This article was originally published in the RC Driver’s April 2016 issue.
So you’ve gone out and bought your very first high-end radio control kit and can’t wait to get building. You crack open the box, lay out all the well labeled bags and even read the instructions. You are now ready to build; until you notice that all the required tools to do so are either missing or of such low quality they belong in a kid’s tool set. Sure, you could go and spend a couple hundred bucks buying a top of the line set but your funds are short from just buying the kit! To help you get the most bang for your buck here are our top 10 must-have pit tools for under $20 each.
Team Associated Factory Team Shock Shaft Pliers, $19.99.
Building shocks correctly is vital to a well handling vehicle. A rough or scratched shock shaft will cause oil to leak or dirt to contami- nate the oil inside the shock body. These pliers will grip 3mm, 3.5mm and 4mm shafts without scaring them so you can easily install shock bottoms.
Team Associated Factory Team Ride Height Gauge, $14.99.
Setting your ride height is crucial to having a well performing vehicle. This handy little blue anodized aluminum gauge from Team Associated has a series of well labeled steps so you can ensure each of the four corners of your vehicle sits equally
Dynamite Machined Hex Metric Driver Set, $19.95. Well-made hex wrenches when assem- bling or repairing a vehicle are worth their weight in gold. This set of tools from Dynamite includes three of the most popular sizes; 1.5mm, 2mm and 2.5mm. The handles are well made and flat on one side so they won’t roll around and the tips are replaceable should one wear out or break.
Duratrax Body Reamer, $9.99. Making a perfect hole in Lexan is not as easy as you might think. This reamer from Duratrax has a super sharp tip and cutting edge that will go right through most plastics and soft wood. Fluted blades even help to remove debris as you cut and the no roll grip keeps it where you left it on your pit table.
Tamiya Micro Hammer, $17.49. Sometimes you just need to bang on something but a big carpenter’s hammer is just too big. At 7.1 inches in length with a black rubber grip this is the perfect pit sized hammer and the replaceable nylon, brass tips and convex and flat iron tips will suit just about any need.
RPM Shock Duplicator, $14.95.
So you’ve built your shocks but they rebound at different rates or you can’t quite tell if they are the same exact length. This is where this cool tool comes into play. Install a pair of shocks into the Shock Duplicator and you will immediately be able to tell if they are the same length, whether they have a difference in rebound and how much the difference is.
Duratrax 17mm Wheel Nut Driver, $12.99. There is nothing too much worse than running a race and seeing a wheel fly off unexpectedly. This inexpensive 17mm wrench from Duratrax will ensure your wheel nuts on 1/8-scale vehicles are nice and snug thanks to the nice grip. Even better, its design makes it easy to keep in your pocket while trackside.
RPM Parts Tray, $1.79. Ok, while not exactly a tool, it’s the best thing you can get for your workbench and it costs less than an energy drink. RPM offers small parts trays with a magnet, to help keep screws in one place while you are wrenching on your machine. For the low cost and high use rate, you might as well grab yourself a handful of these babies!
This is just a quick sample list of tools and accessories that you can find at any good hobby shop to make wrenching on your favorite vehicle a much more enjoyable experience. What pit tool do you need at all times? We asked our Facebook followers and here are a few of their replies. Let us know your picks at facebook.com/rcdriver
Cool Tool Suggestions from RC Driver’s Facebook Friends
A wheel-nut rent wrench, I don’t go anywhere without that at least.
MIP metric hex drivers
My small battery drill and metric hex driver bits from Dynamite.
My ol’ boost bottle turned into a pipe
1.5 2.0 and 2.5 hex drives. You don’t have those you may as well call it a day
MIP 1.5 2.0 & 2.5mm hex drivers, 2.0mm mostly
Hex wrench for tires
2mm hex driver