In the Shop
As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.
Special Tools for Special Jobs
Aug 16, 2010
Engineers are devious souls. When mechanics refer to tech manuals to disassemble or re-assemble machinery, we often are told to use a "JDG2530 tool" to remove a seal, install a bearing or align a shaft.
With luck, the dealership has the JDG2530 tool in the tool room. I can guarantee if a tech manual calls for a JDG2530 tool, the job will be much, MUCH easier if that tool is available. I've managed to devise, improvise or invent tools when the specified tools wasn't available, but promise that it's always easier with the proper tool.
I'm not adverse to ordering and buying special tools from the manufacturer. That way, if I'm on a service call, the shop doesn't have the tool or another mechanic is using it, I've got the secret weapon to make the repairs go more easily. In the same vein, if you're a farmer who does a lot of his own repairs, and often makes the same repairs, it might save money and time to invest in factory-recommended tools.
Most dealerships have catalogs of factory-recommended tools. A polite farmer might get a chance to peruse that catalog and order special tools that would make home repairs much easier. If you're not sure what tools you need, ask a mechanic--they can tell you which tools save time and aggravation.
Special tools aren't cheap. I just spent $88 on a torque adapter wrench that is no more than a flat chunk of steel 6 inches long and 1 inch thick, with a 12-point, 30 mm wrench in one end and a 3/4-inch square hole in the other end. But there are times when that pricey little chunk of metal saves me an entire hour on certain repairs, so it will easily pay for itself.
By the way, many factory-recommended tools are manufactured by OTC Tools. You can't order factory tools direct from OTC, but the OTC website (Google search: "OTC tools") has a lot of nifty specialty tools that are darned close to many of the factory-recommended tools we have at dealerships. Not all of them, but enough to make it a fun internet shopping trip.