('14+) What tools to acquire for basic DIY? - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 04:18 AM Thread Starter
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What tools to acquire for basic DIY?

Hello folks,

Now I am going to get my feet wet in basic maintenance of my Forester. I have a few tools like wrench, screwdrivers etc, but don't have jacks, ratchets or sockets. I don't want to spend top $$ on this stuff but just enough for me to get by with basic maintenance. Preferably, I would like to buy kits instead of individual pieces. Does anyone have recommendations?

I checked Harbor Freight. They have good jacks and sets but not too sure which one I should. If you have specific recommendations, I welcome the links.

Many thanks in advance.

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post #2 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 04:27 AM
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Try the Torin jack black 10 pc garage set. They have included jacks and creeper.


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post #3 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 04:52 AM
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I have a Harbor Freight low profile aluminum "racing" jack I've used for years. Jack stands from NAPA and HF... as stands are mandatory anytime the wheels are off the ground.

Small inexpensive tool sets that include everything you'll need for basic maintenance are available from a wide variety of sources... just shop where tools are sold, you'll find one that fits your needs and pocket. I'd also highly recommend a torque wrench... if for nothing else than ensuring your lug nuts are properly tightened. Failure to do so, or relying on others, can result in multiple issues from bad brakes to loose wheels.

Doing your own routine maintenance is, to me, one of the things that comes with ownership.
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post #4 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 05:57 AM
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Above tips all good. Add an inspection mirror, about 2" diameter, mounted on an extension wand, and its mate, a magnet picker-upper; these found in sets. Goggles.
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post #5 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 06:11 AM
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some random thoughts off the top of my head. being someone that used to rely on parents/siblings having a nice amount of tools...then i moved out, and found myself staring at a scissor jack, a crappy 25pc tool set, and a handful of misc open end wrenches....so has been working to improve it....for my own DIY needs.

must haves (usually can be grabbed in kits):
- subarus "like" nuts and bolts that need 8, 10, 12, 14, 17, 18, and 19mm. usually a basic 25-50 pc set will have you covered. 1/4" and 3/8" drives are enough.
- crescent wrenchs. one skinny, and one that opens to like an inch.
- pass thru socket set. i have one like the one linked. when looking at different ones...keep in mind that socket size range that you need....( Husky 3/8 in. Drive Universal Pass-Thru Set (28-Piece)-HUVTHRU28PC - The Home Depot. sometimes they even come in handy not for their intended use...but purely when you need two of the same size socket, to be used at once....and an open end and/or crescent wrench wont do.
- allen key set
- jack stands/floor jack. after using ones from other misc locations...finally found some i like/didnt crap out after a couple months...at Pep Boys ("Big Red" brand). not to costly, and a couple variants and combos to fit your wallet.

...some other, more random, things to consider....that you usually have to buy individually...but can save your butt when you have the car up in the air, and run into a dead end...
- a light of some kind
- one of those extendable magnets
- torque wrench (preferably one that can cover like 20-120 ft/lbs)
- some misc individual sockets...if they didnt come in your kit. extended ones in 12, 14 and 17mm.
- 10, 12, 14 and 17mm open end wrenches.
- a 2-3ft piece of metal pipe with a big enough opening in the end, to fit over your 3/8" drive socket wrench. (the "breaker" bar idea youll see mentioned on here a lot). maybe even the handle of your floor jack if youre lucky?
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post #6 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks folks for quick responses.

@bingow ,
I understood what you mean by magnet picker-upper, but whats the technical term for it to search?
I found one of these, 24" 2-in-1 Pickup Tool, same one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FXTerrific View Post
some random thoughts off the top of my head. being someone that used to rely on parents/siblings having a nice amount of tools...then i moved out, and found myself staring at a scissor jack, a crappy 25pc tool set, and a handful of misc open end wrenches....so has been working to improve it....for my own DIY needs.
Thanks for a very specific information. This is exactly what I was looking for. I know I need tools but which one exactly and what size was baffling. I watched many videos on YouTube but things were not crystal clear. This info is immensely helpful. So Thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FXTerrific View Post
must haves (usually can be grabbed in kits):
- subarus "like" nuts and bolts that need 8, 10, 12, 14, 17, 18, and 19mm. usually a basic 25-50 pc set will have you covered. 1/4" and 3/8" drives are enough.
Any of the following what you are referring to?
DEWALT 1/4 in. and 3/8 in. Drive Socket Set (34-Piece)-DWMT73804 - The Home Depot
or
Stanley 3/8 in. and 1/4 in. Drive Socket Set with Ratchets (123-Piece)-STMT71652 - The Home Depot
or
Stanley Mechanics Tool Set (145-Piece)-STMT71653 - The Home Depot
All these look like Husky's set you linked below so I am not too sure if I am understanding correctly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FXTerrific View Post
- crescent wrenchs. one skinny, and one that opens to like an inch.
Should I get a set that goes from 6" to 12", like, 4 Pc Adjustable Wrench Set or just one 15mm adjustable wrench? What is preferred? I have a 6" adjustable wrench in another set I got for some home DIY.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FXTerrific View Post
- pass thru socket set. i have one like the one linked. when looking at different ones...keep in mind that socket size range that you need....( Husky 3/8 in. Drive Universal Pass-Thru Set (28-Piece)-HUVTHRU28PC - The Home Depot. sometimes they even come in handy not for their intended use...but purely when you need two of the same size socket, to be used at once....and an open end and/or crescent wrench wont do.
I will get this Husky set and other misc items you and others suggested.

Thanks again for all suggestions.
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post #7 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyJohn View Post
Thanks for a very specific information. This is exactly what I was looking for. I know I need tools but which one exactly and what size was baffling. I watched many videos on YouTube but things were not crystal clear. This info is immensely helpful. So Thanks.

Any of the following what you are referring to?
DEWALT 1/4 in. and 3/8 in. Drive Socket Set (34-Piece)-DWMT73804 - The Home Depot
or
Stanley 3/8 in. and 1/4 in. Drive Socket Set with Ratchets (123-Piece)-STMT71652 - The Home Depot
or
Stanley Mechanics Tool Set (145-Piece)-STMT71653 - The Home Depot
All these look like Husky's set you linked below so I am not too sure if I am understanding correctly.
Any of those would do (as in looks like they have the "right" range of sockets youd need, imo). sets that come with stuff in addition to purely sockets and the wrench, are nice as well....especially with normal sockets, deep sockets, etc etc. Craftsman makes some nice combos, in varies sizes (as far as how many pieces in the kit)...and i actually just got a set on Amazon not to long ago. love it! The set i got was much bigger...but they have smaller sets, which would be plenty fine usually. This was one of the first to pop up, so just as an example:
https://www.amazon.com/Craftsman-108...tsman+tool+set

The husky set i linked are a little different then a "normal" socket set. they help you in the occasional sticky situation...where a conventional socket wrench wont really work... like these couple pictures


(but also work well for normal socket wrench jobs)....
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyJohn View Post
Should I get a set that goes from 6" to 12", like, 4 Pc Adjustable Wrench Set or just one 15mm adjustable wrench? What is preferred? I have a 6" adjustable wrench in another set I got for some home DIY.
i was moreso referring to how far the "jaw" can open ...like this:


i often need one that will open pretty far, like more then a full 1"...but then that same one is too thick....like this -
)
to use in some applications. where youd want a thinner one.


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post #8 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 09:36 AM
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The only thing I can really add as a suggestion: Try to find 6 point sockets (the shape you see when you look into the socket has 6 points). They are much less likely to round off your nuts and bolts than 12 point sockets.
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post #9 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 09:39 AM
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that^^^ for sure. another plus to a bigger/more piece tool set, like i was trying to get at in my most recent post. youll get both (sometimes).


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post #10 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 09:44 AM
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@Fate made a great point on the torque wrench. i overlooked them for a long time. way too long. but purely out of being bullheaded...and not really caring, on previous cars. boy has my mind been swayed since i started using one. (that and i have kids in the car now...lol. who cares about my safety, lol)

if it helps, i grabbed this one:
https://www.craftsman.com/products/c...ench-1-2-drive

an (often) pair it with something like this:
Advance Auto Parts - Down for Maintenance

ive really liked the tq wrench, the 20-150 ft lbs range works well for most automotive applications. and the adapter will come in handy, if your set has primarily, or all, 3/8" drive sockets (compared to 1/2" drive...which is what this tq wrench is).



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post #11 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 09:44 AM
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@MoneyJohn , yep, that tool will work, and it seems to have grasping fingers in addition to a magnet: a good feature for nonferrous parts. EDIT: If you're shopping for some of the above suggested tools at Home Depot, you'll find similar tools, including a lighted inspection mirror.
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post #12 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 09:46 AM
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If you're going to be dealing with rust you will need some Rust Blaster WD-40 will work in some cases but get something better 4 the tough stuff.

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post #13 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 09:48 AM
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I would also get a set of pry bars various sizes Harbor Freight has a good deal on those. Also don't forget loaner tools at local parts stores in case you run anything difficult.

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post #14 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 11:26 AM
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The above are great suggestions. When it comes to socket sets, watch for a sale on Sears Craftsman sets. They work well and are reasonably priced (particularly when on sale). After the basic metric set (sockets, extensions, handles), I would purchase a few deep sockets. They are more useful to me than pass-through sockets. You don't need every size - 10mm, 12mm and 14mm will handle most needs - get other deep sockets strictly as needed. Add in a 1/2" drive breaker bar plus a long pipe cheater.

Here's a serious cheater in use, about to loosen a strut bolt. Note the impact socket in use:



As you need additional sockets, get them individually. For example, if you plan to do a strut job, you need an impact socket to get the nuts off - the nuts are that tight. No, you don't need an impact wrench - only the socket. Impact sockets have very thick walls and are very strong. You'll put enough force on things doing a strut job to crack a regular socket (ask me how I know).

You might also get an impact socket to remove the front motor mount nuts. . . because the nuts used by Subaru are too soft, and a regular socket will will flex and tend to round them off. The forces aren't that great. . . but the nuts are cr*p.

Get metric sets of open-end wrenches and box-end wrenches. Crafstman are fine, but other brands are good, too. For hand tools, I would generally avoid Harbor Freight. It's no fun having a wrench or socket snap when you putting the muscle to it. Even with good tools, an occasional failure is going to happen.

Jacks? I have a floor jack but rarely use it. I like low ramps instead. Make yourself a set out of 1x6's or 2x6's or something similar. For many operations (e.g. oil changes), you need to reach under the vehicle . . . but not crawl under. Low ramps are very handy for this.



I had a set of car stands but rarely used them. They started rusting so I passed them on to a relative (who I do not like). Back at home, a simple way to support a raised vehicle is to use short sections of 4x4 post. 12" sections are fine, but the length is not critical. In the following picture, the vehicle was raised using the on-vehicle jack, then supported by 4x4 blocks. BTW, Lowes or Home Depot will cut a 4x4 post however you want it (e.g. 12" sections).



Your on-vehicle jack is very handy. I've got an extra one (not sure where it came from - maybe left-overs from a Toyota that was totaled or ??). You might try the on-vehicle jack before springing for a floor jack. Either way, if you plan to crawl under the vehicle, you need to support it properly (or be sure your life insurance is paid up).

----------

One more thing you might find handy: Get a 16" piece of 1/2" iron pipe - either galvanized or black is fine. Store this in your vehicle trunk for roadside emergencies - as a cheater for your on-vehicle lug wrench. The on-vehicle lug wrench is handy and the wrench socket end fits the lug nuts properly. But the handle is very short. . . and this cheater pipe is the 'fix'. I usually use this wrench/cheater combo when working on tires in the garage.
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post #15 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 05:23 PM
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big pieces of cardboard from like a refridgerator box. makes the ground more comfortable in case you have to worm around a bit underneath and maybe a square of thick carpet for knealin on.
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