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Old 01-21-2013, 05:51 AM
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Two Craftsman Ratchets 2-3 years apart

We have had this discussion here before - just some more deterioration of a formerly pretty good product.

Over the weekend I went to an indoor 'swap meet'. I purchased a 1/4" drive Craftsman ratchet, exactly the same part number from the same guy that I had purchased one from a couple or so years ago. The one purchased a while back - nice and hefty - robust is the word and has been a pretty good daily use tool. The one purchased on Saturday has been 'cost reduced' almost to the point of feeling dainty. This new one will be carried in my camper tool box, so will probably last longer then I will and since it's a Sears tool, IS guaranteed for life, so wont worry about it there. But these are no longer your grandfathers tools.

Photos could be better - sorry, just getting used to a new P&S camera
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:18 AM
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It sounds like they are making them cheaper to offset the lifetime replacement . In the hopes that some people will not return them. Also in the old days they were made here in the USA & now they are made in China.
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:10 AM
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It's sad to see a good supplier cheapen their products-Craftsman has been a staple for us car guys for so long, and I hate to see them become Harbor Freight wannabe's, but I don't think they have a choice-either assimilate or die (and it looks like Sears is on life support)-

I think it's almost a metaphor for how things are going these days-and I don't think it's for the better-
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killeratrod View Post
.........they were made here in the USA & now they are made in China.
Nope - look at the second photo. Still made in the US
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:04 AM
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Sears is on life support. They were a part of K-Mart and Orchard Supply, they are now separated. A life time warranty is not much good if there is no place to honor the warranty.
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:12 PM
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unfortunately, I agree. I think it's a matter of time. As far as the ratchets go, I like to open them up, clean em up with brake cleaner, add some white lithium grease, and wd-40. They work good after that. Can always tell the bad ones by how loose they feel, or so it seems.
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:31 PM
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Being smaller isn't a bad thing. My Snap On 1/4" ratchets make those look like rail road track. And the older ones were even smaller than the new ones. I like the older ones which were about an 1/8" thinner at the mechanism. They had a standard blade screw to hold them together where now they have an allen and they are sealed. I like the older ones because you could get into anywhere with them. I had lost mine and when I saw an old one on the Snap On truck I grabbed it up, and it was cheaper than new, cool!

I don't know, you aren't going to tighten or loosen really strong bolts with it being it's a 1/4" inch so I say the smaller the better.

Brian
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:05 AM
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I prefer the "new" design. No reason for the head of a 1/4" ratchet to be as bulky as the old design. The steel teeth are still the weak point, I doubt the frame will fail.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:16 PM
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I don't mind the reduced head size as long as the internals are at least as robust as they were previously. But Craftsman ratchets are just like the weather in FL, wait a minute and it'll change.

The 1/4" ratchets below are all at least 15 years old (Husky and one Craftsman), the rest much older than that.



Left to right:
• Craftsman 44807 (old style)
• Craftsman 43185
• Craftsman 43795
• Husky 20202
• Cornwell
• Stanley Professional 87-137
• Sparta CM-45

The Cornwell, Stanley and Sparta ratchets have a better 'feel' to the mechanism than the Craftsman or Husky. The Husky is particularly bad- coarse, sloppy, and loose describes the feel and action. Husky 3/8" and 1/2" ratchets are OK, and their polished wrenches I also like- and all are USA when I got mine.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:20 PM
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IIRC sometime last year, Danaher quit making Craftsmen tools, and now a different company makes them.

For years I have bought Stanley tools. I know they are made by Danaher, which also make Proto and Mac. They work for me and generally are pretty cheap. Last year I was walking thru Walmart's clearence isles when I spotted a 90 peice set of Stanley hand tools. They had 10 sets or so, marked down to $9.99 clearence price and the original price was $29. Bought a set and then discovered when I got it home, why it was $10. Factory left off the latches on the case. little shipping screw was all that held it togther. For $10 it was well worth it. Just organized the tools into my box and set the case aside.

I have not bought much at Sears in 10 years, and nothing Sears/ Craftsmen branded at all in recent years
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:24 PM
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I don't mind Craftsman but if any of their ratchets are gonna crap out it's usually the 1/4" being torqued too much. I just check them for how loose they are at the store. The loose ones will eventually start skipping gears on you. I try to get all my extensions, ratchets, sockets, and screwdrivers Craftsman. They work great for me but I prefer their pro line screwdrivers. My air tools and specialty sockets are always the cream of the crop but craftsman has never let me down. The only argument I have with their ratchets is usually the 1/4" one where I'm in a really tight space and can't turn the ratchet but a few degrees and it takes too many degrees of turn before it engages with the gear. That can be annoying when you know the snap on ones will engage the gear almost instantly with less free play. But as I said, I'm not a mechanic so it's fine by my standards. That's like if you ask a mechanic whether he'll pay extra to get a thinner toe dolly. He won't care, but I'm a body tech so I do.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:50 AM
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I have a variety of tools, even a couple of Harbor Freight (gasp) in my tool boxes at work and home. Ratchets and screw drivers are the two tools I absolutely refuse to own anything but the best. I have Mac and SnapOn at home and all SnapOn at work. Both screwdrivers and Ratchets.

I have to say that the little shorty wrenches I bought at HF to remove my headers have REALLY came in handy on the mechanical work. Swapping out the Proportioning valve.

Brian
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:46 PM
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I bought a set of the swan neck boxed wrenches, from HF and they work great. When I had to pull the intake on my '51 Chevy, the rear bolt was a pain due to the temp sensor bulb/ line being right in the way, and the firewall tab on the other side. The swan neck wrenches went right around the bulb and gave lots of clearence from the tab.
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:50 PM
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The GOOD OLD CRAFSTMAN tools had a -V- stamped on them for VELCHEK tool company, always quality. It was owned by a friends father. The new stuff is made by the lowest bidder, not so good.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:05 PM
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it is sad they are going to china made.. I really liked the 60th ratchets
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