What's your vise?
My name is Chris, and I have a tool truck problem.
It started when I was just starting out, Snap-on truck would pull up with all the shiny chrome and bright colors. I was hooked. It started small, a ratchet here, a socket set there etc... Then it started to grow, anything Snap-on branded I needed to have. My personal vise became anything in a box. I LOVE anything in a box. If I already had most of a set individually and a box set came out, I was buying the new set. If I already had the complete kit and they now put it all in a box now, I put in a special order for the box. (OK, maybe I'm a little sick) My toolbox became stuffed with blow molded cases and boxes. As it became full, I got bigger boxes. Rinse and repeat. I now have a toolbox that literally goes from floor to ceiling stuffed with tools sitting in my garage, as I am no longer in a shop.
Am I complaining? HELL NO!
I believe that most mechanics have the belief that he who dies with the most tools wins. I sure do. I get a warm fuzzy feeling when I open my wrench drawer. The sea of chrome is comforting to me.
My first purchase that I was most proud of was my Red Brick. I bought it brand new in the early 2000's and it signified the start of my journey as a diagnostician. I'll never get rid of it, it is my go-to with pre-OBD2 vehicles. Plus, partially due to my addiction, I can never throw away a tool.
My question to you is: Do you feel the same way? How did it start for you? Which purchase are you most proud of? Which ones, if any, do you regret. Pics are a plus!!
I look forward to seeing your responses.
My first scanner was the Bosch KTS300. I got it right after it came out in 1989. In the euro field scanner offerings were behind domestics, but I bought a clone MB SDS in 1999 because MB wouldn't sell the real thing. I did buy the real thing in 2006 when they became available. I was probably most proud of my BMW GT1 that I purchased for $17000 in 2002, right after BMW decided to sell to the aftermarket. I have always been most proud of my factory diagnostic testers, but I dreamed my whole career of having a chassis dyno which I finally paid $50,000 cash for in 1994. That was the top, but unfortunately after desiring it for 20 years or more I didn't listen to wise men who advised against it. My desire was to be able to create drive conditions in the shop so that I could apply all the great tools under any condition. The Dyno was called the Clayton Virtual Test Track. By the time I had it all set up, diagnostics had mostly gone onboard. By the early next century I regretted buying it more than any other investment, I had ever made. Clayton is now out of business and even though it still works, we have it covered with some heavy aluminum sheets and we work on top of it. It comes out every couple years.
Being a Mercedes Benz specialist I have always been most proud of all our MB tools but mostly the three SDSs that have been made obsolete through the years. First the Star Basic, which lasted till 2009, then the Compact4 which was replaced at the end of 2015, and currently the Xentry Connect with Tablet. The last two were about $25,000 a piece. They have made me a fortune and allowed me to sell my share of the business and semi retire when I hit 66. The business and its sale have made me a multi millionaire.
I've had to a tool truck self intervention, especially when I realized I was spending more on what I wanted, than what I needed. Every now then I'll have an occasional fix, but never more than what would be considered irresponsible. So I'm a recovering tool truck addict, I guess one could say.
I don't have every tool, nor the best but they get the job done.
My proudest purchase is my humble scope and all related accessories.
My least proud purchase I would say is the Matco MT2858A. It's impractical, expensive, and weak. It's been repaired twice, and still has problems.
Tools and equipment are the things you truly enjoy about the job, and I believe it's a mark of every tech that loves what they do.
I regret buying my Snap-on 3/8 electric impact gun with the big battery. Had it rebuilt once and still had no power. I bought the 3/8 small batter gun and it blows it away. I now have this big-ass gun with a special battery that sits there useless in my box.
.Holy crap Chris. Are u talking about the Ct88110a. This is the worse gun ever and my tool I regret ever buying. I too had to get it repaired and first time use it had some balls then the second try no balls. Just use it here and there for stupid stuff. Waisted of money
I suffer from the addiction too. Lately it has been less chrome and more silicon... diag tools are just as addicting :-)
I have always been proud to have the right tool for the job. I don't have too much of a particular brand that gets me, I have a lot of everything. Snap-on, Matco, Cornwell, SK, Gearwrench, Lisle, etc. Just a few pics attached of some of the things I am proud of. Recently I spend the time to put the Matco organizer system in, pretty proud of that.
I admire your organization. I invested in the VIM tools magnet socket system and the Blue Point adjustable wrench organizers. I love your scope drawer.
Nice collection of tools; myself, I was introduced to the love for tools and equipment with the family's Craftsman tools and then the Snap-On (brick) then the MODIS and now the Verus Pro workstation - which is cool since I get to store almost all electrical tools (power probe, tpms reset tools, etc...). My brothers and I are trying to come up with even more money/capital to get the smog machine, alignment machine, new lifts, etc... and continue the automotive repair journey.
I will say the last 5 years of actively turning wrenches I kept payments under $200/month. Never did take the plunge on a overpriced box. Almost did several times. My train 'o boxes holds the stuff just fine.
LAB SCOPES...…My wife asked me once 'How many Lab Scopes do you have"???? At the time I had 13 of them, She asked me why I needed 13 Lab Scopes ? I told her they were like Potato Chips, You CAN'T just have one !!!! I then reminded her that she had a PIANO...…Her response was " Why do I try to have intelligent conversations with you"?? BTW - I'm down to only 7 Lab Scopes now, I must be in the Recovery Phase ;-)
No, what it sounds like is that you have a couple empty slots...
Nineteen ninety six. Set of three Snap-On knuckle spanners (wrenches) 10, 12, 14mm, in a vinyl pouch. Was a revelation! Been an addict since.
My Vise is Diagnostic Equipment. I have purchased scan tools to do one task before. Every time I think I have what I need the OEMs come out with another tool or another process that needs to be addressed. Interesting though, I do not own anything from Snap On. Almost everything else under the rainbow including many OEM tools.
vise - a metal tool with movable jaws that are used to hold an object firmly in place while work is done on it, typically attached to a workbench. LOL
I'll post pictures tomorrow. But my most recent purchases are a Snap On Apollo, the new thermal imager, a few new amp clamps for my Vantage Ultra. I had just recently bought a matching diag cart to my mater series box. I don't really have any hobbies per say, but buying tools must count right?!?! Most of my stuff is snap on, That being said it is because of the relationship I have with him and now no other tool guys come to the shop. I am now a dealership tech, but I did do indy shops for the first part of my career, I love having what I need when a non-gm product walks in the door.
Hello Andrew, How do you like the new Apollo? Do you know if its possible to preset graph parameters so it doesn't auto range. The shop I work for owns a Zeus and a solus edge. I know the Zeus allows you to go in and set the graph parameters, if the solus edge has that capability I haven't figured out how to use it. I cannot stand auto ranging graphs.
ps I really enjoy following along with your case studies thanks in advance Scott
I got a horrible confession to make... I've owned it about 2-3 weeks and have used it 2 times. I've been so crazy busy with transmission stuff the last few weeks that I just have not had the time to play around. If I get some free time today I will pull it out and see and report back.
Thank you on the case studies. I got some learning/changes to make to them but I like the idea of this forum being able to go back one day and find them. Being I am in the dealership a lot of the time it may be a few years before a lot of you other guys see some of this stuff.
I spent about 10.5 years working for ford stores, when they starter cutting labor times to save money on all the recalls I left and went to a large independent. it has been like stepping in a time machine. Here I am used to working on newer vehicles and now I rarely see one with under 100k or newer than 2012 or 2013
I might not have as many hand tools as the rest of the guys in the shop, but I have what I need to get through the majority of jobs. I ended up buying a lot of equipment that most would expect the shop to own. The boss started another location and so our shop diag tools got split up. I was tired of not knowing where something was, so I just bought my own. It will serve me well when I leave since any place I go will just need to provide me with a hoist and I'll pretty much have everything else I need. If I get the full time teaching job I'm after, my home shop will be very well equipped for anything I need to do, whether helping neighbors out with vehicle issues, to taking on impossible-to-diag stuff from other shops, to maintaining my fleet of my other vice, Volkswagens...
I also have bought a large majority of my own diagnostic equipment. If I ever leave where I am currently employed I don't want to suffer from not having the tool to do the job. Lately I have been concentrating on OEM stuff.
I regret buying a Snap-on tool box. It's just a box that holds tools. It doesn't make me any money. It just sits there. I could have bought just about any other box and been fine.
Tools I liked when I worked at an all makes shop: Snap-on ball joint press, Snap-on scanner, Snap-on air hammer, Snap-on 3/8" impact. Basically, any strong and powerful tools that get the job done fast without breaking!
Tool organization will help you make money because you can quickly put your hand on the tool you are looking for at the time
Yes, but a $3,000 box organizes tools just like a $10,000 box. ☺️ I don't need a heavy duty box. It just sits there. I'm not rolling it around the shop.
Buy used and you get the high end box for a fraction of the cost. I bought my Snap On KRSC46 tool cart for $600, I think it's almost $2k new. Best tool cart I've had
My name Michael and I'm a tool addict.
Chris we are the same on this topic. My 1st tool purchase was a Snap On pocket screw driver. Back in 94. I hated the ones they gave us for free with the little magnet on it because I kept loosing them on the A pillar when I would lean into a car. After I purchased the snap on, I can't function without it so I have backup ones in my box incase my morning was a fire drill and I left it at home.
After leaving the industry in 08 I went to work as a millwright for a local cedar mill and was injured in 2010. While being benched by my dr and was recovering at home, my box was depleted by a thief and 75% of my tools where stolen and with no insurance or proof besides empty drawers coming back into the industry in Jan of 2012 I had to rebuild.
There are tools I will never own again that I still miss but on the brighter side coming back into the industry I decided to take a different approach. I hit the diagnostic side and never stopped.
My first big purchase was the Solus Edge and the Vantage Ultra. I wanted a companion scope instead of just buying the verus pro.
My first scope purchase was a game changer for me and it was by far my best purchase because it t opened up a whole new world for me.
Now I own a little one channel I got for cheap from Matco that I use as a quick injection or coil control testing tool if I'm doing some quick checks out in the parking lot on a no start.
My 2 channel vantage and also a 4 channel verus pro I got for a heck of a price from my snap on dealer.
Plus my shop had that pico up in the loft I found collecting dust as no one even knew it was there as the ownership had changed hands before I was hired. Learning this tool is my current studies.
Back into the hardware. I still get all warm and fussy with chrome, lol. Cant not buy a new set when prices are right.
Still love pneumatic gear but I'm getting pretty use to my battery powered gear that I originally purchased for interior work but now has evolved into even my heavy line work.
I think one blessing about my tool accounts are that my bride understands them. She was a tech herself so the understanding is there. Shes even had my tool dealers deliver tools I didn't order because she knows I am in need of it and she would swing the budget and surprise me with it. But like Jim Morton stated in his comment about his bride asking how many scopes does he need, I've heard the same question. I just asked in return, do I need to go through the kitchen and see how many duplicates we have in the cabinets. Lol, ya dont do that. HA.
She prompted me to buy a new tool box a few years back as I was working out of a Kobalt stainless double stack that my boss helped me upgrade to from my craftsman boxes. It was a year old at the time and little did I know she had her eyes on my kobalt box for her cake decorating equipment. Now that box is in my kitchen. Lol.
Chris i am in the same boat as you are. I have a huge box with lots of chrome that I keep in my garage for when I want to do the occasional mechanical jobs. Even though I am a mobile diag tech these days I still get an itch to get my hands dirty. Since I have been buying tools since my career started I don't think I will ever sell my tools. Worked hard for many years to collect them. Alot of skinned knuckles went into them. Now if I can just tone it down abit with the diagnostic tool buying I would be in good shape...lol