GM Cutlass RWD 1970-1987 Repair Guide

TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT

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See Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

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 or any operation in This guide. It would also be unwise for the amateur to rush out and buy any expensive set of tools on the theory that he may need one or more of them at some future time.

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, 10 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 vehicle 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:

  1. SAE (or Metric) or SAE/Metric wrenches/sockets and combination open-end/box-end wrenches in sizes from 1 / 8 in. (3mm) to 3 / 4 in. (19mm); and a spark plug socket ( 13 / 16 in. 5 / 8 in. depending on plug type).
  2.  

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

  1. Jackstands for support.
  2.  
  3. Oil filter wrench.
  4.  
  5. Oil filler spout for pouring oil.
  6.  
  7. Grease gun for chassis lubrication.
  8.  
  9. Hydrometer for checking the battery.
  10.  
  11. A container for draining oil.
  12.  
  13. Many rags for wiping up the inevitable mess.
  14.  

In addition to the above items there are several others that are not absolutely necessary but handy to have around. These include oil dry, a transmission 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 desire can accurately determine your list of tools.



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Fig. Fig. 1: All but the most basic procedure will require an assortment of ratchets and sockets



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Fig. Fig. 2: In addition to ratchets, a good set of wrenches and hex keys will be necessary



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Fig. Fig. 3: A hydraulic floor jack and a set of jackstands are essential for lifting and supporting the vehicle



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Fig. Fig. 4: An assortment of pliers will be handy, especially for old rusted parts and stripped bolt heads

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 tach/dwell meters on the market that are every bit as good for the average mechanic as a expensive professional model. Just be sure that it goes to at least 1200-1500 rpm on the tach scale and that it works on 4, 6 or 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 a 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.  

Here again, be guided by your own needs. A feeler blade will set the points as easily as a dwell meter will read well, but slightly less accurately. And since you will need a tachometer anyway ...well, make your own decision.



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Fig. Fig. 5: Various screwdrivers, a hammer, chisels and prybars are necessary to have in your toolbox

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. These are handy for use if a wire is broken somewhere in a wiring harness.
  8.  



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Fig. Fig. 6: Many repairs will require the use of a torque wrench to assure the components are properly fastened

As a final note, you will probably find a torque wrench necessary for all but the most basic work. The beam type models are perfectly adequate, although the newer click type are more precise.

 
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