There are a few ways you can get a shock end off a shock shaft. You can grip it with pliers with a few layers of paper towel serving as protection for the shaft or you can grab the threads that go into the shock end with side cutters. Both of these methods can work, but they can also completely destroy a shock shaft. The proper way to remove a shock end is with a pair of shock shaft pliers specifically made for the task. If you scratch your shock shaft, you can pretty much guarantee a leaky shock that will just get worse and worse. That scratch will damage the O-ring seals with each compression and extension. Shock shaft pliers are made out of a material softer than the shock shafts and, thus, do not scratch no matter how hard you squeeze. For years, I used a Duratrax Shock Shaft Holding Tool, which was made out of solid brass. It worked with regular pliers and didn’t mar shock shafts, but it really only worked with 1/10-scale shocks. It eventually broke. I replaced it with some shock shaft pliers, but they somehow walked away from my pit space one day. This led me to get my hands on STRC’s CNC Aluminum Machined Precision Shock Shaft Pliers.
The STRC shock pliers are, as the name indicates, CNC-machined out of aluminum. My test sample is anodized in “Tamiya blue,” but the pliers are also available in black, “Traxxas/AE blue,” 2-tone (silver/gunmetal) and “Xray orange.” The pliers are a simple two-piece design held to together by a single button-head machine screw. The jaws have three different size grooves and the pliers can accommodate just about any size shock shaft used in RC. Measuring in at a little over 5 in. long, these pliers are designed to provide enough leverage for even the most stubborn shock shaft ends. The handles have finger grooves to provide some comfort and grip.
TESTING & FINAL ASSESSMENT
I’ve been racing a lot of dirt oval, lately, which has meant I’ve disassembled a lot of shocks lately. These pliers have gotten a lot of use. Not that it matters, but thus far the anodizing is showing no wear in the grooves. Again, it wouldn’t matter, but it does indicate quality anodizing. The longer handles work great as they provide the leverage needed to grip even slick shock shafts. Even when disassembling RTR shocks for the first time, the pliers gripped the shaft tightly enough that I could remove the shaft end by hand. All of the edges of the tool are smoothed and the handles have been rounded even more for comfort. You really only use a tool like this for a few seconds at a time, but it is important that it is comfortable. Both handles have finger grooves, which really isn’t necessary, but it does mean it doesn’t matter which way you pick them up. The pliers are so smooth, the grooved part doesn’t dig into your palm at all. What I really like about these pliers is they’re big enough to actually work and yet still small and light enough to go in my RC toolbox.
Overall, the STRC CNC Aluminum Machined Precision Shock Shaft Pliers are great and are a permanent addition to my RC toolbox. The quality is there in appearance and performance. At around $18 to $21, they aren’t cheap, but they are comparable in price or less than other pliers on the market. In fact, when I was looking for new shock shaft pliers, the STRC pliers were the least expensive of the ones I found. All they do is work as shock shaft pliers, which is fine with me. No ball end press, no tire hole punch, just shock shaft pliers. Again, that’s fine with me. Sometimes all a hammer needs to be is a hammer and all a pair of pliers needs to be is a pair of pliers. If you’re not using shock shaft pliers, you should be. And, if you don’t have a set, check out these from STRC.
Learn more here.