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View Full Version : Lets talk tools...(long)


74fj40
12-02-2009, 10:31 PM
what do you prefer? and why?

Personally I would say that 85% of my tools are snap on. Partly because of the name, but mostly because of the reliability of our snap on dealer at work. always gets everything I order the next week, sends tools out for service immediately, takes trade ins, warranties non-warrantied stuff etc.

Today I just bought a new air ratchet, and our snapon guy threw in a carhartt style snapon jacket for free. His CSI from me is through the roof.

Our new Matco lady seems to be keeping up well but she isnt good at keeping things like gloves in stock. And the Cornwell guy...well I havent seen him in weeks. Same with the MAC tool guy, I have seen him one time in the two years I've been a mechanic there. Would be nice because MAC makes some quality air tools.

Anyways, for those who don't get to see a Tool franchise once a week...or month in some cases, What do you prefer? Obviously, Craftsman will be a big one, and they make some okay tools when using them for small things or odd jobs, but Craftsman just doesn't cut it for me when working on cars all day.

Obviously price is a huge factor as well, when you buy snapon you pay for the technology and the warranty, and the price shows it too. same goes for matco, MAC etc. :blah: But I don't have a problem paying that price as I always recieve good results from snap on.


anyways, enough talking, what do you preffer and why?

jettaglxdriver
12-02-2009, 10:40 PM
Since I am a hobby wrench and tend to help others a lot I buy Craftsman mostly. I prefer their Pro grade tools though over their cheap stuff. I have filled some holes in my tool collection with stuff from Horor Freight also. I tent to buy tools of quality that match what I will ask of them and how often I will use them. If $10-20 more for a tool will save me hours or from ruining more expensive parts I will buy the higher end tool.

Mendocino
12-02-2009, 10:55 PM
What?; no HF?

i have a wide assortment including a lot of Snap-On. I am no longer a professional mechanic so SO does not have the value.

nuclearlemon
12-02-2009, 10:56 PM
depends. i think for somehting like sockets, crapsman was fine (can't comment now, don't know if quality is still the same), i do wish i had the new super laser etched ones, cause it's a beatch trying to read the sizes.

but, when you talk ratchets, a quality ratchet from the high dollar guys will have far less play between the clicks which makes them super nice.

for weekend wrenching, i wouldn't bother with the high dollar stuff tho. for a living, i wouldn't bother with the crapsman stuff.

mac makes some stuff that snap on doesn't. i'm sure there are things snapon makes that cornwell doesn't...etc

too many variables....

subzali
12-02-2009, 11:06 PM
for what I do (weekend wrenching) I have mostly Craftsman. I have some stuff in my tool box that was from my grandpa (I think Uncle Ben and Robbie were laughing at me on the Spooky Night Run concerning my 3/8" ratchet :D) but to me, hey, if it works I'll keep it. And Craftsman has a lifetime warranty on at least some of their tools and for me it's been a no-hassle kind of thing. I hear Snap On is better but I have never used them so I don't know. Meh. Tools are expensive enough and I don't care to pay the premium for Snap On just because of its name. I guess it also boils down to me growing up on Craftsman.

I also hear the US made NAPA brand tools are pretty good...

74fj40
12-02-2009, 11:22 PM
Craftsman Definitely has a good warranty, but its frustrating that there is no Craftsman dealer that comes to me, something breaks, I have to take time out of my day to get it fixed. Its just extremely convenient to have someone come sell you tools and fix them when they break without you having to take time out of your day to get them somewhere. :D

And in my own opinion harbour Freight has SOME tools that work for everyday use. pliers, door panel, tools, socket extensions, etc. other wise its a no for me.

74fj40
12-02-2009, 11:23 PM
Matt do you know if the napa tools are warrantied?

TIMZTOY
12-03-2009, 01:06 AM
not fair.. i have majority snap-on but prefer mac. cant stand cornwell or mac-co. just not a good of quality in my opioion.. and the last 3 states ive lived in and several jobs i worked,.., the mac-co, and cornwell sales guys are ass**** and the mac and snapon guys are very cool and more of a friend than anything.. the tools are all virtually the same thing.. some are even made by the same ppl.. i and all my fellow techs and master techa all have some craftsmen in the tool box somewere.. we'd all prefer to buy craftsmen, its just that the tool trucks are stronger and made for the abuse of daily use.. and i can buy a 500-5000$ tool or box and not have to pay for it right away.. craftsmen you have to pay on the spot.. and go out of your way to get it.. the tool trucks come you to.. and you can just pay 20 or 50 or what ever youve got in your pocket at the time.. thats why we all have tool truck tools.. the convince !!! back on topic, i feal mac tools are better quality of all the tool truck brands

Hulk
12-03-2009, 01:25 AM
I never have worked as a professional mechanic and probably don't have the talent to do so.

Most of my tools are Craftsman, although I've been purchasing S-K Tools (http://www.skhandtool.com/) over the past few years just because I like their sockets, socket wrenches and screwdrivers so much. I feel like they are a better grade of tools that Craftsman, but still more affordable than Snap-On for a weekend mechanic like me.

TIMZTOY
12-03-2009, 01:36 AM
i love s-k brand ive got there 3/8 and 1/4" sets as my back ups..

I never have worked as a professional mechanic and probably don't have the talent to do so.

Most of my tools are Craftsman, although I've been purchasing S-K Tools (http://www.skhandtool.com/) over the past few years just because I like their sockets, socket wrenches and screwdrivers so much. I feel like they are a better grade of tools that Craftsman, but still more affordable than Snap-On for a weekend mechanic like me.

jettaglxdriver
12-03-2009, 08:33 AM
I have some SK stuff also. When I lived in Ohio I was about 20 minutes from the S-K Wayne plant (they used to make a lot of craftsman stuff when it was better and before they started having western forge make their stuff). I know as recently as a few years ago Western Forge in Colorado Springs was still making some tools for Craftsman because I hired a welder that worked at the plant.

The HF stuff I use it things like combinatin square, magnetic bolt and screw bowls, straight edge, specialty tools like seal pullers, dwell meter, gasket scrapers, etc.

nakman
12-03-2009, 09:15 AM
Yeah where's the HF selection? :hill: My matra has been for specialty tools buy the cheapest thing possible. Then when it breaks, buy a good one. For example those cheap ratchets from HF do break, my upgrade there is craftsman.. but I'm still on my same $4 seal puller from like 8 years ago, and that thing has pulled a lot of seals. Same with the orange hammer, punches, chisels, etc.

No question that better tools are worth the money, but that's not how I make a living so I'd rather have a bunch of cheap tools than only a couple good tools. I'll slowly upgrade over time but in the mean time can still get the job done..

RockRunner
12-03-2009, 09:15 AM
You did not have Home Depot on there. THey have a life time warenty on their hand tools and batteries for their power tools. I really like craftsman but they have gone down hill some in hte last few years.

Give me the money and I'll buy pro tools but I don't need them.

wesintl
12-03-2009, 09:22 AM
like most weekend wrenches i have mostly craftsman. I have a few snapon items though. They also make some things that craftsman (or the box store places for weekend wrenches) doesn't have like thin profile box wrenches etc. Generally i'm done with most craftsman ratchets too. They suck and slip too often. I like the feel and durability of the professional ratchets.

The truck is nice for a professional but not for a weekend warrior where as sears or one of the box stores is more convenient us.

Jacket
12-03-2009, 09:44 AM
My dad got me one of those 100+ piece Craftsman wrench and socket sets when I graduated from college, and so the basis of my collection is Craftsman as well. Mixed in there is a spattering of Home Depot, Lowes, HF, Checker, Napa and other miscellaneous items.

With regards to Craftsman, it's the accessibility, lifetime warranty, and pretty good selection of metric pieces that make it the most popular choice IMO.

subzali
12-03-2009, 09:56 AM
When I got quoted something like $300-$400 for a 1/4" drive inch-pound torque wrench from Snapon, I quickly left the truck. I think I got one at Harbor Freight. I haven't used it yet, and am not sure it's the best idea to set up my ring and pinion preload with it. It's fair to doubt how accurate it is, and let's face it when it's spinning at 3-4K rpm I want to make sure it's set up properly using the proper tools. So yes I have gone to HF for magnetic bowls and stuff like that, but precision tools...well not so much.

But now I wonder - is my HF multimeter accurate at all? Especially after bouncing around in my toolbox for a few years now? That could end up being somewhat critical when diagnosing a charging system...

...and what about an engine hoist? Are all engine hoists created equal? HF has a good price on one, but I sure don't want a 900 lb. 2F to come crashing down when the tube buckles...

...sorry for the digression...I could take these to another thread...

...oh and talked with a coworker who used to work at NAPA (quit within the last 6 months) - NAPA has 3 grades of tools. The professional grade is US made, he thinks the same place Matco tools are made. Then there is another mid-grade that is made in Taiwan - in his experience they are actually fairly quality tools. Then there is the low grade Evercraft-type tools which are Chinese made and low quality. All the tools have lifetime warranty. At least that's what he said. Meh

Corbet
12-03-2009, 10:01 AM
When I worked at Vista Auto Group in Silverthorne I bought from the Cornwell Truck. He was always there Monday morning every week. And our service techs had less problems with the Cornwell sockets that other makes. But like everyone else who is not in the trade as a profession most of my stuff is Craftsman. I'm always looking on ebay for a good deal on pro grade stuff. And as a result I do have some Mac, SnapOn too. Like Ige said though each company makes some things better than others.

rover67
12-03-2009, 10:06 AM
my HF engine hoist has pulled out several motors including two f/tranny/tcase combos.

it works... but it "bounces" a little bit.

When I got quoted something like $300-$400 for a 1/4" drive inch-pound torque wrench from Snapon, I quickly left the truck. I think I got one at Harbor Freight. I haven't used it yet, and am not sure it's the best idea to set up my ring and pinion preload with it. It's fair to doubt how accurate it is, and let's face it when it's spinning at 3-4K rpm I want to make sure it's set up properly using the proper tools. So yes I have gone to HF for magnetic bowls and stuff like that, but precision tools...well not so much.

But now I wonder - is my HF multimeter accurate at all? Especially after bouncing around in my toolbox for a few years now? That could end up being somewhat critical when diagnosing a charging system...

...and what about an engine hoist? Are all engine hoists created equal? HF has a good price on one, but I sure don't want a 900 lb. 2F to come crashing down when the tube buckles...

...sorry for the digression...I could take these to another thread...

MDH33
12-03-2009, 10:09 AM
As a hobby wrencher, the craftsman stuff is fine, and stopping by a Sears that has a big selection is convenient. I've had a bunch of stuff from HF break or fail, so I only get "disposable" stuff there now. I would rather spend a little more to have a tool that will last than pay again to replace.

DaveInDenver
12-03-2009, 10:54 AM
I think I got one at Harbor Freight. I haven't used it yet, and am not sure it's the best idea to set up my ring and pinion preload with it. It's fair to doubt how accurate it is
With a torque wrench accuracy and precision are used interchangeably incorrectly. As long as it's precise the accuracy can be dealt with. I have found my 1/2" HF torque wrench is actually fairly precise for a $20 tool and within their 4% quoted tolerance clockwise. It was not very precise though, off by a few ft-lb from the indicated setting. But when it clicks at 75 ft-lb it is usually pretty close to 75 ft-lb (i.e. reasonably precise), but the dial has to be set to 80 ft-lb (crappy accuracy).

The only way to know is to test it or have it tested, in which I am lucky that I've worked at a few places now that have to have test equipment and tools calibrated annually and so I've been able to sneak a DMM or torque wrench in for testing to see. I felt comfortable enough using a Craftsman torque wrench on my engine head bolts, for example, once I knew how far off the setting needed to be (I used -1 ft-lb for 58 ft-lb). On anything with a range of acceptable torque values I use the lower setting + 5% and take another sip of beer. I figure even if my wrench is off by -5% I will hit the lower limit and if my wrench is off by +5% I will only be 10% higher than the lowest value and that is often comfortably below the max.

BTW, I have mostly Craftsman hand tools. I do like their polished pro ratchets much more than their regular line, but I do agree the Snap-On ratchets are much nicer. Just a cost/benefit for me, I can't afford $100 handles. The only Craftsman tools I hate are their screwdrivers. Crap, just crap. Last time I took a handful of their screwdrivers in for replacement of twisted blades (crap, just crap, particularly the Phillips always strip) they gave me the black handled pro ones instead and they do seem a little better so far. But anymore I only pay money for the S-K screwdrivers.

BTW, the poll is a loaded question. I prefer Snap-On, but can only justify Craftsman. So is it really a poll of what you actually buy?

AxleIke
12-03-2009, 10:58 AM
With a torque wrench accuracy and precision are used interchangeably incorrectly. As long as it's precise the accuracy can be dealt with. I have found my 1/2" HF torque wrench is actually fairly precise for a $20 tool and within their 4% quoted tolerance clockwise. It was not very precise though, off by a few ft-lb from the indicated setting. But when it clicks at 75 ft-lb it is usually pretty close to 75 ft-lb (i.e. reasonably precise), but the dial has to be set to 80 ft-lb (crappy accuracy).

The only way to know is to test it or have it tested, in which I am lucky that I've worked at a few places now that have to have test equipment and tools calibrated annually and so I've been able to sneak a DMM or torque wrench in for testing to see. I felt comfortable enough using a Craftsman torque wrench on my engine head bolts, for example, once I knew how far off the setting needed to be (I used -1 ft-lb for 58 ft-lb). On anything with a range of acceptable torque values I use the lower setting + 5% and take another sip of beer. I figure even if my wrench is off by -5% I will hit the lower limit and if my wrench is off by +5% I will only be 10% higher than the lowest value and that is often comfortably below the max.

BTW, I have mostly Craftsman hand tools. I do like their polished pro ratchets much more than their regular line, but I do agree the Snap-On ratchets are much nicer. Just a cost/benefit for me, I can't afford $100 handles. The only Craftsman tools I hate are their screwdrivers. Crap, just crap. Last time I took a handful of their screwdrivers in for replacement of twisted blades (crap, just crap, particularly the Phillips always strip) they gave me the black handled pro ones instead and they do seem a little better so far. But anymore I only pay money for the S-K screwdrivers.

BTW, the poll is a loaded question. I prefer Snap-On, but can only justify Craftsman. So is it really a poll of what you actually buy?

pretty sure you meant accurate there.

AxleIke
12-03-2009, 11:05 AM
I have craftsman stuff for home. Contrary to some others, I find their tools to be quite robust and nice to work with. I'm sure Snap on and the others are far superior, but again, I don't work with them everyday, and I'm a hobby guy.

My old man has much of the same, and his tools have been used for weekend wrenching for 30+ years now, and about the only casualties were two flat heads that were used for prying on stuff, and a 19mm socket that cracked when trying to bust loose a leafspring bolt. Not bad for stuff that has been dragged through the mud and sand a time or two when out camping.

I also keep a completely different set of tools in the truck. Having had my expensive craftsman stuff ripped off once, I now keep a full set of 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" drive metric and standard sets in the truck, as well as two sets of metric combo wrenches, and one set of standards. These are all el cheapo tools from costco. Same with the screw drivers, pliers, etc...

My air tools that I keep in the truck are from HF, as are my welding magnets, and my jack stands. I buy stuff from HF that either A) I'm not too worried about, or B) is just about impossible to get wrong (like a jack stand).

I've also heard a lot of good things about the HF 12 ton presses. Guys all over use those things for decades for setting up diffs, and for 150 bucks, you really can't go wrong. I plan on buying one of those this winter hopefully.

DaveInDenver
12-03-2009, 11:18 AM
pretty sure you meant accurate there.
You are right, seems I did typo. I'm neither a precise nor accurate typist. :-)

Accurate = closeness to setting
Precision = repeatability

jettaglxdriver
12-03-2009, 11:24 AM
You are right, seems I did typo. I'm neither a precise nor accurate typist. :-)

Accurate = closeness to setting
Precision = repeatability

lol

Cheeseman
12-03-2009, 11:37 AM
I like any tool that will take the cussing I provide and the impact it receives when I throw it at something or someone cuz it didn't work right of course. Couldn't be my fault it didn't work. NOoooOOOo of course not.
________
Uggs (http://uggstoreshop.com/)

subzali
12-03-2009, 11:44 AM
With a torque wrench accuracy and precision are used interchangeably incorrectly.

A lot of times those terms are used interchangeably incorrectly. Oops. I guess since I got out of engineering school I don't get reminded as often. With a torque wrench I would want it to be both accurate and precise. If I had to give up on one, I would give up on the accuracy if I could calibrate it like you can Dave, or since I can't I would give up a little bit of precision. I don't know whether HF torque wrenches hold close tolerances to either, so in a sense I meant to use the terms interchangeably...albeit mostly by accident...:o

Red_Chili
12-03-2009, 11:59 AM
... I think I got one at Harbor Freight. I haven't used it yet, and am not sure it's the best idea to set up my ring and pinion preload with it. It's fair to doubt how accurate it is, and let's face it when it's spinning at 3-4K rpm I want to make sure it's set up properly using the proper tools. So yes I have gone to HF for magnetic bowls and stuff like that, but precision tools...well not so much.

But now I wonder - is my HF multimeter accurate at all? Especially after bouncing around in my toolbox for a few years now? That could end up being somewhat critical when diagnosing a charging system...

...and what about an engine hoist? Are all engine hoists created equal? HF has a good price on one, but I sure don't want a 900 lb. 2F to come crashing down when the tube buckles...

I use HF dial indicators and Checker in-lb torque wrenches and they work fine. The jig for the dial indicator is a bit sketch, but just use common sense. No failures nor odd noises to date.

Your HF multimeter is fine for automotive uses. For most weekend warrior uses in fact. If I were doing field engineering again Fluke would get the nod.

The engine hoist is actually fine, and pretty much the same as Checker's, which I own. Very solid. HF presses are fine, just don't bother with the 12 ton like I did - get the 20. Just not a lot to them. 900 lbs eh? :eek:

wesintl
12-03-2009, 11:59 AM
lower left the gun is actually accurate

subzali
12-03-2009, 12:38 PM
not if it was aiming at the bullseye.

wesintl
12-03-2009, 12:42 PM
The gun is actually accurate the sight need to be adjusted to the accuracy of the gun.

DaveInDenver
12-03-2009, 12:55 PM
The gun is actually accurate the sight need to be adjusted to the accuracy of the gun.
The gun is certainly precise, but it is not accurate until the sight is adjusted. After adjustment then the gun would be precise and accurate. That is what calibration does. The gun itself can only be mechanically accurate, the precision is determined by the quality of the sight/gun coupling. If you took sights off the gun completely then it could never be accurate realistically. Maybe with enough practice someone could get the feel of the gun, but that's not likely. It's about being able to repeat the same shot twice and with screwed up sights that is a virtual impossibility assuming that the aiming is done dumb without an intelligent compensation. A good shooter could make that gun accurate by mentally adjusting for the sighting issues, but that does not mean the gun itself is accurate at all.

wesintl
12-03-2009, 01:05 PM
If you took sights off the gun completely then it could never be accurate realistically. Maybe with enough practice someone could get the feel of the gun, but that's not likely.

what do you think a shotgun has for sights? many old ones didn't have any at all and people still shot slugs out of them and hit intended targets. It's very likely.

I will disagree, the gun is still accurate. take different ammunition and you will see some shoot differently in different guns. some are not as accurate. once you have a grouping the gun is accurate.

Red_Chili
12-03-2009, 01:07 PM
AIf I had to give up on one, I would give up on the accuracy if I could calibrate it like you can Dave, or since I can't I would give up a little bit of precision. I don't know whether HF torque wrenches hold close tolerances to either, so in a sense I meant to use the terms interchangeably...albeit mostly by accident...:o

FWIW, even the finest torque wrench needs to be calibrated to be trusted. So if Dave's experience with HF TWs bears out... they just weren't calibrated out of the box. Do that and it looks to be pretty much the same as a '$pensive one. If Dave typed accurately and precisely.

Also FWIW, the inch pound torque wrench (dial) I use on the pinion is a quality one from Proto. I figure that one is far more important than the carrier bearings (which some recommend setting uber tight anyway, to avoid ring gear deflection).
http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=proto+torque+wrench&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=16665143151214364455&ei=NQwYS_pGjuKUB9Lr5OcC&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CDcQ8wIwBA#ps-sellers

Red_Chili
12-03-2009, 01:12 PM
You are right, seems I did typo. I'm neither a precise nor accurate typist. :-)
http://www.risingsun4x4club.org/forum2/attachment.php?attachmentid=15974&stc=1&d=1259860714
Accurate = closeness to setting
Precision = repeatability
When hand loading, I found the magic load when I produced the 'Not Accurate' 'Precise' pattern. Fit under a dime. Just needed to make the accurate and precise scope point to the same place as the accurate and precise barrel shooting the accurate and precise powder/powder weight/primer/projectile/projectile depth combination.

There's probably several things wrong with how I said the lyrics, but you get the music.

nuclearlemon
12-03-2009, 01:13 PM
...and what about an engine hoist? Are all engine hoists created equal? HF has a good price on one, but I sure don't want a 900 lb. 2F to come crashing down when the tube buckles...


engine hoists are decent (i actually have tool king, but i'm pretty sure they're the same quality as harbor freight). you will most likely have to add hydraulic oil after a few years (i need to add it to my two hf floor jacks now) and you need to watch the quality of the chain. i did buy a hf engine tilt thingy...waste of money and came with chains that i wouldn't trust holding a 2f (they spread and busted when i lifted the ass end of the pig with one of them :D)

nakman
12-03-2009, 02:59 PM
The American Society for Quality defines accuracy as an unbiased true value and is normally reported as the difference between the average of a number of measurements and the true value. In other words, the standard deviation of the sample is the measure of that sample's accuracy.

Precision is defined as "repeatability." It's defined as the ability to repeat the same measurement by the same operator at or near the same time.

When I've taught mechanical inspection and gage R&R (repeatability and reproducibility) I have usually explained accuracy is your ability to successfully calibrate and/or zero your gage, and then measure something with that same touch- practicing against a known standard is a good way to practice your accuracy. Precision is our ability to all do it the same way, so we end up with the same results.

You will always have some amount of variation in measurements, quantified as measurement error. And as a rule of thumb, your measurement error should never exceed 10% of your tolerance. :thumb:

Hulk
12-03-2009, 03:53 PM
BTW, the poll is a loaded question. I prefer Snap-On, but can only justify Craftsman. So is it really a poll of what you actually buy?

That's the reason I didn't vote. I'd *prefer* Snap-On tools, but I have few of them since I can't cost justify them.

corsair23
12-03-2009, 05:27 PM
For my weekend warrior wrenching sessions Craftsmen works for me...Stuff seems plenty expensive enough so I can't imagine what a SO or other tool truck setup would cost me :eek:

LARGEONE
12-03-2009, 05:46 PM
You don't want to know what SO or MAC will cost you!!!

nuclearlemon
12-03-2009, 06:12 PM
more than your truck.

DaveInDenver
12-03-2009, 06:19 PM
more than your truck.
In my case that would still hold true of Craftsman or probably even Husky.

Romer
12-03-2009, 07:14 PM
I use to have Harbor freight rachets, wrenches and sockets. Except for Gear wrenches (love those) I have mostly Craftsman and got a good deal on the metric laser etched sockets on ebay

74fj40
12-03-2009, 07:24 PM
For my weekend warrior wrenching sessions Craftsmen works for me...Stuff seems plenty expensive enough so I can't imagine what a SO or other tool truck setup would cost me :eek:

I have spent more in tools that I have on my truck in the past two years... :( My collection of tools are probably now worth more than my entire land cruiser. :eek:

thefatkid
12-03-2009, 08:57 PM
Many technicians today can get away with smaller and lighter duty tools. The cars today seem to take less torque and have the same size of fasteners.

I use snap-on because they last a very long time under heavy use. At our dealer they are the only one you can count on to show up every week. Snap-on will warranty a loose fitting socket, it doesn't have to be broken. Snap-on uses "Flank Drive", a very good design that help reduce fastener head rounding.

As for tool cost, a full time technician can easily get over $50k in tools. My tools value is now over 1/4 of the cost of my home.

74fj40
12-04-2009, 12:53 AM
Thefatkid. You are at groove toyota right? Which snap on guy do you have? Fred? and what about Cornwell?

thefatkid
12-04-2009, 10:12 PM
Fred is our Snap On dealer. As of the last year we have only had Snap On.