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Hey guys/gals,

I am currently a student at MMI to become a motorcycle tech. With the courses I am currently enrolled in, I have about a year until I graduate, assuming I don't add on any additional manufacturers. I would like to start to build up my tool collection during the time I am still in school, so that I am not having to pull out loans or sign my life away to a tool distributor. I was hoping some of the industry veterans could recommend some good quality tools that they have used and would recommend.

I have had several people, from weekend mechanics to career mechanics recommend Craftsman as a good start. However, they have been in the industry for awhile, and most of the reviews I have read are all of the opinion that modern day Craftsman are far lower quality than the older models.

I am not a brand name junky, but I also would like to invest in a set that will last me awhile, until I can save up the big bucks for the big name brands.

Thanks for any advice!
 

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Aging & Worn
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"SNAP ON" is another. I personally think their tools are more durable than Craftsman; but, that said.......

I don't know about the policies of other companies but the thing that drew me in to buy craftsman tools was the exchange policy: "you break it, you bring it in, they replace it"

The first set of tools I ever bought, was a Craftsman set. I paid for a full set of tools (but you want to make sure you have tools that are specifically designed for motorcycles as well).
 

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Gone.
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Craftsman is a great option to get started, and if you want, over time you can replace them with "better" tools. I don't think the quality has gone down and in some cases, sockets for example, I think it's gone up. I've got boxes full of Snap-On and Matco and others and there's still plenty of Craftsman tools living happily among them and serving faithfully.

Yes, I think Snap-On and others do make some better quality tools, and they do have their own appeal for several reasons, but the best thing you can do at this point is look at yourself and your job as a business and make decisions based on that. Don't get caught up in this attitude of, "I make my living with these tools! I need the best I can possibly get!" No, you need tools that will work, and that you can afford.

Look at it this way: Say you and Joe buy tools. He spends about 5 grand on the tool truck and you drop a single grand at Sears. Neither one of you are going to make any more money off your new tools then the other will. He can now boast about his beautiful expensive tools, but you have 4 grand in your pocket while he's trudging to the truck every week to make payments.

And once you are actually working with the tools you'll be able to figure out what really works and what doesn't and can make better decisions about what you really need.
 

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Save them all!
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One of the big appeals to me for Craftsman when I got started was their warranty and how easily I could get a replacement. Sears is in trouble financially, but Craftsman seems to still be going strong. Our local Ace Hardware stocks them and can do warranty swaps.
 

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With Craftsman tools, you have to read the label, as they have reduced the warranty coverage on some. Still good quality.

If you plan on working on metric bikes, a good set of JIS-type screwdrivers will reduce the number of buggered cross-point screws. You can use them in true Phillips head screws, too, but not the other way around. There are many brands available, mostly online; Vessel makes good ones, IMO.
 

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Nothing to See Here
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a good set of JIS-type screwdrivers will reduce the number of buggered cross-point screws. You can use them in true Phillips head screws, too, but not the other way around. There are many brands available, mostly online; Vessel makes good ones, IMO.
I have never seen one for sale in a brick-and-mortar store. A decent JIS screwdriver will pay for itself the first time it keeps you from stripping out a customer's screw.
 

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My opinion: If it's a precision instrument (ie: torque wrench), get the best you can afford. Especially if you are going to be using it a lot. CDI is a great torque wrench from what i have read and has some of the same parts as snap on and is made by snap on. Ive used craftsman, husky, kobalt,Harbor Freight and others. Im not a mechanic, but I do my own wrenching. I wish I would have just bought a couple of good snap on or matco or whatever over the years instead of going cheap.

IDK about their ft.pounds torque wrenches, but, whatever you do, dont buy a HF inch pounds torque wrench. Youll be over tightening/stripping/breaking things. I know that sometimes its hard to feel/hear the click, but you get what you pay for. And of course, always reset it so its not under tension, dont drop it and get it calibrated as needed
 

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Ace Tuner
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Everybody's got you pretty much covered here so I don't have much more I can offer.
Re-read Eye's post. He knows of what he speaks.

The way I did it starting out was, buy the high $$ tools I knew I'd be using a lot. Craftsman for the others.
The Sears near me went out of business. I'll have to drive to find replacement Craftsman now...

One thing I can offer is, you got the best education coming out of MMI but it's gonna take a while to actually learn the job.
I know MMI keeps everyone pumped up on how you'll hit the ground running. Don't get discouraged when you find out it's taking some time to get what you've learned to make it's way to your hands.
 

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So long
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Nothing wrong with used tools. Sometimes you can find a good deal on CraigsList. A few years ago I was looking for a used rolling cabinet/tool chest combo. Found a good one for $100. The guy was happy to get rid of it and threw in a couple hundred loose sockets and maybe 12 ratchets (mostly Craftsman and SK Wayne) for free. I sorted them out and put them in socket organizers. It was a great deal.
 
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