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Thread: Important tool advice..For all do it your selfers

  1. #1
    Senior Member SENIOR BUILDER
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    May 2004
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    Loganton, Pa
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    113

    Important tool advice..For all do it your selfers

    Yesterday,I received my 3 inch suspension lift kit for my 1998 Tacoma. I decided to take the kit out and try to install the front pieces then finish the rear today.Good idea,bad outcome..First, I have been working on vehicles of all types for over 35 years and I have alot of good tools. I started by jacking up the truck and placing the jackstands underneath it. I removed the shock(macspherson style spring shock) and removed it. I then proceeded to remove the spring from the old shock and had no problems. This is where things went terribly wrong.I used myspring compressor and removed he spring from the shock and thought all was going well. I needed to compress the spring about another inch as I had to install an aluminum block underneath the stock plate the shock stud goes through. I was using an air gun tightening both sides equally,when bang...the one side of the compressor slid on the spring toward the other one on the opposite side. The bolt on the compressor is 5/8's or thicker and pinned my thumb into the spring underneath the bolt. I couldn't get my thumb to move and seen it was immediately turning purple. Luckily, my daughter was out there with me as I generally go there myself.I had the foresight to pick up the spring and run into the garage and I told Sarah to grab a drop cord and plug my metal bandsaw in. I started to cut the bolt off the end(luckily it was past the top of the compressor fingers) so I could get the pressure off my thumb. As it was cutting it I got a little excited and it pulled the bandsaw blade off its pulleys and it stopped cutting. I then raced over and got a wrench and slid the boxed end over it and broke the bolt off. It immediately let the pressure off and my thumb came free.It took at least 5 minutes to get my thumb to conform to shape and then I decided to take a trip to the hospital. I got Damn lucky as I still have my thumb yet and nothing was broken. It managed to put so much strain on the muscles it hurts up my arm about 10 inches. Even though I am sore,I feel lucky. I have a great selection of quality tools and I have used this compressor to remove a couple sets of car springs. I should have known better to skimp on such a tool but I bought an overseas one and paid the price. I will never buy,use or recommend another cheap tool. I guess the saying,"you get what you pay for" holds true. I will be laid up a couple more days,but I will chalk this up to a valuable lesson. I urge all people who work on their car to please use caution,read the directions and only use good quality,proper tools. Learn a lesson from my mistake.
    Pat

  2. #2
    Member JUNIOR BUILDER
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    Jun 2003
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    ny
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    My father, a mechanic for over fifty years, would tell me over and over.
    " A cheap tool will only do two things for you. Hurt you, and let you down when you need it the most." You told us an experience we should always remember.

  3. #3
    Member JUNIOR BUILDER
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    Jun 2006
    Location
    The Custom Engine Shop, Indianapolis, Indiana
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    Glad it was REALLY bad.

    Yes cheap tools and cheap part will bite you sooner or later.

    Again glad it was worse.......
    CDR Performance
    The Custom Engine Shop and Sponsor of the First Annual YellowBullet.Com Nats

    If you have never experienced fear your car isn't fast enough.

  4. #4
    Senior Member EXPERT BUILDER
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    Dec 2006
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    272
    Man, thats gotta sting, Pat..... you are indeed fortunate.
    agreed, cheap tools always cost more, cause you gotta go out and buy the good ones after the cheap ones break or worse....
    Ed

  5. #5
    Senior Member SENIOR BUILDER
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    May 2004
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    Loganton, Pa
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    Well,
    I have been figuring it out this am...

    25 dollar Japan tool=


    gas to hospital- 5 bucks
    4 hours personal time 250 bucks
    6 X-rays 400 bucks
    dr visit 600 bucks
    splint cast for thumb 150 bucks
    almost removed left thumb priceless....
    truck still not together...another day off work...

  6. #6
    Senior Member EXPERT BUILDER
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    Apr 2004
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    279
    Glad it wasn't any worse. I install lifts for a living and have had a few close calls myself. We have a wall mount spring compressor which works well. Alot of parts stores will help swap struts or whatever you may need to do.

  7. #7
    Member JUNIOR BUILDER
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    Jan 2005
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    Roanoke, Virginia
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    Pat,
    Thank the Lord that you weren't hurt any worse than you were!!!! You are right, these cheap Jap/Chinese/Taiwan products need to stay overseas where they belong!!!
    Mike
    Let 'er Rip

  8. #8
    Senior Member RACING JUNKIE
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    ID
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    Pat,

    Glad to hear your thumb is still a part of you!!!!

    No more cheap stuff and stop hurting yourself! :P

  9. #9
    Senior Member DYNO OPERATOR
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Moscow Mills, Mo.
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    533
    Just to add to Pat's story. I lost a best friend when he was working on one of our fork lifts. He was 35 yrs old married and had two kids. We raced together every week end. He was pulling the mask of the fork truck and was using a Jap block and tackle form a tool shop called HENRY'S. Which is not in business now. The block and tackle could'nt hold the weight and flew apart causing the mask of the truck to crush him. I'm just letting you guys know that this is serious subject that you can not take lightly. Please tell everyone you know to throw away those cheap Jap tools and be carsful buying cheap stuff at the swap meets. There'a ton af gypsy's selling junk tools so please be careful. I'd love to put them all out of business.

  10. #10
    Senior Member EXPERT BUILDER gearhead1011's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
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    Shepherdsville, KY
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    I don't care where it's made, that type of spring compressor is dangerous. I have used a clamshell type in the past which is much safer than the bolt type but have a wall mounted Branick spring compressor that we use for struts and a Snap-on thru the center of the spring compressor for the a-arm suspension. I'm glad your injury wasn't any worse than what it was.


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