GM Buick/Oldsmobile/Pontiac/Full-Size 1975-1990 Repair Guide

TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT

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See Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11

Naturally, without the proper tools and equipment it is impossible to properly service your vehicle. It would be impossible to catalog each tool that you would need to perform each and every operation in this information. It would also be unwise for the amateur to rush out and buy an expensive set of tools on the theory that he may need one or more of them at sometime.

The best approach is to proceed slowly, gathering together a good quality set of those tools that are used most frequently. Don't be misled by the low cost of bargain tools. It is far better to spend a little more for better quality. Forged wrenches, 6 or 12-point sockets and fine tooth ratchets are by far preferable to their less expensive counterparts. As any good mechanic can tell you, there are few worse experiences than trying to work on a car or truck with bad tools. Your monetary savings will be far outweighed by frustration and mangled knuckles.

Begin accumulating those tools that are used most frequently; those associated with routine maintenance and tune-up.

In addition to the normal assortment of screwdrivers and pliers, you should have the following tools for routine maintenance jobs (your car uses both English and metric fasteners):



Metric wrenches,sockets and combination open end/box end wrenches in sizes from 3mm to 19mm; 13 / 16 in. and 5 / 8 in. spark plug sockets.
 

If possible, buy various length socket drive extensions. One break in this department is that the metric sockets available in the U.S. will all fit the ratchet handles and extensions you may already have ( 1 / 4 in., 3 / 8 in., and 1 / 2 in. drive).



Jackstands for support
 
Oil filter wrench
 
Oil filter spout for pouring oil
 
Grease gun for chassis lubrication
 
Hydrometer for checking the battery
 
A container for draining oil
 
Many rags for wiping up the inevitable mess
 



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Fig. Fig. 1: A basic collection of tools and instruments is all you need for most vehicle maintenance



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Fig. Fig. 2: All but the most basic procedures will require an assortment of rachets and sockets



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Fig. Fig. 3: In addition to rachets, a good set of wrenches and hex keys will be necessary



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Fig. Fig. 4: A hydraulic floor jack and a set of jackstands are essential for lifting and supporting the vehicle



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Fig. Fig. 5: An assortment of pliers will be handy, especially for old rusted parts and stripped bolt heads



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Fig. Fig. 6: Various screwdrivers, a hammer, chisels and prybars are necessary to have in your toolbox



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Fig. Fig. 7: Many repairs will require the use of a torque wrench to ensure the components are properly fastened



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Fig. Fig. 8: Although not always necessary, using specialized brake tool will save time



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Fig. Fig. 9: A few inexpensive lubrication tools will make regular service easier



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Fig. Fig. 10: Various pullers, clamps and separator tools are needed for the repair of many components



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Fig. Fig. 11: A variety of tools and gauges are needed for spark plug service

In addition to the above items there are several others that are not absolutely necessary, but handy to have around. These include absorbent gravel (such as cat litter), a transmission fluid funnel and the usual supply of lubricants, antifreeze and fluids, although these can be purchased as needed. This is a basic list for routine maintenance, but only your personal needs and desires can accurately determine your list of tools.

The second list of tools is for tune-ups. While the tools involved here are slightly more sophisticated, they need not be outrageously expensive. There are several inexpensive tachometer/dwell meters on the market that are every bit as good for the average mechanic as a more expensive professional model. Just be sure that the meter scale goes to at least 1,2001,500 rpm on the tach scale and that it works on 4, 6 and 8-cylinder engines. A basic list of tune-up equipment could include:

  1. Tach/dwell meter
  2.  
  3. Spark plug wrench
  4.  
  5. Timing light (a DC light that works from the car's battery is best, although an AC light that plugs into 110V house current will suffice at some sacrifice in brightness)
  6.  
  7. Wire spark plug gauge/adjusting tools
  8.  
  9. Set of feeler blades
  10.  

In addition to these basic tools, there are several other tools and gauges you may find useful. These include:

  1. A compression gauge. The screw-in type is slower to use, but eliminates the possibility of a faulty reading due to escaping pressure
  2.  
  3. A manifold vacuum gauge
  4.  
  5. A test light
  6.  
  7. An induction meter. This is used for determining whether or not there is current in a wire. This is handy for use if a wire is broken somewhere in a wiring harness.
  8.  

As a final note, you will probably find a torque wrench necessary for all but the most basic work. There are three types of torque wrenches available: deflecting beam type, dial indicator and click type. The beam and dial indicator models are perfectly adequate, although the click type models are more precise and allow the user to reach the required torque without having to assume a sometimes awkward position in reading a scale. No matter what type of torque wrench you purchase, have it calibrated periodically to ensure accuracy.

 
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