Category Archives: Tool Chest

Coast Products Flashlights Light the Way

Coast HP2 FlashlightWhile at this year’s SEMA Show, not only do we get a chance to see some awesome cars and trucks; but can check out in person all sorts of new accessories and American ingenuity. We went down the Las Vegas Strip to the AAPEX Show and checked out a line of knives and flashlights offered up by Coast Products out of Portland, Oregon.Coast HP2 front view

Coast HP2

We got our hands on a small penlight type flashlight, the HP2, and wouldn’t let go. This small flashlight packs a powerful punch in a lightweight package. A single AAA battery powers this beauty to produce a brilliant white light and a variable beam of light. A simple twist of the front cap changes the light from a broad beam to a narrow focus. The rear rubberized push button makes for a simple on/off switch. The flashlight has an o-ring seal to keep it watertight.Coast HP2 vertical view

Coast Warranty

Coast Products offers a lifetime warranty on most all of their items. This flashlight is rated at a bright 68 lumens, is waterproof and the aluminum body can take a licking. (Don’t ask me how I found out!) This beauty is four inches long and comes with a convenient pocket clip. We snapped some photos of this light output projected on a plain piece of white copy paper.Coast HP2 outputCoast HP2 output broad beamCoast HP2 output as a spotlight

You can always tell a Coast Products light as they incorporate a thin red ring in their product line. You can find this light at their website or at a variety of local shops, like Home Depot or even Fry’s Electronics.

Usefulness

This would be a great tool for any technician who often needs to see in dim lighting. While on their website check out their full line of flashlights and lighting packages, including some slick rechargeable lights. You won’t go wrong and you’ll appreciate the difference!

If you have a Coast light let us know your opinion!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

GearWrench Gimbal Ratchet

Gearwrench Gimbal Ratchet Closeup

GearWrench makes some great tools. It is known for their time-saving closed end box wrenches and we previously posted about there two Gimbal Ratchets.  Now we show you how effective and helpful they can actually be.Gearwrench Gimbal Ratchet

Gimbal Ratchets

These ratchets debuted at last year’s SEMA Show and we were mesmerized by the engineering and thinking behind these ratchets. Unlike a typical thumb drive ratchet, the GearWrench Gimbal Ratchet floats inside two rings, so that like a gyroscope, you can tweak and twist what plane these ratchets match up to.

The beauty of these two ratchets,  in both 1/4″ and 3/8″ drive, is they can always easily line up with the fastener you are working on, regardless of where they are in a car or other application.

Toyota Camry

Camry Firewall

Now I love my tools but before adding to my inventory, the tool has to prove its worth.  Here is a real world application.  On the firewall of a 2012 Camry is a bolt, arranged around a variety of metal  tubing and some slightly flexible rubber tubing.

Camry Firewall Closeup

Clearly a box or open wrench will not fit.  A typical socket wrench will need a few extensions and flexible joints to make it work and even then you’re going to have to be a contortionist to get decent use and leverage on that fastener.

Gearwrench Gimbal Ratchet

Gearwrench Gimbal Ratchet on Fastener

Now the GearWrench Gimbal Ratchet can easily reach the fastener without any more extensions or flexible joints. The two gimbals allow the ratchet to clear the metal tubing without any worries and your hand can control the exterior drive mechanism easily with your hand (and body) in a convenient place.

Gearwrench Gimbal Ratchet with hand

Gearwrench Gimbal Ratchet in use

You can order these ratchets directly from GearWrench or find them at your favorite tool dealer.

Gearwrench Gimbal Ratchet Obstructed

 

Do you have another favorite tool from GearWrench?  Let us know.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Sylvania Headlight Restoration Review

We decided to try the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit on a 2007 Camry. The Arizona sun has been hard on the headlights and the owner had tried once before to restore the headlights.

2007 Camry Before

Now was the chance to again test the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit.

Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit

At last year’s SEMA and APEX shows, it seems that everybody had a headlight restoration kit. And if they didn’t have a kit, their older product could be used for that purpose too!!

Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit

Sylvania’s kit comes with a liquid UV Block Clear Coat intended to keep the restoration from fading quickly. This sets them off from some of their competitors. The kit came with enough ample supplies to do the two headlights, sans towels and water. They give you a roll of rubber electrical tape to mask off nearby painted surfaces. We supplemented it with some blue “Painter’s Tape” as an extra caution.

Contents of Sylvania headlight Restoration Kit

Main Contents of Kit

Past Use of Headlight Restoration Kit

We have been really impressed with this headlight restoration kit, which we used before. We used it on a Toyota Sequoia always  parked outside facing south into the harsh Arizona sun. It worked out perfectly and was still in factory fresh condition when we sold it two years ago.

 

Step 1 – Headlight Restoration Kit

The first step is to spray their Surface Applicator over the headlight surface. This helps remove discoloration and soften the UV coating.

Headlight After Step 1

Step 2 – Headlight Restoration Kit

The kit comes with three grades of sandpaper, 400-1000-2000 grit. Wet sand each headlight, starting with 400 and working up to the 2000 grit paper. They recommend sanding 2-5 minutes per headlight with each grit, using plenty of water and a circular motion. With water, the lens looked better, but as it dried the lens became opaque again.

Headlight After Wet Sanding

Step 3 – Headlight Restoration Kit

Then use a tan Clarifying Compound to polish the lens.

Step Three Polish

This left the lens clean but with a slight haze after drying. Re-apply their surface activator to clean the lens one last time. Make sure the both lenses are dry before the last step.

After Polishing

 

At this point you might be wondering, what did you do to the headlights? as they may not look crystal clear. But fear not!

Step 4 – Headlight Restoration Kit

Use the UV Block Clear Coat to soak an edge of a folded paper towel and in one stroke wipe the top edge of the headlight. Continue to keep the edge moist and with a slight overlap, swipe the next portion of the headlight and repeat until all the lens is coated.  Let dry for 4-6 hours to fully cure.

Applying Clear Coat

 Final Outcome

2007 Camry After2007 Camry After 2

Close up after all steps

2007 Camry After Closeup

Sylvania Advantage and Warranty

In talking with the Sylvania pros, they proudly note that this final clear coat is what sets them off from the competition. The coating helps to keep the headlight pristine and prevents aging again. They are so confident in their kit they offer a lifetime warranty, which probably isn’t too risky for them. Not only do they offer a great product, but how many people will keep their cars another 4-5 years after doing the headlights the first time?

It took about 45 minutes for both lenses and being careful to cover all the surface area of the headlights with the wet sandpaper. A close examination can show some scratches that didn’t come out, but from even a few feet they look like new. There was enough liquid to do both headlights and some surplus remained – which I used on a 2010 Camry that was showing signs of haze already. Guess the Arizona sun does a number on these headlights.

2010 Camry Before

2010 Camry Before

2010 Camry After

2010 Camry After

 

See Sylvania’s website for more info

Have you tried this kit from Sylvania or a competitor’s? What was your experience and outcome?

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Bridjit Curbs to the Rescue

Many low slung sports cars face a suburban threat – driveways.bridjit-driveway-2

 

It seems that many residential driveways have too sharp of an incline to allow for low profile cars to enter without scraping the side effects or body panels.

bridjit3 I have even experienced  a Toyota Camry scrape a driveway when “loaded” down with four adults!  But Bridjit has come to our rescue.

bridjit-installed

These folks at Bridjit have engineered a heavy-duty rubber curb that helps minimize the drop off on many curbs and driveways.  It is made out of recycled tires, so you can even get an environmental thumbs up!  We first ran across this item at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

Bridjit to the test

Our test vehicle was stock 2003 Corvette.  Regardless of the angle of the approach, the car always scraped the front air dam.  Now Chevrolet did design this to be a flexible item, but eventually this air dam is bound to tear off or worse.

With the Bridjit in place the Corvette has a much easier time traversing the driveway.

Bridjit installs easily

The typical set up consists of a main portion of straight curbing and two tapered end pieces.  They bolt together with galvanized nuts and bolts.

bridjit-backsideIf necessary you could order additional sections of the main straight piece for longer drives.  These babies are tough and durable.  Ours has been exposed to the harsh Arizona sun for years now with no deterioration.

Bridjit is safe

Bridjit curbs are also rain and street sweeper safe.  There is a circular channel built into the underside so water can run underneath the curbing.  And the city street sweepers just steer around it when they come down our street, just like a parked car or similar obstruction.

We were originally concerned that the Bridjit might “disappear” at the hands of a midnight thief so our name was painted on the underside.  But truth be known, at twelve feet and 75 pounds, these are a bit unwieldy, after assembly, so doubt if theft is a big issue.

What will be an issue is curiosity from passerby’s.  We have had more than one car back up and peer again at the Bridjit and look it over. Nice that Bridjit inscribed their name and toll-free phone number (877 522-6611) on the curbing.  Good marketing and free advertising!

bridjit8

Purchase the Bridjit

Several car shops carry the Bridjit curbs but I’d suggest ordering straight from the website and checking in with the friendly owners if you have any specific questions.

 

GearWrench releases Gimbal Ratchet at SEMA

gw_81027_frnt_mainGearWrench

At the recent SEMA Show, our friends at GearWrench were showing off a new Gimbal Ratchet.  This is a step up from the typical thumb drive ratchets.  In tights spots the two plane gimbal allows for the ratchet to fit securely on the fastener and then pivot or lean the ratchet to get the most secure grip on the tool and then spin on or off the fastener.  Think of a gyroscope and you’ll get the idea

gw_81270_frnt_main

This ratchet is great for tight spots and shows someone was thinking at GearWrench.  The tool comes in either the 1/4″ or 3/8″ drive and would be great for low torque, tight situations.  It fits great in the hand and is sturdy, but still lightweight.

Pricing and Availability

This ratchet will be coming out in the beginning of 2014 and I figure it’ll price out at around $20.  Their website even suggests earlier delivery if you need a hint for the holidays!  Tell us what you think and if it made your wish list.

 Some photos courtesy of GearWrench

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Detailing Brush – at last its’ ATLASTA

car detailing brush
ATLASTA’s soft tip detailing brush

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the joys of attending the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Manufacturer’s Association) show is seeing the vendors.  Nothing beats a chance to see in-person new products and hear from the company representatives directly what is “new and improved”.  That’s why we prowl not only the million square feet at the Las Vegas Convention Center for the SEMA show but attend the simultaneous and just as huge AAPEX (Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo) show at the Sands Convention Center and that’s where we found this great detailing brush.

ATLASTA

This ATLASTA SoftTip detailing brush at first blush, might seem too bulky or stiff for fine detail work on a car, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  This brush feels like a natural extension of your hand and the TRIALOY filament bristles are like silk.

This “Made in the USA” brush comes from a great pedigree of brushes, as it is part of the Paint Brush Corporation.  Don’t recognize that name?  Not surprising, but if you ever have held a parts cleaning brush over a vat of carbon cleaning chemicals, odds are that brush was made by the Parts Brush Division of the Paint Brush Corporation.  And the owner of this company wanted a quality detailing brush.  So he used his years of expertise and product knowledge to design the ATLASTA SoftTip brush.

Brush in action

Detailing brush
Car detailing brush from ATLASTA

This brush is hands down the best detailing brush we have ever used and trust us we’ve used tons of brushes over the years.  The ergonomic detailing brush measures just under ten inches and weighs a lightweight 4.3 ounces.  We haven’t found a spot on any of our cars that this brush can’t reach and it removes any debris or dust without any risk of scratches or swirls.  For more details on this detailing brush,  click here.

Their motto sums it up -  “only one grade… the very best.”

 

GearWrench’s Long Handle Ratchets – Fit for the Job

Ratchet Long Handled
GearWrench Long Handled Ratchet

Admit it.  We’ve all done it.  At least once!  We all have needed some extra leverage to loosen a stubborn bolt and slipped a pipe over a wrench handle to gain some extra torque.

Ratchets from GearWrench

Well GearWrench figured that out and have come out with a new line of Long Handle Ratchets.  These babies are over 25 percent longer than standard ratchets offering increased reach and greater leverage.  In fact one of the 1/2″ drives is a full nineteen inches in length.  That should do the trick and loosen the most recalcitrant bolt.    It has a low profile head and a flush-mount.

This set of wrenches has the 84 tooth gear and so only needs 4.3 degrees of arc for easy maneuverability in tight spaces.  Some even have a nice padded handle to make it easy on your hands too.

Sizes for GearWrench Ratchets

The 84-Tooth Long Handle Ratchets are available in either full-polish or cushion grip in the following drive sizes: 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch and 1/2 inch.  Check out your favorite tool shack to check these out or look at www.gearwrench.com

Padded handle long handled ratchet

Photos courtesy GearWrench