New Favorite Tool

I’ve Run Into Situations With My Big Electric Impact Where I Couldn’t Access A Nut/Bolt Because I Needed A Little More Clearance Or A Better Angle.

For what I consider an almost nominal cost I picked up a set of 1/2" Impact Socket Wobble Extensions (3 Lengths) and a set of 3/8" & 1/2" Impact Socket Universal Joints at Harbor Freight.

Again, I’m sure these tools might not be up to professional use, but they’ve saved my butt a couple of times. I need them occasionally and they’ve earned a place In my tool chest. Paid for themselves the first time they did, too.

Non-Pros, take a look when you visit HF.


I like Docnick’s pole-saw…It will pay for itself the first time you use it…But be careful…When those branches come down, they are a lot bigger than you thought…

A friend has a 12VDC impact wrench…Great for any automotive job, especially road-side tire changes…

I think the OP was talking about the brake fixture for closed calipers where you have to take the caliper and the fixture off to remove the rotor. Some of those are torqued to a high value and I would be surprised if a 200 ft lb electric impact would get them loose, especially here in the rust belt.
I have one of thhose cheap Harbor Freigh electric impact guns and they work great, I’ve had mine 10 years or more but I don’t think I could get to the fixture to spindle bolts with it, I just use a piece of pipe over my breaker bar.

Jt, you don’t need a lift if you use jack stands and at least partially support the car on them. I didn’t see that mentioned in your post. I have done every possible repair or restoration with only jacks and stands in my garage or driveway and it was as safe as any lift. The lift is convenient. It only takes a few degrees of rotation to break free most of the time. Never encountered a job where I couldn’t get a length of pipe or breaker in there for the initial SNAP! Then you can switch to convenient flexible drivers powered or not.

When I was 25 I could do just about anything in the driveway.
I’m no longer 25. Any job requiring a lot of force would be more likely to break my body than the stuck bolt. With a lift at least I can get leverage.

And then there’s the weather…

The caliper is held onto a mount that is bolted to the hub. Bot the caliper and its mount use 2 bolts. One caliper bolt was stuck.

@TwinTurbo, Jack stands wouldn’t really help. The problem is no room for leverage. Even on Jack stands there is no room for leverage whether I am under the car or not. Thanks for the suggestion though.

Maybe not professional but on those I use the 3/8 ratchet, a short piece pipe, and a few whacks with a five pound hammer. Same principle as an air wrench.

I already have an impact wrench you whack with a hammer, but the bolt is in a position that makes using that tool impossible.

I think they’re called impact driver . . . ?

Those are great for loosening the brake rotor hold down bolts, the stupid little ones where you usually need the philips bit

I’m no longer 25. Any job requiring a lot of force would be more likely to break my body than the stuck bolt

I understand you have some health issues that limit your ability to crawl under and wrench but for most over 25 they just need to use the biggest muscle- their brain :wink:

With a lift at least I can get leverage.

Well, if you have a lift, then by all means use it! Many people do not have such luxuries.

If you can get to the bolt when it’s on a lift, then you can get to the bolt when it’s on jackstands. As mentioned, you only need a few degrees of rotation to break it free. It doesn’t matter if you’re on your back or standing up… If someone says that’s not possible, then I guess you’re easily discouraged…because it has never stopped me (or any of my friends) from accomplishing it. And this is not just new cars, I’m talking about some real rust buckets too. Caliper bracket bolts are no exception…

Well, the battery powered on is called an impact driver, too. That’s what it says on the box.

I was just referring to using a standard ratchet wrench with a short pipe extension, and banging on the pipe a couple times with a 5# hammer to free the fastener. Not the screwdriver type impact driver used to free the screw on Honda rotors, or the air or electric impact drivers. If you use a 3/8 ratchet and maybe an 8" pipe, there is enough room to bang on it with a hammer without a lift or jack stands. Of course the wheel is removed anyway whether on a lift, jack, or jack stands. Either way you don’t get under it.

3/8" is kinda dinky for high impact/friction loading operations. I’ve had to resort to that on rare occasions where space was at a premium but then I use slow steady force rather than a jarring blow. Leg power can be pretty impressive :wink:

@Bing, I tried that and it didn’t work.

A 3/8" ratchet and a piece of pipe might result in an injury.

Ten years ago I got tired of hurting myself with inadequate 1/2" ratchets. I purchased 1/2" locking flex head ratchet with 17" handle. With sufficient handle length there is no problem loosening caliper bracket bolts or suspension bolts. Of course for the price of professional tools a DIYer can buy a lot of common tools.

It doesn’t need to be a Matco, but a good quality set of ratchets (1/4, 3/8. & 1/2" drives) is a lifetime investment and, along with sets of good quality 6-pt and 12-pt sockets, makes a huge difference when working. I’ve always felt the same about box/open wrenches. A set of good 6-pt, a set of good 12-pt, and a set of good stubbies. go a long, long way toward getting the job done without undue stress. I recommend these simple investments for homeowners if they use tools at all.

Good quality line wrenches, crescents, and other tools are worth their weight in gold too.
Most people will never need the other 10,000 tools I’ve collected, but the above are good places to start. Matco makes great stuff, but very expensive for the average homeowner. Craftsman, Husky, and a few other names are good tools at a more affordable price. I know we’ve had long threads about Craftsman, but I still think they’re great for the homeowner.

Craftsman used to have a professional line of tools, but sadly, it is gone

Their professional screwdrivers were much better than the junk they’re offering now, for example

Their impact sockets are are a great deal, during club saver days, and I think they’re still usa

They used to have professional combo wrenches, but I haven’t seen them lately. Kind of pricey, but still significantly cheaper than Snap on, mac, matco

Craftsman still has decent usa adjustable wrenches

Interestingly enough, some of the tools are the same as the now defunct professional line. Same part number, even. But it doesn’t say professional. And the handles are a different color, sometimes

I think they’re dumbing down the brand, because they’re circling the drain

I’ve tried the impact driver you hit with a hammer, the ratchet or breakerbar being hit with a hammer, and an air driven impact driver - and the air driven driver is the best of the three. I would include a portable electrical impact driver in that list except I know it was rated for a lower torque and it obviously didn’t do as well, but I don’t think the comparison is fair.

As with most publicly held companies they are constantly looking for ways to increase profit. Tools is one of those items it’s very difficult to increase sales. Very competitive market and they don’t change much that you have to buy the latest and greatest…especially since they have a lifetime warranty. So to increase profit they looked at other means like make the tools cheaper, but sell at the same price…thus increasing profits. First they try trimming local manufacturing costs, and then finally they ship manufacturing overseas.

The problem with that mentality is that now always is the manufactured item built as well as it was in the states. And when that new craftsman ratchet breaks after 5 uses the loyal craftsman customer starts looking elsewhere.

Sears sockets, wrenches, and to a point, screwdrivers, are not bad. So far.
Everything else seems to be circling the drain as db mentions.

Not all cheap tools are bad tools. I’ve got some Taiwan stuff including some sockets that have been floating around for 35 years. Some of them have the chrome worn off and still do the job without a problem.

If there’s one Snap-On tool I don’t care for it’s their screwdrivers. Same goes for MAC. The Craftsman versions work much better for me.

The Sears here recently closed down and is now a gutted building. Wonder how much merchandise got carted out before the doors shut for good…
Somewhere I have to think some dude’s (or plural) garage is now packed full of new tools. :wink: