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oldschoolrods 10-30-2005 10:47 AM

What size impact to get
I am looking at buying an impact gun, it will eventually be used everday as I will be graduating school in a year, but what size drive should I get for use in a heavy truck garage, some say 3/8 some say 1/2 some say 3/4, really looking for a gun i can use for most jobs. Thanks.

Fast Orange 10-30-2005 11:48 AM

It all depends on what type of work you'll be doing on trucks.If you'll be doing tires/brakes/suspension,I'd recommend a 3/4.For engine/trans/driveline,I'd go 1/2.
As you progress,you'll find a need for all three drive sizes-each size has it's benefits for different types of work.
In my experience,most shops will supply a 3/4 set up for use by the tire guys,but a 1/2 is up to each mechanic to get.
My suggestion would be to get the most powerful 1/2 you can find,and a good set of deep sockets(impact of course) to go with it.

George :cool:

Don Lyon 10-30-2005 11:57 AM

impact size
I bought a half inch drive and use adapters.

oldred 10-30-2005 12:33 PM

If you are limited to only one wrench then you really have only one choice and that would be one of the high torque 1/2" drives since that would be by far the best all around use tool. Performance varies greatly from one model of impact to the the next even in the same brand so be sure and check the specs of what you buy. The Ingersoll Rand "Thunder Gun" is about the strongest 1/2" impact I have ever used and it is in fact stronger than most 3/4" drives. Since you are talking about doing this professionally don't even look at the "cheapo" impacts from Harbor Freight and the like because even though they seem to do ok for hobby and part time use they are nothing but a dead end for a pro tool so don't cut corners here buy the best because too much depends on it. When working on any kind of heavy equipment you will find that you will need heavy tools such as 3/4" and 1" drives in both power and hand tools so even though it is pricey now to buy the pro stuff do your self a big favor and do it right the first time and you will only have to do it once :)

oldschoolrods 10-30-2005 01:01 PM

Thanks for the advice, I will be looking for a half inch gun, also what do you guys think of those guns that you can pull a pin and change drive sizes?

edit: oldred is this the gun you were talking about

oldred 10-30-2005 01:34 PM

That's the one but shop around I may be wrong but I think you can beat that price by at least $20. Snap-on, Mac, etc have some good impacts as well but for the money the performance and reliability of that Ingersoll will be hard to beat.

Fast Orange 10-30-2005 01:38 PM

If you're talking about the Snap-On gun that you can change from 3/8 to 1/2 and back-I don't like it-It's either a large,heavy 3/8 or a light duty 1/2-too much of a compromise for a proffessional tool.
For what that gun will cost you,you can buy both a quality 3/8 and 1/2 gun,with no compromising necessary.
I haven't personally used a thundergun,but I have heard good things about it.

George :cool:

On the site you pulled up the Thundergun-check the Chicago Pneumatic guns in both 3/8 and 1/2-less bling,but if they're as good now as they were 15 years ago when I bought my 1/2 extended shank for tire work,they're a good gun for little money compared with others like the Snap-Ons and Macs.

propaniac 10-30-2005 05:39 PM

I just looked at a ingersol rand titanium the other day. Its a 1/2 drive and the box said it had a peak of 1000ft/lbs. It was $300.00 and came in a plastic box with some impact sockets.

I ended up getting the strap on m6500 because of the lower air requirements and I break enough stuff as it is,( dont need the impact to help me along).


302 Z28 10-30-2005 06:17 PM

I like the 3/8" air ratchet better than a 3/8" impact. I find the air ratchet fills a need better than a 3/8" impact. I would definatly get a 1/2" impact though. If you are doing heavy truck use you might consider a 3/4", but every place I have worked at in the past had a shop owned 3/4" impact they would use for specific jobs, the 1/2" did most everything.

Fast Orange 10-30-2005 06:22 PM

This brings up another question-Just how and by whom are these things rated?We're seeing torque ratings of 700-1000 ft/lbs coming out of impact guns,with RPMs up to 10,000. How in he11 are you supposed to hang onto these things?Brings visions into my imagination of being spun around by one of these guns while taking lug nuts off.Also makes me wonder how badly the lugs tightened with one of these superguns will be stripped when the tire jockey pulling the trigger finally decides it's tight enough.Then,try getting that lug off with the pathetic wrench that comes with the cars these days.
I can understand the need for high torque to get rusted fasteners loose,but these super high ratings can't be real. Maybe the guy doing the ratings drives a 700 HP Honda whose primary power boost is made of vinyl and sticks on the side of his car?

George :cool:

oldred 10-30-2005 07:03 PM

I don't put much stock in those torque ratings except for looking for the one with the highest rating and only then on the name brands. I think they are kind of like air compressors in that they tend to exaggerate the numbers but something like that Thunder Gun is really nice to have around in a pinch because it is a brute. You can always turn a powerful gun down to a lower setting but with a wimpy gun that's all you have :)

302 Z28 10-30-2005 07:48 PM

I noticed that last set of tires I had put on at Discount Tire the tire jocks didn't use impact wrenches to install the wheels. They use hand ratchets and a torque wrench to get the lug nuts tight. I was very appreciative of that.


Racecarl 10-30-2005 09:11 PM

I turn wrenches for a living and I currently have a Chicago Pneumatic 749. The guy next to me had the new Snap-On impact and we were always trying to figure out which one was more powerful. I always thought my Cp had more power and I could buy 2 Cp's for what one Snap On impact cost.

I have not tried the IR Titanium but have heard good things about it. As with the other posters, do not mess around with the Harbor Freight, Campbell Hausfield, or other discount brands--they just aren't worth it.

Bad Rat 414 10-31-2005 12:28 PM

I've done side by side comparisons with guys in the shop between Ingersol Rand's and Snap-on guns. The IR came out on top every time. We put bolts with nuts in the vise and tightend them with the gun and checked to see which one was the tightest with a torque wrench. We also did this with breaking bolts loose. It seems to be the "Blows Per Minute" that realy brakes bolts loose and IR has twin hammers that kick ***. :thumbup:

iiibdsiil 10-31-2005 04:06 PM

I've been working on cars since I was 16, more or less full time. I never thought I would use a 3/8 impact until I got one. I used that thing more than any other tool. If it would fit where I was working, it got used. Unless it was on wheels, then my 1/2 gun comes out. But, if you buy a quality (IR) 3/8 gun, you will be extremely happy with it.

Personally, I would buy a cheaper 1/2 gun, and a nice quality 3/8 gun. Because of the 3/8 gun, I used my 1/4 ratchet more than my 3/8 ratchets.

My 1/4 air ratchet was also a great buy. It's light, has a good amount of torque. Hit the button, if it don't break it loose, use your wrist while pressing the button, then rip it out.

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