Helpful Restoration Gadgets
By Stephen Kassis
When restoring a car or truck, there are many helpful restoration gadgets to make the job a little simpler. This will outline some of the more helpful items that you might not know about or ever thought to ask for.
VT-22 & GM-1121 – Rivet Head Bolts – These are a great short cut item that helps to replace rivets used on hood latches, hooks and handles. You will probably find other uses for them as well. From the top, they look like a rivet but on the bottom, they are threaded and come with lock washer nuts. Head diameter is .425″, 10-32 x 1/2″ bolt. Simply drill out the old rivets, do whatever repairs are necessary (like painting, chrome plating parts, etc.), then reinstall the item using these threaded little goodies to make life easy! Available in stainless or zinc coated, these little time savers look great when installed.
J-132 (1948 & Older) & J-139 (1949 & Newer) – Door Handle & Window Crank Handle Removal Tool – When trying to remove inside door handles and window cranks, this little tool is worth its weight in gold! Trying to do this job with a screwdriver is crazy because the slot is so hard to reach without the proper tool. These tools have the proper bends to push out the retaining clips with very little effort.
Hole Plugs – Rubber, Plastic & Metal – So you got your firewall all painted up, engine installed and you are just finishing up wiring your old car. You look at the firewall and there are two holes that donât have anything going through them. Now you realize that the holes donât belong there at all. You could pull everything back out, repair and repaint the firewall OR you could find a proper sized hole plug in rubber, plastic or metal and make a quick, clean repair. Hole plugs come in many sizes, just measure the diameter of the hole and get a few extras for those unwanted openings.
SA-115 & SA-115S – Clutch Head Screwdrivers & Sockets – GM had a special screw head made in the 1940’s through the 1960’s called clutch head. These screws came in machine thread or sheet metal thread. When doing a restoration on one of this era Chevy or GMC, you will likely run into these screws. The head opening looks like a “figure 8”. Removing these screws without the proper driver is next to impossible. You can get a set of 5 different sizes (5/32″, 3/16″, 1/4″, 5/16″) available in either screwdriver or socket drive. If it is going to come out, the proper clutch head tool will get it out!
C-662 – Chrome Ferrule Installation Tool – Outside door & trunk handles on GM cars & trucks from 1937 & earlier used a chrome ferrule to hold the handles steady. These chrome ferrules had a special tool required to install them. The tool pushes outward on the inside edge of the ferrule, thus tightening it in the hole of the door or trunk lid. This job is nearly impossible to do without a tool like this one.
V-100 – Torque Tube Bushing Puller – From 1951-1954 Chevrolet used a press fit bushing at the front of the torque tube. When replacing this bushing with a new bushing and seal assembly (V-105), it is necessary to remove the front bushing from the torque tube. Normal methods would require complete disassembly of the gears & driveshaft from the tube. With this tool, the front bushing can be removed in a matter of minutes with the driveshaft in place!
CD-41 – Locking Strip Installation Tool – Rear window and quarter window seals on Chevrolet & GMC trucks from 1942-1966 used a rubber seal that has a locking strip to hold it in place. The rubber locking strip fits into a triangular shaped groove in the window seal. This special tool spreads the rubber seal out while helping feed the locking strip into place. It makes a simple job out of an otherwise tedious task.
VT-41 – Hood Prop – This handy device is used to hold the hood open on early cars & trucks (1929-1935) which have 4-piece hoods and V-shaped hood to radiator supports. Simply bolt into place and choose a long or short support arm. This very handy device will keep the hood up while you do engine repairs, but also prevents damage to the hood from being folded all the way over on the other side. It folds quickly out of the way when not needed.
Time-saving gadgets are wonderful to have when doing a restoration. These are just a few that might help you out on yours.