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Vin Sanity
Mad Mechanic


Joined: 09 Jan 2004
Posts: 1102
Location: Awash in a sea of baby shit and BMW parts

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:47 pm    Post subject: Tool reviews... Reply with quote

I've been considering putting some tool reviews on some of the stuff I've been using lately on here. I wasn't sure if anyone would be interested in that, but I know at least Mark and John might be interested in what cheap stuff I haven't managed to break so far, and what are huge headache savers...


I guess I can start with my Performax extending 1/2" ratchet. I'll have to edit with the P/N later. So Performax was a Menard's (midwest home improvement chain) brand, that they are phasing out, but I still see them online, as well as clones. I bought it 4 years ago, and it is probably my most used ratchet. It has a locking collar toward the head that allows you to extend the handle incrementally from about 10 inches to 18 or so inches. I have used this ratchet as a pry bar and a hammer on multiple occasions. It has been frozen in ice and I've used a 10 foot cheater bar on it. 3 years ago the screws that secure the gear cover in the head started backing out, so I cleaned them and put them back in with blue lock tite. Hasn't had a problem since. The comfort grip rubber stuff on the handle is shredded due to numerous diesel baths and general misuse. Meanwhile my Snap-On 1/2 long handle ratchet has fallen apart numerous times. Overall 9/10 would buy again.

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Marcus Brody
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.menards.com/main/tools-hardware/hand-tools/ratchets/performax-reg-1-2-drive-extendable-ratchet/rh010/p-1444428122414.htm

Is this it? Cause if they're charging $15 for a ratchet that good, that's kind of insane. (Or you got really lucky?)
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Vin Sanity
Mad Mechanic


Joined: 09 Jan 2004
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Location: Awash in a sea of baby shit and BMW parts

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That be the one. Yes it is a cheap ratchet. I guess the only complaint I have is, aside from having to lock-tite the screws, it's a little bulky, but it's a really good tool. Mine has survived 4+ years of hard abuse so far. I have the 1/4" version of it, but I only got it a couple of months ago and haven't used it much. I was looking at Menards last night, and their other brand, Mastercraft, has a similar ratchet but I can't vouch for it. And since it's still available on their site, maybe they just phased it out of our store...
The extendable handle is what sells this thing though, I'll use it to break free whatever I'm un-bolting then just slap the handle back down and use it normally.

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Marcus Brody
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice. I haven't done much work on a car in a while, but that's awfully tempting for $15. I'm not sure we actually have a decent half-inch ratchet sitting around right now (I might have a Craftsman that's not entirely shot yet? Only a matter of time, though...).

On the subject of excellent tools, John got me one of these for Christmas and it rules:



Not exactly a common tool for auto work, but it handles electronics jobs like a tiny monster, and you can run it in the field (for hours) with a compact cellphone power bank.
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Vin Sanity
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well it's time for me to look into getting one of these... also, is that a really small electric screwdriver that he used to take apart the iron or did I miss something..
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Sprints McGee


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a really impressive iron. I stole it for some work and it was really easy to get good results with it, even with tip shapes that I don't usually prefer on my Hakko. I like the bench layout that the Hakko has for most of what I do, but the TS-80 probably does perform better.

I think he has the ES121 screwdriver in that review:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqlfHeZiRTA

https://www.banggood.com/Upgraded-MINI-ES121-Electric-Screwdriver-Smart-Repairtools-Built-in-STM32-Chip-OLED-with-Screwbits-p-1258406.html?utm_campaign=BestToolLocker_October&utm_content=2635&p=KR28032004379201507P&ID=528136&cur_warehouse=CN

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Vin Sanity
Mad Mechanic


Joined: 09 Jan 2004
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Location: Awash in a sea of baby shit and BMW parts

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah I'm about certain you're right about the screwdriver. I might have to wait a pay or two to get both of those. I just spent 600 bucks on tools this week, and I'm going to bismarck for training on the 4th, so a trip to Hazard Freight will be mandatory. But I need a new soldering iron, and this looks far nicer than the Weller butane I was considering..
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Marcus Brody
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What sort of soldering are you planning on doing with the Weller? The TS80 has a lot of power, but it's more a scalpel than a chef's knife (12 gauge wire all day long...4 gauge outside in the cold, maybe not ideal?).

If you do get the TS80, get the kit with the power cable and such. It gives you a fatter chisel tip that's better for most jobs (unless you're replacing tiny components inside cellphones or soldering onto ~1mm pads on circuit boards).

https://www.racedayquads.com/products/ts80-portable-soldering-iron-more-kit-with-d25-tip-power-supply

...and the included cable has a silicone jacket that I can only describe as erotically supple.
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Vin Sanity
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of the work I do is the 22-12 gauge range. Mostly CANBUS and wiring harnesses.. I have a torch for the large stuff. And yeah the one with all the accessories is what I'd want.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It should be good for that. You might consider a more aggressive flux since you're not working on new components. RA would be my pick, but you should clean after soldering with it.

I'm not sure what size you're using now, but I would think 0.031 or 0.040 would be good for the sizes you're working with. I typically go smaller(0.020 or 0.025), but you're not doing any surface mount work.

I can never find Kester in 1/2lb spools, so it's a little more. It seems to be generally prefered, but MG has also worked well for me.

https://www.amazon.com/Kester-24-6337-0027-Solder-Alloy-Diameter/dp/B07KWFLHBD/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1551116225&sr=8-1&keywords=24-6337-0027
or
https://www.amazon.com/MG-Chemicals-Leaded-Solder-Diameter/dp/B005T8MWQI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1551116614&sr=8-2&keywords=mg%2Bchemicals%2B63%2F37%2BRA&th=1

I think you'll just want RA paste flux for wire work. No need for a pen.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008ZIV85A/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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Vin Sanity
Mad Mechanic


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Location: Awash in a sea of baby shit and BMW parts

PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally got around to buying one of these on Amazon in January and it got stuck in customs purgatory. I got my refund today and found a US seller, so we'll try again. I'm really excited to play with it.

And I'll start posting more tool stuff again as I collect my scrambled thoughts.

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Vin Sanity
Mad Mechanic


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Location: Awash in a sea of baby shit and BMW parts

PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In fact, here's a brief one:

VIM Tools HBR5 ratchet. Or really any of the HBRs. I'm currently buying a new HBR5, only because the last one I had now lives in the belly pan somewhere of an 872GP motor grader and it wasn't worth killing my efficiency by a few hours to retrieve a 15 dollar ratchet. When they say "the smallest and lowest profile head in the industry," they mean it. Matco has one that comes close, and as much as I like their ratchets I still prefer the VIM. The HBR5 has a 1/4 reversible ratcheting bit driver with thumb wheel on one side, and a 5/16 to match it on the other side, and a 1/4 socket adapter that comes with it. It fits in a lot of places that others can't, and it just feels nice to use. I'm also ordering an HBR8 so I have a longer option in my box.

It's like 15 bucks on Amazon. Go buy one.

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Vin Sanity
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dewalt DCF899HB 20V 1/2 impact. The HB has a hog ring instead of a detent pin, which I highly recommend.

Do you want an absolute monster? I've had this thing for at least 3 years now, and I have not been nice to it. It makes some weird bearing noises occasionally now, but its fallen off of a lot of equipment and should probably be rebuilt. I chuck a 4 or 5 mah battery to this thing and I'm ready for the week usually. Most times I can take a wasted cutting edge off a machine, or pull apart whatever I have to with this, the only time I go air is if I need more clearance and am not worried about as much torque, or if I have to go up to 3/4 drive for really big/stubborn stuff. If I remember right, this thing has 1400 breakaway lb/ft. It's just silly. Bare tool is 200 bucks on Amazon, kit with decent battery and charger can probably be had for 300 to 350 if you shop around. Worth. Every. Penny.

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Vin Sanity
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also.. so I use (and break) a lot of tools, and pride myself on unconventional uses. So if anyone wants an opinion on a type of tool, or even a specific tool, since everyone in my shop has their own preferences and we all talk and borrow ask in here. Or if you're stuck on something I may have some ideas to help you out.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. I've been thinking about an electric impact for a while. It just seems nicer than having to pull air hoses around.

Do you think I'd regret the size for normal car work? It doesn't look too bad, but it's a little hard to judge.

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