One of the best things we can do as gearheads is pass along little tips and tricks to other grease monkeys. Just as the advice you got when you were a kid was meant to keep you alive (e.g. "Don't stick a knife in the toaster"), these tips are meant to make you a better mechanic. Over the years, ingenious readers have figured out a better way to do something, and they let us know about it. Some of the tips come from us here at the magazine-yeah, sometimes we actually know stuff. Plus, we had to come up with something for our model, Kodye, to do for the day. So sit back and enjoy our tech-tips blowout.
1. What's Your Handle?
If you ever do a lot of repairs, such as valve jobs or resealing intake manifolds, you can use a "handle" for lifting those awkward parts. An easy-to-make, low-cost handle can be made from old piston wrist pins when you weld various-size bolts to them. These make great T-handles to use in any standard or metric application. Just spin them in place and lift the part away easily.
New England, ND
2. Control the Spill
It's inevitable: No matter how careful you are, some oil is bound to get spilled. Instead of wasting rags mopping up the liquid, try using kitty litter. We keep a small bag of the absorbent material in the Sport Truck shop at all times just in case some of the slick stuff gets on the ground. You can also use this stuff to get out minor oil stains on concrete by grinding it in with your shoe and letting it sit overnight.
By The Sport Truck Staff
3. Hands Off The Tail
To deter tailgate theft, I installed small bolts with nuts and washers in the large part of the hole in both tailgate-retaining cables on my '98 GMC Sonoma Sportside. The gate still opens and closes just fine, but it can't be taken off unless these two bolts are removed.
Steve Newman Alamo, CA
4. Spicy Quick Fix
If you get a small radiator leak, pour approximately one tablespoon of pepper into the radiator. This will give you a cheap quick fix that will plug the leak until you can have it fixed properly.
5. Color Caps
When detailing engine compartments, one usually thinks chrome, polished aluminum, and monochromatic painted parts. Well, how about vacuum caps? You can usually buy these in an assortment of sizes and colors. They make great covers for exposed screw tips, bolt threads, and bolt heads, creating a really sano look to complement other cosmetic engine mods.
6. Can You Hear Me Now?
For those times when you're trying to hunt down an exhaust leak, you can use a length of hose as a makeshift stethoscope. With this, you'll be able to pinpoint where that annoying ticking noise is coming from and fix it. Try to use new hose. If you don't, you might end up with one dirty ear.
By The Sport Truck Staff
7. Torque Is Cheap
You can create an instant cheater handle by sliding a socket and long extension over the end of a ratchet handle. Use a deep socket that's just a bit larger than the diameter of the ratchet's handle.
Justen Cupples Pinson, TN
8. Dry And Fly
It never fails. You finish detailing your truck and you drive off only to find that trapped water has run out and left streaks and spots. If you have a shop vacuum, you can head these spots off at the pass by using the vacuum to suck the water from the mirrors, handles, and wheels. Just be careful not to scratch anything with the end of the vac.
E.L. Thornhill IV