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  1. #1
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    Building a Leatherman ReCharge

    A mod to the Leatherman Charge TTi.

    I love my LM Charge, but one thing that has always annoyed me a bit was the poor wire cutters. I discovered they weren't too brilliant when I was modding a billy can with a wire bail arm and found cutting hard wire, the cutters got dinged up. They got damaged again cutting steel wire when I used em to repair my dad's up 'n over garage door.



    Anyway, you live with it. But recently, I was thinking of changing my multitool and started looking for something with decent cutters. It was then I found out that LM had released a new multi tool a few months ago called the Rebar. This new tool is a medium size, same as the Charge/Wave range. It is a fairly cheap tool in the line up, with basic folded steel shell and simple tools - but, for the first time Leatherman has made a 4" tool with removable cutting jaws, like it's big brother the SuperTool 300. In fact the 154CM replaceable cutters, are exactly the same part as you find in the ST300, OHT and the MUT. I'm thinking Leatherman are testing the water with this and if it works out, I bet all the 4" tools will start shipping with these new jaws. Anyway, while reading around it, I discovered that some people had already started to mod them. Particularly, grafting these great new jaws into older Charge/Wave models. That caught my eye straight away, because the tools in the body of the Charge are superb, it was just the jaws I was unhappy with. So, I set about getting a new Rebar and a couple of torx drivers to do the mod.

    New Rebar on the left, Charge TTi on the right...



    Those jaws look perfect. They are a slightly different shape but the same size so it should be a fairly simple swap out.

    Tools required:



    Not much really, a couple of mini mole grips and two special driver bits, they are security star torx, size T10.



    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Part 1: Changing the Jaws

    The first thing to do is take out the jaws from the Rebar. A simple job, just Mole grips on the screw heads and twist...



    Rinse and repeat on the other side, pull out the pivot pins and the head comes free - along with 4 bronze washers. Looking good so far...



    Note in the pic above, the 'screw' part of the pivot has a slightly thicker head than the barrel part. This is how you know which side to grip and unscrew.

    The next part is trickier - I need to do the same with the Charge now.



    Using the torx, just unscrew the pivots, but now we also have 4 blades to contend with as well as 4 washers and the pliers head. Tip: if you are going to do this, study where the washers fit and what blade goes where, it'll help a lot later. I wish I had some pics of this stage, but it's one of those jobs that takes 3 pairs of hands. If you are phobic about disassembling things where parts ping everywhere, this might not be the mod for you. Actually, it's not that bad, but what is difficult is putting the pivot pins back in to the 'stack' with the new jaws. It took me about 2 hours of fiddling to get it done and a couple of times I did doubt if I would be able to do it. In hindsight, I think it would have been much easier if I had loosened the torx screws a little on the opposite ends as well, but not having stripped down the Charge before, I was worried about alignment and wanted to keep as much in place as possible. I think that was a mistake, some slack on the opposite end would have made inserting the pins much easier I think.

    But with a bit of perseverance and tada...



    Two new hybrid multi tools, a ReCharge and the thing on the right. Both are fully functional.



    One slight issue. I said the Rebar jaws are the same size but a different shape, well those big jowls that accommodate the cutters bulge into the handle of the charge and foul on the scissors handle. I knew this was going to be an issue. It's no problem on the Charge XTi with the double bit drivers, but on the TTi with the bit driver and scissors combo, the long scissors prevent the head of the Rebar sitting in the handle fully on that side.



    This means the tool wont fully close. It's a completely functional tool, but the handle sits open a few milimetres...



    The solution is either to live with it, grind down a 1/4 inch off the end of the scissors, or switch the scissors for one of the shorter tools in the Rebar. I'll cover that in part 2. For now though, I'm a happy bunny, I like my new Leatherman ReCharge TTi very much.



    -------------------------------------------------
    Update:
    Tested the new cutters on some random household stuff...



    There was no damage to the cutters whatsoever after cutting.

    δxδp≥h/4π

  2. #2
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    Re: Building a Leatherman ReCharge

    Part 2: Changing the scissors
    -----------------------------------------------------------

    My new set of security star torx arrived today so I was finally able to finish up this mod.

    First part was to remove the screw holding the tools on the Rebar. Pretty much the same as the jaws really, a little less space to grip the screw, but same way of identifying the screw part, the head is a little thicker on the screw end than the tube end.



    Remove the screw, push out the pivot and all the tools come out, together with a couple of washers. Need to be careful of sharp bits and try and keep them arranged for reassembly. It's the awl in the middle I'll be swapping with the scissors from the Charge.



    Next up, do the same for the Charge. I stripped two torx bits last time, so I took the time to warm up the screws with the flame of a jet lighter, about 15 seconds each side. Then the screw gave quite easily...



    The handle rotates away a little, it was then I saw why I had stripped the other two torx bits. The pivot pin has flats on it...



    Only one side of the screw will rotate, the other side is locked with the flats. For reference, you need to remove the screw from the same side as the saw blade. That done, just grip the pivot with the mole grips and gently draw out. You dont need to remove the whole pin, just enough to release the scissors. A washer comes free also. I was expecting a lot of hassle with this following the last battle I had with the jaws, but the scissors were out, awl from the Rebar in it's place, washer back in and ready for the screw in a couple of minutes.



    That's it, job done (on the Charge anyway)...



    Test closing showed the jaws to still foul on the new awl, obviously the handle recess isn't as deep on the Charge as it is on the Rebar. Still, the awl is much easier to fettle than the scissors, I just ground a little off the hump of the awl and it fits much better.

    You can see it's a little slimmer now....



    Also the jaws now sit in the handle much more fully...



    The result, the handle closes fully now...



    The hard part this time was reassembly of the Rebar....



    I had to redo it a few times as the awl came from the middle of the rebar, but the scissors were from the side of the Charge. The Scissors need to go back into a diofferent slot. They need to sit next to the file.

    But job done. ReCharge mod complete.

    Finished, the Leatherman ReCharge TTi



    So was it worth it? Yeah, now it's done it is. I'm really happy with the ReCharge. Tricky mod though, I'll never look at stripping a single bladed knife with the same eyes again.
    δxδp≥h/4π

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    Re: Building a Leatherman ReCharge

    I was thinking of doing the exact same thing replacing my surge jaws. It looks like i'll have to give it a go when i get the rebar. Thanks for the mod ideas, and disassembly pics.
    P.S, I'm trademarking the ReSurge name
    Last edited by StyXSIS; 10-05-13 at 03:43 PM.
    Simon

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    Re: Building a Leatherman ReCharge

    Quote Originally Posted by StyXSIS View Post
    I was thinking of doing the exact same thing replacing my surge jaws. It looks like i'll have to give it a go when i get the rebar. Thanks for the mod ideas, and disassembly pics.
    P.S, I'm trademarking the ReSurge name
    Not sure what pin type it is on the surge, it could be a 5 point security torx, a six point security torx ot just a simple screw. Note if you use the mole grips method of removal, be sure to unscrew the actual screw part, not the pivot. Some of the pivots have flats on them and if you try to unscrew them you'll round out the hole. It's woth doing some research on exactly the model tool you have as to how to disassemble. Obviously this voids your warranty too.
    δxδp≥h/4π

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    Re: Building a Leatherman ReCharge

    So have you cut any bail/steel wire with them?

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    Re: Building a Leatherman ReCharge

    Interesting mod, I vaue my Legend pliers for the changeable cutters.

    Would be tempted to try that, but extra marks Martyn for including that vital caveat:
    If you are phobic about disassembling things where parts ping everywhere, this might not be the mod for you.
    that could have been invented for me

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    Re: Building a Leatherman ReCharge

    Quote Originally Posted by Ren View Post
    So have you cut any bail/steel wire with them?
    No mate, not yet but I will test them. They are exactly the same inserts from the ST 300 though, 154CM. While the power wont be as high cos the leverage is lower, the actual cutting ability should be identical to the 300 ST.
    δxδp≥h/4π

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    Re: Building a Leatherman ReCharge

    Let's hope that Leatherman see this, hopefully they will start producing this version in the factory.

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    Re: Building a Leatherman ReCharge

    That was quick, looking forward to part 2 and your solution to the scissor fit.
    Looking in my Charge I assume you will need to reduce the length of the thumb pad on the scissors, will any be left?
    Last edited by spike; 10-05-13 at 04:46 PM.

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    Re: Building a Leatherman ReCharge

    Quote Originally Posted by spike View Post
    That was quick, looking forward to part 2 and your solution to the scissor fit.
    Looking in my Charge I assume you will need to reduce the length of the thumb pad on the scissors, will any be left?
    I'm not going to butcher the scissors. When I bought the TTi over the XTi it was because I thought scissors and bit driver was more useful than two bit drivers. But in truth! I've hardly ever used the scissors. So I'm going to take em out of the Charge and put em in the Rebar. The Rebar though, has an altogether more useful tool, a very nice awl. I know I'll get more use out of that than scissors, so the awl from the Rebar will be going in the Charge and it will have enough clearance to allow the Charge to fully close.

    So part 2 will be about swapping those tools, but I need two new torx drivers as I have managed to break splines of both the bits I bought. They were eBay specials - I should have bought decent ones first time.
    δxδp≥h/4π

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    Re: Building a Leatherman ReCharge

    Martyn, if my information is correct, that new pair of jaws on the Charge cost you 54.00 minus BB discount
    "Guns don't kill people - people kill people"
    All the best, Antoine

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    Re: Building a Leatherman ReCharge

    Quote Originally Posted by scrubber View Post
    Martyn, if my information is correct, that new pair of jaws on the Charge cost you 54.00 minus BB discount

    Well yes, but dont forget I now have 2 functioning multi tools. The Rebar was not sacrificial, with the old Charge jaws and scissors, it will be going in the landy toolbox and the Charge has a new lease of life. Win-win as far as I'm concerned. It depends on what you want. I was looking for a multi tool with decent cutters, the Supertool 300 is about the best, but it's a full size tool which I didn't really want and it doesn't have all the cool bits of the charge, the diamond file, the s30v blade, the bit driver and tools etc. Now I've got what I want in one tool - and a spare tool as well.
    δxδp≥h/4π

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    Re: Building a Leatherman ReCharge

    Quote Originally Posted by scrubber View Post
    Martyn, if my information is correct, that new pair of jaws on the Charge cost you 54.00 minus BB discount
    Don't forget that he's also get a new toy - the chabar, or whatever it's to be called.

    Nice mod, Martyn. I didn't know I needed to replace my tti's pliers or that there was a 154cm replacement option. After an evening of swearing, a few tears and some nasty injury, I just send the bits to you to finish, yeah?

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    Re: Building a Leatherman ReCharge

    Quote Originally Posted by Garnett View Post
    Don't forget that he's also get a new toy - the chabar, or whatever it's to be called.

    Nice mod, Martyn. I didn't know I needed to replace my tti's pliers or that there was a 154cm replacement option. After an evening of swearing, a few tears and some nasty injury, I just send the bits to you to finish, yeah?
    You've got it about right - apart from the me finishing it bit.
    δxδp≥h/4π

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    Re: Building a Leatherman ReCharge

    Quote Originally Posted by Martyn View Post
    Not sure what pin type it is on the surge, it could be a 5 point security torx, a six point security torx ot just a simple screw. Note if you use the mole grips method of removal, be sure to unscrew the actual screw part, not the pivot. Some of the pivots have flats on them and if you try to unscrew them you'll round out the hole. It's woth doing some research on exactly the model tool you have as to how to disassemble. Obviously this voids your warranty too.
    It uses a 6 point security screw with a sleeve that goes through the tools. I've had it appart afew times, but the first time i did it i struggled to get them undone but i figgered if i put both the screw heads flat on my open vice jaws to the width of the screws and put a piece of wood across the top two and tapped above them on the wood to break the bond it would unscrew easily and it did after quite afew times doing that.
    Simon

 

 

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