The expression "heat and beat" applies to a lot of driveline repairs, meaning worn parts are often so difficult to separate that one must use a blowtorch and great physical effort with a hammer to get results. In this article, we'll examine some inexpensive special tools for driveline system work that let you work smarter, not harder.
Axle Nut Deep Impact Sockets
In our Impact Sockets section, you'll find a wealth of beefed-up sockets designed to get a variety of jobs done while withstanding the hammering vibrations air wrenches dish out. This section includes standard-length socket pieces, but we'll focus on longer-length "deep" socket pieces since they're ideal for driveline work. With extra clearance inside the socket, they fit easily over longer-length bolts that standard sockets can't.
"12-point" vs. "6-point" Sockets
Check-boxes along the left side of our screen make it easy to select 6-, 8-, or 12-point sockets. Since 8-point sockets are ideal for square-shaped nuts, their automotive applications are limited. 12-point sockets are better suited to lighter repairs, leaving 6-point sockets as the primary choice for heavy-duty driveline work.
6-point sockets are less likely to strip corners of stubborn nuts because force is applied against flat sections of the nut - not on the corners. Additionally, 6-point sockets have thicker walls and are less likely to flex under pressure. And because 12-point sockets are typically angled back a few degrees to slide over a nut easier, 6-point sockets provide more contact area on the nut.
For 1/2" drive impact wrenches, we've got metric deep sockets from Sunex and SK (30-36mm available individually or as a kit). For 1/2" drive fittings, we've got sets with U.S./imperial measurements from Sunex (3/8"-1.25") and Grey Pneumatic (7/16"-1.25")
Have a smaller 1/4" drive air wrench? You'll find metric sets from SK (5-15mm) and Grey Pneumatic (4-15mm).
If you need sockets with a long reach and flexible, pivoting heads, take a look at 12-point socket sets from Sunex available in metric and U.S. configurations.
Bearing Race & Seal Driver Tools
Pressing wheel bearing races and seals can be challenging without the right tools. We've got driver piece sets from Lisle, Powerbuilt, and OTC designed to make this process easy - without risking damage to new parts. One side of each driver is tapered for bearing races, while the other is flat for driving in seals. Kits typically include one or more handles for pounding the race in by hand or with a hammer.
4wd Wheel Bearing Lock Nut Tool
Many 4x4s are commonly fitted with lock rings that must be removed before wheel bearings can be accessed. For this, we've got special lock nut tools for 6- and 4-tooth applications. Unless otherwise noted, both variations feature a 2.5" diameter that's common on 4wd drivetrains.
If a 4-tooth removal tool is needed for your vehicle, we've got them from CTA and OEM Tools. For 1985-on Ford F-250/350s with Dana 80 rear axles, choose CTA's Ford 4wd Lock Nut Wrench. For 1960s-90s 1/2 and 3/4 ton Ford 4x4s with Dana 44 axles, we've got the custom piece you'll need from GearWrench.
Some 4x4s require a 6-tooth removal tool. For those, choose the Lisle Combination 4WD Wheel Bearing Lock Nut Tool.
U-Joint Removal Tools
If you've got a seized U-joint on a driveshaft or axle, the OTC U-Joint Tool makes it easy to press components apart without damaging driveshaft yokes, joints, or bearing cups. An air wrench is recommended for best results.
We've also got the Lisle Pneumatic U-Joint Driver designed specifically to free stuck-on U-joint caps up to 1&5/16ths diameter without damaging driveshaft ears the way chisels or other tools can.
Driveline Fluid Refillers
Driveline repairs often involve draining and refilling transmission, transfer case, or differential fluid. To accomplish this this task easily without mess, consider a specially designed driveline filler. These feature a fluid reservoir bucket, manual pump and trigger style filler nozzle. For example, the AST Driveline Filler comes with a 1.2-gallon (5 liter) plastic jug, hand pump, and 9 coupling pieces. Mityvac's ATF Refill System 1.2-gallon jug includes 10 metric coupling pieces designed to fit Ford, Toyota, BMW, Honda, Nissan, VW, Audi, Mercedes, and Volvo transmissions Having these tools in your garage will make most driveline repairs easy, with successful results the first time. Don't struggle with makeshift tools and don't quite cut it. The investment you make in these driveline tools will more than pay you back in saved time and effort.