Instructables

The Old Belt Strap Wrench

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Picture of The Old Belt Strap Wrench
One day when doing an automotive oil change: I purchased oil and a filter, drained the used oil, and then discovered my brother had the tools I needed.  I had no strap wrench, filter wrench, or filter pliers.  I had to get the car running prior to him returning.

It is always best to use the right tool for the job, but what was I to do?  IMPROVISE!

This is how I used an old belt as a strap wrench...
 
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Step 1: Proper belt selection

There are some recommended attributes the belt should posses.

-->  Strong buckle -- The best type of buckle to use is one where the frame is a solid piece.  Reversible belts may rely on a mechanical pivot that could fail in this application. 

-->  High friction strap -- The belt I used had a leather strap.  The front was smooth and shiny, while the back was rougher and unfinished.  Again, a reversible belt with two smooth sides may not be a wise choice.  I do not know how a webbed belt would fair.

-->  A strong strap -- The strap must be firmly attached to the buckle and be able to handle the force applied.

Step 2: Lefty loosey, righty tighty!

To turn loosen an item wrap the belt around it.  The lose end should come up on the left and go through the buckle (See first photo). 

Do not fasten the buckle, but pull the loose end back over the buckle.  This will use the force applied to the lose end to cinch the belt around the item and then pull it to the left.

To tighten, reverse the positioning and pull the other way (See second photo).

Step 3: Concluding thoughts

Placing a strip of rubber (like from an inner tube) between the item to be turned and the belt will help increase the grip of the "wrench."

Be careful!  As previously stated it is the best to the proper tool.  Use some common sense to help prevent scraping up too many knuckles. 

Good luck on your projects!
I used a rachet strap. Never thought of this.
Calorie3 years ago
Is there ever a wrong tool? As long as it floats your boat or helps you find your remote it'll do the job.

Seriously, I like the lateral thinking on this. I use my massive mits, but that's because I can turn the head off a cow (if need be.)

Good job. I hope that others comment. It's a good re-purposing.
jptrsn Calorie3 years ago
When have you needed to turn the head off a cow? I've turned the head off a bolt, a screw, and perhaps a beer or two, but never a cow. And I've got big hands!

Just bought a strap wrench for my own - pretty neat, and it uses webbing, so a web belt should work fine.
Calorie jptrsn3 years ago
Well...if Ozzy Osbourne can bite the head off a bat than I figure in a free society I should be able to twist the head off a large domesticated animal.

In all seriousness I usually twist them off (oil filters.) If you put them on that hard in the first place you may find yourself out of an engine. The instructions say that you should turn it 3/4 of a turn. I can easily do both with my hands.
jptrsn Calorie3 years ago
I usually end up with a liberal coating of used motor oil on my hands when doing an oil change. The wrench comes in handy for getting filters off (I never use them to tighten, only to loosen). Especially if the last change was done by a garage - they seem to twist them on as if they're trying to twist the head off a cow!
Calorie jptrsn3 years ago
Yes, you are totally correct. Shops are notorious for overtightening. One of the best little tools I bought is a specialized "socket" for oil filters. They go over the head/top of the filter and you simply snap in your ratchet. Very easy and clean to use. I couldn't find them on autozone or advancedautoparts, so a trip to the store is needed.

As far as the grease goes, rub your hands liberally with hand lotion 30 minutes before you go to the garage. The oil in the lotion, which will now be in your pores, will minimize the amount of oil and grease that'll stain your hands.
jptrsn Calorie3 years ago
I bet the lotion will work a lot better than my current method. It involves copious amounts of soap, lots of scrubbing, and several days for the dirt to "wear" off my hands.
Calorie jptrsn3 years ago
Yep, me too. I don't like the GoJo orange much. I can't remember how I figured this out, but it does work pretty good. It's also not half bad when you get some lotion under your finger nails too. Just a bit.
vanmankline (author)  Calorie3 years ago
Thanks! And yah, I probably put in way to many warnings, but gotta CYA.