1/2" or 3/8" Impact Wrench

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528
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Arizona
I am considering getting an air impact wrench, an Ingersoll Rand TiMax. Was wondering whether a smaller 3/8" wrench or a 1/2" has more utility. For those who have both, which one do you usually reach for when working on your cars?
 
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10,907
Location
Cincinnati, OH, USA
I have a little 3/8" that is good for taking underhood stuff apart-but you will need to use a torque wrench to put it back together. I would get the 1/2" if I could only afford one.
 
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10,008
Location
Upstate NY
The 1/2" is more useful. With enough extensions/wobbles it will do 3/8" just fine. It will have enough power to take off high-torque things. I mostly use my 1/2" cordless for tire rotations, so it works out well.
 

SIXSPEED

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528
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Arizona
Thanks for the replies. I'll stick with the 1/2" impact since I'm going to be doing some suspension work on the Odyssey soon. I have an electric 1/2" impact that works great on lug nuts but I don't think it will work on larger suspension bolts.
 
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11,656
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NorthEast
For under hood work and inside the vehicle, you want DeWalt 3/8 12V Lithium. That little guy has amazing amount of oomph for its size. The small size can get in where the larger gun won't. If you have got size 15 hands, then the gun would feel too small. If you can find a real store carrying this gun, you should try it before buying any other impact wrench.
 
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11,656
Location
NorthEast
I had the opportunity to take my Craftsman C3 19.2V Impact Wrench to my mechanic. It is a great wrench. I did the wheel rotation while he had the car on the lift. It has ample power to take off the lug nut and put them back. As a matter of fact, I put them back on one side and I controlled it so that I was later able to torque using torque wrench. My mechanic borrowed my gun to put the wheels on the other side but he over-tightened them because when I went to torque it using the torque wrench, it immediately clicked. So I had to loosen them again and use the torque wrench for final torquing. So in effect, the gun took off and put back total of 6 wheels each with 5 lugs. The battery power was more than enough to do those 30 lugs. The handling of the gun is nice and it is well balanced and not too heavy. Later my mechanic confided in me and told me that he had purchased an air gun from Sears but it would not take off the lug nuts. The owner of the shop told me that he would have to charge me extra for using my own tools :-) Anybody in the market for an 1/2 inch cordless impact at affordable price, I wholeheartedly recommend this gun. It is at least as powerful as the monster HF corded one but much much easier to handle. - Vikas "current count of impact guns - 3"
 

JC1

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6,110
Location
Oshawa, Ontario Canada
Originally Posted By: SIXSPEED
I am considering getting an air impact wrench, an Ingersoll Rand TiMax. Was wondering whether a smaller 3/8" wrench or a 1/2" has more utility. For those who have both, which one do you usually reach for when working on your cars?
Go for the half inch. What size air compressor do you have to power the gun? You'll need one rated with a minimum of 5 SCFM. Are you on a budget or is money no object? I/R makes excellent air tools. Regards, JC.
 
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720
Location
Delaware
If you could only buy one, the 1/2 would be my choice. The Titanium gun is really strong and much lighter than you'd expect.
 

SIXSPEED

Thread starter
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528
Location
Arizona
Originally Posted By: Vikas
I had the opportunity to take my Craftsman C3 19.2V Impact Wrench to my mechanic. It is a great wrench. Anybody in the market for an 1/2 inch cordless impact at affordable price, I wholeheartedly recommend this gun. It is at least as powerful as the monster HF corded one but much much easier to handle. - Vikas "current count of impact guns - 3"
I have the Craftsman C3 1/2" impact wrench too; I use it exclusively for removing lug nuts. It zips them off so fast they fall in my hand before I can release the trigger. So far it works great on my Honda vehicles whose lug nuts are torqued to 80 lb-ft. I have not tried it on my Mustang yet which have lug nuts torqued to 100 lb-ft. I have the C3 drill and just bought the impact driver while Sears had their extended Cyber Monday deals going on last week. The lite Li-ion battery goes a long ways.
 
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SIXSPEED

Thread starter
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528
Location
Arizona
Originally Posted By: JC1
Go for the half inch. What size air compressor do you have to power the gun? You'll need one rated with a minimum of 5 SCFM. Are you on a budget or is money no object? I/R makes excellent air tools. Regards, JC.
I don't have one yet, but planning on getting the IR 20 gallon single stage upright.
 

SIXSPEED

Thread starter
Messages
528
Location
Arizona
Originally Posted By: 2cool
If you could only buy one, the 1/2 would be my choice. The Titanium gun is really strong and much lighter than you'd expect.
My first choice is the IR Titanium 1/2" drive impact gun with their "Quiet Tool" technology.
 
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11,656
Location
NorthEast
Guess what, the Sears Craftsman 19.2 took off the 32mm axle nut of my 2000 Maxima. I was impressed, so was the mechanic. While he went to grab his 32mm, I zipped it off using that gun. I was not expecting it take off that nut but it sure did and also it did not struggle while doing it either. But I still would not want to change that axle by myself; it was lot of work. - Vikas
 
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Messages
179
Location
WISCONSIN
I'd stick with a 1/2" gun if you wanted just one. Maybe look into a 3/8" air ratchet for the under hood stuff, or after you break something loose. Like others suggested the IR Ti gun is great. I had one when they first came out and loved it. I got about a years use out of the gun before it gave out, but it got used in a tough environment each day.
 
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11,656
Location
NorthEast
The trouble with 1/2 gun is that they are little too bug to maneuver inside the engine bay or under the dash. The DeWalt 12V Max excels in that job. The torque to size and weight ratio of that miniature gun is great. But if you are going to have only one, then you are right, get the 1/2 one.
 
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