Basic Tools and Spare Parts to Get You Started in Formula Vee
We have written articles on how to get started in Formula Vee, the licensing process, safety gear and where to buy a car but we have had several people ask about what a basic toolkit and spares list might look like in order to maintain and set up your race car, so we thought we would put together a list.
All competitors work on their own cars, except for technical or specialty items like engine rebuilds, top end refreshes or gearbox rebuilds, but generally speaking Formula Vee’s are easy to get to know and understand even for someone with no mechanical knowledge. In order to do maintenance yourself you will need a basic tool kit and you will find this will expand as you undertake more specialist maintenance.
There are also some basic spares you should have handy but you can rest assured, the part you need will always be the part you don’t have. Your parts inventory will also grow over time.
But first things first. All cars need fuel and oil to run, Formula Vee’s race using E10 fuel as this provides the most power for these low compression engines. When it comes to oil most competitors run a full zinc 10W-40 or 10W-50 race oil such as Penrite HPR 10. You will also need gear oil and for this we use a mixture of automatic transmission fluid (ATF) and gear oil to the ratio of 1 litre of ATF to half a litre of gear oil, examples of these include Penrite Pro 80W-140 gear oil and Castrol Transmax TQ95. The other fluid you will need is brake fluid, make sure you are using a racing grade brake fluid like Penrite 10Tenths Racing Brake 600.
Now onto the tools you will need. A good set of spanners and sockets is a must ranging from 7mm (brake bleed nipples) through to 18-20mm spanners (make sure you get more than one 13mm spanner as this size is common on Vee’s and you often need two) and up to 36mm socket for axel nuts. You will also need a 17mm hex socket for the gearbox oil plug and sumps. Additional general tools include an assortment of screwdrivers, a torque wrench and a breaker bar, spark plug socket, metric allen keys, feeler gauges, low profile jack and four car stands, battery charger (due to total loss electrical system), funnel, rags, a tire pressure gauge and string line wheel alignment kit – this will get you well on the way to looking after your Vee.
When it comes to spare parts it would be nice to have at least one of everything, but we know that is not possible so here is a list of some common spares you will probably want to carry. All fluids as mentioned earlier, fan belt (model number will be printed on your existing belt) but a common model is the 11A0875 belt, spark plugs (BP6HS), gasket set (type 1 engine & cork valve cover), silicon, 8mm tappet screws (german), oil filter, main jets for 34PICT carby, Axel seal kit x 2, accelerator cable, brake pads (DB15GCT), speed tape/cable ties, assortment of nuts and bolts relevant to your car.
When it comes to buying tools you can get these from the leading auto shops like Supercheap Auto, Autobarn, Repco and the like or general tool retailers. When it comes to spare parts there are a couple of options including Mick Motors (QLD), Rod Penrose Racing (NSW), Vintage Vee-Dub Supplies (NSW), Classic Vee-Dub (NSW), Just Kampers (NSW) and places like Gumtree can be handy for out of production spares.
When it comes to car set up you may like to check out these two guides (although they are old they are still relevant) – one is from the Formula Vee Association of Australia and the other is from Formula Vee US where they race 1200cc cars but the information is still useful.
We hope this helps to get you on your way when you decide to join us on the track… Happy Racing!