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Need Help With Air Impact Wrench

Discussion in 'QUESTIONS & ANSWERS (Get Help Fast Here!)' started by gi_984, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. gi_984

    gi_984 Active User Active Member

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    I'm looking for a good quality air impact wrench. Got a big Rol-Air two stage air compressor I use for sandblasting so I've got plenty of air. I'm not a professional wrench turner but want a good quality air impact wrench for general automotive work that will last. Not interested in cheap imports.
    I'm not opposed to buying a quality used one but not sure what to look for. Does anyone have a specific recommendation on a brand & model? Good used ones to look for or buy new?
     
  2. JimDawson

    JimDawson Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    The best, Chicago Pneumatic (not to be confused with Harbor Freight stuff), Snap-on, or Ingersoll Rand.

    Having said that, the Harbor Freight professional Earthquake 1/2'' drive seems to be OK. Has held up well in my son's auto shop. I have an old C/P 1/2'' drive that I bought about 45 years ago and it is still going strong. I also have a 1 inch drive HF Earthquake that has worked well.
     
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  3. jocat54

    jocat54 Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I agree with what Jim Said.
    I have a 1/2" Ingersoll Rand that is about 40 years old and still works great. I used it daily when I was a tech.
     
  4. kd4gij

    kd4gij United States Active User Active Member

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    The HF earth quake is worth looking at. It probably is one of there highest rated products. I belong to quite a few automotive forums and it gets good reviews on all of them. I do not own one but have 2 friends that own tire shops and they have been using them for 2 years.
     
  5. Bob Korves

    Bob Korves H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    If you are buying a new impact wrench, it will probably be an import, cheap or not. I would listen closely to people who use them a lot, like described above. I am lucky, and have a Chicago Pneumatic and an Ingersoll Rand, both USA made and bought new in the 1970-1980's, still going strong, but not used hard at all...

    p.s. Oil em every day you use em!
     
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  6. gi_984

    gi_984 Active User Active Member

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    Thanks for the information. I heard all the newer US branded stuff is made overseas now. I'll do some hunting on craigslist.
     
  7. Ulma Doctor

    Ulma Doctor Infinitely Curious H-M Supporter-Premium

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    i own Rodac, Ingersol Rand, Chicago Pneumatic, Blue Point (Snap On), Matco , Mac , Craftsman, & HF 3/4" impact guns

    i prefer my twin hammer 1/2" Ingersol Rand and my Matco Twin Hammer Composite guns the best.
    the matco gun does 450 ft/lbs in fwd, 600 ft/lbs in reverse, i got it new in the early 1990's.
    it's lightweight and it doesn't play around- i call it "my little friend"
    the IR 231 is a great gun, i carry it on the truck everywhere- my go to gun.
    the 231's are so good that the asian manufacturers saw fit to copy the design and now sell them all over-
    HF has those clones. they really aren't that bad for intermittent use.
    if you want old school quality Rodac is it...
    they are no longer in business- but you may run across these gems at garage sales or swap meets. they are worth every dime you shell out for them!
    if you are lucky you may find one that someone has carelessly disregarded as mere junk in a pile at the flea market.
    i did one day, and felt like it was my birthday/xmas/st. Patties Day/SuperBowl all wrapped up into one !!!!!

    as Bob stated, oil is the fountain of youth for pneumatic guns
     
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  8. Rick Berk

    Rick Berk United States Active User Active Member

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    I agree with all the above, I bought my 1/2" IR in 1968 and have used the h out of it, the older I get the more I use it, I have a dedicated air line when using air grinders, dyna files and impact guns with a auto oil mister in the line made by watts, I also have a Milwaukee 1/2 electric impact that I bought in 1975 that has great advantages when air is not available. I would check ebay for the older ones especially if you choose Milwaukee and everything there is made in China today and a lot of it is nothing to write about.
     
  9. RCWorks

    RCWorks United States 5 Star Possum Chef Active Member

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    I had 2 Snap-On impacts and I can say don't waste your money. I have had better luck with a Harbor Freight model.

    The best I ever owned was the Ingersoll Rand 2131 which went over 20 years without a rebuild... When that time came it was considered obsolete but there is a current model out there. Now I am not easy on these, I spent 35 years as a line mechanic, 20 of them in a automotive wholesale reconditioning shop.
    http://www.ingersollrandproducts.com/is/product.aspx?am_en=35063
     
  10. TOOLMASTER

    TOOLMASTER you don't want to know Active Member

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    yup old ir , cp, snapon
     
  11. Uglydog

    Uglydog United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    This is a very helpful thread.
    Thank you all!

    Daryl
    MN
     
  12. davidh

    davidh United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    as a former / current tool repair business owner i can tell you that the two BEST are: ingersoll rand composite 2135 ti-max, the best all around impact you can buy, easy repairs, and strong as can be. . . . 1200 ft. lbs in reverse
    the other one is a chicago pneumatic cp734h. totally different design / style, i believe its just under 500 ft. lbs
    the ing. rand is not a trigger throttle controllable tool, but does have 4 selector valve for tightening. in removal mode, it just takes off the bolt / nut full tilt.
    the chicago pneu is less powerful,, but much less $$$$ and the throttle is very trigger controlled. its very easy to just lightly app;y pressure.
    most other tools copy either of these models, some are actually identical, i.e. mac, matco even aircat, and parts are interchangeable.
    actually the third choice would be an ingersoll rand 231 or 231c which is the same basic design thats been used for at least 30 years. it fall into the same bracket as the cp734h
    like i said, the others always try to copy the two leaders with cheaper versions. . . never the same.
     
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  13. chips&more

    chips&more United States Active User Active Member

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    I realize you inquired on a pneumatic impact. But I still have a sore note from years ago when I bought a 18V ½” drive DeWalt Impact. And I need to tell you folks what a piece of junk it is. It doesn’t have any power, just makes a lot of noise…worthless!
     
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  14. intjonmiller

    intjonmiller United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    The modern electrics are far more powerful and useful. My brother is whatever the current ASE terminology is for a master mechanic/technician and his Milwaukee 18v impact (3/8" drive) has replace his Snap-On pneumatic for most things. At the dealership where I work the cordless Milwaukees and Snap-Ons are very popular as well.

    One note about the HF stuff, to avoid the confusion with the real brands: Chicago Pneumatic is the real deal, while Central Pneumatic and Chicago Electric are Harbor Freight brands.

    That said the HF earthquake line is very well regarded. My other brother (IT director by day, tinkerer like any of us by night) loves his, having been swayed by the tremendously positive reviews and pricetag, and uses it all over his F-350 dually. If you can't find a used USA-made like you want then you could do a lot worse than saving money on the HF line. It's an American company selling Chinese-made tools, just like nearly everyone else.
     
  15. Wreck™Wreck

    Wreck™Wreck United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    My Dad had a business that repaired pneumatic tools, as I recall CP, Uryu and IR were preferred by commercial users. Keep in mind that each company has several different lines geared toward different markets such as home users/hobbyists/small general repair companies (think small engine and mowers). These are sold to mass market outlets such as HD, Harbor Freight, Northern tool and the like.

    The second level is aimed at auto/truck mechanics, tire stores, light manufacturing facilities and light industrial plant maintainence departments. These tools are often not found at the mass market outlets and require purchase from Jobbers in the auto repair industry. I suspect that many auto parts stores can source these tools.

    The third level is heavy industry and large scale manufacturing, auto, aircraft, railroad and such. These tools or often only available from industrial suppliers due to their cost. These tools last the longest and work the best.

    See an example here http://www.mcmaster.com/#impact-wrenches/=12p4r5n
    The most expensive general duty 1/2" air impact is $276.
    The only heavy duty 1/2" tool is $851, you will not find this one at Harbor Freight.
    Buy whatever fits your budget and use, if you purchase a $150 tool and it lasts 2 years throw it in the scrap pile and buy another when it stops.
    I do not advocate disposable goods at all by the way, that is a discussion for another day.
    McMaster often does not list the tool manufacturer by name.
     
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  16. RCWorks

    RCWorks United States 5 Star Possum Chef Active Member

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    Both of my Snap-Ons went 2 years, rebuilt, 2 years, rebuilt... The problem is the rebuild was 1/2 the price of a new unit. With that I bought the 2131 I.R. and coasted on that for 20 years. Plastic body with a steel front section. Light weight with power.
     
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  17. kvt

    kvt Active User Active Member

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    I use to have CP that I used when I was at a dealership in the late 70s prior to joining the AF, but while I was in the desert I was stolen. That thing lasted, Did do an overhaul on it once but it lasted forever. Like one person said Dual hammer is better than one They are not cheap, and they last. I have purchased a cheap one to get me by but wish I had my old Cp back My father also did commercial truck and tractor flats. He also loved the CP ones and was not easy on them by any means, He had everything from 1/2 to I think 1 inch. in multiples just in case he had a problem he had a spare, he would use one for a while then move to the other, That way they all were kept well oiled and limber. Also the type of oil is a major item as you can gum them up with the wrong type of oil. Just my 2 cents.
     
  18. tweinke

    tweinke United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Ingersoll for me. Ford Senior Master/ ASE master tech. But will say the cordless Milwaukee units are certainly quiet and seem to be very powerful.
     
  19. barkoguru

    barkoguru United States Active Member Active Member

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    I've wrenched on all flavors of heavy equipment, tugs up and down the Mississippi, logging equip etc, and I still carry the same cp 734 I purchased new back in the 80s as a backup on my truck, been rebuilt a few times but never failed me, I've been using an ingersoll 2135 for about 10 yrs of heavy use with no problems, it's a little faster and stronger than the cp and that makes a diff when wrenching large numbers of bolts, time is money, for home a cp would last a lifetime if cared for, 3/4 and 1" drive I use ingersoll all the way, nothing short of a hydraulic wrench can hang with them.
     
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  20. kd4gij

    kd4gij United States Active User Active Member

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    After using my sons dewalt 20v max brushless 1/2 impact. I will never drag an air hose around again.
     
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  21. Martin W

    Martin W Canada H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Ingersol Rand here also. I have a 3/4" and 1/2" IR impact . :) I have had electric Black and Deckers, and a Mastercraft, and a Campbell Hausfield but the IR impacts are far superior. My friend brought his new Bosch cordless impact over to remove the drive shaft on his car. Couldn't mustard enough power to get the wheel nuts off.

    Martin W
     
  22. CraigB1960

    CraigB1960 United States New Member Liaison Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I have an Ingersoll Rand 2131QT for the last 15-20 years, before that Chicago Pneumatic that I rebuilt. The CP was good, but the IR runs circles around it. The IR 2131QT is obsolete now, but if I was doing this for a living, I would seriously look at the IR 2235QTiMax. Very impressive specs.

    Just a side note, before I got my tools moved out here, I needed a impact wrench, so I purchased the HF 1/2" EarthQuake one for $79. It is surprisingly strong, for the price not a bad deal. Makes a good backup.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2016
  23. Silverbullet

    Silverbullet Active Member Active Member

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    I have two battery ingersal rands 1/2" and 3/8" ,been useing them for 5 years the lithion batteries last for days plus hold charge forever. Now I also have several pneumatics from 1/4" up to3/4" ingersols and HF 1/2" with built in 2"ext, the HF has been used for over 25 years , the $20.00 model has been a really good investment. My motto is take care of the tools that take care of you. Clean and oil every day its being used, and use air oil !! Up to you for me the battery ir works great the 1/2" has 250 ft lbs of torque, for my every day thats enough. If I were doing big machine repairs id use the ir with twin hammers. Those are equalto many others , I wouldnt be afraid of the new HF comp model for $100.00 about.
     
  24. bfd

    bfd United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    nascar uses a modified ir 231 or so I'm told by a friend that used to work for Toyota racing development but how many of usneedto change 4 tires in 10 seconds nuf said
     
  25. dave_r_1

    dave_r_1 Canada Active Member Active Member

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    who doesn't want to?
     
  26. bfd

    bfd United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    most hobby machinists do not need to change 4 tires in 10 seconds bill
     
  27. dave_r_1

    dave_r_1 Canada Active Member Active Member

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    need != want


    And to be on-topic, my dad had an IR 1/2 impact that he used as a heavy-duty mechanic from back in the 60's working at mines repairing the equipement, through working at Kenworth, then on his own, and then I inherited it from him. And I managed to lose it this fall. Stupid. The thing still worked great.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
  28. Tozguy

    Tozguy Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I'm not in the same league as most of you but have a basic question regarding air supply. Is there an industry standard for psi with these impact drivers? I sometimes bump the psi up to get more torque from my gun but usually like to stay at 100 psi for most jobs.
     
  29. Tony Wells

    Tony Wells United States Vice President Staff Member Administrator

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    Most pneumatic tools are rated at 90 PSIG in my experience. It is frequently exceeded however. I also am in the IR camp. I have CP and IR on hand, but the IR comes to hand more often. I worked for the local distributor as a second job a couple of years, learned to repair all their air equipment, including hoists. Had a monster 2" impact that belonged to Lone Star Steel in for rebuild. Handles on it were 6 feet on the control side and 6 feet on the dead end. Had to support it overhead for use. Weighed more than the operators. We could not test it. Had plenty of air, but our testing machinery was limited to lower rated tools. I don't recall the torque it was supposed to produce, but they had socket for it up to about 6" or a little larger. LSS was a big player in the tubing business, and is coming back, they say. It's a huge plant.

    Side point, we were also Proto distributors back when they were owned by IR. When Stanley bought them, the company I worked for lost the distributorship. I still have lots of Proto tools. Industrial variant of Snap On, IMO.....pricey but the best. They don't seem the same now, like many other brands.
     
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  30. RCWorks

    RCWorks United States 5 Star Possum Chef Active Member

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    I was turning a wrench as a pro for 35 years, with that said...

    I use a dryer and an oiler inline on my guns plus I oil them at the end of the day so they are ready to go the next morning.

    I have worn out a Snap-on, a rebuilt Snap-On, an American CP, and an Ingersoll 2131, the latter just after I retired. I bought a HF as a backup. I use it monthly or more depending on the family cars. For the limited use I have now that I no longer urn wrenches a;; day the HF will probably last the rest of my life and be passed on to my kid who has no interest in being an automotive tech.
     

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