Over the past few weeks we’ve looked at an advanced diagnostic scanner for deep down diagnostics; the humble digital caliper, a tool that makes measuring easy, if not fun; and a vacuum purge and refill kit that helps ensure your cooling system is properly serviced. This week’s cool tool is a crowfoot wrench, a tool that allows you to turn a fitting in a cramped space.
This suggestion comes from our own David Tracy, who says that a tool like this can be a must on jobs like inner tie rod replacements. They’re also useful for loosening brake and power steering fittings in tight places.
Performing a repair can get a bit difficult when the part you need to replace is buried under a mountain of other components. If you’ve replaced brake lines or power steering lines on a modern vehicle before, you may know the difficulty associated with simply not having enough space to do the job.
Normally, a handy flare nut wrench will make short work of lines like these, especially if you have the kind of room that I have on my school bus.
But what do you do if there isn’t room to swing the wrench? You could start removing parts in the surrounding area until you have enough room, or you could give yourself a far easier time by deploying a crowfoot wrench.
These small wrenches connect to the end of a ratchet or socket extension and turn about an axis parallel to the fitting. The wrench turns the fitting in the tight space while your ratchet is offset in an area that allows for a nice, undisturbed swinging action.
Watch the crowfoot do work on Honda’s impossibly tight power steering line fitting in this YouTube video by NoNonsenseKnowHow:
These wrenches can also help you with front end work. The inner tie rods of some vehicles can be removed with the use of a large crowfoot wrench (though there’s also a special inner tie rod end tool that would be even better).
Do you know of a weird or unique but must-have tool that every wrencher should have? Do you want to see us put a type of tool to the test and see how it performs? Shoot me an email or drop it down in the comments!