Monday, January 4, 2010

Craftsman 'lifetime' warranty

I did actually get under the bus since the last post, but I gotta vent about how cheap Craftsman tools have become. The tools that I use were a Christmas gift in the mid-80's. My parents recognized I had some special affinity for tools at an early age. See, when I was about 10 I took their stereo equipment apart to figure out how it worked. I got it all back together again, and it still worked, but I'm not sure I learned much from it. What I did discover, though, was that a pioneer stereo will still work even if you leave a few screws out of it :)

So, when I hit 15, they gave me a set of Craftsman tools and one of those 3-drawer tool boxes. The set had crescents and ratchets (mini's, 3/8" and 1/2" sockets both metric and American). I've used them on every car I've owned from the rust-bucket '74 Camaro I unwisely bought when I was 16 to my current Jetta and the microbus. I love those tools, and the set is practically complete. Considering the number of moves, the number of cars, and friends I've had, that's quite a feat. About a year ago, my mini ratchets broke. I had 2, suddenly, I had none.

So, last week while my office was closed, I took my broken ratchets to Sears for rebuild / replacement. The guy behind the tools counter took a look at my ratchets and only accepted one of them as Craftsman. He could have been right, but I've never bought ratchets, so I think he just didn't know what he was looking at. He brought over a replacement ratchet for the one he thought was Craftsman - the one with the word clearly written on it. The replacement was nothing like the original except for the square bit. The switch is plastic. The ratcheting mechanism was plastic. I wasn't even sure the handle wasn't chromed plastic. I asked him if he had any rebuilt ones like the one I had. He said, "no, we haven't had anything that old in a long time". Great. "Do you have a rebuilding kit I could have instead of that (pointing at the plastic crap)," I asked. The tool guy looked puzzled and said no. I asked for my ratchets back and told him to forget it.
On leaving the store, my wife didn't initially understand. The wrench they were trying to pawn-off on me was a $6.99 wrench. My original wrench is worth more than that when broken. I'd rather rebuild the wrench at my own cost ($9 for a rebuild kit off the internet) than have a plastic piece of junk that will fail on me when I can't afford to be without a functioning tool.

On the bus, I slid underneath with some steel pipe on Sunday afternoon and thought about the routing of the coolant. At this point, I think I'll run it under the rear beam, and up over the right axle (but under and to the right side of the starter). Then, it should appear close to where the oil cooler and fuel filter are. It should be pretty straightforward to tie into the block and header in/outlets. All told, that would be 6 90* bends, 4 45* bends and a couple of straight joiners in rubber. It would be 6 straight sections of steel pipe. I need to find a rubber source that won't crush the budget. Maybe a visit to CarQuest would be worthwhile. I'll also have to think about fitting in a bleeder on each side of the radiator since there will be a high-point within the radiator otherwise. Or do I entertain the idea of flipping the rad over again? Eeee..... Can a bleeder be added directly to the plastic tank on the radiator? Hmm...

That's it for today...

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