I wanted to get a Caterham Build Tools list all in one place that was easy to follow. Every build is different, you don´t have to get the exact tools that I did. I used all of the below at some point, but there are lots of options. This post is a bit long but is the full list of tools I actually used for my build. Caterham partnered with Draper to offer a tool kit for 500 quid or so, which is a valid option, but I thought it looked a bit minimal and wanted to build my own and keep. You could regard some of the below as overkill and could certainly do the build on less, but I felt it was important to have everything I needed. If any of the terms below are gibberish, the nuts and bolts page may help.
Historically I’ve always been fond of power tools, but doing this gives me the chance to get plenty to fill up the Clarke HD Tool Cabinet and Tool Chest that I already had. I’ve also got a couple of Clarke cabinets that help with other storage.
- I managed to source two of the CJAutos mobile axle stands on VidaXL for around halfprice, but it seems VidaXL no longer stock them in 2021. These were very useful and I would recommend mobile axle stands as opposed to fixed – but obviously perfectly fine to use fixed axle stands also and many do.
- Trolley jack. This could be considered slight overkill, but the low profile and high lift meant I never had any issues at all jacking. Worth it.
- Load leveller and two of these lifting hooks
- I rented the engine hoist from a local tool hire company
Sockets and Spanners
After some deliberation I went with the Halfords Advanced range and I was glad I did. This is exceptionally well priced for the quality and was recommended by several people I spoke to. Having completed my build I would vouch for this range 100%, it is solid. They come with a lifetime guarantee. I also believe Halfords Advanced now partner with Caterham racing as a further endorsement. Here’s the list of what I got – not all may be necessary, but why not (Please note halfords have a habit of changing their links, so the below may just take you to the halfords tool page. I bought the Modular Trays, which fit very well in the tool cabinet) :
- Socket sets and ratchets – I got the Halfords Advanced Socket Set Modular Trays in 1/4 , 3/8 and 1/2 inch drive.
- Imperial socket set (3/8in drive) – no longer stocked 2021, need to purchase with a wrench.
- Socket adapters, 1/2 to 3/8.
- Imperial hex keys, a Halfords 10mm hex (for engine) and 14mm hex (for differential)
- Imperial spanners and drill bits
- Torque Wrenches. The 60 (12-60Nm, 3/8in drive) and 100 (20-100Nm, 1/2in drive). These cover everything you need. The only nuts higher are the 270Nm rear hub nuts – for this you can use a Clarke PRO238 Torque Adapter as one of the nuts tightens anticlockwise. This hopefully saves you the hundred quid that I spent on this monster! (The thing is huge, it doesn’t even fit in my tool cabinet.)
- Ratchet spanners are great. I bought normal head and flexi head. In hindsight, just normal head would have sufficed.
- Screwdriver and hex tray
- Plier set
- Battery charger – Halfords Advanced Smart Battery Charger Plus. Although I have cut-off switch, this has come in useful already on the Caterham and other cars. You will want to trickle charge long term anyway (other brands are available)
Assorted Other Tools
In addition I bought some other equipment, largely from Amazon. Please note if you follow any link below to Amazon, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This has no impact on the price you pay. Where products have been superseded by newer models, or the one I bought is no longer available, I have linked to equivalents
- Face mask and filters. You also need these and the retaining clips. It is an expensive set up but I thought important especially where eg Fibre glass dust was involved and I now use it elsewhere when doing DIY (eg replacing loft boards, jetwashing bird poo off the kids trampoline etc!).
- Pin punch set – incredibly useful for aligning bolts
- Cable cutters – use ones like this to avoid a sharp burr at the end of your cable ties that will slice you later – one of my best purchases by far.
- Nylon Hammer and rubber mallet.
- Dremel and metal grinding stones to fix any alignment issues. I got the Dremel 3000 kit, but that appears to no longer be available so I have linked to the 4000. If you can source a 3000 for less, it is perfectly adequate of course.
- Pry bars
- Drill – my old one gave up halfway through so I upgraded to the latest. I have Makita power tools, once you choose a brand makes sense to stick with it.
- Ball end hex set – for tough to access hex bolts.
- Heat gun for heat shrink on wiring (headlights in particular)
- Terminal Extraction Tools – these are great for taking apart econoseal connectors, for example if you upgrade lights to the clear lens pack.
- Quick grips to hold parts together
- Crows foot spanners – I needed these to access an obstructed harness bolt. Won’t always be necessary.
- Tap and Die set. To clean out threads (typically where paint gets sprayed in). Makes a big difference. Even used it setting up the axle stands! Very useful.
- Storage boxes to decant packs of fasteners into, stackable on the workbench and easier access than the bags with A4 cardboard inserts.
- Bench vice
- Sealey pressure brake bleeding system and brake bleeding bottle – you can do it with a bit of tube and an assistant. Some may view this as overkill. But as you can see, the brakes can be a bit tricky and as a first timer I wanted to do it properly. Got a nice firm pedal with this and will use it when I replace fluid
- Hole punch pliers – used on rubber strips, wings etc.
- For the rear hubs – 42mm socket and adapter to 1/2in, 41mm socket.
- Econoseal crimping tool – to make new econoseal terminals, I did this to tidy wiring up (you can buy the terminals on caterhamparts.co.uk)
- Torque adapter – goes up to 360Nm, both ways, needed for rear hub nuts. This is circa 50 quid to tighten two nuts. Always an option to leave it for Post Build Check, up to you!
- Rivet gun – for fixing rivets. Bought mine from Screwfix for 30 quid, Amazon seems cheaper!
Last part of the Caterham build tools list :
- 3M Dual Lock – for securing number plates to the car chassis. 1m is enough, no need to buy two of these.
- Comma Copper Ease – heatproof grease/’Copper slip’ as described in Nuts and bolts section
- Comma High Performance Bearing Grease – for front ARB balls and cups
- Electrical Terminals – used for rear number plate light, handy to have spare
- Eye wash – in case of any issues with sprays etc getting in eyes
- Gloves – these are quite pricey but extremely long lasting. I use them for various DIY now and they are good
- Gloves (surgical) – great for handling harmful fluids (brake, coolant, superglue), copper ease, grease etc. I prefer safelincs to amazon – about half the price, nothing like a global pandemic to drive up prices here!
- Grommets I used for headlights – Caterham supplied ones are not right size!
- Hammerite Smooth Black paint – for touching up any scratches or scuffs on the black metalwork
- Heat shrink for headlights : 13mm, 10mm and 8mm
- Heat shrink for front repeaters : 4mm 2:1
- Clear tubing to protect repeater wire entering body : 4mm inner dia, 6mm outer dia
- Holts Silicone Spray – RL2R rubber lubricant as recommended by Caterham
- Loctite 243 – various different types of Loctite are available. Caterham recommend 243 so I’ve gone with that. You only need 10ml max, so no need to buy 50ml!
- Marker pen for torqued bolts
- P clips – 5mm for holding wires out of way (rear lights)
- Silicone Sealant – 500 options available, went with translucent Unibond 2493986 in the end as I didn’t want rubbish stuff flaking off.
- Spray on glue for carpets
- Any replacement bolts/nuts I used Westfield Fasteners
- Rivets and Washers. Bought these as spares, you may not need, but I had some missing in pack
- Tar remover – noticed some tar on the underside of the car after it had been taken out for a spin during PBC. This stuff worked wonders on getting it out
- Window cleaner – self explanatory
- Yacht Varnish – for varnishing bottom of wooden boot floor.
That is it all the Caterham build tools you need!