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Old 08-26-2002, 10:03 PM   #1
FutureWagon
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Default Need to buy air tools - Which ones/which features?

Along with the black wagon I'll be getting in the next couple of weeks, I need to invest in my first, and preferably LAST set of air tools. I've got a Grainger catalog, and I've browsed the stuff at Sears and the auto parts store, but I've got no clue as to which is better than any other quality-wise or feature-wise.

So, suggestions for an assortment of air tools - purchase separate pieces? purchase a set? What about an air-driven torque wrench? Am I smoking crack? ...err...

Help please!
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Old 08-26-2002, 10:20 PM   #2
livnlrg8ez
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Here is a good website for any kind of tools http://www.thetoolwarehouse.net/
Ingersoll-Rand is a very good air-tool brand
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Old 08-26-2002, 11:32 PM   #3
Eric SS
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Ingersoll-Rand makes awesome power tools. I agree

Eric
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Old 08-26-2002, 11:40 PM   #4
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Snap-On.
Yes, they can be expensive.
But, any air tool you buy from them will out live you.
I have a 1/2" impact gun that was crushed.
"@*%#" was the best I could say to the local Snappy rep.
"No problem", replied the rep. "Snap-On has a flatrate charge of about $75 to repair air tools, regardless of age."
About two weeks later, my brand new air gun was delivered.

Paul
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Old 08-27-2002, 03:19 AM   #5
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never buy a snap on air tool...even the snap on guy will only sell snap-on air ratchets, he sells everything else Ingersoll

Ingersoll Rand

IR2112....3/8" composite impact
IR2131....1/2" composite impact(this might be the quiet one, can't remember off the top of my head)
Get yourself one of the composite air ratchets too.
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Old 08-27-2002, 10:08 AM   #6
FutureWagon
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(bump)
Thanks a bunch. So Ingersoll-Rand it is.

Keep 'em coming, folks. I need to know which ones I'll REALLY need, and the ones I can skip. And any suggestions for quiet(er) options would be appreciated.
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Old 08-27-2002, 10:21 AM   #7
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For the primary tools--ratchets, impact wrench, a drill--get good stuff. My personal favorite is the IR 1/4" stubby ratchet. With a couple of extensions you can reach anything...

But as a hobby-level mechanic, I don't see any reason to pay top $$$ for tools you're only going to use occasionally. I've gotten a dozen assorted grinders, saws, nibblers, etc from Harbor Freight for less than the cost of two or three top quality IR air tools.
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Old 08-27-2002, 11:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jon Bogert
FBut as a hobby-level mechanic, I don't see any reason to pay top $$$ for tools you're only going to use occasionally. I've gotten a dozen assorted grinders, saws, nibblers, etc from Harbor Freight for less than the cost of two or three top quality IR air tools.
Excellent advice, and one of the things I've been debating in my head (kinda crowded in there lately). Just to with the Craftsman stuff, it's got a good enough warranty and not super expensive.
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Old 08-27-2002, 12:53 PM   #9
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i am with jon here ..

buy the cheep versions of stuff your not gogin to use that offten .. i have a 1/2 air ratch from harbor freight ~19.00
.. works great to drive he nuts on a spring compressor
www.harborfreight.com

also look at www.northernautosupply.com brand names decent prices
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Old 08-28-2002, 08:16 PM   #10
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You want a 1/2" Impact gun, a 3/8" ratchet. A 1/4" ratchet is nice too. If you're going to do any exhaust work or work on older cars with rusted nuts/bolts an air chisel will save you much grief. A couple of blow guns - 1 rubber tipped and one with an extension.

Buy good hose - Goodyear is one of the better.

Get enough couplers & nipples so that each tool has one attached. Milton makes good fittings. Use teflon tape on the threads.

You may want a die grinder/cutoff wheel - can be one and the same depending on design (one has a permanent shield around wheel). If you're going to do body work, a D/A (dual Action) sander and/or an air board. As has already been stated, spend the money on the tools you'll use the most - although air ratchets are so cheap that it may be more worthwhile to buy a bunch of $20 throwaway air ratchets than one $100+ I/R.

Have fun!
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Old 08-28-2002, 10:49 PM   #11
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My theory when buying air tools was, I spent $25K on the car...what's another few hundred?

Know, also, that not all air tools are created equal. My Campbell-Hausfeld 1/2" impact was being laughed at by a bolt that my Ingersoll-Rand 231H just took off like it was attached to butter!

Cheap tools just aren't as nice to use, and the nice thing about air tools is that they're not that expensive, once you get the compressor.

I have:

Ingersoll-Rand 1/2" impact and 1/2" air ratchet, extensions, wobbly sockets and impact sockets. With these, you can do almost everything on a Subaru. When you go to thetoolwarehouse.net, they have various levels of I-R stuff, so you might not need to spend big bucks. But my 231H was on sale for $100, and the air ratchet was $60. It was a no-brainer.

And oil...you can't oil air tools enough. You also want a big enough compressor, where you can work. I have a 20-gallon compressor that provides plenty of air.

Finally, once you use air tools, you won't want to go back to hand tools. No way. Some stuff you'll have to use hand tools for, and for those instances, get nice ones. I'm an SK or Facom fan. Expensive? Yep. Worth it? A wrench is a wrench, some would argue, but when I work that 72-tooth ratchet on the Facom socket wrench...mmmmm. And when I am old and have palsy, I'll be my own power ratchet.

Kevin
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Old 08-29-2002, 10:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by gtguy
My theory when buying air tools was, I spent $25K on the car...what's another few hundred?
Exactly. Especially when I can use them to work on my wife's $25K car, and the rest of the cars I'll buy in my lifetime.

Quote:

A wrench is a wrench, some would argue, but when I work that 72-tooth ratchet on the Facom socket wrench...mmmmm. And when I am old and have palsy, I'll be my own power ratchet.
Dude, you're KILLING me.

Almost forgot: HYDRAULIC JACK. The cheapie that I bought to work on my Civic finally gave up the ghost. I think all it needs is a new seal on the pump and some more oil, but the damn thing never did lift the car high enough. Usually ended up on the ramps, but the question remains:
What kind of jack? Anyone have (or know someone who has) a portable lift in their garage? How are they?
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Old 08-29-2002, 02:11 PM   #13
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any recommendations for air compressors?
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Old 08-29-2002, 03:06 PM   #14
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if you really really want the most out of your air tools get a good compressor...@ least 5 HP & 30 gallons, get a 175 psi or 150...i have a 135 and it's not strong enough for my air tools i use at work(working SCFM @ full load on my 1/2 impact is almost 15.0). Sears sells some pretty nice compressors for the home user. I'd love to get an IR home compressor but at 3x the price of the craftsman no thanks.

Jeremy
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Old 08-29-2002, 03:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by HndaTch627
if you really really want the most out of your air tools get a good compressor...@ least 5 HP & 30 gallons, get a 175 psi or 150...i have a 135 and it's not strong enough for my air tools i use at work(working SCFM @ full load on my 1/2 impact is almost 15.0). Sears sells some pretty nice compressors for the home user. I'd love to get an IR home compressor but at 3x the price of the craftsman no thanks.

Jeremy
Jeremy's right. My 20-gallon compressor is great for the bursts that our cars require. Blip, blip and the nut is off. The only time I have ever had to wait for the compressor to re-cycle was during a particularly recalcitrant nut while using the C-H impact gun.

Kevin
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Old 08-29-2002, 03:40 PM   #16
Mike Kress
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I've got several air tools, all Sears and use the 1/2 in. impact and 3/8 in. ratchet the most. Had them since the early 70's and no problems. Give them a drop of oil once and a while. Mike.
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Old 09-02-2002, 05:23 PM   #17
TheDerangedWarTomato
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Default My Tools

My tools are.....

80% SnapOn
10% Matco
10% Sears

I have over $25,000 in tools. The SnapOn Tool Box cost $11,000 by its self. Good, Hi quality Tools are my life. I'm an Aircraft Mechanic. I allways say, in life, be it Cars, Colths, Girls or tools, buy the best you can buy.
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Old 09-03-2002, 03:17 PM   #18
Tomnel
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Hmm. I went and looked at some compressors and they are all so big, space in my garage is really limited.

Do any of you think I could get by on something like this Click Here

Just for suspension work once or twice and changing the tires mostly. I Do plan on vishnu's uppipe, think this is to weak?


Thanks for the info guys!
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Old 09-03-2002, 05:12 PM   #19
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Sounds from the specs like that would work, and Makita makes some good stuff, but $220? I hear ya' on the space issue, but for that price you could get a 3.5hp, 13 gal Craftsman compressor (which is good for other things too, you know) and a decent impact wrench.

I plan on using my compressor for airbrushing, car stuff, painting my deck and privacy fence every other year, air nailer (to fix up the basement) and probably other stuff I haven't thought of. The Makita wrench is pretty limited...unless the lid to the toothpaste tube gets REALLY stuck!
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Old 09-04-2002, 02:51 AM   #20
HndaTch627
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tomnel
Hmm. I went and looked at some compressors and they are all so big, space in my garage is really limited.

Do any of you think I could get by on something like this Click Here

Just for suspension work once or twice and changing the tires mostly. I Do plan on vishnu's uppipe, think this is to weak?


Thanks for the info guys!
buy the 18.8v snap on, it's more expensive but you will be MUCH happier with your purchase.

Jeremy
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Old 09-04-2002, 08:39 PM   #21
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To save garage space I mounted my compressor in the basement and ran a hose out to the garage. It keeps the noise down too.

Sincerely,
David Kearney
Oakos Automotive
www.oakos.com
sales@oakos.com
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Old 09-05-2002, 12:27 AM   #22
Fred Zaplitny
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IMHO:
If you are a proffessional mechanic using your air tools everyday or at least a few times a week, get Ingersol Rand. Period!

If you are like me and use your air tools every once in a while, then cheaper brands are okay. I have a 1/2" 500 ft/lbs. 3 speed Impact gun from Husky (Home Depot) $100.00, a 3/8" ratchet from Sears $50.00 , a 1/4" ratchet ($30.00) and a cut off wheel ($20.00) from Chicago Pnuematics. Just keep them oiled and they will do fine.

Just my opinion.
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Old 09-05-2002, 11:04 AM   #23
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I usually go with the least expensive tools I can get because I don't use them that much.
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Old 09-05-2002, 02:47 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by Oakos Automotive
To save garage space I mounted my compressor in the basement and ran a hose out to the garage. It keeps the noise down too.
hehe, I wish we had basements in california...


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Old 09-05-2002, 04:48 PM   #25
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Default a different strategy

Because I didn't know what I needed vs what I wanted I adopted a different strategy. I bought cheap sockets, impact guns, etc. and as they broke I replaced what broke with good stuff. That way I figured out what I needed and ended up with the good versions of that. The stuff I didn't need very much is still the cheap stuff.
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