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Pedal Smasher
1973 Opel GT
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2,381 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I cannot take credit for this idea, Opelbits came up with it first. The idea is, what tools would you recommend a new Opeler, new to working on cars, purchases with a $100 budget? What tools would be the most important to have on hand, to get an Opel running?

This should be interesting. Eventually, it would be cool to take the best of this thread and create another one with a higher budget, which covers more in-depth work. You all have the idea...
 

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Detritus Maximus
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2,684 Posts
Three things to recommend:
Correct Factory Service Manual (to be referred henceforth as the FSM).

The set of serrated (triple square) drive bits for the cylinder head bolts and the torque tube to axle bolts. I forget what other serrated hardware is on the car. But they are needed for checking everything is tight, not just for repair.

Timing light with adjustable dial. I have an Actron that works well.
 
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Über Genius
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9,302 Posts
15mm, 13mm,10mm 8mm socket, 3" extension, ratchet, and wrenches, the same size.
Flat head screwdriver. Phillips screwdriver.
 

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Pedal Smasher
1973 Opel GT
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2,381 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I wouldn't count the FSM as a tool in this case. I'd count that as reference material, but definitely needed. I don't know if I'd look at pulling the cylinder head as part of the $100 toolbox. I think that is a bit farther than just seeing if the GT runs.

Thinking of someone who doesn't really have tools to work on a vehicle...

1. Apollo Tools 101 Piece Mechanic's tool set, $60. There are better sets out there, even at Walmart but this has a $100 limit so I couldn't blow the whole budget on a tool set. This set is pretty decent for $60 and has a bunch of tools someone would need to get an Opel running.
2. Innova digital multimeter, $30. Innova does have an automotive DMM and so too does Craftsman, but these are beyond the $100 limit for this thread.
3. Starting fluid, $3.

Total comes to $93 before taxes. So, for $100 this should help someone get the engine started. There are other tools I would recommend buying instead if the budget is higher, but the challenge is best tools for $100. For a budget of $300-400, I'd go with a better mechanic's tool set (option #1 and option #2, for example), one of the 2 automotive DMM I listed, and add an Innova timing light.

I forgot to add some spare continental fuses, which could need replacing.
 

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Pedal Smasher
1973 Opel GT
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2,381 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Coming up with a list like this, makes me realize just how expensive having a classic car as your hobby can be. Even if you try to keep things on the cheap side, you can easily spend $1k on tools and we aren't even talking about dedicated, special tools that only do one job.
 

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I wouldn't count the FSM as a tool in this case. I'd count that as reference material, but definitely needed.
I can see how it makes sense, it's stuff you'd have to buy to start fixing up the car.

However, there's a digital copy you can get for free, so, I'd skip the paper version if you're on the ultra-cheap list.

1. Apollo Tools 101 Piece Mechanic's tool set, $60.
With only $100 to spend, I'd go cheaper.

- Right now Princess Auto (double-priced Harbor Freight for Canada) sells a 24-piece wrench set for $21 (Cad).
- Socket sets you can always grab cheap, $12.
- Screwdriver bits, dollar store, you'll end up with a bunch thrown in any time you upgrade your tools anyway, so they can pad the parts count.
- Dollarstore has pliers and allen wrenches of similar quality.

Might be able to shave $20 off that set.

Whoa, I wouldn't, that's a decent multimeter. You can get a cheap multimeter for like $3. $5 easy. I'd buy that. Not as accurate, not as durable, but for automotive work it would be just fine.

...

I cut some corners, but, it's a $100 budget. Room to grow this list now. Put it all into better jackstands perhaps.
 

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Pedal Smasher
1973 Opel GT
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2,381 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
$100 is a tough budget. We could go after as many cheap tools as the budget covers, which would then be spent entirely at Harbor Freight or the dollar store. I was aiming more for decent, quality basic tools for $100.

So, I guess it comes down to mindset. Do we pursue tools that would need to be replaced in all likelihood later, or do we pursue some of the essentials that should last a long time? I very well might not have a cheap enough mindset for this challenge. I've used a $5 multimeter, which is why I posted a higher quality one that is still pretty cheap when looking at how expensive they can get.

As the triangle of priorities goes... cost, durability, and overall quality... pick 2. I went for a balance somewhere in the middle of the triangle. But this challenge might be more of the pointed edge of cost, so durability and overall quality will suck.
 

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As the triangle of priorities goes... cost, durability, and overall quality... pick 2. I went for a balance somewhere in the middle of the triangle. But this challenge might be more of the pointed edge of cost, so durability and overall quality will suck.
It's a bit silly, because it's a false challenge.

No one out there has a car, and parts, for free, but only and strictly $100 for tools to get the car running.

What the challenge would actually be is "I have $2000 and I want to buy a GT and get it running, what do I spend it on?" and then the conversation includes what pricepoint and condition to buy the car in, how much to expect to budget for parts, and how much to budget for tools.

Just replacement parts alone, you're going to have to have more budget to replace things that need replacing, which will dwarf your tool budget.

The way I see a $100 challenge is "Will the tools survive the job" desert-island style, if you babied them, could they do the job? If so, good enough. Go cheap as you can and get everything you need.

If the challenge more loosely is "I'm a teenager and Grandpa gave me his GT that's been in a field for 30 years. I want to restore it over the next 5 years, but I've only got $100 of Christmas money budget to start, and zero tools. What should I invest in first?", then I think your list is more sensible. Something good enough that it'll last more than just the one job, and enough of the work to continue tinkering on for a year. Then next year they'll have to spend more as they figure out what the car actually needs and so on.

Depends what hypothetical narrative we're imagining here.
 

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Pedal Smasher
1973 Opel GT
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2,381 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
What should I invest in first?
That's more of where my head is at, because I think it's more realistic. Eventually, more tools will be needed but I believe Opelbits's concept was someone who just bought an Opel and only can afford to spend a little bit of money getting going. Down the road, more tools would be added. The young kid who got a GT is a good mindset I think.

The stranded on an island mentality would be very different and would result in buying as many tools as you could.

Either way, this brings up good conversation about which tools should someone worry about getting first after buying an Opel. Which, does happen on here.
 

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Can Opeler
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3,421 Posts
If I lost all of my tools and I had only $100 to buy NEW (not used tools off of Facebook market place) here’s what I’d get

#1 a good vice $20 Bessey BV-CO30 Clamp Base Vise, Hammer Tone Gray Amazon.com: Bessey BV-CO30 Clamp Base Vise, Hammer Tone Gray: Home Improvement

#2 my craftsman screw driver set ($17)

CRAFTSMAN Screwdriver Set, Assorted, 12-Piece (CMHT65044) Amazon.com: CRAFTSMAN Screwdriver Set, Assorted, 12-Piece (CMHT65044): Home Improvement

#3 a complete socket set with deep sockets ($37)

EPAUTO 45 Pieces 3/8" Drive Socket Set with 72-Tooth Pear Head Ratchet https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078YZMBXN/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_4FA44J863VSCCYTBBMS5

#4 complete stubby wrench set ($27)

Sunex 9930M Metric Stubby Combination Wrench Set, 10-Piece https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000PGTCDU/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_ZFDGZVTRR77SW8M1WE52

I blew the budget by $1 but these items can be found much cheaper locally often. I almost never need a full size wrench. A stubby one of far more useful to me. I would spend any savings from buying cheaper or local items on a good pair of automatic wire strippers and some dollar store pliers.

Amazon Basics Self-Adjusting Wire Stripper Amazon Basics Self-Adjusting Wire Stripper - - Amazon.com
 

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Detritus Maximus
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2,684 Posts
My thought with the $100 Toolbox was that someone already has basic tools like sockets, screwdrivers, etc, but what could be added specifically to work on/diagnose Opels and their particular hurdles. That's why I made the suggestions I did. Look at it from the perspective of some of our recent new members, some with some knowledge and tools and a couple with not much at all.

Right off the bat is the FSM. If you are new to Opels, it beats the hell out of the Haynes/Clymer/Chilton. Imagine trying to diassemble and reassemble the headlight mechanism because it is stuck from decades of neglect. The problem with internet/youtube searches for info is you don't know what someone has left out or glossed over. Same with the 'other' manuals. If you don't know Opels, they can be less than helpful.

The serrated bits apply to a couple different areas on the car. They are cheap and first apply to making sure things are tight. These cars are old enough that you never know what condition they are actually in. partially assembled/disassembled, leaking, etc.

That digital timing light because so many running faults start off with correcting vacuum leaks and making sure the timing is set correctly and advancing correctly.

Really, the vacuum gauge should be on that list, too.
 

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Can Opeler
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3,421 Posts
I think when we get past the basics everything falls apart. We all have different skills and experiences.
For example I almost never have looked at the service manual except for if I’m explaining how to do something to someone else. The digital one on this site is always handy for me there.

A timing light is nice, but many of us can do really well timing by ear. I would put that cash towards ratcheting wrenches instead. I wouldn’t miss the 2HP I’d lose without a timing light.

I’ve never found a vacuum gauge useful either personally. None of my vacuum leaks were ever measurable on one. I just know if my car is unpredictability acting lean it’s time to tighten the carb back down or check the idle jets.

For me the first specialty tool I’d buy would be an electric impact. My most used tool is my electric ratchet, but an electric impact is a bit more important to me.

The only diagnostic tool I wouldn’t want to live without would be my AEM air fuel ratio gauge. I can diagnose almost every running problem I’ve ever had with that.
 

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Pedal Smasher
1973 Opel GT
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2,381 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Right off the bat is the FSM. If you are new to Opels, it beats the hell out of the Haynes/Clymer/Chilton. Imagine trying to diassemble and reassemble the headlight mechanism because it is stuck from decades of neglect. The problem with internet/youtube searches for info is you don't know what someone has left out or glossed over. Same with the 'other' manuals. If you don't know Opels, they can be less than helpful.
Yeah, the FSM is a must-have reference. In my library I have a '69, a NOS (never removed from the shipping box) '69, a '70, a '71, '72, and two '73 factory service manuals. I also have the Brooklands Opel GT shop manual and a second edition Chilton's repair & tune-up guide for Opel, which covers the Kadett, Rallye, and GT. And that's just some of the literature I have in my library for Opel.

The only diagnostic tool I wouldn’t want to live without would be my AEM air fuel ratio gauge. I can diagnose almost every running problem I’ve ever had with that.
A good AFR gauge is pretty important I think to tuning a carb. Not required, but it does eliminate some of the guesswork. You'll know if you're rich or lean. In some ways, an AFR gauge is one of the most important gauges you could have in a car, at least for racing.
 

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hopefully a 1971-1972 Opel Gt 1.9L 4speed
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This post is really helping me out since I am hoping to have a Gt this spring and I need to know what tools I need.
Sam
 
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