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[Datsun 1200 encyclopedia]


From Datsun 1200 Club

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Category: Service Equipment

Sometimes you just need a specialty tool. It can save time, or money, or in some cases mean the difference between doing it right or wrong.

Also see Mechanic's Tools


1200 Factory Tool Kit

See Main Article: Jack#Tools



Older style (analog) Dwell-Tachometers are inexpensive $20 up.

Analog Dwell Meter

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Mechanic's Coveralls

Keep your beach clothes clean while working on your Nissan.


Altia - A Dream With No Horizon
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Hand Tools

Just starting out? Get a cheap $10 socket set. Yes it will break sooner or later, but you'll learn a lot. And if you don't stick with "wrenching" you haven't spent too much

  • Make sure to use 3/8" ratchets and sockets -- never use 1/4" tools except on the tinyest of bolts (1/4" hex head or smaller)

Shadetree mechanics will want a quality set of "guaranteed" tools at a budget price.

  • In North America, Sears Craftsman is the de facto standard for this application. They are good quality. Yes, they will occasionally break, but the guarantee and location of stores make it easy to get free replacments.

Professional mechanics that get paid by the hour lose money when a tool breaks. So they are willing to pay 4-5x times the cost for "great" tools compared to "good" tools like Craftsman. The best brands include:

  1. Snap-On
  2. Mac Tools

The reason these are better than the more common brands include:

  • Higher strength. In general, they are less likely to break
  • Smaller, thinner tools.
    • Example: Snap-on sockets fit in tight places a Craftsman socket may not fit. In turn Craftsman socket are fairly thin and fit in a great many spots where cheap thick sockets won't. Ditto for box-end wrenches

Sockets & Ratchets

  • You defintely want 12-point sockets. They work much easier to fit especially where you can't see or directly reach the bolt, and so make work faster.
  • 6-point sockets are for very tight, or for worn bolt heads. Definitely always use 6-point for head bolts, lugnuts and seat belt anchor bolts -- anything that is fastened to a high torque spec. Use them anytime a bolt starts to round off.
  • 6-point deep sockets are useful for aluminum wheel lugnuts and a a few other places it is almost required.
  • Metric deep sockets are nice, however not required. As an alternative, 9/16" works for 14mm, plus larger metric sizes can also be used with SAE deep sockets

Quality vs Budget tip:

  • Get an expensive ratchet and a budget-quality set of sockets
    • Ratchets break more often than sockets


  • Make sure to use 3/8" ratchets and sockets -- never use 1/4" tools except on the tinyest of bolts (1/4" hex head or smaller)
  • It is a must to use 1/2" "breaker bar" and sockets on high-torque bolts of 3/4" or larger.


  • Combo wrenches are recommended. These have one box-end and one open-end:
  • On a car, never use a monkey wrench -- throw those aways
  • Don't use a crescent wrench except for very small bolts, 8mm (5/16") or smaller -- say a 4" crescent.
  • For 1/2" or larger bolt heads that you can't get a socket on, use Vice-grips, preferably genuine Vice-grip brand.

Flare Wrench

For safely removing flare nuts without damage. For brakes lines and hydraulic clutch lines. 10 mm is the size used by Datsun 1200.

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Locking Pliers

For removing rounded-off nuts or grabbing stubborn screw by the head, use locking pliers.

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Carburetor Wrench

For removing that pesky carb nut next to the rocker cover, cut a 10 mm wrench in half.

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Engine Mount Wrench

For removing the nut on the bottom of the Engine Mounts, cut a 12 mm wrench in half.

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Oil Filter Wrench

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Torque Wrench

Torque wrench is used to tighten bolts to the exact specification, thus preventing over-tightening or under-tightening. Cost: $25 and up.

Inexpensive beam-and-pointer type
4204.jpgAlbum 4204 400px-Torque_wrench_side_view_0691.jpgWIKI click for photo

Top scale: Newton Meters, bottom scale: Inch Pounds
400px-Torque_wrench_reading_view_0688.jpgWIKI click for photo

Hot Rod Magazine Tech Articles - Torque-Wrench Calibration

if you use a clicker-type wrench, always return it to the lowest setting on the scale after use. That relieves tension on the internal spring, maintaining its accuracy over a longer period
If you use your torque wrench often, it should be calibrated at least once a year.

Grease Gun

For chassis lube

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Ball Stud Puller

For balljoints and Steering Linkage ball studs.

Purpose-made ballstud puller
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Body Rotisserie

See Main Article: Spit


Calipers are used to measure diameter. You can also measure width to a far more precise degree than a tape measure.

Dial calipers are only $20. Precise enough for 99% of all uses, short of measuring internal engine clearances. A quality plastic one is inexpensive yet with high accuracy. Stainless versions are expensive yet stay cleaner and may last longer.
400px-Dial_calipers.jpgWIKI click for photo

Vernier Calipers are necessary for higher precision, such as measuring internal engine clearances down to thousands of a millimeter.

Diagnostic Tools

Save time and money by determining the real problem before buying parts.

Compression Tester

Price Search: compression tester

$23 USD - Summit 2023
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I find that the kind with the screw-in fitting is much easier to use — you don't have to hold it in place. You can place the gauge on the engine top and view it through the windshield while sitting in the driver's seat.

Vacuum Gauge

For testing running engine vacuum and for testing fuel pump pressure.

diagnostic vacuum gauge $15-$30 USD

Engine Vacuum/Fuel Pump Tester
This particular gauge reads in Inches (and fuel pressure in Pounds)

 0-10: RED
       late valve timing or manifold leak
10-14" LOW maybe a small vacuum leak?
18-22" NORMAL
22-30" maximum, not usually seen on a gasoline engine

Vacuum Gun

About $40 to $50 at Easiest way to test for Vacuum Leaks

MityVac Automotive Vacuum Test and Bleed Kit

Fuel Pressure Tester

See main article: Fuel pump pressure test

Cooling System Tester

See main article: Cooling System Pressure Test


Combustion inspector

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Engine Stand

Generic common engine stands work with A-series engines too
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Custom A-series engine stand/rebuild stand
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A-series display stand
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Running Stand
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Battery Tools

Terminal cleaner - see Battery Maintenance

Spring Compressor

Valve Spring Compressor Search as inexpensive as $16

Valve Spring Compressor

On-Engine Valve Spring Compressor
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G-Clamp (C-Clamp) can work in a pinch:
G-Clamp.jpgPost click for topic

OHV Valve Spring Compressor Balkamp 7769094 at

Also See: Valve Spring Removal/Installation


Leaf Spring Compressor

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Strut Spring Compressor from $34

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This page has been accessed 40,033 times. This page was last modified 20:48, 25 April 2023. Content is available under Datsun 1200 Club.