It is always interesting and helpful to discover unique tech tips when it comes to working on trucks. Over the years, we have accumulated many favorites to help you work smarter, not harder. This summer, tackle those tough jobs with the knowledge to do them easier and faster. If you have any tips for us, feel free to email them to us at bob.ryder@sorc.com

1. When doing any welding on your truck, always disconnect the battery. Welding with the battery connected will drain the battery or overload the battery, and it could explode. Welding on a connected battery can also harm electric computer systems and accessories. When disconnecting the battery, always remove the negative terminal first to prevent sparks. Likewise, always mount the positive terminal first when installing a battery.

2. If you have just recently rebuilt an engine or your engine has been sitting all winter without being run, you must pre-oil your engine’s internals. Take an old distributor and remove the lower gear by tapping out the pin from the distributor shaft. Slide the old distributor shaft into an electric drill motor chuck and tighten it. Insert the old distributor shaft into the distributor hole. Align the distributor shaft key into the oil pump. Place the high-speed electric drill into the distributor shaft and tighten the chuck. Run the drill motor in a clockwise direction for GM and counterclockwise for Fords, for a couple of minutes. This will pump new fresh oil into the oil galleys throughout the engine. Take off the valve covers and check the push rods and rockers. Eventually the oil will start pouring out and down into the camshaft. Remove the spark plugs and squirt some oil into the piston cylinder. Now you’re ready to fire it up!

3. To achieve straight body panels when block-sanding, always use the longest sanding block possible for large panels. It will eliminate wavy body panels, making them straight.

4. To remove dried wax buildup from beneath name badges, chrome trim, window moldings, and places where fingertips and cotton swabs can’t reach, get a new paintbrush and cut the bristles so that they are shorter and stiffer. To protect the painted surfaces from the metal surfaces of the paintbrush, wrap the surfaces with duct or painter’s tape to prevent scratches. This becomes the ideal tool for removing dried wax residue from underneath.

5. If you are going to be cutting a hole in a painted metal panel using a hole saw and you don’t want to scratch the paint, apply several strips of masking tape to the surface area to be cut. The tape will prevent scratches from metal chips and saw teeth while cutting and breaking through the tape and paint.

6. Those hard to get spark plug holes can become easier to insert and begin threading a spark plug using a piece of 3/8-inch rubber hose. By using a rubber hose, it will grip the end of the spark plug and is very flexible, allowing you to get to those hard to reach spark plug holes. This same method can be used to guide a bolt into a hard to reach hole.

7. Use an aerosol can cap to hold two pieces of wire that need to be soldered together. Place the aerosol can cap upside down on a flat surface. Use scissors, tin snips, or sheetmetal shears to cut two slits down each side of the cap from each other. After striping the two wire ends, then braid the ends together in parallel, place the connected wires into the two slots cut into the aerosol cap.

8. Use an automotive speaker to magnetize a screwdriver. Lay the screwdriver shaft across the speaker magnet, then stroke it in one direction a couple of times - instant magnetization.

9. Insert two pieces of wooden 2x4s between the jaws of a vise. The 2x4s can range from 6-12 inches. After scribing or marking the bend line on the sheetmetal, slide it between the two 2x4s. Tighten the vise, then simply bend the sheetmetal over the 2x4s to the desired angle.

10. Crossfire problems can occur when two plug wires come in contact with one another. Every time an ignition pulsation travels through a spark plug cable, the magnetic field it generates travels outward from the cable core. Whenever an adjacent cable is close enough or touching the cable and running parallel to the cable carrying the juice, the second cable may absorb enough induced voltage to fire both spark plugs simultaneously. The best answer to cure this problem is to separate the spark plug cables. Sometimes, the cables will come in contact with each other. If they do, never allow them to run parallel for more than an inch. When cables must cross, route them at an angle.