Tool advice request

outback97 Nov 15, 2019

  1. outback97

    outback97 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    97
    Hey guys, I was hoping to get some advice. For maintenance and repairs, I have been getting by with 3/8" drive sockets and wrenches. I am planning to do some front suspension work soon on the '06, including replacing the LCA's. I feel like I've pushed my luck a bit on the 3/8" tools, using pipes on breaker bars and expecting something to yield or snap, so I'm thinking I would like to acquire some 1/2" drive stuff to better handle larger, stubborn fasteners. The '06 spent a lot of time on salty roads and sometimes the corrosion fights me when I'm trying to work on it.

    I know the quality of Harbor Freight stuff is variable, but I have had pretty good luck with most occasional use tools I've acquired there. I am wondering if something like this 1/2" drive corded electric impact would be helpful.

    https://www.harborfreight.com/12-in-heavy-duty-electric-impact-wrench-61173.html

    A cordless one would be nicer, but for the price point, this one looks like it could work well as long as it's not too awkward to actually use on the truck. It's fairly bulky, so that could be an issue.

    I'm open to other suggestions as well. Thanks.
     
  2. BCXterra

    BCXterra Bought an X

    Messages:
    170
    Look on Craigslist or your preferred website for a decent used name brand tool. There are good deals to be found, and getting halfway through a job and having to stop with a broken tool.
     
  3. Muadeeb

    Muadeeb Bastard Admin from Hell Admin

    Messages:
    16,875
    Location:
    Dallas
    Either tool up with a decent consumer brand of 18V+ tools with an impact (Ryobi, Milwaukee, etc), or buy a decent air impact and rent a compressor from Home Depot as needed. I bought an Ingersol Rand 1/2" impact (one akin to this) several years ago and just rented a compressor whenever I needed to do major work (timing belt, suspension, etc). While I do have some HF stuff in my kit, I wouldn't touch most of what they offer with a 10 foot pole.
     
  4. westslope

    westslope First Fill-Up (of many) Supporting Member

    Messages:
    258
    Location:
    Wildfire country, BC
    1/2" breaker bar.

    1/2" ratchet wrenches plus a 4" extension and a U-joint extension of decent enough quality to use with the impact wrench

    1/2" electric brushless impact wrench. I use Makita because all my other tools are Makita so they share the same lithium batteries. Plan ahead.

    A portable electric drill can be handy for drilling out corroded cotter pins

    1/2" set of deep impact socket wrenches that cover 10mm to 22m. Then get a 32mm impact socket wrench for the axle nuts

    A reciprocating saw might come in handy for cutting the LCA bushings and bolts. Choose the same brand name as your brushless impact wrench so you can share the same lithium batteries.

    1/2" torque wrench
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2019
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  5. IM1RU

    IM1RU Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    489
    Location:
    SLC, UT
    I realize its pricey, but I have this:



    It travels in the truck. It's an awesome tool.
     
  6. Just a Hunter

    Just a Hunter Bought an X

    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    Georgia
    I've used the HF impact wrench in the above link , and have been pleased with it.

    As a matter of fact, it paid for itself after the first use.

    If it broke today, I would feel it was money well spent and I would buy another one tomorrow.
     
  7. thecoalition

    thecoalition Call me Daddy

    Messages:
    7,201
    Location:
    Richmond, Va
    Things I'd recommend for everyone to have in their tool set:

    Mechanics set of 3/8" stuff plus about 6 extra 10mm sockets. Get something that has both shallow and deep sockets

    1/2" ratchet with sockets from 10mm and up shallow and deep set again

    1/2" breaker bar

    C clamps of varying sizes

    Adjustable wrenches (small/medium/large)

    Ratcheting wrenches

    A big ufcking hammer with a steel head
    A big ufcking deadblow

    Powertools:

    Cordless impact
    Grinder (get extra cutting wheels)
    Sawzall

    If you can't do the job with the above - you may be doing it wrong. For power tools I only buy Milwaukee because they are durable and make a great tool, but pick your poison and stick with a good brand. Don't be cheap here.

    For my hand tools I actually love Husky stuff from Home Depot. I've only ever broken 1 socket and it was my fault because I was using it on a bolt that was rusted into place, and should have used my impact with my impact sockets to try it first.
     
  8. westslope

    westslope First Fill-Up (of many) Supporting Member

    Messages:
    258
    Location:
    Wildfire country, BC
    re: thecoalition's post above,

    Yes, I found a full range of hammers from a carpenter's hammer to a 2 lb rubber mallet to a 4lb steel hammer to be very helpful.

    A few sizes in metal C clamps is a good idea. A 4-pack of C-clamps in various sizes could easily come in handy.

    I made do with a small 3" C-clamp and a pair of 36" Heavy Duty Quick Grip Bar Clamp by Irwn that I had used previously for woodworking projects. Pushed the brake pistons back when reinstalling the breaks. Changed the pressure on the UCA ball joint when removing and re-installing the knuckle on the UCA ball joint bolt. Just saying in case you already have quick grip bar clamps.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2019
  9. TerryD

    TerryD Total Tease Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,185
    Location:
    Covington, Va
    HF is making improvements in quality and for a home gamer, you might have great luck with them. Their new Icon stuff looks nice.

    Buy a decent set of 1/2" sockets. Remember you have to have impact sockets to use with an impact or you'll split them. This includes the extensions and universal joints.

    I have two sets of Craftsman wrenches up to 22mm at the house as well.

    My Dad turned wrenches for a living in his 20s and then worked maintenance for 30 years and now I work maintenance so tools are an investment in my eyes. The money I save doing the job myself more than pays for my tools.

    Buy GOOD pry bars. I'm ashamed to say I cheaped out there and regret it. I'll invest in some decent stuff soon though.
     
  10. outback97

    outback97 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    97
    Thanks for the info and advice guys.

    I've got a fair amount of other tools (recip saw, angle grinder, bfh's, propane torch, etc.) but I'm lacking the big boy wrench stuff. I have been doing more and more work myself so it's probably time to upgrayedd.

    I have looked at the local classifieds and haven't seen much there... IMO just as well to buy new for what people are asking for beat up stuff. For an impact I will probably stick with electric since I don't have an air compressor with a tank, and haven't had much need for one at home.

    Part of this process has been learning that there is a legitimate benefit to impact drivers. I had never used one but thought (wrongly) that it was just about more torque, like having a longer lever on a regular wrench.

    I may eventually get a cordless impact driver, and if I do I'll not go for the lowest price options. Some of the ones I had initially looked at seemed weak but for a bit more money I see you can get ones that have plenty of power... the one Rob posted looks really nice. My income varies seasonally, and unfortunately we're entering the leaner months until next spring, so I'm trying to keep spending in check. Hence considering the $40 corded impact. It sounds like at least one of you has used and likes that model, but I get that not everyone thinks HF is worth trying.

    Regarding the pending job that's prompting most of this, I sprayed the LCA and other bolts with some PB Blaster tonight and I'm going to check it out this weekend to see if there's any hope of removing them to install camber adjusting bolts without cutting anything. I expect I'll be cutting though, and I'm trying to assemble the tools I figure I'll need.
     
  11. General_Tarfun

    General_Tarfun Wheeling

    Messages:
    498
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Buying a cordless impact made it possible for me to rebuild my front end in my apartment complex parking lot without being out there all day/night. I have this one and it was worth every penny. Lower control arm bolts, steering rack mounting bolts, wheel lug nuts, shock mount bolts will all take you about ten seconds to remove. Heck I installed Delrin rack bushings in less than 30 min in the dark before work one morning.

    I'd recommend a 1/2 inch cordless impact, an impact extension set, and an impact socket set from at least 13 to 24mm. You can get it done without it (I did the first time) but it's a lot easier with it.
     
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  12. Smileyshaun

    Smileyshaun Bought an X

    Messages:
    114
    If you live in the rust belt you may just want to pick up some safety glasses and a angle grinder for the control arm bolts and order replacements , It may be a lot quicker than trying to get them off
     
  13. Just a Hunter

    Just a Hunter Bought an X

    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    Georgia
    Go on YouTube and watch some HF vs videos.
    I've seen some tests which have the HF outperforming name brand choices.
    At other times the HF withstood more abuse than I would deliver.

    If your making a living turning wrenches daily, HF may not be your top choice.

    However, it's fine for the weekend hobby mechanical needs.

    For the cost of a nice Snap-On or Mac socket wrench set, you could probably take care of all your Xterras tool needs form HF
     
  14. westslope

    westslope First Fill-Up (of many) Supporting Member

    Messages:
    258
    Location:
    Wildfire country, BC
    Choice of tool brand name.

    If I was working as a contractor, I would likely build a set of Milwaukee tools for reasons that should not concern the average do-it-yourselfer in this forum.

    Otherwise, I am not sure brand name matters that much. (Specs matter.) Having worked in our community performing arts group with a bunch of other volunteers, I have used all kinds of different drills and impact drivers. They all work rather well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2019
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  15. westslope

    westslope First Fill-Up (of many) Supporting Member

    Messages:
    258
    Location:
    Wildfire country, BC
    A cordless impact driver can be handy but I wonder if you meant to write a cordless impact wrench? If so, yes, do not skimp on that item.

    Make sure you use it with a full ear muff safety hearing protection. The early onset of deafness makes you more vulnerable as an older person. Damaging sound is worse than tobacco; by the time you recognize the hearing loss, it is too late.
     
  16. Just a Hunter

    Just a Hunter Bought an X

    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    Georgia
    There was a time in which names such as "Craftsman" reflected "Made in the USA" with a good warranty.
    Today, so many of our tools are made abroad that it's difficult to tell the good Asian tools from the bad.
     
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  17. TerryD

    TerryD Total Tease Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,185
    Location:
    Covington, Va
    My Craftsman stuff is China made. I went with it because of the warranty but I don't know how good the warranty is now. I wish I had the coin to go with Armstrong. They make really good stuff in the USA.
     
  18. Just a Hunter

    Just a Hunter Bought an X

    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    Georgia
    Ratchet wrench test of todays major brands.

    Note, these tests exceeded the practical use of the wrenches tested.
    If I needed to torque an item over 200ft/lbs I would use a 1/2 drive wrench.

     
  19. General_Tarfun

    General_Tarfun Wheeling

    Messages:
    498
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA

    Yeah they're owned by Black and Decker now. It seems like every tool made has a 'lifetime warranty' these days but not because it's going to last forever, instead because it's so cheap to make a new one.
     
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  20. westslope

    westslope First Fill-Up (of many) Supporting Member

    Messages:
    258
    Location:
    Wildfire country, BC
    Many of the "Made in USA" tools likely contain components from other countries. Out sourcing and complicated supply chains are a fact of life.

    Design and quality control are key. If most of those jobs are in the USA , Japan, Germany or similar, the tool family should be fine. The quality of Chinese tools and equipment still varies but seems to have improved considerably over the past few years.

    Reminds me of the reputation that Japan had in the 1960s for 'cheap' goods. Japanese manufacturing firms went on to outperform in numerous manufacturing industries: automobiles, photography, film, sound, electronics, information technology, tools, angling equipment. Nobody disputes the quality of Japanese goods these days.
     
  21. meisanerd

    meisanerd Bought an X

    Messages:
    146
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB, Canada
    Made in China is meaningless as far as quality is concerned. My company has done some product development with a few Chinese companies (just small internal widgets), basically quality is related to how much you are willing to pay the factory. If you want it cheap, the part will be garbage. If you pay more, you get better.
     
  22. westslope

    westslope First Fill-Up (of many) Supporting Member

    Messages:
    258
    Location:
    Wildfire country, BC
    What you write makes perfectly good sense to me.

    But from the perspective of the average consumer who on first glance is completely and utterly incapable of determining quality, 'branding' matters. National branding also matters.

    So take a dumb guy like me. Twenty years ago, I had a rule of thumb. I was willing to pay 50% to 100% more for a German made appliance or tool than a Chinese made appliance or tool.

    I said 20 years ago because I am not sure that rule of thumb still applies because the Chinese economy is evolving so quickly. But to be on the safe side, I tend to feel more comfortable with rich western country quality controllers outsourcing to SE Asia.
     
  23. outback97

    outback97 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    97
    Yes, sorry, I misspoke and meant impact wrench. To be honest I didn't really understand all the distinctions before starting this thread, so I've learned a bit here. And yes I (mostly) use hearing protection when needed. I'm in my 40's and already lost some hearing, mostly to concerts back in the 90's when I was younger and just slightly dumber.


    As far as my plans, at this time I'm leaning towards getting a 1/2" drive cordless impact wrench. I think y'all have convinced me that it'd be worth it to have.

    Aside from which brand to choose, I'm considering the balance of getting something that's compact enough to not be too cumbersome to use, but powerful enough to get stuck fasteners off. Also, hog ring or detent pin? It looks like most of the wrenches have LED lights, which is a great idea, so that's definitely something I want it to have.

    Also, the wife is tired of hearing the phrase, "Nut Busting Torque!"
     
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  24. meisanerd

    meisanerd Bought an X

    Messages:
    146
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB, Canada
    That part is the key to all of this. Some companies are willing to pay more, and put more work, into making sure their products are quality. My statement was more of a "Hey, Dewalt used to make their stuff in America, but have now off-shored it to China, therefore it is now garbage" is false type of thing. Just because it is manufactured somewhere else doesn't mean that quality control is now non-existent or the product is worthless. The good brands tend to know that quality defines them, and are going to do all that they can to make sure they uphold that so they don't lose customers.

    At the end of the day, it all comes down to how much quality you need vs how much are you willing to pay. I've got a bunch of tools that I bought from Princess Auto (basically the Canadian version of Harbor Freight) that are used once or twice a year type of thing because they were cheap, and survive what I put them through. My more-used or higher-worked (ie: more force needed) tools are all name-brand of a higher quality, though, because I don't want to risk them breaking in the middle of a big job. A good number were made in China, but the company is willing to stand behind their brand.
     
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  25. outback97

    outback97 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    97
    Quoting myself here for an update to the thread. This weekend I purchased this:

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/RIDGID-18-Volt-Lithium-Ion-Cordless-Brushless-5-Tool-Combo-Kit-with-1-4-Ah-and-1-2-Ah-Batteries-Charger-and-Bag-R9633SB/309677406?

    After a lot of reading I decided that I don't need one of the huge >1000 ft lbs impact wrenches, and would find something like the Milwaukee Midtorque 1/2" drive to be sufficient for most of my uses. I was looking for deals on that one and this popped up. I know the Ridgid isn't on the same level of quality, but from what I've read it sounds decent, and claims to have over 600 ft lbs of torque in reverse. As to my previous question, this one has the hog ring (easier socket changes) and it does have a light, three actually. Also these have a lifetime warranty if I register it with Ridgid. I haven't opened the box up yet to check it out, in case I find something better in the near future, but I think this one will work well for most things I need it for.

    Since I have a very old Black and Decker 12 volt cordless drill, and really no other cordless tools, I figured this set would be a handy one to have. I also purchased a 6 point deep impact socket set that includes a 32mm socket and all other sizes that I should need for the Xterra.
     
  26. IM1RU

    IM1RU Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    489
    Location:
    SLC, UT
    I think you made a great choice Steve.
     
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  27. meisanerd

    meisanerd Bought an X

    Messages:
    146
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB, Canada
    Yah, I bought a similar kit (drill, impact, reciprocating saw, and circular saw) a few years back, and have had no issues with it for my casual use. I did really like how they give you lifetime warranty on the batteries if you register, so when they start going, you can just take them in and get new ones.
     
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  28. outback97

    outback97 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    97
    OK so I have the Ridgid 1/2" impact wrench. I also have a set of metric deep well sockets.

    I'm thinking that I should get some regular (not deep) 6 point impact sockets, and probably some u-joints and extensions to be able to better utilize the wrench. How much power do you lose when using a swivel or extension? Any suggestions on which ones are most useful?

    These u-joints and extensions have pretty good reviews, though it's sometimes hard to tell how legitimate the reviews really are:



    Some more u-joint options that look good:
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-1-2-in-Drive-Impact-U-Joint-H2DIMPUNIV/301175144

     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
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  29. jsexton

    jsexton Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    462
    Location:
    Lewis Center, OH
    I bought this set a while back. Been VERY happy with it. Covers everything you will need except that one pesky 32mm socket. I keep that in the other box.

     
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  30. outback97

    outback97 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    97
    Thanks, that looks like a pretty comprehensive set. Since I already have the deep sockets (including the 32mm) I'll probably look to build something like that.

    I got to use my impact wrench for the first time last night. I've been spraying fasteners leading up to my UCA / LCA / TRE replacement fest, but I hadn't actually pulled the wheels off to get at the axle nut and get better access to spray everything down. The impact worked great on removing the lug nuts... I know that's a pretty easy task, but having never used it before, it was cool how quickly it removes them.

    Regarding my question about power loss, I found this. Not sure how accurate it is, but he is at least trying to quantify how much torque is lost through an extension and/or a swivel.

     
  31. KC!

    KC! Bought an X

    Messages:
    168
    I found a really good quora thread on this, I think it has to due with twisting of the extension and the extension wanting to resist the torque by trying to return to the original position which is opposite rotation of torque being applied. This is really interesting and had never really thought of it. https://www.quora.com/Does-the-length-of-a-shaft-affect-the-power-transmitted-to-the-axle
     
  32. westslope

    westslope First Fill-Up (of many) Supporting Member

    Messages:
    258
    Location:
    Wildfire country, BC
    An extension or swivel is used because of space constraints. For the really tough stuff to remove, nothing beats a breaker bar. A breaker bar will work with an extension or swivel though, depending, it might be a little awkward.

    Forget the concepts of 'perfect' or 'optimal'. It is all about getting the job done given the constraints.
     
  33. westslope

    westslope First Fill-Up (of many) Supporting Member

    Messages:
    258
    Location:
    Wildfire country, BC
    I have a deep impact socket set that goes from 12 mm to 22 mm. To which I added a 32 mm impact socket for the axle nuts.

    So far I have yet to find a use for impact sockets between 22 mm and 32 mm.

    On the wish list: short, compact impact sockets in sizes 14, 19 and 22 mm (possibly more). I currently have a short 17 mm impact socket and get by using non-impact quality short sockets in the other sizes.

    I tend to use the lower quality sockets with a ratchet wrench or a breaker bar. I am afraid the brushless impact wrench will tear them to pieces.

    The short sockets can be useful on both the front and rear end.
     
  34. Xterrorista

    Xterrorista Bumpers Installed Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,074
    Location:
    Aurora, CO
    Thinking about getting one of the Rigid18s for the truck. That kit wasn't available anymore. For the 180 they want does anyone recommend any other cordless brushless impacts to tote around?
     
  35. outback97

    outback97 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    97
    If you don't need it right away, wait for a while and monitor the pricing. They had it recently for $149, and HD even had it for $149 with two batteries for a while. Hopefully that deal comes back.

    Found this, pretty sure it was $149 for a while but getting two Octane batteries makes it still a decent buy:
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/RIDGID-...ickid=SuyWP4UmZxyOR8JwUx0Mo34HUkizBrxYeSQwzU0

    Having used it for a few other things now (just did front brakes on my commuter car this weekend) I love this wrench. It works great and I'd buy one again. Just be sure to wear some hearing protection when using these things! For easy to remove lug nuts it's not that loud but if you're crawling around underneath hammering away at a stuck fastener they make a crazy amount of noise.
     
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  36. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin Super Moderator

    Messages:
    38,458
    Location:
    Denver-ish
    I ran Rigid tools on the job sites for years. They quality. But.

    When I stopped using jobsite tools and went for my own stuff I did Milwaukee 18v. And there's one key reason. Versatility. The tool offerings from Milwaukee are sooooo much more varied and specialized than the Rigid. And if you get into thier 12v line, the same charger runs both batteries.
     
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  37. jsexton

    jsexton Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    462
    Location:
    Lewis Center, OH
    I had ridgid for all my personal stuff then switched to milwaukee a few years ago. Milwaukee is much better quality, and like prime said, more versatile. It's worth the extra money imo.
     
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  38. robcarync

    robcarync Sliders

    Messages:
    975
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    I will chime in just for any future readers on that harbor freight corded impact wrench.

    I have had it for many years. It has an awesome amount of torque if you are used to hand tools. It definitely works...assuming you have access to get the wrench in place over the nut or bolt. I have used it for many projects where I was glad to have had that tool (ring gear bolts on front Lokka installation, crankshaft bolt removal when doing timing belt/cam shafts, axle nut on Honda Accord, to name a few).

    That being said: the dual toggle switch for forward/back is annoying. I have on one occasion broken a bolt off by accidentally hitting the forward button instead of the back button. I ended up taking a sharpie and drawing arrows on it for reference.

    Also, the tool is bulky, so it can be difficult to get access to things. I had to remove my radiator and AC condenser to fit it in front of the crank shaft pulley. I can't really use it to get to Upper Control Arm bolts because the frame rails have a bow in them that prevent a good straight line to them. Without a lift, the ground plane will block tool access on a lot of vertical bolts going upwards.

    Get some wobble extensions, which makes it much easier to work with slight mis-alignment of hardware and tool access, and it will be useful, especially for the price.
     
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  39. outback97

    outback97 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    97
    I was actually trying to find a good deal on a Milwaukee mid torque when I found the Ridgid 5 tool set last fall.

    Do you have the mid-torque impact, or the big 1400 ft/lb one? Or maybe both?

    The big one just seemed way overkill for my needs, the mid torque seemed perfect, but I just couldn't justify the price of Milwaukee for my needs.
     
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  40. jsexton

    jsexton Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    462
    Location:
    Lewis Center, OH
    I have the ridgid 18v impact (advertised 325 ft on iirc), Milwaukee m18 1400 ft lb impact, and the Milwaukee m12 stubby impact 250 ft lb (all 1/2” drive). I never pick up the ridgid anymore. The ridgid feels significantly overrated imo. The little m12 is just as strong. I believe the ridgid I have was from before them going to brushless. That would obviously make a big difference too.

    **Edit: not trying to say the ridgid is bad. It worked fine. Get what fits your budget/needs.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2020
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