Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Air Ratchet Attack on Amateur Mechanics

I’ve got the ratchet and impact wrench which comes in handy for any repetive work like rotating tires or assembling things. I’ve got the cheap ones though so really don’t have that much torque. I usually hand tighten after running the nuts down with either tool.

An air tool is only a bad thing if it’s abusing what it’s being used on. A mechanic working flat rate is going to be in a world of financial hurt if he uses hand tools only.

OK,we had a popular tire shop near here that made thier employees use only handtools,they did real good for awhile.You could get a good deal there,they were real popular-Kevin

All the verbs are in the past tense so that seems to prove OK4450’s point, no?

Air guns are great tools.
Of course, in the hands of a tool bad things can happen.

Its just like regular gun; can’t live without them, but sometimes we don’t like them around.

We could argue this for a long time. It has only been a few years that I have a torque wrench. I have a cheater bar, but am waiting for a good excuse to buy an electric impact wrench. There are just some nuts that are too much work to take off.

Last weekend I had to bleed brakes on 2 of my cars (had a good deal on DOT3); taking 8 wheels off and putting them back on was a lot of work with my old school tools. On a positive note, it keeps me in better shape.

It is very rare that I don’t like to have regular guns around. It is vastly preferable to being in certain bad situations when you are the only one who does NOT have one;-)

AIRATCHETS be much faster.
But don’they finish tightening using a torque wrench?
Better than what we do by hand. (I learned that I was over-tightening my wheel lug nuts by hand.)

Working with air tools for years and then reverting to hand tools only can be absolutely maddening.
It’s like pulling up a chair and watching grass grow during a drought.
As to air ratchets or air wrenches, I run things down and finish with a torque wrench if applicable.

The problem is that some air tool users use the same principle with the air supply that many musicians use on their guitar amps; they leave it on 10 and wish there was an 11. :slight_smile:

I like my air gun for stuck bolts but you do have to be careful using it because it will snap stuff if you just use it to loosen stubborn bolts and nuts. The thing can do 425 foot pounds so stuff will come off, one way or the other.

I have a 1000 lb/ft gun, and a cheapie one from Menards that puts out something wimpy like 230 or so. The cheap one is the one I always use unless something is really stuck on, and I start it on the lower settings. The big gun only gets broken out when something’s really stubbornly stuck on.

What surprises me is that you see 1000 lb/ft guns advertised for getting lugnuts on and off. If you need that much grunt for lugnuts, someone made a terrible mistake somewhere.

Shadowfax, What kind of gun do you have that has 1,000 lb. ft.? Is it a 3/4" drive?

Yeah. This is fairly close to what I have, but mine’s old enough that it’s probably a different model number.|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&facetInfo=

That looks like a beast. My I-R 231 C is a 1/2" drive, but it’s a nasty bugger! I was trying to get a rusty old fitting loose that would not budge with a hand wrench. I sicked the 231 C on it and it knocked it loose and spun it free of the hole in about a second. I think careless tightening with this tool could do serious damage!

I use a manual impact wrench or an 18" breaker bar. Both seem to do the job for me.

1000 lb/ft is locomotive size. I’m guessing it has to be a 1" drive.

Wow - 1" drive…
I’ve had perfectly good sockets shatter at 1/2" drive.
Where would you get decent sockets for a tool like that, i wonder…

Tractor Supply Company?

1" drive impact wrenches and sockets are not all that uncommon. You won’t find them at Sears, but any industrial/commercial tool supplier would have them. I think Sears even has them online. My BILs have a couple of them from the family’s now defunct trucking business.

I grew to love air tools when working on Caterpillar equipment,most of the time however I would use a 4way on lightly oiled and clean threads at least for the final tightening on truck wheels(always had guys argue with me about lubricating the threads on wheel studs-they didnt understand that friction didnt necessarily correlate with the correct torque on the fastner)-Kevin