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Impact Wrench

Discussion in 'Wheels & Tires' started by 330189, Jan 8, 2009.

    330189 guest

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    I'd like advice on battery operated impact guns. It gets so "tiresome" (pun intended!) swapping my wheels at autocross events. Do you love 'em? Hate them? Prefer a particular brand?
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    steven s

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    I use a 14.4v Snap-On. If I had to do it again I would buy the 18v Dewalt.
    Unless my battery is fully charged I always had problems breaking lugs.
    Still need a torque wrench though.

    If you break the lugs loose with a breaker bar, all you really need is a battery powered drill.
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    Jeff Gomon South Central Region Vice President

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    I break the lugs by hand and use a 14.4v DeWalt drill to spin them off and back on when at the track, or at home. I have used the 18V DeWalt Electric Impact and it will certainly do the job on fully torqued lugs even over 100 ft. lbs. As Steven said, you still have to hand torque the lugs, but both choices save a bunch of time and hand work.

    My preference, if you can cut out the step of hand breaking the lugs initially, and just break and remove them in one step....that gets my vote. Electric units with enough power to do this are NOT cheap and will be several hundred $$. I think the jumping on voltage here would be 18volts. Not that some 14.4 volts might work, but experience has shown me otherwise. There are a lot of imitators at Menards, Home Depot etc with claims of having high torque values...don't waste your time. Go with a known name like DeWalt, Snap-on, Bosch, Makita, Craftsman etc. The off brands are junk....

    Sometimes there are some good deals on Ebay...but do your homework.

    330189 guest

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    What a great suggestion! I already have a cordless power drill. I could use that if I break the lugs first!

    BMWtoyz guest

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    I have an electric impact gun that I bought at Costco, I have not seen it there lately but it is fantastic. Two batteries, several adapters to use with drills, sockets, etc. a case and charger for $79.99. It has enough umph to break them loose. (I never tighten it with the impact until I set it to a very light degree of force, and always use a torque wrench as mentioned.)
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    Makita 24v 1/2" drive. After four years of ownership the battery is a little tired, in that I can swap about eight tires and have them get very close to spec torque numbers on the re-mount. If the lugs have been over torqued (local shop, etc.) then about four wheels, plus I'll pre-loosen the lugs when I find I am having problems, like changing the summer tires too snow on the regular cars [you folks in the sourthern states can ignore that part] [IMG]). At "away" events (Solo/autocross) I'll bring the charger to freshen the battery every night (I have since bought a new battery off of eBay).

    Of course, YMMV.

    All by myself, I do all four wheels in a relaxed mode in about ten minutes. When it is raining, it is LESS than ten. [IMG]

    Nearly 20 years ago, I picked up a Black & Decker 1/2" impact gun that clipped on to the battery terminals (like you do to jump start a car). It gave me about 15 years of use. At almost every event where I used it, people always asked about it. B&D stopped selling them at about that time. We had stopped by a B&D outlet store in Maine, and they had a basket full of them. I should have bought them all, I would have sold everyone. A few parts on the B&D were "wear items." Like the motor brushes. I finally had to give up when I could not locate any more spare parts. Fortunately, the battery powered units with enough torque were just coming on the market. I never regretted the B&D nor the Makita.
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    I would normally agree that it's worth spending a little extra money to go with a good name-brand unit but... I got a Harbor Freight 1/2" rechargeable impact gun about 5 years ago and have used (abused) the snot out of that thing ever since and it just keeps working like a charm! It has never failed to break loose any lug nut I've run across, I've used it on spring compressors, RTAB's, a differential swap on my '02 (and those bolts were seriously crusty) and it's been great. I may have the exception to the rule but if I were going to get another one, I would probably go look at the Harbor Freight unit. It's possible they don't have this one anymore but I've had great luck with it!

    Regardless of which one you get...you're going to love it. It makes swapping tires SO much quicker and easier.

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