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What's in my toolbox. Essential Tools for Tractor Owners

Tags :  tools  | 

Neil from Messick's is here to do a toolbox tour with you today. Now, we've done toolbox tours before with some of our mechanics. Showing off the stuff that those professionals take on the road with them when they come out to work on your machinery. Today we're going to do a toolbox tour of my toolbox. Now, my skillset is probably a lot more like many of yours. I'm handy enough. My real comfort level is more with the electronics and 3D printers and that kind of stuff, but I've got enough knowledge on this kind of stuff, enough willingness to get my hands dirty on my own equipment that I benefit from a simple tool set at home. Today we're going to dig through my toolbox here. Take a look at some of the things that I've found really useful. Maybe one of these things will connect with you, might be worth picking up to make your life with your equipment a little bit easier.
Now, before we dig in here, we're going to talk about the box itself. You're going to see here as we go along, I have a mix of quality tools and a mix of cheap tools. Some of these things I use heavily enough that it's worth investing in good things that are going to last, and some of them just don't get used enough to be worthwhile spending the money for the better stuff. My parents have bought me tools since I've been about 16 years old, so I've accumulated a lot of things as Christmas presents over the years. It's really been great, it's given me a great collection of things that I put to use regularly. One of those first things that they got for me was a toolbox, this small red one behind me here. Now, I pretty quickly outgrew that and moved on to a larger box, but I picked up one that was pretty cheap.
This with coupons and everything is about $500, and when you look at toolboxes you'll know that's cheap. Now, the biggest thing that I notice here in my box is things like the hinges, the quality construction, the door slides are far cheaper than the professional-level toolboxes that many of our mechanics use. Not bad but not a place that I've spent the big bucks. If we slide the first drawer open here, this is where you're always going to keep the stuff that you use every day. You're going to notice here that I have a pretty substantial collection of wrenches. Now, having both metric and standard-size wrenches is a great idea. When you go through this equipment, you're going to find a mix of nuts sizes on your equipment, even on one machine because the different countries of origins where this stuff comes from, you can have mixed sizes even on one piece of equipment, so it's good to have both options.
I did opt to get the ratcheting-style wrenches here. I picked these up a little while ago. Honestly, that's not something that I would say that I would spend the money on again. These are a little bit more expensive but so often I find when you're working on a piece of equipment, you can hardly get the box into the wrench around where you need it to go. Getting this thing to ratchet properly and having enough room in order to move them around is a bit of a challenge. I just don't find them all that helpful. One thing I did do was pick up some really large-size wrenches. Now, these are some of the cheapest big wrenches that I could find. When you buy wrenches for your tractor, you'll probably think there is no need for something this large, but you'd be surprised what you bump into particularly when it comes to hydraulic fittings.
I find I need these large wrench sizes when I'm tightening my fittings and stuff. I wouldn't have a nut nearly that big on my tractor, my loader, or any of my equipment, but hydraulic fittings could be surprisingly large, and so having a wrench set above three-quarters of an inch where a lot of wrench sets tend to stop, has been really helpful to me. One place I did spend a little bit more money on my tools was with my screwdrivers. I'm a bit of an amateur home electrician, and I used screwdrivers really hard, so I opted a little while ago to buy a good set of electricians' screwdrivers. Not only were these a little bit better quality set of screwdrivers, one thing that I've really appreciated about these when I'm working on my tractors or larger equipment where you really need to be able to torque down and turn these things hard is that the tips of these are a lot harder.
They're better quality metal cast and heated a lot better, they don't round off nearly as easy as what a cheap set of screwdrivers do. Rather than throwing away screwdrivers all the time, I've saved a lot of screws probably, and my tools have stayed in better shape by buying a good set of screwdrivers. Now, some of these nuts on your tractor can be frustratingly stuck or hard to get at, and an impact wrench really goes a long way. You'd be surprised these are more affordable when you're buying these air-powered versions than you might expect. Some of the harbor freight-level impact wrenches can be $50, $60, $70. It can really go a long way to enabling you to work on your tractor. The most frequent time that I'm using this is when I have a flat tire.
If I'm running over nails or things that are outside as I'm working, or I let the air in a tire get a little too flat and push it off the bead, I pop this guy out in order to zip that tire off the machine to get it out to a tire shop in order to get it fixed. That I've used pretty frequently. Now, it's best when you're doing that to have a set of deep impact sockets, and again I'm going to have these both in metric and standard sizes so that I can get all around my tractor. Those I put to use pretty often. Right here is a torque wrench that I also use. Now, this is going to be the same size as what my impact wrench is. This is an extremely cheap torque wrench, and you could tell. This would never hold up in any kind of real shop environment. You can just tell the mechanisms on here aren't particularly heavy-duty.
When it comes to looking at things like the lugs on your tires or whether your loader is staying properly torqued on your tractor as you're crashing in and out of piles of dirt, a torque wrench is really the only way to know that you've got those nuts tightened properly. I have a really inexpensive torque wrench that I use so that I can check those things on my machine. I picked up a tap-and-die set years ago for one specific project that I was doing that I was frequently having to go through and put holes into things as I was working. Since I got this tap-and-die set, I really have been surprised how often I end up using it. As you're using equipment, and bolts and nuts go through, they get dirt on them, they get rusty, even if you're really careful when you're threading things in and out, you can mess the threads up.
I end up using this tap set fairly frequently to go through and rethread areas where I may have messed up a nut. I've gotten a lot of use out of it. It's helped me get equipment back out in the yard really quickly without having to go through and, say, replace hardware and that kind of thing. You can put a little bit of life back into things. Cheapest of cheap here for me. These taps, even I can see them wearing already. They're not going to last like a good tap set is going to, but in order to be able to have something in the toolbox to get a job done, I think it's been really worthwhile. I can't tell you how many times this cardboard box has bailed me out of a jam. One day while walking through our parts department, I picked up a cardboard box and walked down the bolts by the pound row, and grabbed a handful of just about everything that I passed.
At the end of that trip down I might have walked out of there with 10 pounds of bolts that probably cost me $22 to buy, but you can't believe how often I end up digging through here because I've lost a piece of hardware or broken something off or striped something out. Who knows? I don't have a lot of anything, but I feel like I've got one of about everything that I may need, and I've been super thankful for that. It's a pretty nominal investment for something that could bail you out of a jam. There's nothing in here that's all that exciting but all right. This is the only drawer that's organized. I'm showing you this drawer because it's the only one that's organized well. My end goal here would be to someday be able to take my 3D printer and make storage containers for all the things that are in here, to keep these things nicely organized.
This is the only area that I've been able to do so far. I built these nine little containers with dividers, and then to be able to separate all of my different drill bits, to be able to make these things easy to find and be able to pull out of the drawers on a moment's notice. It helps keep things really organized having them in containers like this. I've seen several people do this with Milwaukee Packouts and that kind of stuff. There's awesome tool-organizing systems out there and I think it's worth doing. You might spend a little bit of money and time in order to put these things together, but you're going to buy less tools for the second and third time when you can find things when you go for them. Years ago, I started with a cheap hacksaw in my toolbox. Honestly, probably one that I took from my dad somewhere along the way and never returned, but then upgraded to one that was a lot more substantial.
As you pick up new implements for your tractor, you often need to trim the PTO shafts in order to fit the size machine you have. The manufacturers are going to ship a fairly long shaft with most implements, that are going to fit a wide variety of tractors. When taking those implements down to smaller machines, oftentimes those PTO shafts need trim to fit that particular tractor. A good sturdy hacksaw is the best way to do that on your own at home. You need the length of these blades in order to get through a PTO shaft. Even a Sawzall with a fine tooth blade on it isn't the best way to do it because you can't get through the whole shaft end to end, so a nice sturdy hacksaw is my tool of choice. I continue to tweak with this portion, this corner of the garage here, because I find it to be such valuable real estate.
This corner here is right against that awkward corner against the garage door. I've chosen to put my air compressor in these hose reels over here. Now good hoses and good reels are really expensive. They can be a lot of money. I'm a little frustrated by these. You want to keep an eye out for what I would call made for Amazon products. Things that are going to ship in from overseas, marketed to that kind of audience, that strike that good appealing balance that feels like you're getting a deal. Sometimes the quality of these things can be frustratingly low, and I would put both of these things in that category. This reel, despite being stainless steel and looking great, it leaks a lot. This pressure washer was on the cheaper end of things, but I have problems with the cords jamming up and it doesn't have near the power of even an entry-level industrial pressure washer like what's sold in our parts department.
These two things I've been a little disappointed by. However, the idea of putting these things in a corner here where they're easy to pull out of your garage to work on something outside is really great. I use my pressure washer a lot more often knowing that I can come over here, flip a switch and pull out a wand than if I had to say roll something out and put it in place and hook up a whole bunch of hoses and stuff. The conveniences as great. I just wish the quality was a little better. The most recent addition to my tractor set up here is this diesel fuel tank. Now, I have a diesel tractor and a diesel mower, and in most weeks during the summertime, I'm going through about a five-gallon can of gas-- It's not gas. My 13-year-old, not me, just put gasoline into my diesel lawnmower.
My most recent addition is this Vevor diesel fuel tank. Now, with a diesel tractor and a diesel mower, I go through a five-gallon can of diesel about every two weeks or so. That makes me feel like every time I'm driving my car to the gas station, I have to have that diesel tank in the back in order to keep my equipment at home going or else I'm running out of fuel. Recently they hooked me up with this. Now, this is about a 60-gallon tank with a 12-volt pump on the top and a diesel hose that comes off of it that I can use to pump my tractor up and fill my tractor up. One thing I really like about this is the size and proportions of it, and the fact that is a plastic tank, it makes it possible for me to use my pallet forks and pick it up and lift it in and out of the back of my SUV so that I can go to the gas station only about every eight or nine months or so to fill this thing up.
When I want to go and fill my tractor up, then it's simply a 12-volt transfer pump on there that I hook up to get power and then go take the line up to my tractor and pump it full of fuel. There'll be a link in the video description to save 5% on one of these if you're interested. They also have these in smaller sizes too. There's another one down about 30 gallons that might be worthwhile to you if you don't have two pieces of equipment with diesel like I do. Believe it or not, despite having a dealership at my disposal to do my own service work, I changed my own oil and filters. Now, when I picked these pieces up, I did it out of a Kubota oil filter service kit, and I laughed at some of the things that were in there, but I use the oil drain pan, the filter wrench, and the funnel that came in that kit on a regular basis. That's my toolbox tour.
You can see here, I don't have an unreasonable amount of stuff. I don't have thousands of dollars tied up in tools like is necessary to be an equipment mechanic and that kind of thing, but having a couple of these simple things really goes a long way to being a little bit more self-sufficient on your equipment so that when something's a little loose, something goes a little sideways, you've broken something, maybe you can get by and get back to work again. If you're shopping for a piece of equipment and we can help, if you have parts of service needs for a machine you've already got, give us a call on Messick's. We're available at 800-222-3373 or online@messick's .com.

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