Yeah I met a dude who had his thumb sewn back on after exploding a mag rim setting tire. Not a joke when it goes bad.
I love my Dewalt 20V impact, and I was lucky a few months back and I dropped by a Tractor Supply and found Dewalt 20V Max batteries mislabled for $20 each. Needless to say I bought every one on the shelf before they realized they messed up.
My two favorite tools I’ve recently added to the tool box are a power ratchet like Andy and Chris noted and my dad picked up a great little compact Milwaukee air compressor that is just the sh*t.
You just set whatever pressure you want, hit the start button and it fills your tires to the set psi. It’s not perfectly accurate, so you need to check the pressure again when you’re done, but it’s so nice for topping off tires. It actually beaded my front tires this last weekend, though not strong enough to bead the rears.
Harbor Freight has a Bauer hand-held one too that isn’t quite as fancy but works great for filling little kart tires. Also works great when you have a flat tire on your car and you need to limp 5 miles to the hotel after a day at the track. Just pull over and throw 30 pounds in that thing, drive it for 2 miles until the air leaks out again, and then repeat.
General tool choice is Beta - yeah they are pricey but they are damn nice and have good hand feel. And frankly they create a level of respect for my toolbox from myself, and the other guys in the shop, that just didn’t exist with cheaper tools. We all value having nice tools on hand now and as a result things get returned more promptly and stay better organized.
Personal favorite tools:
Flush cut pliers - small Beta
Beta metric tape
Dental picks and tweezers
Beta flexible shaft nut drivers
M6 Adjustable Beta T-Handle allen - allows you to do OTK rear hubs without removing the wheel.
And probably my single most used tool - Dewalt 20V impact w/step bits and flap wheels. Man this thing is a work horse!
I’ll think of some more later…
A digital tire inflator connected to an air tank (or compressor) is very useful. This is the one I use, a Blue Point TPGDL1000C with backlight. Spot on pressure to the tenths.
First off, TJ, I love that little compressor. We have one at work and its great. Set it and forget it.
Secondly, I have been in the automotive business for over 20 years and there is definitely a difference in the quality of tools out there. As a youngster, my family was a tried and true Craftsman’s house, but after Sears shut down, so has their quality in many respects. Its little things like there ratchets and the quality of steel used. My go to for ratchets has been SnapOn for a while now. I have had them most of my career without failure.
BluePoint (a subset of SnapOn) can be hit or miss. I bought a set of BluePoint Allen T’s that broken a few time and a set of Kobalt that have weathered quite well. The also have an allen key on the handle which is nice for the tighter spaces or higher leverage cases. Cars and Karts are different animals, so what you expect from the tools are not always the same.
On Karts, always get six point sockets. Most of the time the metal you are cranking on is softer and 12 point sockets will end up rounding off the nuts. I think brand is less important here.
Ugga Duggas are great. I started off with Dewalt and have stuck with them with great durability, but also tried the Milwaukee brand and it seemed a good quality too. I like that on some of the Milwaukee’s you can adjust the torque setting.
Get yourself a 1/4 drive screw driver handle extension. Its great for starting lug nuts and then clicking in the ugga dugga to to torque them down. Its basically an extension rod with a screw driver grip on the end.
Invest in a good set of drill bits. A dead blow hammer or rubber mallet. A quality T square with removable metal ruler. Accurate air gauge. Sniper Laser Aligners. A magnet tray to keep you from losing all the tiny bits while you are working on the kart over grass or gravel. A quality tool box that you don’t have to go digging in for 20 minutes to find what you are looking for. I bough the VersaTrac system form Craftsman. I love it. I have a large base on wheels and telescoping handle to roll it around. I can mix and match layers of drawers or bins to hold stuff. Everything is organized and easy to find, as well as stackable to be easy to transport. When its time to load it into the truck, I can break it into smaller sections and easily pick them up and toss them in and reassemble the stack at the track.
I started getting annoyed with my contraption of adapters, extensions and sockets I use with my impact for wheel nuts, so I turned to my trusty friend the internet and found this… Its a one piece 1/4" hex drive deep socket with a spring loaded magnet that still holds the nut when you ram it onto a longer stud. They come in all sizes and legnths too.
It’s a small thing, but it makes me happy everytime I use it and no more realizing later that my socket is still stuck to the last nut I tightened!
Worth every cent!
I have to disagree. This is a HUGE thing . Nothing worse than dropping those in grass or gravel and not having spares to hand.
100% agree on the Turbo Tore Changer. Both the tongues, realized I needed a breaker, so bought that. Was not terrible, but being out of shape worked up a sweat. Friend told me to try his Turbo Tire Changer, and after trying to buy a few used, gave in and ordered one and with extreme guilt sold my Tire Scissors and Bead Breaker at a loss. The TTC works great with a drill or impact, but when changing at home and not in a hurry, I find I work up less of a sweat just using a socket wrench!
A tarp or indoor/outdoor carpet. Keeps you out of the mud, makes it easier to find dropped stuff.