When you get involved in this great hobby of ours there’s no doubt that you need to have a good set of tools to not only do the job right but to make wrenching on your vehicle much easier. Over the years I have been lucky enough to have some of the best tools in the business but I have never really had a tool that helped me do the job that I like dislike the most: building turnbuckles.
No matter what tool I use I find myself fighting to keep the turnbuckle stable enough to properly apply torque to the rod end and get it installed. I eventually got to the point where I would use the chuck of my lathe to hold the turnbuckle while I twist the rod end on but if it was a short turnbuckle it was only good for one side.
Then I discovered that I could use a pair of locking pliers (AKA Vice Grips) to do the job of holding the turnbuckle. Vice Grips adjust easily to fit the flats properly, and does a great job of holding onto the turnbuckle without requiring sheer hand power to hold the turnbuckle tightly. Vice Grips come in different shapes and sizes and are handy for all kinds of home repair work, but for RC duty I went with the 5 inch pair so they easily fit into my tool box.
Vice Grips are great for holding onto any size turnbuckle. Spend a few extra bucks for genuine Vice Grips instead of getting knock-offs–quality counts.
Line up the jaws with the flat on the turnbuckle and clamp down. The turnbuckle won’t go anywhere until you pop open the Vice Grips.
If you want to know the history of how Vice Grips came to be (of course you do), read this.
Do you have a favorite tool? Comment or firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you’re wrenching with.