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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, if I wanted to go to a store like Sears or Advance Auto Parts or Home Depot or Lowes and get hooked up with some air tool equipment and air tools, how cheap can I get set up? Esencially you need the tank/compressor, hose, and whatever tool(s) you need. I'm specifically looking for an air rachet or imact wrench. It looks like compressors and tanks come in various sizes. Is there like a minimum, or do you just have less capacity while using the tools, i.e.. you have to wait for the tank to refill more often?

PS: I'm mainly looking for it as a quick way to get bolts off the car. I'm working with a friend now and we're doing his brakes. I don't know when the last time they were done was, but the caliper bolts are on there, and probably were put on with an impact wrench since they probably always had service one this car done at a shop.

-Dan
 

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You don't really need a huge air compressor to use air tools. Of course the more you use them, the more air you use, the bigger a compressor you'll need, but if you're just popping off a couple of bolts here and there, there's no need to get a huge compressor. Now I'm not saying you could get by with like a 4 gallon tank, you'd probably need more like a 15 gallon, which could be had here - Sears.com for $169...air tools on the other hand are pretty expensive...the cheapest I found for a Craftsman impact wrench was $65...here, but I don't know if I'd go cheap on something like that, even with Craftsman's warranty. You also need to remember that you'll need hose and probably a reel, plus all the really expensive impact wrench sockets...impact socket set...

They are worth it in the long run, but it's definitely NOT worth it to buy cheap stuff that will break...I'm not familiar with your financial situation, but I'd say save up to buy better stuff...you'll be much happier!

JR
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well in the long run, I'll buy better stuff, but for the hear and now, it's either make an attempt with a braker bar, or get an impact wrench on this guy's car. We're trying to do his brakes and I couldn't move the bolts with my rachets, even when we banged on the rachet handle with a hammer. I don't know when the last time he had brake work done was, but I know they didn't do it themselves, so it must have been done at a shop with "real" tools.

I'm actually thinking of putting it on a credit card though. One of my cards just sent me a set of incentive checks. I can either do 6 months no interest, or I can do 2.99% until it is paid off.

-Dan
 

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Maybe try to use a long handled rachet with the "breaker bar" pipe attachment at the end. That might give you enough leverage to get the bolts off. You might also want to give the nuts a good spray with WD-40 to loosen the nuts...even with an impact wrench, the nut shouldn't be that tight...it might have rusted together, in which case WD-40 is definitely your best course of action.

I did have a problem with a shop using an impact wrench once. The last time I had my oil changed at a shop (~3/03), they used an impact wrench to put the oil drain plug on. I went a couple months later, probably early june, to change the oil and couldn't get the damn plug off. I ended up half-stripping it, then going to Sears to get the stripped bolt removers, which didn't work. Eventually, I said screw it, and went to the shop and bitched at the manager. He told me that they do use impact wrenches for the pulgs, but that they've never had a problem before. They ended up taking the bolt off for me, and gave me a free oil change, which I will never use.

Stay away from All-Tune and Lube on Rt 35 in Neptune City, NJ!

JR
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the advice. And If I ever need an oil change in NJ, I know where not to go! :lol:

Yeah, I was thinking maybe I should just buy a breaker bar. It *might* work. I know I was actually flexing the handle of my wrench, though it's only like a six inch handle. Maybe the breaker bar will give the leverage. I would like to buy an air tool set eventually, but maybe I should wait on it.

-Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Can you get like a ratcheting attachment for a breaker bar?

-Dan
 

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Not sure...I would first try a 3/8" rachet with a 6 point socket, and a metal pipe slid over the handle of the wrench, extending as far off the wrench as you can....this should give you more than enough torque. Also, use WD-40 and let it sit and soak for a few minutes.

JR
 

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If you need a breaker bar to remove the caliper bolts, there's something wrong. Use some PB Blaster, soaked overnight. Then, try and tighten the bolt, just a crack, to loosen any corrosion. Then try and loosen it. Get the ratchet in position and give the end of it a solid whack with a hammer.
Use the white grease they sell in the little packets when putting it all back together to keep it from happening again. Oh, and use a torque wrench too.
 

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I just bought a 32 gallon 150 psi Husky system from Home Depot. It came with 5' hose, impact wrnech, ratchet, chisel, grinder, 2 spray guns and all the bits and pieces for $299.

I know that I got low end tools but until I can afford better I am happy
 

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Hey Dan, check your local pep boys. Ask them if they have any of the old blue compressors still left around. If they do, they'll sell them to ya cheap cuz they were discontinued like 5-6 months ago. They'll still let you return it for a new one if something goes wrong with it. Me and my girl got out 80gal compressor for $80 from there. Most of the stores didnt send them back to the warehouse, but some did or either sold them. Wouldnt hurt to try tho.
 

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I know what you're going through with the bolt. I had to cut one of my lug nuts off because the a holes put the damn thing on so tight. My impact wouldn't even touch it and it's a mid level Craftsman.

And for the sockets, you will be okay with cheap ones but don't skimp on the extensions or the breaker bar. I broke 2 extensions with a breaker bar attached trying to get the lug off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
My hand tools are all Craftsman. Lifetime warrenty baby!

Another question. What's the real difference between an impact wrench and an air ratchet? Seems like they pretty much do the same job, but the ratchet I would think would be more manuverable and easy to work with.

-Dan
 

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An imapct wrench uses air pressure to "impact" a cylinder inside the wrench. The movement of the chuck on the impact wrench is actually the sum of between 1000 and 2000 impacts of air each minute. I've never heard of an air rachet...

JR
 

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Looks to me as though they serve two different purposes.

The impact wrench is to operate like a drill or screwdriver.
The air ratchet is meant to operate like a regular ratchet and is used for nuts and bolts. I'm sure there are several interchangable uses for each, similar to the ability to use a cordless drill with certain bits to remove bolts.

JR
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
They operate differently, but seem to serve the same purpose.. tightening and loosening nuts and bolts. It just seems to me that the air ratchet would be more intuitive to use then an impact wrench for automotive work. Maybe you can't get the same torque on an air ratchet as you can an impact wrench? Maybe Bob can answer this. He's got his own shop or whatever.

-Dan
 

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Well, I'll give you my 2 cents.

An impact gun is used to take off nuts and bolts without twisting whatever you're taking it off of. It sounds hard to comprehend, so I'll give you an example. Normally when you're removing the nut from your drive axle, you'll spin the axle unless you've got the brakes applied. An impact gun will take it off no problem, and you don't have to apply the brakes. It's a spiffy little tool, and really really powerful. I actually advise against using it for putting stuff back on, because it'd be easy as hell to overtorque something, and then you're screwed. Also, you'll have to get a set of impact sockets, or you'll be sorry (someone told me that you can shatter a normal socket, and since I've got impact sockets in my lab, I don't bother testing out that hypothesis).

An air ratchet is basically a normal ratchet, but you don't expend the effort it takes to twist something on. It's a lot less powerful than an impact gun, and in my personal experience, it sucks and should never be used. More hassle than it's worth.

Personally, I think that both of these are more of a convenience than anything else. Everything that you can do with an impact gun, you can do with a ratchet, but you may have to get creative. Be aware that an impact gun is only good for taking things off, and that you shouldn't use it to put things back on, which means you'll need to ratchet stuff still. If you have the money, and you'll be using it often, then I'd say go for it, buy an air tool setup. You can always buy a cutoff wheel (very handy when, er, modifying stuff), or a paint sprayer among other things. However, right now, I myself would rather spend the $200 to get a good set of hand tools.

You decide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hmmm. OK. Now, the plot thickens as well. So you can get a good air compressor and tank setup from sears for $160. I've found a guy who's got an old impact wrench he isn't using. Apparently he bought a more powerful one and as far as he can remember, the old one still works. He's offering it to me for free. Does the compressor itself come with any tubing? I don't think I need a whole lot of tubing, but obviously you can't just attach a tool to the nossle :lol:

I'll probably not end up getting it, or maybe not yet. We'll see.

-Dan
 

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Originally posted by dant98@Jul 8 2004, 10:45 AM
Another question. What's the real difference between an impact wrench and an air ratchet? .

-Dan
Torque is the difference.

You will never get any bolt broken loose with an air ratchet that you can't get with a hand ratchet of equal length. In fact you have to manually break a lot of the bolts loose in regular fashion before the air ratchet will start spinning.

I have worn out a few of each and they each serve their own purpose.

You wouldn't normally want to use an impact wrench while you were under the hood of you car either due to the fact that they are somewhat cumbersome and can actually break or strip smaller diamer bolts in aluminum if you don't get off the trigger quick enough.

Mike
B)

PS make sure you lightly oil the inlet and run air through after you are finished with it each time if it is going to be a while before you use it again.
 
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