve spring compressors, take care to purchase one that will be compatible with your cylinder head. More care in tool selection should be taken if you have a head with more than two valves per cylinder. These heads are more complex and may need different attachments to access all valves.


Piston Ring Expander

piston ring tool

When handeling piston rings its handy to use a tool like this. Trying to install rings over a piston with out a tool like this will at best invovle a lot of stress and perhaps loosing it as it pings accross the room. At worst you could end up dammaging the ring by accedently twisting it.

The tool expands the ring whilst keeping it in the correct shape, allowing you to concentrate on passing it over the piston. If your planning on rebuilding your engine this is an essential tool.

Piston Ring Compressor

piston ring compressor Installing pistons in to there bores requires a ring compressor to ensure the rings are not dammaged in the process. Its a simple tool tighten round the piston then slowly tap the piston down in to the bore.

Piston Ring grinder

piston ring file Piston rings don't always come cut to the correct size, if they need to be sized accordingly this tool takes a small amount of material from the ring. They dont need alot of material removed, but they need enough to ensure as they heat up and expand there is some room for this to happen. Piston kits usualy have a guide to how much needs to be taken of depending on the situation.

Locking tools

locking tools example

Locking tools are usualy inserted in to the engine to stop it turning during servicing of the cam belt. Most modern engines accept some kind of locking tool.
Engines that do have locking tools are often because they are essential to stop the engine turning as you install the new belt. Performing the job without these tools is not generaly a good idea. These tools can be very expensive and can be more expensive than paying for the whole job to be done at a garrage.


pullers Pullers are often necessary when removing old wheel barings or during gearbox rebuilds. However it is often a hit and miss process finding a puller that will do the job. Often generic pullers will be too poorly cast or just too big to get under small lips. A good selection of pullers is often the only way to be assured of success.

Clutch Alignment tool

clutch alignment tool When renewing a clutch it is essential to centre the friction disk centraly so that the gearbox splines slide in to the centre of the friction disk. This tool can be used to assist you in that process. It's not essential, in many cases eyes are the only tool you will need.