I now have a 924/944/924S. I want to do my own maintenance. What tools do I need in my box to pull this off?
Unfortunately not enough new owners ask this question. They should. So before you ask, here are the Top Twenty Tools that any amateur (or professional) 944 tinkerer should minimally have.
- Factory Manuals. You can buy paper manuals or access them online. Chilton and Haynes and such don’t get into enough detail or have decent diagrams.
- Internet-Capable Computer. Not just your phone or tablet, but get a computer with a large high-resolution monitor and a printer. You will need to access everything from diagrams to step-by-step instructions to YouTube videos. Phones and tablets are just too small to show the detail that you will almost always need, and printing stuff will give you access while you are under the car or under the hood. AutoAtlanta.com has diagrams for almost everything.
- Sturdy Bench, Vice, Rags, Gloves and Kitty Litter. Sounds like common sense. Get some cheap cloth rags, cloth gloves, paper towels and kitty litter for oily cleanup. We like the cloth gloves at Harbor Freight.
- Floor Jack and Jack Stands. A lift is better, but if you are going to jack it up and get under it, you need good, strong jack stands. (Read this warning about Harbor Freight Jack Stands from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
- Small, bright LED Flashlight(s) and extra batteries. There are dark places that you need to see into. One of those headband LED lights that puts light on whatever you are looking at is also a good thing, even though they look a little goofy.
- Cell phone camera. Camera for taking photos of “before” so you can figure out how to put it back together. Phone so you can call for help when things don’t go well. Activate the one-button 9-1-1 feature for emergencies. Don’t ask why we recommend this.
- Digital Multimeter. For testing voltage, amperage, continuity and other stuff. Like this.
- Razor Blade Knives. Buy the pack of three or four because you will always lose them. Like this.
- Metric Tools
- Good socket set with 1/2″, 3/8″ and 1/4″ drive sockets. The crankshaft is a 24mm bolt, so you need that and a breaker bar to turn the engine by hand.
- Extra 10mm, 13mm, 17mm and 19mm sockets. You will thank us later.
- Metric wrenches including 7mm up to 19mm, then add 21mm, 22mm and 24mm.
- Extra 10mm, 13mm, 17mm and 19mm wrenches. There are times when you will need both – one on each side of a bolt-and-nut.
- 3/8″ drive Allen heads, both short and long, without the ball end. If you want to also get a set of long ball end Allen heads, you will use them.
- Set of large Allen head 1/2″ drivers for the transmission drain plugs. You need a 17mm for the plugs. Like this.
- A set of metric 12-point XZN Triple Square Spline Bit socket set. These are used for the cam bolt and the axle bolts and others. Like this.
- Assortment of Other Tools. Screwdrivers, pliers, vice grips, wire cutter, wire stripper, hammers, etc.
- Special “Pin Wrench” tool for holding the balance shafts to remove and tighten the bolts. This is what we use.
- Torque Wrench. For torquing down nuts and bolts. The “click” torque wrenches work well, but don’t go “cheap” on these. You want accuracy. You will use it more than you realize.
- Set of Pry Bars. Pry bars are better and safer than that old huge broken screwdriver you’ve been using. Like this.
- Assortment of Magnets On A Stick. You will drop things where you cannot reach them.
- Plastic Bins for Parts. As you take things apart, you need to put them somewhere so things don’t get lost…or don’t get lost so easily.
- Plastic Food Bags. Sandwich bags and bigger for parts, bolts, etc. Get the kind you can write on with a Sharpie.
- Silver, Gold and Black Sharpies. So you can mark and write on stuff.
- Clipboard and Paper and Pen. Write stuff down, make diagrams, etc.
- Assortment of Magic Fluids. PB Blaster, WD40, Silicone Spray, Brake Parts Cleaner, etc.
- MAP Torch. Because sometimes the Assortment of Magic Fluids isn’t enough. You need heat. Like this.
Here are some tools and equipment that you should have available to you from time to time. Locating resources now when you’re not in a rush is a good idea so that when you need it, you can get it. Some of these tools are available for “rent” from parts stores, others from equipment rental stores.
- Engine Crane. Available from an equipment rental store.
- Spring Compressor. For changing front strut inserts. Get the one that compresses the spring from the outside of the spring, not the inside, like this.
- Wheel Bearing Removal Tool. For the rear wheel bearings on 924S and Series II 944.
- Slide Hammer. Some things need a little extra convincing.
Here are a few final tips for your project planning:
- Whatever the project, estimate the amount of time it will take, then double that number. Then add another 50%. “A two-hour job is one broken bolt away from becoming a two-week disaster.”
- Research the job, then order the parts you will need. Don’t start until all the parts have arrived and you have the tools and equipment on hand.
- If something just doesn’t “look right” or “feel right,” it is most probably wrong. Take your time and do it right.
- Mistakes happen, we are all human. We will break stuff from time to time. Learn and move on.
- Get help, even if it is someone to hand you tools and such.