Impact gun advice

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Aug 6, 2014
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Minnesota
I currently have an impact that my boss was nice enough to give to me a while ago. It's a Northern Tool branded impact that he had for 10-15 years before it showed up in my garage. I went to use it the other day to rotate the tires on our Impala, and it flat out wouldn't budge the lug nuts. Puzzled, and not living far from my work shop, I ran there and grabbed the impact we have (Napa Heavy Duty) and it zipped them off, albeit, with some grunt. I have an inclination to think they may have been way over torqued to begin with but, any chance this gun is worth keeping around or should I be considering shopping around for one? There is an opportunity for me to pick up a used Chicago Pneumatic impact and air hammer for a very reasonable price, but I have no idea what the model or serial numbers are off hand. By guess, I would say they are in the 20 year old range. My only other consideration is that I have read a lot of great reviews on the Earthquake guns at HF. And I must admit, on my last few stops there, I have been increasingly impressed in the quality of SOME of the tools they are carrying/selling. Keeping in mind that this will be used more as a shade tree mechanic type of a gun than a professional use, I am looking for something that will suit my needs and not break the bank (meaning a thunder gun is out of the question). Budget preferably less than $150.
 
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Why don't you re-install the tires using this impact and see what your torque wrench clicks at?
 

zppeterson

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Aug 6, 2014
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Minnesota
Originally Posted By: Apollo14
Why don't you re-install the tires using this impact and see what your torque wrench clicks at?
Huh, why didn't I think of that? I will have to give that a shot over the weekend.
 
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Originally Posted By: zppeterson
My only other consideration is that I have read a lot of great reviews on the Earthquake guns at HF.
The Harbor Freight Earthquake impact guns are the BEST affordable consumer grade impacts on the market in their price range or even at twice the cost. I have both the 3/8 and 1/2 impacts. I have yet to find anything that will stop the 1/2 impact. It zips everything off. If it is super duper tight it is strong enough to break the bolt off if the nut doesn't budge.
 
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Put a teaspoon of light oil (MMO, hyd oil etc.) in the air hose chuck. You would be amazed of how many air guns are "junk" but really just dusty dry inside because no oiler is used in air line.
 
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Is Chicago Pneumatic a HF brand? I think so. Over the years HF has sold a variety of impact wrenches. Some were probably only a 100 ft lb and some were 200 or 300 ft lb. They did not look that much different. Some of the better HF ones had a multi position dial to set the torque from 1 to 5. From your post did you use the NAPA impact wrench at home or at shop? So could it be air supply? Do not count out some of the high end cordless impact wrenches. My Milwaukee M18 Fuel will go up against any pneumatic wrench for ft lbs.
 
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Ingersoll rand hands down. I bought mine brand new for 120 bucks I use it constantly at work and it's been flawless. I'm not gentle with it either best impact for the price imo.
 
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Nov 5, 2013
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Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Donald
My Milwaukee M18 Fuel will go up against any pneumatic wrench for ft lbs.
Sure, but... M18 Fuel goes for $429 @ Home Depot, and comes in at 700 ft-lbs. The Central Pneumatic Earthquake goes for $75 @ Harbor Freight, and comes in at 700 ft-lbs.
 
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Sep 11, 2014
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Affordable ones, look for Air cat or Nitro cat online. Had a shopmate get one and has been reliable and strong. Results may vary based on your available shop air pressure and volume. I personally switched to a Matco Composite 1/2" years ago. Strong and lightweight. My Snap-on was strong but HEAVY. The two Ingersolls before that were very good. Worn out now.
 

zppeterson

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Aug 6, 2014
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Minnesota
I did use the Napa gun at home, so air supply wasn't the issue. I also used some air tool oil in the Northern branded gun before using because I knew it hadnt been used in a while but maybe didn't let it run long enough? HF sells Central Pneumatic not Chicago Pneumatic. I believe they are branded that way for that exact reason so people confuse the 2.
 
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Jul 24, 2011
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Originally Posted By: Donald
Is Chicago Pneumatic a HF brand? I think so. Over the years HF has sold a variety of impact wrenches. Some were probably only a 100 ft lb and some were 200 or 300 ft lb. They did not look that much different. Some of the better HF ones had a multi position dial to set the torque from 1 to 5. From your post did you use the NAPA impact wrench at home or at shop? So could it be air supply? Do not count out some of the high end cordless impact wrenches. My Milwaukee M18 Fuel will go up against any pneumatic wrench for ft lbs.
I've never seen a cordless that would hang with a pneumatic in a shop environment. An 810 ft lb rated snap-on MG725. Running 140-160 psi out of a multiple compressor system each with 120 gallon tanks. I'll take that snap-on over a cordless all day long. Granted this is all pro grade stuff but you did say that Milwaukee would hang with ANY pneumatic. I would have to see it to believe.
 
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Aircat 1150 is a twin hammer and a great gun. The NitroCat is a pin and clutch type, not the best thing for automotive work they make max torque right away. That may sound good and it is for large industrial fasteners but not for smaller stuff where a twin hammer can be easily regulated. This is the reason most cordless impacts are pin and clutch, they can best make power from the small low power motor. The IR 231C is a very good gun although today it is made in China at an IR factory. I bought one 25+ years ago when they were new and its still going good today. It uses the same parts and molds as the original and performs the same (at least the one i tried). For about 80 bucks on Amazon its a real deal. 2cents Edit: My own 1/2" guns are. Aircat 1150, Hazet 9012 EL-SPC (1700Nm). The IR2135 TiMax rattled itself to pieces, not the best gun i have owned by a long shot. The 231C is a better gun albeit less powerful.
 
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Mar 21, 2004
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Upstate NY
Originally Posted By: Ramblejam
Originally Posted By: Donald
My Milwaukee M18 Fuel will go up against any pneumatic wrench for ft lbs.
Sure, but... M18 Fuel goes for $429 @ Home Depot, and comes in at 700 ft-lbs. The Central Pneumatic Earthquake goes for $75 @ Harbor Freight, and comes in at 700 ft-lbs.
I have the high torque version and its 1000 ft lbs.
 
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Mar 21, 2004
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Originally Posted By: cb_13
Originally Posted By: Donald
Is Chicago Pneumatic a HF brand? I think so. Over the years HF has sold a variety of impact wrenches. Some were probably only a 100 ft lb and some were 200 or 300 ft lb. They did not look that much different. Some of the better HF ones had a multi position dial to set the torque from 1 to 5. From your post did you use the NAPA impact wrench at home or at shop? So could it be air supply? Do not count out some of the high end cordless impact wrenches. My Milwaukee M18 Fuel will go up against any pneumatic wrench for ft lbs.
I've never seen a cordless that would hang with a pneumatic in a shop environment. An 810 ft lb rated snap-on MG725. Running 140-160 psi out of a multiple compressor system each with 120 gallon tanks. I'll take that snap-on over a cordless all day long. Granted this is all pro grade stuff but you did say that Milwaukee would hang with ANY pneumatic. I would have to see it to believe.
My comment was pure ft lbs. If you used it all day I am sure the pneumatic would be a better choice. But it is very handy to walk outside with a cordless impact to work on a trailer, etc. True, the cordless is expensive if you have to buy the kit. But many people have some cordless tools already and can just buy a bare tool for less $$. My main point is do not rule out cordless as wimpy.
 
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Jul 24, 2011
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Originally Posted By: Donald
Originally Posted By: cb_13
Originally Posted By: Donald
Is Chicago Pneumatic a HF brand? I think so. Over the years HF has sold a variety of impact wrenches. Some were probably only a 100 ft lb and some were 200 or 300 ft lb. They did not look that much different. Some of the better HF ones had a multi position dial to set the torque from 1 to 5. From your post did you use the NAPA impact wrench at home or at shop? So could it be air supply? Do not count out some of the high end cordless impact wrenches. My Milwaukee M18 Fuel will go up against any pneumatic wrench for ft lbs.
I've never seen a cordless that would hang with a pneumatic in a shop environment. An 810 ft lb rated snap-on MG725. Running 140-160 psi out of a multiple compressor system each with 120 gallon tanks. I'll take that snap-on over a cordless all day long. Granted this is all pro grade stuff but you did say that Milwaukee would hang with ANY pneumatic. I would have to see it to believe.
My comment was pure ft lbs. If you used it all day I am sure the pneumatic would be a better choice. But it is very handy to walk outside with a cordless impact to work on a trailer, etc. True, the cordless is expensive if you have to buy the kit. But many people have some cordless tools already and can just buy a bare tool for less $$. My main point is do not rule out cordless as wimpy.
No they certainly are not wimpy anymore and handy as a 3rd arm for working outside. I've still never seen anyone put down a GOOD pneumatic and go get their cordless to take off a nut. I did work with several techs who used the cordless as their go to and busted out the pneumatic when they needed extra power. With battery tech advancing at the rate it is I could just be behind the times though. I certainly did use the heck out of a 1/4" cordless working on interiors.
 
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Nothing wrong with a good cordless impact! The Milwaukee is new to the game in the high power 1/2" drive class but it looks great, right up there with the IR7150. I wouldn't part with my 3/8 Makita for anything, i use it more than any other tool outside of ratchets, wrenches and screwdrivers. When it dies i will get another one, its small enough for under the hood, interiors, small under body stuff like exhaust clamps and running up nuts and has great battery life. It isn't well suited to suspension work, brake caliper mounting bolts or wheels but thats when the air impact comes out.
 
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Apr 8, 2012
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Location
texas
Originally Posted By: cb_13
Originally Posted By: Donald
Is Chicago Pneumatic a HF brand? I think so. Over the years HF has sold a variety of impact wrenches. Some were probably only a 100 ft lb and some were 200 or 300 ft lb. They did not look that much different. Some of the better HF ones had a multi position dial to set the torque from 1 to 5. From your post did you use the NAPA impact wrench at home or at shop? So could it be air supply? Do not count out some of the high end cordless impact wrenches. My Milwaukee M18 Fuel will go up against any pneumatic wrench for ft lbs.
I've never seen a cordless that would hang with a pneumatic in a shop environment. An 810 ft lb rated snap-on MG725. Running 140-160 psi out of a multiple compressor system each with 120 gallon tanks. I'll take that snap-on over a cordless all day long. Granted this is all pro grade stuff but you did say that Milwaukee would hang with ANY pneumatic. I would have to see it to believe.
+1 I have both Milwaukee cordless impact and snap on mg 725, although the cordless is a stout impact in its own respected class, it will NEVER be any where near my Snap on 1/2 dr impact. My m18 Milwaukee cordless is good for applications calling for 3/8 dr hand tools.
 
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