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I guess I got the tool bug from my dad.  My first tools (and I still have them) were contained in a carpenters tool box that I got when I was around 10.  Most would probably think I am tool crazy but as the saying goes.... you can never have too many tools.   Below are some tools that have helped in my Cobra build.....so far.   

[Product Image]Mig Welder: If you want to make frame changes this tool is mandatory.    The flux wire works fine but using gas produces a superior bead and much less splatter. 

[Product Image]Band Saw: My Porter Cable portable band saw took the physical effort out of all the tube cutting.  It would be very difficult to tackle all the frame changes I made without a saw like this.     

[Product Image]Cherry Picker: With the boom fully extended this baby will easily lift 650 lbs with the hook 94" above the ground.  I used it to pull the engine, lift the frame on/off the rotisserie, unload my 650 lb air compressor from a trailer, position the rear end in the paint booth, etc.               

[Product Image]Generator: In Michigan you need one of these to supplement power for all the blackouts but it also doubles nicely as a 20A power source for a welder - if you do not have an adequate outlet in your garage.  The problem is that the neighbors know when you are welding.  

[Product Image]Alligator Jack:  This jack has been with me since I was 14.   It has never let me down.... after all these years it still holds pressure.    You simply cannot work on cars without this tool.             

[Product Image]Snow Blower: I added this since it has an engine and sits close to the cobra.   If you get snow this machine will remove it.    11HP Honda engine, hydrostatic transmission and great uphill traction.   It will "throw" snow 50ft.             

[Product Image]Safety:  I had to add the usual safety plug... however this full shield helmet and hearing protection really are a must when you are cutting and grinding metal. 

[Product Image]Nibbler: I have a full set of Weiss sheet metal shears... and they work fine but..... if you ever used one of these to cut sheet metal you will rarely use shears again.             

[Product Image]Grinder:  This is a must have tool for frame modifications.   I highly recommend the Norton cutoff wheels for cutting through welds.   A Sawsall works fine for regular metal but isn't nearly as efficient as a cutoff wheel for welds.    

[Product Image]Paint Gun & Stand: This is a middle of the road HVLP gun.   I got the stand idea from a painter.  You can strain the paint through a filter placed in the upper circular mount.    Apparently you can buy these but I made this one.     

[Product Image]Sawsall:  Another helpful tool around metal.  There are loads of different blades but I have the best luck with Milwaukee "Torch" blades.      

[Product Image]Engine Stand: Lots of uses for this stand.  Engine, transmission and if you have two they can used as a rotisserie for the frame (see rotisserie section). 

[Product Image]Drill Press:  If you want straight holes you need a drill press.   Actually a very versatile tool.  It came in handy for drilling the roll-bar holes.  I recommend a floor model (versus a bench) if you have the space.

Torque Wrench:  Now that I have started the assembly my trusty Proto (0-160 ft-lbs) and Snap On (0-40 ft/lbs) are invaluable.  These are expensive wrenches.... but when it comes to torque you should do it right. 

Crows Foot:  I used  this 15/16" to tighten the crown nut on the  lower front control arm. 

Cyclo Polisher:  Did you ever wonder how the "Airstream" guys keep their trailers shining.    Used in conjunction with Nuvite polish you can put a mirror finish on aluminum.   This air powered unit removes all swirl marks.      





Ball Joint Tool:  As much as I follow the FFcobra forum I missed the thread on the loaner ball-joint tool.... so I just made one.   Nothing fancy  - just some scrap steel and an old socket. 





Brake Flaring Tools:  I've always had a standard double flaring kit (red case) but learned that an ISO "bubble" flaring kit (black case) was necessary for my brake setup.  They basically work the same way... hold tool in vice, chamfer end of tube, lubricate tube with a small amount of brake fluid - flare away!       

Mity-Vac:  Perfect little tool for all kinds of vacuum needs.. doubles nicely as a one-man brake bleeding tool.    You can get these for $50 or less  - everyone should have one. 

Heat Gun:  Not necessary but makes it a lot easier to shrink "heat shrink" tubing.


De Soldering Tool:  If you add a little too much solder to your pins or jackets, this tool can be used to remove excess "hot" solder.  Uses a vacuum to suck solder into the gun - PCB guys carry them close at hand.     

12" drill:   If you want to run hidden wires in your truck (through the frame) you will need a long drill to bore some holes.   I took a standard 5/8" drill and welded approx. 6"  to it.   Rolled it across the table (like a pool cue)... a few taps here and there and it was "true" and ready to drill.  

Tap & Die Set:   Can't tell you how many times I have used this set to clean existing threads... even new nuts and bolts.  Came in very handy for the Cobra build.      


I can be reached directly at the Legacy Garage at:  klegacy@comcast.net (SR71 on FFCobra.com)
Last modified: Sept 1, 2009