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Unread 05-03-2013, 06:24 PM   #1
CJ7KAHUNA
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Air tools

I am thinking I would like to pick up an impact and possibly some other air tools to accommodate in future repairs. What are some budget brands that perform well for a weekend mechanic? I don't need tools that will with stand the rigors of daily abuse - just ones that will be dependable when called on a weekend every other month or so.

What brands in the lower end of the price ranges perform well? Also - in addition to an impact and possibly an air ratchet and a air grinder (or some other device that could be used for cutting) would you recommend?

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Unread 05-03-2013, 06:50 PM   #2
WindKnot
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I'd recommend scouring the pawn shops for Chicago Pneumatic air tools. We're talking tools here; stuff that's going to be dropped onto the garage floor. Who cares is someone else scratched it up first? CP is to me as good as it gets for air tools.

You're right, the weekend warrior doesn't need the very best, just decent. Campbell Hausfeld gets by okay.

I'd get a 1/2 inch impact wrench and a 3/8 inch impact wrench. Use these for REMOVAL, not replacing. A good old 3/8 inch butterfly air ratchet is good for putting stuff together. It closes up bolts well enough to go to the torque wrench next. Sockets? If limited in money, get impact sockets before regular sockets. You can work "down", but generally speaking, don't over stress sockets with impact tools. Is it done? Yep. Good idea? No.

Be careful with air tools like peanut grinders and such. They eat air real quick. In line sanders eat air too. Don't out buy your compressor.

And MOST IMPORTANT, never NEVER NEVER use PVC pipe to plumb air lines. You're building a bomb.
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Unread 05-03-2013, 07:01 PM   #3
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I have a couple of Ingersoll Rand impact guns that were used, abused, and neglected where I used to work. Once they finally quit working, they purchased new ones, and had me throw the old ones away.
I took them home, stripped them down, and cleaned them up inside. That was about eight years ago, and they are still going strong.

After my compressor conked out, I have been thinking about going all electric though. I'm starting to question if there are any benefits to air over electric tools.
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Unread 05-03-2013, 07:25 PM   #4
CJ7KAHUNA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WindKnot View Post
I'd recommend scouring the pawn shops for Chicago Pneumatic air tools. We're talking tools here; stuff that's going to be dropped onto the garage floor. Who cares is someone else scratched it up first? CP is to me as good as it gets for air tools.

You're right, the weekend warrior doesn't need the very best, just decent. Campbell Hausfeld gets by okay.

I'd get a 1/2 inch impact wrench and a 3/8 inch impact wrench. Use these for REMOVAL, not replacing. A good old 3/8 inch butterfly air ratchet is good for putting stuff together. It closes up bolts well enough to go to the torque wrench next. Sockets? If limited in money, get impact sockets before regular sockets. You can work "down", but generally speaking, don't over stress sockets with impact tools. Is it done? Yep. Good idea? No.

Be careful with air tools like peanut grinders and such. They eat air real quick. In line sanders eat air too. Don't out buy your compressor.

And MOST IMPORTANT, never NEVER NEVER use PVC pipe to plumb air lines. You're building a bomb.

I will most likely start off with the 1/2 and 3/8 impacts and go from there. There are some Craftsman impacts on eBay that have decent auction prices and the Cambell Hausfeld stuff is readily availbe new for really cheap prices. I'll check out some pawn shops and go from there. Thanks for your advice.
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Unread 05-03-2013, 07:43 PM   #5
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I have a Craftsman 3/8's air ratchet that I have had for many years and love it. Not sure of the model but it was probably $30 or so and it has taken a few motors out of vehicles (the accessories etc take all the time) and saved a bunch of wrench movement and knuckles.
I just went from a generic cheap Impact to the Ingersoll Rand 231C last year that I bought new from Tractor Supply and it is great even though it cost a some money. I am also a weekend warrior out there but I add oil before every use and it has been awesome compared to my old who knows what brand. I bought cheapy impact sockets from one of those fly by night tool sales in SAE and Metric probably 10 years ago and they have worked flawlessly. Even when the impact couldn't get it but my close to 300lbs on a breaker bar could they worked without issue.

Just giving you my experiences. Going cheap on things isn't all bad but get yourself a really good impact gun. It's worth it.
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Unread 05-03-2013, 09:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepsnmopars View Post
I have a Craftsman 3/8's air ratchet that I have had for many years and love it. Not sure of the model but it was probably $30 or so and it has taken a few motors out of vehicles (the accessories etc take all the time) and saved a bunch of wrench movement and knuckles.
I just went from a generic cheap Impact to the Ingersoll Rand 231C last year that I bought new from Tractor Supply and it is great even though it cost a some money. I am also a weekend warrior out there but I add oil before every use and it has been awesome compared to my old who knows what brand. I bought cheapy impact sockets from one of those fly by night tool sales in SAE and Metric probably 10 years ago and they have worked flawlessly. Even when the impact couldn't get it but my close to 300lbs on a breaker bar could they worked without issue.

Just giving you my experiences. Going cheap on things isn't all bad but get yourself a really good impact gun. It's worth it.

Point taken - cheap is relative to quality. I dont want a tool because it is cheap but rather a tool that is a known performer that is not in the upper echelon of the price band. I certainly dont want to throw away what money I do have. I am going to canvas the pawn shops to see whats out there. The Craftsman stuff is looking good though.
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Unread 05-04-2013, 12:03 AM   #7
mooncruiser
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Ingersoll 1/2" impact, I think the part number is 230c
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Unread 05-04-2013, 12:17 AM   #8
Caish
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I've got a 1/2" Chicago Pneumatic that is at least 15 years old.
Skip the air ratchet unless you need a 1/4" one for detail work and hard to get areas.
I have never seen a 3/8 air ratchet that has ever held up, they're just made for the torque of breaking bolts loose.


But a palm/butterfly impact 3/8" it really handy for lots of things.
Do not be afraid to get some at Harbor Freight either.
Get a bottle of air tool oil and oil it when your done using it so there is no condensation
to cause it to rust up between uses.
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Unread 05-04-2013, 12:46 AM   #9
WSS
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I have really gotten to like my kobalt (lowes brand) 3/8" air rachet. As I get older, I appreciate a tool that will work for me. The air rachet works like a regular rachet in a way, you break the bolt or nut loose and then pull the trigger, voila, no carpel tunnel!
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Unread 05-04-2013, 01:05 AM   #10
Mcjeeperson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WSS
I have really gotten to like my kobalt (lowes brand) 3/8" air rachet. As I get older, I appreciate a tool that will work for me. The air rachet works like a regular rachet in a way, you break the bolt or nut loose and then pull the trigger, voila, no carpel tunnel!
Agreed. Pulled an engine and trans a couple weeks ago and my craftsman 3/8" air ratchet made quick work of everything. My dad even borrows it for his projects.
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Unread 05-04-2013, 01:29 AM   #11
Matt1981CJ7
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I've done my entire restoration with nothing but a cheap set of Husky wrenches, and a assortment of other hand tools. I figure air tools are a luxury, not a necessity.

My compressor has only been used for spraying paint. Oh, I did buy a pneumatic die grinder for my engine build, but I'm not impressed with how much air it takes. I'm always waiting on my compressor to catch up when I use it.

I'm with skizriz on this, I'm thinking electric may be the way to go.

Matt
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Unread 05-04-2013, 01:38 AM   #12
WSS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt1981CJ7 View Post
I've done my entire restoration with nothing but a cheap set of Husky wrenches, and a assortment of other hand tools. I figure air tools are a luxury, not a necessity.

My compressor has only been used for spraying paint. Oh, I did buy a pneumatic die grinder for my engine build, but I'm not impressed with how much air it takes. I'm always waiting on my compressor to catch up when I use it.

I'm with skizriz on this, I'm thinking electric may be the way to go.

Matt
If you don't have the right compressor, it can be frustrating. Less than 8cfm and you might as well stick with electric, if you work fast. I wish I could go with electric. Air is a necessity in my shop.
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Unread 05-04-2013, 01:54 AM   #13
WSS
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Just read the OP's post closer. A die grinder is very handy. They come in different sizes and speeds. Some have the locking collets to hold bits, but try to get one with a drill chuck instead, just plain easier to change, ya they loosen more often but changing bits and tools is way easier. You can get an assortment of flap wheels to clean dings and even use carbide burs to move big amounts of metal. You can drill in a pinch (if you have a drill chuck on it). Cut-off wheels in both bi-metal (saw type) and thin abrasive wheels are available.

I have three different types of die grinders on my cutting table cart. I usually have them set-up for different tasks on the same job. Maybe a carbide bur to remove a lead out ding and a abrasive drum wheel sized for the hole to remove a bevel on a hole. They work fast if you have the right bit or tool on the end. We do a lot of close tolerance hole cutting and die grinders help with the task of "tolerance" for me, Taking away a few thousandths can be done quickly and accurately.

RPMs vary wildly. I have one that turns at 4k rpm (I think LOL) and two that turn at over 10k rpm. One of the 10k's has double the power of the other two, it rarely stalls on hard cuts, but it can get the best of you after a long day. The slow one is not good for carbide bits, it allows too much chatter, but it does well with stone bits and some fine detail work.
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Unread 05-04-2013, 05:50 AM   #14
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The best impact put there is the ir231, that what all the tire people use. And doesnt cost that much
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Unread 05-04-2013, 06:10 AM   #15
Matt1981CJ7
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I think I'm going to treat myself to something like this instead of a pneumatic.

Matt
41owfrok37l.jpg  
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