Tool Review Time

74stang2togo

NERD!
Mod Dude
Mar 7, 2002
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View: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N6RH433/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1


I've owned a handful of Dremel and Dremel-clone rotary tools over the years. In general, I've found most of the clones to be good enough so long as you tempered your expectations to the price point of the particular tool you bought, and threw out the crappy attachments and bits and picked up a set of actual Dremel bits and attachments.

In August 2017, my cheap crappy Harbor Freight Dremel wannabe at the house had died, and I didn't want to spend the money on a 2nd genuine Dremel for the house (I had one at the shop). Kinjadeals (they show up daily on Jalopnik, a car news site I read frequently) had this Dremel-clone from "Tack Life" as a deal of the day at $35, so I figured I'd give it a shot. It showed up two days later (Amazon Prime FTW!), and that night, I took it to the shop with me, figuring the chance to try it out whould show up there long before it happened at the house.

I have a general rule on tools, if I have two of something, the good one is at the shop, and the other one is at the house in the garage. After a few uses of the Tack Life rotary tool, it was the actual Dremel-brand rotary tool that came home.

Other than the stupid brand name, the Tack Life tool is AWESOME. The separate speed and power switches, the contoured grip, the incredibly powerful and smooth motor, and the included accesories that were actually worth a damn for once, made it the better tool. Usually the Chinese knock-off of any good tool is lucky if it's close to being as good as the real deal, but this time... it's actually better.
 
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74stang2togo

NERD!
Mod Dude
Mar 7, 2002
6,363
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View: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ANF1BRW/ref=dp_cerb_2


Is your local auto parts store useless? Do you live miles from the closest one? Do you have a fleet of vehicles in the family?
Answering "yes" to any/all of those questions could make owning your own battery tester practical. I bought this handheld Foxwell unit in 2017 because I got tired of hunting down the one tester the dealership provides for twenty technicians. For $48, it was a no-brainer compared to the much more expensive options from Midtronics and the tool trucks. The first night I had it in the shop, and several times after, I'd test it against our high-dollar Midtronics professional tester, and EVERY SINGLE TIME, it delivers the same results. The software and interface even look and function almost exactly the same.

It's not perfect. It has a bad habit of displaying "32.07v" when initially hooked up if you don't get a good connection on some of the sillier terminal configurations out there (or on heavily corroded terminals), but a little jiggling of the connectors is usually all that's needed to correct that issue.

View: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GKEBG9I/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Ever broken a bolt off that wasn't flush, and vise-grips just made it worse? Ever been able to grab it with the vise-grips but weren't able to put any torque on it?
This is the tool that fixes those problems. It gets tighter on the bolt as you turn it, squeezing the hell out of it until it can't anymore before even trying to turn it. Mine's survived having a 24" ratchet and a 14.4v SnapOn 3/8 impact used with it to remove broken exhaust studs, license plate bolts, spare tire hold-down bolts, and more. I bought it because it was cheap and suggested by Amazon when I ordered some bigger vise-grips... I didn't know at the time it'd replace vise-grips as my go-to.

View: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QRL1TVU/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


I like VIM tools in general, but I don't like this little guy. The first time I used it, one of the two ratchet heads developed a skip. When you're usually going to be using a tool like this in tight quarters in hard to reach places (like Mini Cooper water pumps), that's kind of a pain in the ass. It was replaced with a similar ratchet from EZ-Red really quickly, which I also had to warranty later because the flex-head would no longer lock in place, but it held up a great deal better than this offering from VIM.

View: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000XJ48V0/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Let me start off by saying that Lang makes great tools right here in the USA. I own a few other of their tools either in their own brand, or in Craftsman or Matco. That said, this tool... well, I ordered it from Amazon, and it showed up missing a piece, so I returned it and ordered another. While my return was on the way, my replacement arrived... with another missing piece. I don't know what crayon-eater was working QC on the line these re-threaders go down, but they apparently can't count. I bought a bigger set off the Matco truck instead... which is also made by Lang.
 

74stang2togo

NERD!
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Mar 7, 2002
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View: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MVE48Z6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Amazon is sometimes the Mos Eisley of tools, where the vile and wretched are plentiful.

Other times, there are extremely good tools for prices so good they'd make Harbor Freight say
damn.jpg


This battery cable lug crimp set from Iwiss is one of those tools. It doesn't matter if you're using it to repair broken or corroded cables by installing new lugs, fabricating new cables from scratch, doing a battery relocation, or installing high-powered car audio, this set of crimpers can handle a plethora of cable sizes and is built like a battleship. I use these frequently to repair battery cables on late-model Fords and imports that have corroded all the way through by installing copper lugs on the ends of the cables and then using the Toyota-style bolt-on terminals with them. The included cable cutters are every bit as good as the fifteen-year-old Ampro cutters I paid about $20 for way back then, so the $29 price for this pair of tools is a DAMNED good deal.

View: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0079GQKDE/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Earlier I roasted Lang for their piss-poor quality control on their thread repair set, but I also mentioned that they do make good tools, and make them right here in the good 'ol US of A. This is absolutely one of those tools. This ratcheting brake caliper press is an absolute godsend, fitting everything from your basic single-piston calipers on little Hyundai Acccents, all the way up to the big four-piston bastards on Toyota Tundras. It drives the piston in square and straight every time, with minimal effort, and ratchets smooth as silk. Two of the three techs that have borrowed this tool from me bought their own after doing so, it's that good.

View: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004WIWB3U/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Do you hate these bastards and their bigger brothers?
Spring_Clamp-2.jpg


Then get these Irwin pliers designed specifically for them. I have five different tools designed specifically for dealing with spring-type hose clamps, including a pair of cable-actuated long reach pliers, a pair of hose clamp vises from Mac, a pair of Mac vise-grip style pliers with waffle-like tips, and a pair of Matco pliers with rotating teeth just for grabbing these. Out of all of them, these Irwin pliers are my go-to more often than not. The little notches and recesses in the ends just work to grab the tines on these clamps better than any of the other tools I have in most cases.

View: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016QB9Q56/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


This one is probably not a good investment for your average DIY-er. However, I work on flat-rate in the shop, on virtually all makes and models, and because the dealership I work for has to keep 12 different oils in stock, they buy them in the "E-pack" and fill our oil pitchers as needed. Most of the guys use the pitcher with a long flexible hose on it.

LIS19702_1200Wx1200H.jpg


I'm fat and slow, and need to be able to make up time somewhere, so I use this funnel from Lisle, without the restrictive hose on the pitcher, so I can pour all of the oil into the engine in a single, steady pour without making a mess. It works so well that I bought the expansion set for it:
View: https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-19622-Adapter-Retro-Pack/dp/B077P2RNRJ?ref_=bl_dp_s_web_2595560011
(It's now available with all of the adapters included as well, but for some reason costs more that way), and have coverage for every vehicle I see except certain Mitsubish and Chrysler products.

Just a heads-up, fox-body Mustangs would actually use the green "Honda/Nissan" adapter instead of either of the Ford adapters. (Some Mitsubishi, and most Hyundai, and Kia products can use that one as well.)
 

RangerJoe

I leave the horn on while driving
5 Year Member
Apr 26, 2010
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I recently bought the advanced auto parts version of the brake piston tool you posted. It is so much easier than an old pad and c clamp.

Joe
 

74stang2togo

NERD!
Mod Dude
Mar 7, 2002
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You ever screw up? I really did this weekend. Messed up my Toyota's transmission pan pretty badly being stupid with my floor jack.
If you work on cars, eventually you're going to screw something up, so in honor of my screwup, here's my review of a few tools designed to save my ass when it happens:

https://www.harborfreight.com/40-pc-carbon-steel-metric-tap-and-die-set-62832.html
Harbor Freight's 40-piece tap-and-die set is fantastic. It's better than fantastic, it's the best specialty tool set under $20 in the whole damned store.
Everything about it looks cheaply made and low-quality, but in actual use, it proves it's anything but. It skips some sizes here and there, but other than the 12mm x 1.25 thread, it has your most common threads covered, and it gets the job done. I've had my set for at least ten years, and none have broken, and all still do the job when asked.

https://store.snapon.com/Metric-Tap-Set-M12-x-1-25-Right-Hand-Plug-Tap-P652016.aspx

If you work on Toyota, Lexus, Volkswagen, Audi, and a few others, you'll need a 12mmx1.25 tap eventually. The problem is, a lot of sets, from a lot of brands, skip it. I bought mine off the SnapOn truck because I needed it right then and there. Remember when I promised you at the beginning that there'd be SnapOn tools I felt I'd wasted money on? This is definitely one of them. Don't get me wrong, it works, but it has a hell of a time getting started in holes that are less damaged than what I've managed to repair with other taps I'm reviewing here, which limits its utility, and when this SINGLE tap cost nearly as much as the entire Harbor Freight set above, it's kind of annoying. that said, it has gotten my ass out of a bind more than once, including on two of my family's vehicles here at the house, so while it may have been outrageously expensive for a single tap, it has paid for itself. You can get a similar tap from Irwin for all of $5.00 on Amazon though, which I did for use at the house, along with matching dies for both the house and shop (also for $5.00 each).

https://www.harborfreight.com/45-pc-titanium-nitride-coated-alloy-steel-metric-tap-die-set-61410.html

This set... this set here... I don't know how Harbor Freight got spies into the factories of the big 3 tool companies, and frankly I don't care. This $85 set out-performs everything else I've ever seen in it's class. These are truly, 100%, professional-grade. They are so sharp, and so precise, that I've successfully re-threaded CV axle threads with them. When someone screws up big time in a big way at the shop, myself and one other technician have a set of these, and they save people's asses. Few tools pay for themselves completely the first time you use them in the professional world. This is absolutely one of them.

https://www.matcotools.com/catalog/product/TDK51/51-piece-rethreading-tap-die-set/

Remember that Lang Tools rethreading set I roasted yesterday? This is the set I bought instead. It's made by Lang and sold by Matco under their own brand. This set is so well made that EVERYONE sells it under their own brand. Craftsman, SnapOn, Mac, and Matco all sell this set, with minor differences, and ALL of them buy it from Lang. (Compare the Lang set here: https://www.tooltopia.com/lang-tools-971.aspx ) I bought mine from Matco on sale, so I paid more than Craftsman, but far less than regular price would have been from any of the tool trucks. If you only screw up a little bit, or don't have the die to re-thread the bolt or stud you screwed up, this set is what you need. The re-threaders aren't quite as sharp and aggressive as a full-blown thread tap or die, and aren't truly meant to be. The included thread files can fix bolts in sizes not covered by any set you have on hand if you didn't screw them up too badly. I'd honestly recommend buying this in Craftsman or Lang and saving the money unless you're working on cars professionally and would rather have the convenience of a tool truck coming by to warranty any parts of it you break, but under any name, this set is great.

https://www.matcotools.com/catalog/product/40MTDS/40-PIECE-METRIC-TAP-AND-DIE-SET/
This is the mother of all tap-and-die sets when it comes to quality. These Aichi steel taps and dies made in Japan are so sharp, and so hard, that I've started the tap into the hole for the brake caliper on the spindle of a Jeep Grand Cherokee, which is only threaded about an inch deep (but is drilled all the way through), and tapped all the way through the un-threaded part without any noticeable effort. They self-start in the most jacked up of holes and straighten them out, and in an absolute pinch I've even used just one of the taps to enlarge a hole to the next size without drilling. Seriously, if there's enough material left to work with, these are fixing what you messed up. The ratcheting T-handle and holders for the taps and dies are just pure icing on the cake. It doesn't get any better than this.
 
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74stang2togo

NERD!
Mod Dude
Mar 7, 2002
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I have a total of 26 ratchets in my toolbox at work... that's not a typo.
0401191853.jpg


Figured I might as well go crazy on ratchets since that's a tool all of us are going to use a lot of.
https://www.stanleytools.com/products/automotive-tools/other-tools/ratchets/38-in-drive-rotator-ratchet/89-962
The Stanley rotator ratchet is a unique creature. It's not overly useful 99.9999999% of the time, and spends most of it's time tucked away in the toolbox doing nothing. It's the emergency back-up goalie of ratchets.

Then I need to get something out of a really tight space, none of my other ratchets have a light enough touch to turn the bolt counterclockwise without also turning it the other way on the backswing, and this guy comes into play. You see, that beefy yellow and black handle rotates. On top of that, it doesn't matter which way you spin it (and indeed, you can spin it back and forth), it turns the ratchet's drive end in the direction you set the ratchet to. Suddenly, your ratchet is this guy:

View: https://youtu.be/tG-IGNvfrg8


I honestly go months, sometimes even more than a year without using this ratchet, but when I do... it saves the damned day.

https://www.harborfreight.com/3-piece-flex-head-stubby-ratchets-46742.html

A lot of my ratchets are high-dollar items from SnapOn, mainly because I want to be able to pick them up with zero doubts whatsoever as to the durability of what's in my hand, and because they just feel better in the hand. Then there's these guys. I wouldn't dream of replacing them with SnapOn. This little $11 set of stubby flex-head ratchets is fantastic. The 1/4-drive's head is a little too big and round to get into some of the tighter spots it'd otherwise be handy at (though I do have another ratchet for that job), but that's where my critical opinions on the set ends. The 3/8-drive is more than adequate for it's role in the toolbox, and the 1/2-drive has a very specific niche to fill, oil pressure sensors on Chrysler Pentastar V6 engines. Sure, there are better stubby flex-head ratchets out there, but when you factor in cost, this is probably as good as it gets for your dollar.

https://www.harborfreight.com/3-piece-thumbwheel-ratchet-set-94011.html

Then there's these little bastards. Not overly useful to begin with, they're just too crude to be good at the finely detailed work they should be used for (low torque applications). The drag on the backswing is so bad that you'd better be holding on to the extension or socket that's hooked on to it so you don't just spin the bolt or screw you're on back-and-forth. That said, they're not so horrible that I've tossed them in the trash or replaced them, they're just not very good.

https://www.harborfreight.com/t-bar-with-3-8-eighth-inch-flexible-ratchet-98484.html

You ever buy a ratchet thinking "man, that'd come in so handy for ________!" ?
Yeah, that's what I bought this one for. Boy was I wrong. My "________" was bellhousing bolts in tight spots, and this thing flexes and bends so badly that it's useless for that. The good news is, it's very strong, snapping right back to shape even after being bent to a 20+ degree angle, and I did find a use it's fantastic for, distributor hold-down bolts on older engines. This one's in the home toolbox.

https://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p/toolworks-ratcheting-bit-driver-set-10-piece-tw242/10071071-P?brandName=Toolworks

I'm not reviewing the bits or the case from this set, because, frankly, I'm not even sure what happened to the bits or the case, nor do I care. They were unimportant. This ratchet, on the other hand, is one of the absolute best tools in my box. To put that into perspective, I have a Matco 3-bank 72" box with addon storage, and a 6-drawer service cart at the shop, and several smaller boxes full of tools at the house, and this ratchet is in my top-10 best tools that I own.

This little bit ratchet is so well made, so well engineered, so stunningly durable, and so useful, that I honestly think I'd be lost without it some days. Whether it's getting to a screw inside of a bumper so that I don't have to take the whole bumper off to change an ambient air temperature sensor, removing a hidden screw holding a fender liner to a bumper, or removing something from an awkward and tight space under a dash or seat, this ratchet is the hero of the toolbox. If you don't buy any other tool that I recommend, buy this damned ratchet.

http://www.snapon-bluepoint.com.sg/category/38/product/38-Quick-Release-Ratchet

This ratchet was the first purchase I made off a tool truck, all the way back in 2008. I still have it, it's never failed, and I like it so much that when SnapOn had a BOGO involving this general service set containing this same ratchet: http://www.snapon-bluepoint.com.sg/category/Sets-Building/product/38-Drive-Socket-Set,-49pcs I jumped on it to have a professional quality set for the house for once (the other item was another ratchet that I also enjoy the hell out of that is at the shop). This ratchet isn't big, it isn't fancy, and it doesn't have a cushioned grip. It is, however, insanely tough (I've bent cheater pipes that were slipped over the end of the older one), smooth as silk, comfortable in the hand, and best of all, especially considering it comes from SnapOn, affordable. Not a damned thing changed between the first one I bought in 2008 or the 2nd that came in that set I bought in 2017, both ratchets work incredibly well and get the job done every single time, even when asked to do unreasonable things. A new tech at work ended up borrowing my general service set while he built up his tools, and bought the same set when it was on sale because he liked the ratchet itself, as well as the sockets, extensions, and adapters, so much that he didn't want to step down to Harbor Freight stuff. It's not the biggest ratchet, it's not the prettiest or the fanciest, but it gets the job done, and really, what more could I want?

https://www.matcotools.com/catalog/product/BFR118/3-8-DRIVE-11-EIGHTY8-TOOTH-FIXED-CHROME-RATCHET/
I'm spoiled by my Matco guy sometimes.

I didn't actually buy this ratchet. I bought it's predecessor with I believe 72 teeth. On top of that, I didn't buy it from any Matco truck, I bought it for $20 at a pawn shop with a skip on one of the teeth in the mechanism. I brought it to work and simply asked my Matco guy if he could fix it, and he said "bad news chief, they don't make that ratchet anymore, but I have some good news, the 88-tooth mechanism fits right into it!"

My $20 pawn shop Matco ratchet got upgraded to the 88-tooth internals for FREE. This just might be the best tool bargain I've ever scored. With the 88-tooth mechanism this ratchet gets things done. It's got a super slim head for getting into tight places, and the 11" handle means I can put some serious torque on whatever needs it. While not as smooth as some of my SnapOn ratchets, it's on-par with the Bluepoint I reviewed above, and when I bought it for less than 1/5 of retail, and got the free upgrade, it's a no-brainer. I'll take a Matco tool at a Harbor Freight price any day. I've mentioned that Matco doesn't make most of their tools in-house, and people sometimes question why I'd buy anything from them knowing that, the level of service I've received from both of my previous two Matco guys is the answer, though I'd be lying if I said I didn't shop Sunex, Lisle, Lang, VIM, and the others that make tools for them online to make sure I'm getting a decent enough deal.

http://www.amprotools.net/Product/ProductDetail/339/METAL-GRIP-RATCHETS

When I worked for Advance Auto Parts the first time, we carried AmPro tools. On my way out the door, before I lost my employee discount, I spent a fortune stocking up on tools. Among the things I bought were all three of these ratchets, one of which (the 1/2 drive) is still in my box at work (the other two came home after upgrading to better at the shop).

While not on the same level as SnapOn, Matco, or Mac, or even their budget lines (Bluepoint, Silver Eagle, and Expert), they were surprisingly better than Craftsman (back when Craftsman was still good, and still made in the US), and worlds better than Harbor Freight's offerings at the time (remember back when 2/3 or more of Harbor Freight's tools weren't worth taking out of the store? How far they've come!). I think I gave the 1/4" ratchet to my dad, and the 3/8" is still floating around in one of my boxes at the house, but the 1/2" drive ratchet has never been replaced because, well, it's just good enough that I can't justify it. It's not something I use that often (I usually use the extendable 1/2" from Harbor Freight I reviewed awhile back, or my 24" SnapOn flex-head 1/2"), but when I do, it does a good enough job that replacing it just never really crosses my mind. It's relatively smooth, it's obviously durable, having been in my home and professional boxes off-and-on for 14 years, and it's well made, but it's kind of just... "there". It's the vanilla pudding of ratchets. It doesn't make me gag like tapioca, but it doesn't excite me like a good banana pudding either.

https://www.autozone.com/ratchets-sockets-and-wrenches/ratchet/duralast-1-4-in-drive-100-position-full-polish-flex-head-ratchet/565715_0_0

Apparently Autozone has discontinued this ratchet. That's a damned shame. Seriously, a damned shame. I was going to tell you that if you wanted a 1/4-drive flex-head ratchet that rivalved the big tool truck brands in quality and durability for an amazing price to stop by Autozone and buy one. They're built like a Matco ratchet in every way, and hold up just as well if not better. I still have the one I bought in a pinch in 2011 in my box at work. Damn you Autozone... anytime you have a good thing going, you screw it up.


0401191847.jpg


Ampro apparently doesn't make the ratchet I'm going to review here anymore, and I couldn't find a picture of it online, so I'll snap a photo of it to add when I get to the shop tonight.

I'm not sure why I keep my comfort-grip, round-head, offset 72-tooth 3/8 ratchet from Ampro around. I know it's garbage. I know we warrantied out more of them than any other tool during my time at Advance. I also know how many of them I had fail on me personally when using them for battery installs and other light-duty work at the store. I also know how many of them I bought at $5.99 (and then got a 20% discount on that) and how many of them are floating around the garage "somewhere". I still have one in my box at work. I almost never use it, because I'm almost 100% sure that if I do, it'll break. These ratchets look so good, and seem like such a good idea on paper, but in real-world use, it's almost like the pawl in them is made of glass. On top of that, the cushion-grip doesn't go far enough up on the handle, so it's prone to breaking about an inch away from the end. It's such a junk ratchet... why can't I quit thee?

https://store.snapon.com/Quick-Release-Ratchet-1-2--1-2-Drive-80-Tooth-Soft-Grip-Long-Flex-Head-Quick-Release-Ratchet-Red-P738251.aspx

All other ratchets, prepare to meet your daddy.

This ratchet is a god among tools. All of the length and strength of a 2-foot breaker bar with the convenience of ratchet. Suspension parts, brake caliper brackets, crankshaft bolts, they are all broken loose by this mighty beast made of steel. It fears no Loctite, not even the red :poo: GM uses. There are cheaper knock-offs out there, but I've broken all of them myself or seen them break, but not this monster, no, this monster refuses to die, even with 350lbs of steak-and-potatoes fed redneck hanging off the end of a cheater pipe slipped over this thing. A big freaking ratchet needs to be in your toolbox. If you can't afford to buy this one, that's okay, the cheaper alternatives will last for a time, and do have a good warranty, but if you can afford it... you totally should.
 
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74stang2togo

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And since I'm mostly full of hot air:

View: https://www.amazon.com/Ampro-A1430-Tire-Inflator-Gauge/dp/B003YL4CJM


I bought one of these 14 years ago, and used it for all of about six months. Why? Because it's about as accurate as looking at the tire or kicking it. Screw this thing, it's junk.

https://www.harborfreight.com/1500-watt-dual-temperature-heat-gun-5721112-62340.html
Whatever you do, DON'T buy this thing without a coupon. There's always a coupon for this heat gun, and it's usually all of $8.99 with said coupon.

I'm not saying it's not worth $30, because, frankly, it is. It's a damned good tool, whether you're using it on heat-shrink tubing on wiring repairs, or fixing plastic bumpers, or removing decals, or any other thing you can think of, it's a damned good tool for the job, but why pay $30 when you can have it for $9? Google Harbor Freight Coupons or get the Android app so you don't have to pay full price for one of the best bargains in a whold damned store full of bargains.
 
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jrichker

StangNet's favorite TOOL
SN Certified Technician
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My new favorite tool is a "baby air ratchet" I always though what good is that? I already had a 3/8" drive air ratchet that I use on almost every nut and bolt on the car.

Then I bought a- Blue Point 1/4" drive eBay special for $30. It needed some repair to make it work, but it was well worth it. There is nothing better for working inside the car on the dash and instrument cluster. There are a forest of 7 MM hex head sheet metal screws and this is the tool that saves a bunch of time to loosen and tighten them. it isn't overly powerful so it won't strip or overtighten fasteners, but the ratchet is strong enough to make up for that lack of power.
 
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74stang2togo

NERD!
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Mar 7, 2002
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My new favorite tool is a "baby air ratchet" I always though what good is that? I already had a 3/8" drive air ratchet that I use on almost every nut and bolt on the car.

Then I bought a- Blue Point 1/4" drive eBay special for $30. It needed some repair to make it work, but it was well worth it. There is nothing better for working inside the car on the dash and instrument cluster. There are a forest of 7 MM hex head sheet metal screws and this is the tool that saves a bunch of time to loosen and tighten them. it isn't overly powerful so it won't strip or overtighten fasteners, but the ratchet is strong enough to make up for that lack of power.
I have one of those too. It's my best friend in the whole wide world for window regulators and lock actuators.
 

2000xp8

SN Certified Technician
Aug 8, 2003
6,571
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Received this for Christmas, used it for the first time last week.
https://www.milwaukeetool.com/Products/Power-Tools/Fastening/Impact-Wrenches/2767-20

I use all Milwaukee for work in my van, so I had the batteries already.
Even with my oldest batteries that give me a tough time in a circular saw it easily removed lug nuts.
And the feature that slows the bit after it's loose is nice, no more flying nuts or sockets.

Going to buy a milwaukee ratchet, then air tools will be nearly dead to me.
No more loud compressor, no more waiting.

One of those tools you wonder how you lived without.
 
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74stang2togo

NERD!
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Yup, hammertime.

Hammers are mostly a low-tech affair, and as such, only in one instance do I advocate spending a lot of money on them. For every role except that of a steel-capped dead-blow, the cheapest is often adequate.

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200621545_200621545

As I said, cheap is good when it comes to hammers. Big 4lb head, hardwood handle, knocks :poo: loose, not much to it. This is a good choice, if you can find similar for less, by all means, do so.

https://www.harborfreight.com/4-lb-neon-orange-dead-blow-hammer-69004.html?utm_referrer=direct/not provided
Sometimes you need to wail on something without beating the surface up. When that situation arises, you want a soft-face dead-blow. For the money, this one from Harbor Freight is hard to beat. They have a lifetime warranty, and I get 2-3 years out of them before I swap them out.

https://store.snapon.com/Dead-Blow-Ball-Peen-32-oz-Ball-Peen-Soft-Grip-Dead-Blow-Hammer-P642584.aspx
When you're going to be swinging a hammer for awhile, you want something that's easier on you. I've torn up my elbow swinging a traditional sledge when doing suspension work, a good quality dead-blow prevents that. This hammer was my choice, but I can tell you first-hand that Trusty-Cook Hammer makes a set that are similar for less than the cost of this one. That said, I can warranty this one on any given Thursday with my SnapOn guy instead of dealing with shipping.
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
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Channel lock pliers, vicegrips, hammer and an assortment of chisels.
no need for a huge tool box, don't take up much space and what one will not remove, the other will. Of course putting it back together is another story.
there ain't a wheel barrow or tricycle in the neighborhood I can't fix!
 

74stang2togo

NERD!
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Mar 7, 2002
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Channel lock pliers, vicegrips, hammer and an assortment of chisels.
no need for a huge tool box, don't take up much space and what one will not remove, the other will. Of course putting it back together is another story.
there ain't a wheel barrow or tricycle in the neighborhood I can't fix!
You forgot an adjustable wrench. It's okay, I've got you covered.

https://www.harborfreight.com/4-piece-steel-adjustable-wrench-set-903.html
https://store.snapon.com/Adjustable-4-pc-Adjustable-Wrench-Set-6-ndash-12--P885024.aspx

We get a lot of new-to-the-business technicians at the dealership I work for, and invariably, they migrate over to my bay to ask me about tools, because my box is the biggest on nights, and 4th biggest in the shop overall. When the conversation gets to "crescent" wrenches or adjustable wrenches, I always tell them the same thing.

Buy the Harbor Freight set for $12.

They always ask why, and I tell them it's real simple. An adjustable wrench is going to slip and make you bust your knuckles at some point, that's the nature of the beast. Do you want to bust your knuckles for $12 or do you want to pay $281 for the privilege of doing it with a wrench that said "SnapOn" on the side of it?

The truth is, once you cut through the marketing BS, an adjustable wrench is pretty much an adjustable wrench. Just make sure it's not a truly crappy one that's going to round-off it's own jaw or lose it's adjustment when you change positions on the bolt, screw, or tie-rod end you're working with, and get that one. Don't waste money on "features" that don't really do anything.

Now you're ready to fix wheelbarrows and tricycles buddy!
 
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74stang2togo

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Cordless 1/2 impact wrenches...

These are all the rage these days. I was the first at my current shop with one, but now a full 2/3 of the night shift and an ever-increasing number of day shift technicians have made the switch to a cordless as their primary over pnuematic.

Why?

Because these days, they're that good.

They're quieter, far more convenient, and absolutely amazing in emergency and unique situations that pneumatic wrenches just aren't practical for.

So which one's the best? Well... that's a loaded question. I've had my hands on five of them, so I'll give you my opinions on them and some links to videos by guys that go more in-depth than I have had the chance to, so you can decide for yourself.

https://store.snapon.com/Cordless-Impacts-18-V-1-2-Drive-Cordless-MonsterLithium-Impact-Wrench-P819277.aspx
This is the one I personally have. I originally purchased it in 2012, and it's been a beast since day one. It's the most popular among my co-workers as well, with six of the twenty of us owning this particular gun. I mentioned that I was the first tech with a cordless impact at my shop, and it was this particular tool that started the revolution that has led to cordless being the dominant force. It all started with a Honda Oddysey crankshaft bolt that no pnuematic in the shop at the time, not even my Aircat 1000TH, could remove, but my SnapOn cordless did, and it did it with a four-year-old 3.0ah battery (I run the 4.0ah batteries now, and the 5.0s just came out, the power output of the wrench with the 4.0 battery is significantly higher). I had to have my impact rebuilt via SnapOn's flat-rate service in 2018 after it suffered a bearing failure. I could have ordered the part and fixed it myself, but when you can have the tool refurbished and brought back to new specs (and cosmetically restored as well!) for $150 with a three-week turnaround, that's exactly what I did. I later had an accident with the gun where it got contaminated with liquid and let the mysterious smoke that runs all electrical devices out, and sent it in on the flat-rate program again, and was actually given a brand-new replacement. The phenomenal flat-rate repair program, combined with just how robust the internals are (as you'll see in the Real Tool Reviews video I'll put at the bottom of this post), are why this is my choice, but it's NOT the only good choice, and in fact, when it comes to bang for your buck, I may surprise you with my recommendation. My only gripe about this gun is that the LED on them seems to have a high failure rate.

https://www.mactools.com/en-us/Power-Tools/Cordless-Tools/BWP151-M2/20V-MAX-1-2-Drive-BL-Spec-High-Torque-Brushless-Impact-Wrench-Kit
Three technicians in the shop have these guns, either in the red Mac tools dress, or the yellow DeWalt dress. Two of those three had to have theirs serviced under warranty by Stanley-Black&Decker (which owns both Mac and DeWalt). These guns make amazing torque, are lighter than the SnapOn, feel good in the hand, and on paper (and by paper I mean the tool flyer trying to sell you :poo:) put out more torque than the SnapOn (which all of them compare themselves to).
In the real world, it feels like it's the SnapOn's equal, and in acutal use, I prefer the SnapOn for two reasons. 1. The SnapOn is more compact, meaning it can go into tighter spaces to get the job done, and 2. The SnapOn's angled nose means the battery hangs down and away from wheels when being used to remove them, allowing you to use shorter sockets and extensions, meaning more direct torque transfer. Don't get me wrong, these are still damned good guns, and the #1 thing I am ABSOLUTELY jealous of when compared to the SnapOn is the ability for owners of this impact to go to Home Depot and pick up DeWalt batteries for less than 1/3 of the cost of my SnapOn batteries when the time comes to replace one.

https://www.matcotools.com/catalog/product/MCL2012HPIWK/20V-CORDLESS-INFINIUM-1-2-DRIVE-HIGH-PERFORMANCE-IMPACT-WRENCH-KIT/
I will be the first to tell you that this gun is capable of more real-world torque than the SnapOn. I will also tell you that I'll pass on this gun. The only Matco buyer among the cordless impact converts in the shop has had to have his serviced under warranty three times in a year. Once or twice I'd attribute to the fact that this particular tech is a booger-eating moron, but the third time? Yeah... I don't blame him for telling our Matco guy he wanted a refund. For all I know he's the only one that's had problems in the whole world with this gun, I've only known one other technician that went with it, but only worked for him for a few months, so I'll admit my sample size is small. I just feel like the value isn't there though in comparison to other guns in this class, as you only get one battery if it's not being bundled with an extra on a promotion, and it's price is the second highest.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Milwaukee-M18-FUEL-18-Volt-Lithium-Ion-Brushless-Cordless-1-2-in-Impact-Wrench-W-Friction-Ring-Kit-With-Two-5-0-Ah-Batteries-2767-22/302675438?cm_mmc=Shopping|G|Base|D25T|25-9_PORTABLE+POWER|NA|PLA|71700000034127218|58700003933021540|92700041933824237&gclid=Cj0KCQjw7sDlBRC9ARIsAD-pDFo2F8PjfoRDb06Ka8CSsy7REmFjmUoWkYcm1eu6dvPucdQb98fs8TQaAkp-EALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

There is one technician in the shop with one of these bad boys. He bought it all of two days ago, and I got to try it for myself while teaching him how to fix his screwup on a brake job (he's new to the trade). On the surface, it's impressive as hell. It really is. Great grip, good weight, rugged-looking. When you put it on a bolt and pull the trigger it still feels good, it's got a real nice trigger pull, it makes insane torque, and it's the quietest of all of them. My concern with these, after watching the Real Tool Reviews teardown video, is long-term reliabilty and serviceability. The warranty on them is the best in the industry though, so at least you're covered. It's also the second-cheapest of the bunch, so if it works out reliability-wise, it may still be a great buy.

https://www.harborfreight.com/20v-max-lithium-12-in-cordless-xtreme-torque-impact-wrench-kit-63852.html
Then there's this bastard.

If the Mac, Matco, SnapOn, and Cornwell tool dealers aren't scared for their livelihood by this gun, they should be. AvE tore it down and had nothing but good to say abou the guts, and he loves ripping Harbor Freight a new one. Then he put it to the test on bolts tightented by hydraulic torque wrench to 500, and then 600 foot lbs to try to prove that HF was BS-ing about the output of this gun, and proved instead it could handle it. Three technicians in the shop have gone with these, and not one of them regrets it. I myself may be switching to one from the SnapOn (gasp!) the next time I have a battery failure because nearly $190 for just a battery is hard to justify in the face of a whole replacement set for $240 that, when put head-to-head with my SnapOn in an un-scientific test at work, resulted in a DRAW. (At that point, the SnapOn will become my "at-home" gun.) The only things that I don't like about this gun are how cheap the battery looks (the rest of the gun looks great, it's weird), and the battery life readout on the battery itself. It feels every bit as solid, if not more so, than every one of it's competitors except the SnapOn, and in actual use, rivals or beats every one of them, including the SnapOn. Seriously, Harbor Freight hit it out of the damned park with this one. If only you didn't have to buy a warranty separately (you only get 90 days included with the tool, where as every other tool in this class is two or more years). If I was buying brand new tomorrow, this is probably my winner.

I honestly don't think there's really a bad choice among them, even though I do have my reservations about the Matco gun, but I feel for the dollar, the SnapOn and the Earthquake are by far the best two choices, the SnapOn because of it's long-term life-cycle thanks to their excellent flat-rate rebuild program, and the Earthquake for proving that it belongs in the conversation at half the price of it's next-cheapest competitor.

Videos (Warning, AVE uses NSFW language sometimes):
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVH0PbLAEls

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkPzjV-ZaTU

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev7--VXfD_Y


I haven't found a teardown/test video on the Mac/DeWalt or Matco.

I can't wait to try this one:
https://www.dewalt.com/products/power-tools/impact-drivers-and-wrenches/20v-max-tool-connect-12-midrange-impact-wrench-with-hog-ring-anvil-kit/dcf896hp2 The ability to auto-switch directions on stubborn fasteners to shake them loose is something I'd love to see in action.
 
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74stang2togo

NERD!
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https://www.walmart.com/ip/Hyper-Tough-29-Piece-Titan-Drill-Bit-Set-with-Case/994208400?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=0&adid=22222222227249310808&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=293192246610&wl4=aud-566049426705:pla-508504946816&wl5=9027400&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=8175035&wl11=online&wl12=994208400&wl13=&veh=sem&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIscCJ56LU4QIVgrbACh12pAXsEAQYASABEgIKnfD_BwE

Have you ever been so jaw-droppingly stunned by a tool that you had to go and buy it immediately after you saw it in action the first time?
This was one of those times.

I've used Irwin drill bits for years, nice, expensive (relatively) titanium Irwin drill bits. I've thought I had the best tools for the job, at the lowest price possible... until this past Thursday.

A co-worker of mine was struggling to remove wheel locks from a Mercedes that had been picked up at auction. No wheel lock key in sight, I resorted to the airhammer, which was damaging the wheel and not budging the lock. Another tech offered to loan me his brand-new set of Hyper Tough drill bits from Wal-Mart to drill into the lock and try using an extractor on it, and I obliged, chucking up the 1/4" bit in my big Mac air drill and telling the tech working on the car to keep a steady stream of WD40 going on it so I didn't burn the bit up. Two minutes later I was almost an inch deep in hardened German steel with a Chinese-made Walmart-branded drill bit that I had zero faith in. In comparison, my "turbo start" Irwin titanium bits are usually 1/4" into one of these wheel locks after five or six minutes of drilling, and the bit has usually dulled, regardless of the amount of WD40 or other lubrication provided. The Hyper Tough bit didn't dull, the tip didn't get destroyed, and even at the edges the gold coloring from it's titanium coating is still there.

I don't know who the hell is making these bits in China for Wal-Mart, but I can tell you that they're doing a great freaking job, and that I like them so much I bought a set of my own. My only criticisim is that the case is really crappy, but that doesn't matter nearly as much as how good the bits themselves are.
 
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74stang2togo

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Pliers.

Outside of sockets and ratchets, the tool I have the most of is definitely pliers, with a full drawer in my six-drawer service cart dedicated to them, and most of a full-length drawer in my 72" box also dedicated to them. I probably have close to 50 different pairs of pliers in various types and sizes.

http://knipex-tools.com/fileadmin/site/knipex-tools/bk/index.php?catalog=KNIPEX_Main_Catalog_US#page_1
First up is Knipex. They've been mentioned earlier in this thread. I own four pairs of Knipex pliers right now, a 3-pair set of their Cobra pliers, and a set of their leveraged cutters. There is simply no better brand of pliers out there. They're made in Germany, and are so good that rather than develop their own versions to compete with them, SnapOn, Matco, and Mac simply pay to put their own label on them ALONGSIDE Knipex's own. The truly revolutionary tool from Knipex is the Cobra line though, with the push-pin locking mechanism to lock in the size you choose instead of them slipping like normal Channellock-style pliers, and with the two pieces being forged at the same time (instead of bolted together or riveted after the fact like the various knock-offs that have appeared at your local big-box retail stores).

Every pair of Knipex pliers I've gotten my hands on has been simply superior to all of their competitors in every single way, and while they can get pricey, I find certain pliers from them to be worth every penny. There will be more Knipex pliers in my box in the future.

https://www.harborfreight.com/6-pc-pliers-set-63812.html
Half this set is amazing, one piece of it is serviceable, and two pieces of it suck.

The sidecutters from this set are an absolute gem. I don't know what they're made out of, but they hold an edge, and with nothing more than a mist of WD40 to the joint once in a great while, they give no issues. The cosmetics of them will leave something to be desired, as they're prone to surface rust, but other than that, there's nothing bad to say about a set of pliers so cheap you could throw them away without a moments thought, but are so good you won't want to.

The needlenose pliers from this set are likewise spectacular. They have the same issue with rust, and the same need for a bit of WD40 now and then, but when they don't break, don't wear out, and hold up to the abuse of being used as snap-ring pliers on hub assemblies without the tips of them breaking off, I can't help but love the things.

The Linesman's pliers from this set are right there with the needlenose and the sidecutters. Same two issues that really don't matter, same great service for over a decade in my toolbox.

The diagonal pliers in the set are the piece that's merely serviceable. They do the job, but they're not designed overly well compared to a lot of competitors.

The Channel-locks and slip joint pliers in this set... well, they suck. There's no way to be nice about it. They were cheap enough I just threw them in with the scrap metal rather than warranty them out for another equally bad set, and they're nothing but a bad memory for me at this point...

https://www.harborfreight.com/hand-tools/pliers/panel-clip-pliers-63699.html
These are absolutely awful. Seriously, they're bad. They are so badly built that the center tines wander around and even catch on the outer tines while trying to use them. The grips have the durability of toilet paper, and the edges on them are actually too damned sharp for the job, damaging plastic and paint alike. Save yourself the trouble and get a set of these: https://www.matcotools.com/catalog/product/PCP42480/panel-clip-pliers/ Yeah, they look an awful lot alike don't they? You can tell who Harbor Freight was trying to copy. I previously had the Bluepoint YA331 panel clip pliers from SnapOn, but left them in a car, and they were stolen by the time I realized it and went back to get them. They're apparently discontinued, because I can't find them on the SnapOn or Bluepoint sites anywhere. I have the Matco set now, but I miss my Bluepoint set, they were even better. I don't miss the Harbor Freight set at all, they're in the home toolbox in case a need a set here at the house, but even then, I'd probably hesitate to use them.

https://www.harborfreight.com/line-clamp-set-3-pc-63596.html
When I want to change out a component that has hoses running to it, whether it's a brake caliper, water pump, power steering pump, turbocharger, or any other thing, I grab these. Pinching the hoses before the component you're changing saves fluid and prevents huge messes. I've had this set for years, and I've never seen the need to pay a whole lot more for essentially the same thing off a tool truck. In fact, I like these enough that I've been thinking about buying a second set since automakers keep putting more hoses in more places.

https://www.matcotools.com/catalog/product/SLSK8/8-piece-shark-type-oil-fuel-hose-stopper/
On the other hand, these are so rarely usefull that I feel like an idiot for owning a set. The good news is, my Matco guy wanted them gone and made me a killer deal on them, and I was working on an Acura MDX AWD that needed the rear main seal replaced when I bought them, so they got used immediately. The bad news is, that was 2 1/2 years ago, and I can't remember using the damned things since. Oops.

https://www.autozone.com/wrenches-pliers-and-cutters/pliers/duralast-5-in-curve-jaw-locking-pliers/482494_0
Myself and another tech in the shop are fortunate enough to have bought these, and their big and little brothers, around 2010 when they had rubberized cushion grips on them. Even without the grips, they'd be amazing locking pliers, and it looks like little has changed. I've tried locking pliers from several brands, including the Pittsburgh line from Harbor Freight and the Vise-Grip line from Irwin, and these are still my favorites after all these years. The teeth just don't dull or break, and they clamp so tight that sometimes you'll need a wrench or pry bar to get them loose. Seriously tough to beat the bang-for-your-buck on these well-built locking pliers from Autozone.
 
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