So you wanna fix mowers, huh? Good for you . Truth be told, there are a lot more small engines out there today than there are qualified technicians to work on them. And believe me, when your generator or your chainsaw goes belly up, you’ll wish you could just take it in the garage and whip it back into shape… or shoot it. Check local ordinances on that one before putting your plan into action.
So, it stands to reason that when it comes to fixing stuff, the first thing we want to take a look at is the right tools for the job.
Go to any local repair shop and ask the technician what tools he thinks you’ll need and he’ll happily drop a Snap-on tool catalog on the work bench and start thumbing through. I swear, it’s like writing a Christmas list for a six year old. They want everything!
I want a new Flexible Gas Analyzer! I want a new four inch lathe style ridge reamer! I want a pony and my own room! And who can blame them. I mean, we’ve all needed a good 2-jaw, 6 ton slide hammer type puller, right ?
Now, this is not meant to be an all encompassing list of every tool you could ever possibly need. This is just a quick look at some basic tools that should get you up and running.
Let’s ratchet this thing up!
A good set of ratchets or ratchet wrench are essential. Most engines built in the US are standard measurements, but many small engines are built by our industrious friends in the far east, so having a decent set of metrics is a good idea as well. It won’t hurt to have more than one 3/8″ socket on hand; you’ll use that more than the others. If you want to get really thorough, a set of shallow well and deep well sockets will come in handy, and if you’re looking to work on a wide variety of machines, then a small assortment of spark plug sockets will make your life a lot easier. And since we’re talking about sockets, some extensions, a couple of breaker bars and a speed bar will keep you from sacrificing too much knuckle skin to the repair gods.
Wrenches are a must have, and if you want to get extra fancy, consider combining the best of both worlds and pick up a decent set of socket wrenches. Fast, easy and very handy.
Getting a “feel” for the job
A set of feeler gauges and a spark plug gauge will remove most of the guess work from setting tolerances.
And we’re finally down to the basics…
- A rubber mallet / hammer
- A good torque wrench
- A wire brush
- Standard pliers, needle nosed pliers and vice grips
- A good set of screwdrivers, Phillips ,flat head and star bit.
- Maybe even a few offset drivers as well.
- A set of Allen wrenches
- And a good set of small nut drivers
And if you want to get into engine rebuilding, you may find these tools to be helpful:
So, thar she blows! A little bit on putting all the little bits back together the right way. The right tools can make any job a joy, except for porta-john repair. That job “stinks” no matter what tools you use!