Nobody likes to be met with a stubborn screw when stripping or rebuilding an engine. Those pesky fasteners can ruin what was just a routine job and turn it into a nightmare. Thankfully tools are at hand to help in these delicate situations and as an added bonus it gives you the satisfaction of being able to wield a large hammer.
One of the tools that can come in handy when stripping an engine and various other little jobs is an Impact Driver. One place where it’s really handy is deep in the bowels of the engine, on the drive side seal retaining plate. It is possible that these flat screwdriver headed bolts could have been in over 50 years and sometimes they need a bit of persuading to encourage them for removal, and this is where an impact driver comes into its own.
Sometimes it’s useful to start the removal with the impact driver using it as a screwdriver, as the handle gives good grip giving you better purchase over a regular flat ended screwdriver. If the screw heads are very burred and there is no purchase for any type of screwdriver don’t despair, the impact driver may just be able to take them out. Simply click the impact driver to the left hand setting, choose your desired bit for the end of the driver (choose one that corresponds best to the shape of the screw head) then place on top of the screw head, striking the top of the impact driver with a hammer and hit it. Don’t be frightened, spank it. Hitting it like this on the top spins the bottom of the tool which then loosens the screw or bolt, making it easier to remove.
Another place where it is good to use is on the brake master cylinder reservoir. The screw heads can be very soft and tend to burr easily making them difficult to remove with a normal screwdriver or allen key, this is where an impact driver comes into its own.
Impact tip: Remember the master cylinder and headset is only made from aluminium. Be gentle with it and only give it a slight tap with a 2lb hammer rather than a 4lb hammer, or you’ll be riding with drops this season.
You can buy various Impact Drivers to suit your pocket and how often you’re likely to need to use it. The Force one (top left) costs around £30.00. I like the look of this one as it has a lot of bits but it’s more of a ‘hobbyist’ set according to the guy in the tool shop and its not one I have used myself so can’t really comment. The Draper set costs £21.00, the man behind the counter said it would be good one or two times, again not one I have used. They also had a Siegen branded one (top right), which is just £8.00. The hardware mans said he had only ever sold one and it got returned!
The Sealey set is the one I use, it cost about £35 and I’ve had it for ten years. The handle is just starting to slip and it could do with a few more bits but when the time comes I will be replacing it with another Sealey. This is only my personal choice and it’s worth looking around to find what suits you.
Words and photos, Nick Prince
If you have any workshop tips or top tool recommendations feel free to get in touch at editorial@ScooterLab.UK