Is 300 ft/lbs. enough torque for a 1/2" impact?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Glowbug, May 22, 2011.

  1. Glowbug

    Glowbug Been here awhile

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    After being bested by a few stubborn nuts last weekend, I've decided on pull the trigger on a 1/2" impact wrench. Milwaukee makes a few that I like, but I'm trying to decide whether to go with an 18V cordless or just a corded one - I really don't see myself using it beyond the reach of a 100' extension cord from my garage, so I don't have to have the portability.

    But, the corded one I saw (http://www.smallparts.com/milwaukee...p/B0000647G9/ref=sr_1_3?sr=1-3&qid=1306090255) is limited to 300 ft/lbs of tq while the cordless is rated for 450. I'm an impact newbie - for you guys that have guns in this range, am I going to miss that extra 150 ft/lbs for stuff I'll typically run into?

    The price differential is $300+ between them.

    Thanks in advance!
    #1
  2. sporthog93

    sporthog93 Sporthog93

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    I only have air ones and the IR231(I think that's the number) is a good wrench for the money.
    #2
  3. Carl Stark

    Carl Stark Adventurer

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    My experience is with air wrenches. Years ago I purchased a cheap impact that had a rating of 300 ft lbs. After a few months I was tired of breaking bolts loose with a breaker bar then using the inpact. I then purchased a 550 ft lbs Ingersal Rand and never looked back. I don't even know where my cheap inpact is and don't care.

    Air impacts lose power after the new wears off, don't know if electrics are the same.

    Hope this helps.

    Carl Stark
    #3
  4. 20scout

    20scout Been here awhile

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    I've used both and prefer the air over electric but as Carl mentioned, the air will lose power over time. Although the electric I have is not as strong as my air it will maintain the power it had when I first bought it. Both have their pro's and con's.
    #4
  5. GreaseMonkey

    GreaseMonkey Preshrunk & Cottony

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    Do you have an air compressor now?

    As mentioned before me, an Ingersol Rand is the wrench to get with air. Nothing like using a wrench that when the bolts get tough the wrench can get difficult to hang on to!

    If you don't have air, for a 1/2" wrench I'd get a corded impact if I had to but what I'd really want is an IR 231 (or 232 depending on budget) with an air compressor.

    After you get that, a 3/8" cordless impact is pretty handy but not before.
    #5
  6. dirtard

    dirtard Been here awhile

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    i will admit i bought a harbor freight electric impact a few weeks ago because i was away from my tools and we couldnt get my clutch nut off. my friend doesnt have a compressor so electric was the only option. i have to say i am really impressed. i had all intentions of returning the damn thing, but im goin to keep it and use it till it goes up in a firey plume of chinesse make crap. my point is if its not goin to get a ton of use its a good buy, but if your goin to be using your impact day in and day out id invest in a nice air impact, just make sure your compressor can keep up as they use ALOT of air
    #6
  7. justlookin

    justlookin Been here awhile Supporter

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    A month or so ago the shop bought a new milwaukee cordless - don,t know what model but it was rated at 450lb/ft torque. I was impressed with how much power this thing had - I said had - it twisted off the 1/2in drive nose and now is waiting for the replacement part. We will see if this is a fluke failure or poor engineering. Anyway when it's not broke it works well.:lol3
    #7
  8. Nailhead

    Nailhead Inclusion Rider

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    I've been using a Milwaukee 28-volt cordless here at work for the last three years, and it has worked quite well although the batteries are getting somewhat tired. Consequently, until I break down and buy a couple new batteries, that 450 ft/lbs is pie-in-the-sky.
    #8
  9. dirtrulz

    dirtrulz Been here awhile

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    I also only run air tools. Hav had every major brand from snap on to raftsman and the best so far is the ingersoll titanium, minimun of 750 ft lbs of torque and last a long time with no major power loss. The worst I have had was the snap on, piece of junk as far as I am concerned. Lost major power after about 6 months, had it rebuilt by snap on and was still a weak piece of junk.
    #9
  10. Mgbgt89

    Mgbgt89 Long timer

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    300 ft pounds isn't enough for many bolts on a car. You'll find yourself freeing some fasteners with a breaker bar first, especially if they are rusted solid.

    That doesn't have a chance of freeing an axle nut on a FWD car. Even my old Ingersoll rand couldn't budge it, but its older than i am and probably needs a rebuild. I had to resort to a 4 foot piece of LP pipe on my breaker bar, and still broke 2 of them before i got it off. Good thing they had a lifetime warranty.
    #10
  11. muddywater

    muddywater Untermenschen

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    I have a 3/4" drive rated at 1200 ft/lb for those special cases. Usually just breaks something, but gets it loose.
    #11
  12. Motomedic

    Motomedic Over-caffeinated Raconteur Supporter

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    It's not an IR, and it's air-powered, so not the best for most homeowners, but I own one of these...

    [​IMG]

    It this doesn't work (on a motorcycle and most cars anyway) you are well and truly screwed. Something like 1100 ft lbs of "break away" torque in reverse, 800 ft lbs working torque. Fairly light as well. :deal

    Want to keep those air tools working better, longer? Invest in a drier/auto oiler. The tools quit working from water in the lines and/or seals drying out from no lube. I have air ratchets that are 20 years old, still working perfectly.
    #12
  13. MotorradMike

    MotorradMike MIL-TFD-41

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    I got a Campbell Hausfeld air impact wrench that claims to be 450 Ft Lbs.
    i think "Campbell Hausfeld" translates to: "sounds like German but is really Chinese".

    It almost always breaks the lug nuts loose but honestly, it's the most disappointing air tool I've bought.

    The consensus here seems to be "when it comes to an air impact wrench, go big or go home".

    FWIW, I agree.
    #13
  14. Fishyhead

    Fishyhead Eremikophobic

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    I have an IR air powered gun that hasn't been stopped by anything. I wouldn't recommend anything else.
    #14
  15. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

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    Is 300ft/lbs enough? For me, No. I work on my cars and often encounter bolts that are much tighter than that. I recently had a CV axle nut that I could not get off with a 5' long piece of pipe. The entire car was moving. my friend brought over a IR titanium impact and it took the nut off like it was hand tight. I bought one of those wrenches the next day. I think the torque spec on the axle nut was 500 lb/ft.
    #15
  16. RoadWeenie

    RoadWeenie Super n00b

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    I concur with go big or go home. I would go for 500+ foot-pounds. Read the specs on the cordless wrench VERY carefully; many are rated in INCH-POUNDS.
    #16
  17. Motomantra

    Motomantra Registered Lurker

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    I've not had good luck with the bigger Snap-On air tools. Ingersol/Rand have served me well. I too have used mostly air tools. The newer cordless impacts I've seen the other guys use have been impressive. But for a 1/2" I too would go big.
    FYI The torque rating of impacts is higher on the off/reverse/c-clockwise setting.
    #17
  18. CollinsB

    CollinsB Long timer

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    #18
  19. Range Motorsport

    Range Motorsport Junk collector

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    Either the Milwaukee or the Bosch 1/2" cordless impacts are the real deal and will outperform most air impact wrenches. I have the older Bosch 18v NiMh battery impact and it is awesome. Beats having to run an air compressor out into the field to work on something. It has removed rusty nuts that my claimed 450lb-ft air impact wouldn't budge.
    #19
  20. Rd650

    Rd650 Been here awhile

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    The current Snapon cordless impacts are great tools. The 1/2" impact has 620ft lbs breakaway torque and good battery life, but is very pricey.
    #20