® Trick Tools #5: Soft Tools

Some don't consider chemicals such as these as tools, but they are in fact an important part of the professional technician's tools arsenal.

  1. Item number "1", Prussian blue, is an old standby in the automotive service trade. Commonly used to mark valves and their mating to the seats, it is also sometimes added to engine oil to trace leaks.

  2. Number "2", Loctite is another old-timer in the trade. This one is the red version, applicable for bearing mounts, cylinder studs, and the like.

  3. Next is the ubiquitous super glue, number "3". Reattach mixture screw limiters, repair broken choke knobs, etc.

  4. The fourth item is a container of soldering flux. Although the best electronic solder has flux inside it already, additional flux is very handy when working with starter cables, and when repairing dirty wiring.

  5. Number "5" is a substance that is quickly becoming obsolete. Valve lapping compound is used less and less in the powersports industry, as it is finally recognized that many techs over-use it, instead of properly seating the valves mechanically. Some manufacturers such as Suzuki disapprove of it entirely. Techs still find uses for it however in seating damaged tapered shafts.

  6. Number "6", first on the bottom row, is the traditional Hylomar, once used only by Rolls Royce mechanics. Goes on like jelly and dries to the consistency of chewing gum. Harley-Davidson has been recommending this gasket cement for years. Especially handy in tacking down carburetor diaphragms.

  7. Next up is Dirko, a gasket cement called for by BMW. This has to be one of the toughest gasket sealers known. A small amount comes with new BMW car head gaskets. Used on troublesome leaks such as early XR/XL cam covers.

  8. Item number "8" is Honda's Hondabond 4, the general purpose sealer.

  9. Kawasaki's case sealer is next, number "9". An unusal sealer designed just for aluminum crankcases, a small tube of this used to come in both Honda and Kawasaki complete gasket sets.

  10. Finally we have 3M weatherstrip adhesive, useful for attaching saddlebag rubber seals, windshield molding, etc.

Email me
© 1996-2015 Mike Nixon