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Electric Impact Wrench any Good?

I need to take apart my steering assembly, and I don't have an impact wrench (or Club). I called 4 auto parts stores in the area, and no one rents/loans them.

We do have a Harbor Freight nearby, and they sell a 1/2 electric impact wrench for $50 - much cheaper than a "real" setup with air pressure and so forth. Does anyone else have experience with an electric impact wrench? Are they any good?
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:31 AM
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Check craigslist for a good used makita or Ingersoll rand. The hf one will work, maybe even twice....
Old 07-25-2012, 10:37 AM
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I have the Harbor Freight 1/2 inch electric impact wrench and it the best money I have ever spent on a tool. It makes removing the steering wheel a breeze. Get the metric impact socket set at Harbor Freight to go with it, with the 27 mm socket. I have had mine for three years now and, what with the reputation for HF tools, I bought a spare just in case it breaks. It hasn't yet so the spare remains unpacked in its original case. I use it for lugnuts on our one ton chevy pick up and it spins them on an off with ease. I used it to break loose axles on a Jetta that I could not get off with a cheater bar. Is this tool as good as a Snap On? No. Does it work? Yes.
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:48 AM
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+1 on craigslist. A friend of mine is a contractor and he advised against the one from HF. IIRC, it's not a direct drive type. You might ask HF if you can get their replacement warranty.
Old 07-25-2012, 10:50 AM
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Before I knew any better, I bought the HF $25 1/2" air impact wrench. It worked perfectly to remove my steering wheel, front shock tower bolts, and some other hard to remove bolts. It is underpowered for some high torque items. It is being run off of a low powered pancake compressor.

If you have any spare room at all, get a compressor and some air tools. After a few jobs, you will wonder how you lived without them.
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SiberianDVM View Post
If you have any spare room at all, get a compressor and some air tools. After a few jobs, you will wonder how you lived without them.
This is a valid point. I have a cheapie compressor that was given to me second-hand. Then I went to BJs(like a Costco) and bought a set of air tools for $60 dollars. I too thought that the cheap stuff would break and need to be replaced, but ten years later, everything is still working great.

I am wondering if you could get away with a small pancake compressor and an impact gun. That shoudn't break the bank money wise.

But then again, Targalid's review of the Electric gun makes me think twice about poo-pooing its effectiveness.

Whatever you chose, best of luck, and as always....make sure you are having fun.
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:39 AM
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I'm looking for something I can pick up tonight. I did some looking and it appears that as long as I keep my receipts I can return the HF wrench if it dies. I can get the wrench, sockets, and extension set for around $80 total. If my wife approves (cross fingers) I'll see if I can get it tonight.

I am a big fan of high quality tools, but for something I will use rarely it is hard to justify paying three times as much. At least there is a local store I could return it to!
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:49 AM
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I bought a cheapie electric (not HF) hoping it would be good for lug nuts back when I was racing SCCA...woudl not break lug nuts. Great for most anything else - I rarely use it not generally in that big a hurry.
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:45 PM
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I have bought several harbor freight tools that worked very well and lasted a long time. Check there website for coupons. I have a 3/8 air impact i bought there and it is one of my most used tools.
Old 07-25-2012, 12:47 PM
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I have a DeWalt that plugs into the wall. It kicks a$$.
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Old 07-25-2012, 01:55 PM
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Old 07-25-2012, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OsoMoore View Post
I need to take apart my steering assembly, and I don't have an impact wrench (or Club). I called 4 auto parts stores in the area, and no one rents/loans them.

We do have a Harbor Freight nearby, and they sell a 1/2 electric impact wrench for $50 - much cheaper than a "real" setup with air pressure and so forth. Does anyone else have experience with an electric impact wrench? Are they any good?
Some are better than others
I use a Dewalt Dw057 at the track, something bigger would be preferable


The best is a Bosch IWHT180-01 18V Cordless 1/2-in High Torque Impact Wrench but it is very expensive

a reasonably price Harbor freight is awfully useful in the garage
this one has a 2" anvil which makes it far easier to use
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Old 07-25-2012, 02:48 PM
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i wouldnt buy a battery powered one but a chorded one should do ya just fine. Keep in mind any extention on an impact gun will greatly reduce its effectiveness
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Old 07-25-2012, 03:45 PM
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the hf will do the job. it won't last a lifetime, but if you're just using it once in a blue moon it'll be fine.

keep in mind it's huge length-wise, so may not fit into smaller spaces.
Old 07-25-2012, 04:10 PM
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For immediate use where you can't wait, go get the HF one and return it if it breaks.
I have HF tools that I consider limited use and throw aways.
I have impact air tools but never use them... I'm 6'2" and 260lbs and can break 200 ft/lb torqued nuts loose with a 16" 1/2" drive bar with one arm if the other arm is braced. I consider wrenching a workout!.... Keeps a guy in shape. I'm stubborn too! I turned 50 last month so I guess I have to start those strength building exercises soon so I can be like the guy in the TV commercials.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by froggert View Post
the hf will do the job. it won't last a lifetime, but if you're just using it once in a blue moon it'll be fine.
+1 on the HF deal. i rarely use my compressor n air unit at all any more.


i can not afford a brand name and a racing habit.. simple as that..
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Verburg View Post
Some are better than others
I use a Dewalt Dw057 at the track, something bigger would be preferable


The best is a Bosch IWHT180-01 18V Cordless 1/2-in High Torque Impact Wrench but it is very expensive

a reasonably price Harbor freight is awfully useful in the garage
this one has a 2" anvil which makes it far easier to use
I've got the same gun. I paid $150 for a re-conditioned unit. It works o/k but it won't loosen anything over 120 pounds.
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:04 PM
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Electric powered 1/2" impact will work on your steering wheel nut. I have a Mastercraft (Canadian Tire) branded one that did this, plus removing wheel nuts (on my wife's Jeep, not my alloy nutz). I also have an air impact wrench which won't do dick all because my compessor isn't big enough (5Ga @ 125psi). It also worked on the end nut of my 915 tranny just fine. Cordless impacts, in my experience, are measured in in- lbs. You want to see 250 ft-lb, plus.


Disclaimer: my opinion, and a bus pass, will still only get you downtown.
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul K View Post
I have a DeWalt that plugs into the wall. It kicks a$$.
That's what I have. This and a decent set of sockets that won't round off corners are a worthwhile investment. Yes it's more expensive but I've wasted hours with the cheap junk trying extracting bolts I rounded, busted knuckles, etc.

Don't get me wrong... There is nothing wrong with buying some disposable tools but pick and choose wisely.

Got any friends that you could borrow from?
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:15 PM
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:15 PM
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