Over the years I have been asked by people who are going to undertake a
rebuild of a Jeep, what I might suggest to help get the project done. For
anyone undertaking a backyard mechanic I always suggest getting a few things if
you don't already have them. Get a good quality 4 1/2" angle grinder. Get plenty
of quality 1/16" cutting wheels for steel as well as some other steel cutting
wheels. Get an in-expensive MIG Welder that feeds the welding wire and get flux
shielded wire (or you can get a gas shielded model but flux core wire is cheap
and convenient). Then learn to weld safely and effectively. I found welding
relatively easy once I got the knack. I talked to a friend I have who is a
well experience welder and I asked him what makes a good weld. He gave me
some tips that I found quite useful. So it's good to talk to an expert if
you are learning to weld. Welding tutorial books can be very helpful too.
You just have to do it safely if you do it at all. Another tool that comes
in handy is a free standing drill press. A couple of good variable speed
hand drills, one that is built for speed with a 3/8" chuck and another that is
built for torque with a larger chuck for those big holes. A quality socket
set with plenty of sizes in metric and standard. Also a good variation of
wrenches on both standard and metric. Obviously the more hand tools you
have the better. These tools were the most useful tools I had in the
garage to get many custom jobs done myself.
Always be very aware of sparks in the garage and flammable things laying
around. It's always better to weld and cut outside if possible.
Don't burn your garage down and your project with it. ALWAYS have a few
decent size fire extinguishers in strategic places in your work area. Make
sure they are rated to cover types of potential fires that may occur. It's
even a good idea to have a smoke detector in the garage just in case you have a
smoldering spark somewhere. Especially if your garage is attached to your
home as mine is. I removed the beeper out of smoke detector and ran a wire
into the house to put the beeper where I could hear it.
Another tip is to find
a local metal shop. Talk to them. Ask them if they have a scrap dumpster
and tell them you are working on a project and you may occasionally need small,
various sized pieces of steel. Ask them if you could look in their scrap
dumpster occasionally. If that's not an option just ask about buying
various pieces of steel for your repairs. Don't get too picky about
getting the steel cut to the right length or drilled out or whatever.
Their time is money and if you are a pain in their backside, they'll be much
less helpful or tolerant of someone asking for free or cheap steel. But
generally speaking steel is cheap for small stuff. Scrap can be free.
I have a friend who owns a welding shop and they fabricate lots of stuff.
I'd occasionally look through the scrap dumpster, even grabbing odd shape stuff
that I didn't have a use for at the moment but ultimately I might. Many times I
did. You'd get a knack for that if you think about it.
Another suggestion is to have a digital camera on hand and take lots of
pictures. There were times I needed to go back and refer to the pictures because
I forgot how something went back together or whatever and pictures were great to
I always have plenty of spray paint and primer on hand and several extra cans
of Rustoleum gloss black, which I use a lot. I also have a small,
refillable can of mineral spirits (paint thinner) handy to clean parts, prep the
surface for paint, whatever. I keep the bulk container out in the shed.
I also have plenty of sand paper in various grades handy. I have small
bins of various sizes of grade 8 hardware, nuts bolts and washers, which I
bought at one of those supply stores (TSC is great!) that sell it by the
pound, not by the piece. I'd stop there occasionally to re-stock. I
have bins of misc stuff that I couldn't bring myself to throw away, which I look
though frequently for that thingamabobber I need. I have several tubes of
silicone sealant on hand in clear and white, which I use alot. I
keep that right next to the shelf that has all of the various liquids and strays
like the rust buster PB Blaster which is great stuff.
I found an old inner
tube out of a truck that I saved. I have used the rubber of this inner
tube for all kinds of things from seals to rubber buffers between fenders and
body as well as a buffer against the rocker panel guards. The rubber is
strong and can be cut with scissors. Very useful.
Everyone has their
list of garage tips and these were a few of mine. I'm sure there are
plenty of things I forgot to mention. If I think of more I'll post them.