Tool Tech: 10 Items Every Gearhead Should Have!

Who doesn’t like tools, right? And when it comes to our toolboxes, there’s always room for one more. Even for those analytical types who feel the compulsive need to rationalize each and every tool purchase, you’ll agree that when it comes to working on our autos, having the right tool for the job not only makes the job easier, but it also ensures that it’s done right.

We asked our friends on Facebook to help us choose ten of the most helpful tools that enthusiasts should look at when bringing their tool boxes to the next level.

We’re talking more than simply flat-head drivers or the requisite open or box-end wrenches. These are tools for the enthusiast who understands the benefits of self-reliance, the ones who “Get’er Done” in their own garages, and the ones that others gravitate toward for help, hoping they share their wealth of knowledge.

With that in mind, we decided to take a look at the Moroso website to show the top workbench workhorses as chosen by our Facebook followers.

Cool Tool Tray!

PN 65800

MSRP $126.43

Bending and twisting is great if you’re exercising to those Jane Fonda or Richard Simmons VHS tapes (admit it, you’ve still got some laying around). But, when you’re actually getting work done, keeping all the necessary tools and tidbits right in front of you means completing the task quickly, wihch gets you driving much sooner.

This handy tool tray with its 5-1/8-inch base, rests right on top of your Holley-style carb. Its aluminum construction makes it only 2-1/2 inches high, but it still has enough capacity to hold up to 16 spark plugs and eight plug wires. The inside tray measures 10×13, and features an 1/8-inch rubber mat to help keep all your tools contained.

Wheel Of Events

PN 62190

MSRP $41.27

When it comes to properly building an engine, there are many things that require checking. One tool that is definitely worth its weight in dyno numbers is a proper degree wheel. A must-have tool for any engine builder is a degree wheel, since using one is the only way to accurately know the timing for many of the necessary events that occur during your engine’s run-cycle.

Beneficial for identifying valve timing, camshaft centerline, TDC and BDC, as well as many other aspects of engine timing, this 11-inch degree wheel can be used in the shop as well as in-car at the track if necessary. An adapter is included to allow the degree wheel to fit virtually any engine.

Image: Ebay

Leak Locator


MSRP $160.06

Compression is a good thing for performance enthusiasts. When one of your engine’s cylinders is losing compression, every aspect of the engine is affected. Whether due to failed or leaking valves, head gasket, piston, or piston rings, this handy leak-down detector will quickly and accurately locate the errant cylinder.

Just in case the batteries are gone in your calculator, the large 3-1/2-inch diameter gauge face indicates the percentage of leakage rather than psi, eliminating the need for a mathematics refresher course. The kit includes two zinc-plated adapters for 14 and 18mm plug sizes, and an accessory adapter is available for 14mm plugs like those in OHC and HEMI engines.

Image: Grumpy’s Performance

Pre-Lube Provider

PN 62205

MSRP $37.95

There are folks who will exhibit an exorbitant amount of care when building their engine, only quickly firing it up without ever considering priming it with its life-blood to prevent excessive break-in wear and tear. Don’t be that guy!

While this oil pump-primer is specifically for Chevy guys, this process benefits all makes and models of engines. Before installing the distributor, insert this primer tool and align it with the oil pump.

Spinning with a drill will drive the pump and prime the entire engine and valvetrain as the additional bushing helps seal the oil passages so the entire engine receives fresh oil in preparation for the first fire. Be sure to plug any open oil ports before priming, or have your video camera handy. The web can never get enough pre-fire priming, oil geyser videos!


Gravity-Fed Graph

PN C5020

MSRP $24.40

There are a lot of angles involved with our autos, and sometimes, you need to know what they are and if they match! This handy angle-finder can help you when setting up a suspension, fabricating almost anything, and since it’s operated by the force of gravity, you’ll never have to deal with dead batteries in this useful tool.

The easy-to-read gauge face is accurate to ½ of 1-degree, and the body of the gauge is made from ABS plastic with a grooved base that allows it to easily rest securely on any flat surface. Whether setting caster on a front suspension or the proper pinion angle for your differential, this handy tool will be a welcome, economical addition to your tool box.

Low-Impact Installer

PN 61743

MSRP $245.20

Okay, we get it. While this handy balancer puller/installer will cost you more than a hammer, a chunk of wood, and a pry bar; when you figure in the additional cost of a new balancer and perhaps, a crankshaft, we think you’ll see the value it brings to the toolbox. Designed to be used for Chevy, Ford, Mopar (including KB Hemi), Pontiac, Olds, and Buick engines, this innovative tool can not only help you, but also many other club members. Offsetting the initial cost with fellowship and liquid refreshments only adds to the possibilities.

The tool is CNC-machined to keep the balancer perfectly perpendicular with the crankshaft for bind-free installation, and roller thrust-bearings reduce friction to ease installation and removal of the balancer without damaging parts. There is also a handy storage case to keep all the parts organized.


Trick Terminal Terminator


MSRP $43.51

You’ve spent the required cash for an ignition system to fire all the air and fuel your engine can ingest, so why would you stry to crimp the spark plug wires to carry all that high voltage with a pair of pliers?

Custom-length spark plug wires can greatly reduce the clutter under the hood of any car, but you need to make sure that all the necessary spark is getting to the plugs. Plus, the additional resistance of an incorrect terminal connection is a great way to over-work a coil, which can lead to failure over time.

This USA-made wire crimper not only handles plug wires, but there are also crimpers provided for a variety of automotive terminals, a wire cutter, and wire strippers for various gauge wires.


Seat Pressure Indicator

PN 62390

MSRP $104.02

There has never been more concern about prolonging camshaft life than today, and anything you can do to help your camshaft live a long and healthy life will only benefit you in the long run. Checking valve spring pressure not only prevents excessive wear on your cam’s lobes, but also, identifying weak valve springs with insufficient spring pressure can help you correct the issue before it becomes a larger problem.

This valve seat pressure tester is the original tool for easily checking spring pressure at installed height on an assembled engine. It has a built-in 300 pound reading scale, which is sufficient for checking seat pressures of the valves, and is accurate to within +/- 3 percent (a 400-pound version is available under PN 62391).

The compressor is designed to allow for a quick change of claws for roller rockers on SB and BB Chevy, Ford 221-302, 351-400 SVO and Windsor engines, as well as most other wedge-type engines.


Proving Power Valves

PN 62295

MSRP $47.01

If the power valve in your Holley carb is damaged, the engine will ingest much more fuel than necessary. This convenient CNC-machined tool checks Holley-style power valves for ruptured diaphragms, ensuring proper operation and much better fuel economy.

Once the power valve is removed from the carburetor, you simply remove the knurled cap and screw in the power valve. The tool requires the use of a hand-operated vacuum supply, and there is a cut-away area that allows viewing inspection of the valve’s operation.


Valve Spring Compressor

PN 62371

MSRP $149.56

This heavy-duty version of Moroso’s stud mount valve spring compressor makes changing valve springs quicker and easier. The tool fits both 3/8 and 7/16-inch rocker studs, and features thick, laser-cut steel and billet aluminum components for long life.

This heavy-duty version features hefty construction in the handle and pivot area to withstand today’s extremely high-pressure valve springs. The 12-inch handle gives plenty of leverage to overcome even the strongest of valve springs. There is also an optional kit (PN 62372) that allows using this valve spring compressor on shaft-mounted Jesel rocker arms.

As if we needed any more reason for stuffing our toolboxes with goodies from Moroso, we think you’ll agree that having these tools handy the next time you’re out in the garage will not only make it more enjoyable, but you also may find yourself the envy of your next car club meeting.

If you need more reason than that, just tell the missus that Facebook made you do it!

Article Sources

About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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