Tool Review: SP Tools 11000A Mobile Hydraulic Press Tool

SP Tools offers the 11000A Mobile Hydraulic Press Tool with Air Powered Hydraulic Pump. This tool saves time by not removing components and using a press. The 11000A allows quick R&R of suspension bushings, wheel bearings and ball joints. The 18-ton hydraulic ram will rotate into any position needed and comes with a hydraulic pump and adjustable height jack. The pump mount has 12 pegs for frequently used cups and comes with 44 cups and receivers for hundreds of size combinations.

The review

Joe Silva, owner of Custom Alignment in Mountain View, CA, bought the 11000A after seeing a demonstration at the 2011 SEMA Show. "I wasn't going to buy anything, I planned to just see what's there. But I did BMW control arm bushings the day before and when I saw this at SEMA, I knew it would be worth it."

Custom Alignment does nothing but undercar work, a lot of it on BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and other expensive European models. Joe knew immediately that this tool would turn a 3-hour job on cars like this into a 45-minute job, so he decided to buy it on the spot. He even called his shop and told his crew to watch the demonstration video on the SP Tools website. Joe said "they were skeptical at first but we did a Porsche the day I got back. Now my crew says it was one of the best deals I ever made."

Joe says that because many control arms and other suspension pieces are made of aluminum, there's a risk of damage just in taking them apart, especially when there's a tapered fit involved. The less disassembly the better, and that's exactly what this tool is designed for. In addition, Joe says he can replace bushings now that he couldn't before because sometimes the control arm just won't fit into a regular shop press.

The secret ingredient in this tool, says Joe, is the large assortment of cup sizes. The set includes 44 receiver cups and matching press cups, with receiver IDs of 18mm all the way up to 60mm. "It gives us the option of using it for more than just (suspension) bushings. We've already used it for ball joints and u-joints." The cups are arranged by size in the blow-molded plastic case, and Joe said they made up a rack to hold the whole case right there on the cart. "The case really keeps things in order, it's easy to pick the cup you need."

Joe understands the expense of this tool may be intimidating, "but it fits my needs perfectly." In his busy alignment shop, he expects it will pay for itself in six months. "I'm excited about it. It's 100 percent of what I envisioned."