Sunday, November 21, 2021

Japanese Tools for Japanese Cars!

So friends, yes I have not posted for awhile, but it does not mean I have not done anything car related in that time.  

Now that I have a decent garage, I started thinking about what kind of tools I will need going forward in order to properly support a "Garage Life" - not just display my car, or even my other hobby of washing/detailing my cars - as this blog has shown, since purchasing my GT-R I have always spent time tinkering with it, making it "mine."

But I have recently come to realize that while the Craftsman tools I inherited from my dad are decent, they are nowhere near as good as some stuff the Japanese make.  And as I get older and clumsier, anything that helps make it easier to work on my car(s) in my home garage, is most welcome. But good tools are expensive, right? Well, not if you live in Japan AND you buy Japanese tools - imported tools from the US, Germany, etc., ARE expensive however.  So I decided to start by focusing on Japanese tool manufacturers.

So far, I have discovered that Ko-ken Tools seems to be THE socket specialist - and they have an automotive specific line up, their Z-EAL line (basically making things as compact as possible to get into tight situations); KTC (Kyoto Tool Company) is known also for their comprehensive line-up, but are also known for their auto-specific tools (and their super premium NEPROS series!); TONE (pronounced "to-neh") is also a comprehensive tool manufacturer with some interesting stuff and some racing pedigree;  ENGINEER seems to be really into cutting tools, like wire cutters/strippers (I actually bought one during the stereo install) and pliers; VESSEL seems to be the king of screwdrivers (I bought their compact motorized one - saves my wrist!); and others such as ANEX and Asahi Tools  - and yes, many more - I am just beginning this new obsession!  And yes, I try to buy the "Made in Japan" products these manufacturers sell - not only do I find the Japanese craftsmanship superior, even to the items made in Taiwan (which are very close, admittedly) but it's my way of supporting my local economy (even some Japanese brands have things made in China and other countries, so sticking to Made in Japan is not just relying on the brand name)!

Anyway - let me show you why I got so excited about these tools. For example:

Ko-ken wheel nut sockets with protector

Simple idea, but really genius.  I have had to use electrical tape on the sockets I used on wheel nuts, but always felt there had to be a better way.  On these sockets, the thin plastic housing protects against inadvertent scratches on the wheel. On the inside, there is a small plastic circle at top to prevent scratching those chrome bolts too!

Or how about this - ever try to use a hex wrench, but in a location that was too small for your hands to manually start the bolt? So you either hope that you the screw is steel so that the magnetized hex wrench holds the screw just long enough to get started, or you use some something sticky to hold the screw on the wrench... well no more!

Why Good Design award? Check out the tips in this close-up:

That's right - the ends have spring loaded steel balls that hold the hex bolt head in place!

Well that's great for hex head bolts but what about regular bolts? Not to worry, Ko-ken has something for that too.

Same concept - the Ko-ken Nut Grip sockets have this black wire spring on the outside of the sockets that then hold two very small balls in place against the incoming bolt (blue arrows).

Speaking of Ko-ken - check out these socket wrench extensions with the built in knurling - useful for when you want to manually spin that bolt into place!

I mentioned VESSEL above - I am simply in love with their rechargeable powered "Ballgrip" screwdriver with changeable tips.

Rechargable via USB. Has a built in LED lamp too, so perfect accessing hard to see and reach screws from underneath, especially in the interior!

Finally, check out this TONE swivel head ratchet.

Now I know that Snap-On and other companies have swivel head ratchets, but what impressed me was the low price - around 6000 yen - plus the superb craftsmanship (made in Japan, yes!) - the handle is hollowed out so super light and superbly balanced! Have not had a chance to use this yet however...

Anyway - as I continue to buy and collect various tools, I will probably set up a PAGE on this blog dedicated to these tools. Most of them of course will be used to work on the GT-R, so yes this is all R33 GT-R related!

Oh, and yes, upcoming post very soon on the latest on the car itself, so please stay tuned!