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!/4 or 3/8 impact

Post in 'The Gear' started by kenskip1, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. kenskip1

    kenskip1 Member

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    Gentleman,I used a mans battery operated 1/4 Dewalt impact driver (18 volt) and fell in love with it. My question is do any of you use a tool of this type? I have a 1/2 drive air operated impact gun along with a 3/8 air ratchet.My primary use will be small engine repair.I was nosing about on line and I am unsure what drive (1/4 or 3/8) to get! the 1/4 has 1550 inch pounds of torque.I think this one would do.Anyone have an opinion? Thanks, Ken

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  2. ROBERT F

    ROBERT F Minister of Fire

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    I use a 1/2 inch dewalt 24 volt electric impact driver. Kinda like the advice on stoves, buy a little one and you will wish you bought a bigger one, buy A BIGGER ONE, and only use it to its full capacity when needed, but at least it will be there in the reserves for you.
  3. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    1550 inch pounds / 12 inches per foot = 129 foot pounds. So that is a decent amount, but not overly huge. I'd think it should work for most small engine bolts, though. Guess it would just fall to how the weight and battery life of the tools fit what you want to do. If you don't mind swinging the extra weight of the 3/8 and the battery life is acceptable, it would have more power and a wider range of applications. If you need light weight / longer battery life, then the 1/4 is the way to go and you could always step up to the 1/2" for really tough jobs. The other side of it is what is your too selection like? I have gobs of common sockets in 3/8". My 1/2" drive tends to be the larger stuff and 1/4" is the smaller stuff. You can always stick in an adapter, but it always seems to work better just having the right socket.
  4. John_M

    John_M Minister of Fire

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    Ken, I share your enjoyment of battery operated impact drivers for occasional work. Even though the instructions state the 1/4" drive will handle up to 1550 in. lbs. or 129 ft. lbs. of torque, I would be afraid if that amount of torque were applied to the 1/4" square male part on a regular basis, it would eventually "round off" and need to be replaced.

    That much torque (129 ft. lbs.) is frequently used to mount rims on automobiles. I just do not believe a 1/4" drive would handle that. If I were using up to 120 ft. lbs. of torque on a regular basis I would use a 1/2" drive impact driver. John_M
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    At 129 ft-lbs you would destroy the 1/4" drive. It's BS. 1/4" drive stuff is for hand tools. I thought you mistyped the subject line and meant 3/4" or 1/2" drive. All of my impact gear is 1/2" or bigger.

    1/4" drive impact gun is like using a hammer to set push pins into a cork bulletin board.
  6. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    That's about what I was thinking.
  7. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    is it 1/4/ square drive?? or is it hex drive??
    I have a dewalt 18 volt hex drive for about 7 years now.
    you use an adapter to get to 1/4 square
    dont know what the torque rating is but it will break the hex shank
    I use it as a 1/4 inch and adapt to 3/8 inch
    it has been bullet proof as far as the tool itself
    very handy for smaller bolts
    also works great for driving long deck screws
    doesn't strip out the heads
    I have found it very useful, its not going to replace your 1/2 inch stuff
    but you will use it alot and it has great power
  8. dirttracker

    dirttracker Member

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    I don't have any electric impacts, but I have 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 air driven impacts. based on the tools I have, I would get a 3/8 drive. For auto repair, I almost use my 3/8 more than my 1/2. The 1/4 impact is probably my least used tool - I've had it for almost 20 years and it still looks new. I use the 1/4 drive for removing things with lots of small fasteners like oil pans, body parts, etc. It's smaller, lighter, and faster than my 3/8 and really works well for those situations. I can't recall any time I've ever used it to install something on a car, but I did use my 1/4 drive for screws in pole barn siding before I got a cordless drill - it's more controllable and lighter than a corded drill.
  9. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    Not really sure I even understant the purpose behind the existence of a 1/4" impact driver.
  10. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

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    the point of a battery operated impact is that they are more efficient at driving screws in wood. more screws per battery than a drill/driver.

    I have no idea or experience how this translates to mechanical work. If I need to use an impact it's air operated and 1/2" or 1", but then I don't mind spinning the ratchet myself IF I can break it loose easily.

    correction, IMHO the hex drive impacts are designed for carpenters (1/4"hex screw bits), anything that's square drive I would assume is designed for mechanics, again not sure if there's any difference besides the drive.
  11. dirttracker

    dirttracker Member

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    The point behind a 1/4 air impact was to have something light, small, and fast for removing a lot of small fasteners. Things like transmission pans, fenders, oil pans, etc. In my case it was a tool I bought because it looked cool and I had a little use for it at the time. I doubt anyone would have a reason to have one unless they have a reason to use it professionally.
  12. Reggie Dunlap

    Reggie Dunlap Feeling the Heat

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    Cordless impact drivers have just about eliminated cordless drills on job sites around here. They're small, light, and powerful. That's from a carpenters perspective. In a auto mechanics shop the big pneumatic impacts are what you want.
  13. kenskip1

    kenskip1 Member

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    What I am going to use this for is working on mowers, changing blades pulling small engines down, removing and installing chainsaw bars,deck work (bearings) on riding mowers.From what I had read is this tool is an ideal candidate! I have a 3/8 air ratchet and a 1/2 inch impact gun for all stationary projects.Ken
  14. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    I would say it is the perfect tool for what you want
    I use mine for all the carpenter things and
    working on the golf carts, mowers, tractors etc
    also transmission pans, rear end covers when changing fluids
    no hoses and plenty of power
    great for disassembly, I still like to put things together by hand
    so I can feel the torque applied
    the small impact will break bolts or overtighten
    also run the lug nuts up snug before torqing them
    which nobody does correctly anymore
    I come from an aircraft background and the engineers dont
    make this stuff up for no reason

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