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3/8 rachets best and best value for the buck


John J
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Who make the best? Who make the best value. I know a lot of people like Snap On but they are pricy. There are other brands. I like S&K but I know there are other brands like Mac and  Proto. Old Craftsmen's not bad until Sears sent it over to China to be made.

 

 

John J

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It is all personal preference.

 

Proto, MAC, Cornwell, Snap-On, Williams, S-K

 

Anything off a truck you are paying a premium for the credit line they will extend you. Some franchise holders will give a healthy discount for lump cash payment, others won’t.

 

Get what speaks to you.

 

Also, the fine tooth options are plenty strong. AVE did a destructive ratchet test on YouTube and found for the most part the fine tooth count ones were stronger oddly enough

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I like Kobalt ratchets from Lowes...especially the new 90 tooth ones.  Craftsman is alright too but I do think their quality has dropped a little with the China crap but things are supposed to improve when Lowes starts selling craftsman later this year!  I am worried that they decide to drop Kobalt though!  I still like Kobalt a little better!

 

No tool truck tools for me!  I go mid-grade!  I have even been known to prowl around Harbor Freight once in a while!  I like their Pittsburgh PRO tools but some of the cheap tools are nice for one time use situations. 

 

It's all personal preference, I guess!

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Good tools is 1/2 the work!

 

if there is one thing I recommend to have if you can find them is the equivalent of this Facom set.

Somehow, there are involved in 99% of what I do on my cars.

Too expensive for the young and broke fellow that I once was, I started with small set, and got a complement years later offered by a friend (after I repaired his v6)

Very precise, very strong, light and resistant to the most agressive use.

Their shape, length and especially this hexagonal body helped me loose the most inaccessible and locked bolt countless times.

After 30 years+ of use the most common sized ones lost their shine, not their precision and never have damaged a bolt head.

 

facomset.jpg

 

I wish for a while now to extend the set, as they were offered in different sizes than metrics and also in 1/2 sizes increment but simply can't find them anymore.

I've contacted Facom, and they told me this particular set was no longer made...

 

Obviously not restoring old cars, Facom offers now days these in many variations. I have one of these sets too, its ok/quality but being smooth and round they've lost whats made the original set so many times more useful.

https://catalogue.facom.com/thumb/produits/567x567/92A.19_PH01.png

 

I haven't really search very hard, but if anyone knows a quality brand offering a set with this particular shape. Please let me know.

73 modified Grande 351C. (Finally back on the road woohoo!) 

71 429CJ. ( In progress )

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I am really pleased with these (I bought the 3/8 & 1/2). I can't comment on how it would handle very aggressive jobs, or how long it would last in a professional shop environment. But I've had them for 3 years and have nothing but good things to say about them. Compact in height, the reverse mechanism works perfectly , and after using it it becomes second nature to reverse on the fly.

 

 

 

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007WGJQK/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

73 ragtop, 1999 Mustang Bright Atlantic Blue Paint, Phoenix Engine 302-335HP,  Edelbrock Carb & Performer manifold; c4 with 2000 stall and shiftkit; 3:55 auburn limited slip differential, Hedman shorties; Car Chemistry Exhaust

 

Classic Air; Tilt Steering Wheel; 1999 Chrysler Sebring bucket Seats ; power windows;

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My SK tools date back to the 70's when I managed an auto parts store and picked them up at wholesale prices. They have been a great set for a backyard mechanic for over 40 years. As I recall I've had to replace a couple of sockets, one ratchet, and a screwdriver under the lifetime guarantee, but no glaring faults. The last few years Sears has replaced the SK warranty items for me with Craftsman. I also have a large collection of Craftsman tools that have held up well.

Mike AKA Ole Pony & Rare Pony
Our current Mustang garage/driveway
1973 Mustang Convert - Bought in 1974 - Still have it!
2004 Mach 1 Oxford White Auto, Bought Sept 06

20180127_082009.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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I have a wide selection of brands in my tool box and worked as a professional mechanic for seven years before wising up. Here's my advice:

 

Buy the best you can find, as tools are a lifetime investment, especially ratchets. I have mostly Snap-On, with a handful of Mac and Craftsman thrown in. My favorite 3/8 is a bent handle flex head long ratchet made by Mac. I have broken *maybe* two Snap-On/Mac/Matco ratchet in twenty years. I can't count the number of even the older US made Craftsman I've broken. Yes, they are pricey, but you can pick them up at swap meets, Craigslist, pawn shops,eBay etc for less than half price. Warranty is lifetime, you just need to find a tool truck, or send it to their service center. SK is excellent also, as is Mac, Cornwall, Proto & Matco. Another to look at is Williams, which is the Snap On industrial brand and is quite a bit less money for like quality, since no tool truck markup is involved.

 

 

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Husky from HD is not bad either. I also have Craftmans from the 90s that can take anything. I use sockets from both even with my impact driver with no issues so far.

I also have a set of black larger sockets from HF that can handle a beating.

 

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

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1971 M-Code Mach 1 w/Ram Air, 408 stroker, 285/291 0.558" roller cam, Blue Thunder intake, TKO600, Hooker headers with electric cut-offs, FiTech EFI w/ RobBMC PowerSurge pump

Strange center section with Truetrac, 3.5 gear and 31 spline axles, 4-wheel disc brakes

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I'd recommend swiping a nice set from RocketFoot's collection: good quality and it would be free! It would also annoy him to no end to find a missing tool, and he'd spend the next week 24/7 looking all over for it!

 

Here's the link:

https://www.7173mustangs.com/thread-who-has-tool-ocd-besides-me

Let me check your shorts!

http://midlifeharness.com

cactus.jpg.92e5d9d8700abc0ed60c8ccb3426248e.jpg

 

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I do not know how your pawn shops are there. Here sometimes great tools show up but know your prices. Does not matter if you bought new the lifetime warranty still works. I got a Lincoln wire welder that had never been used for half what the weld shop wanted.

BTW I think they did some testing last year and ranked the tools but I do not have the link. I do remember that the cheap Harbor Freight was the next after Cornwell.

I believe a Stanley 3/8" short swivel ratchet is the one I use the most. Once you get the nut bolt broke loose it gets in lots of tight places.

No such thing as one tool being the best value in all situations. My friend that does restorations was over one day and saw the Harbor Freight Daytona floor jack sitting there. He tried it and could not believe how quick and smooth it was. He has a Snap On and said this one worked much better. He has a Bel Air, spelled wrong, roll around with probably tens of thousands of expensive Snap on tools in it. He also buys the cheap China ones and uses them.

Me I have a huge mixture. I have managed to break every brand out there, lol. When you work on rusty junk it happens. I have not found a Torx driver to remove seat belt bolts that will hold up. I broke 3 of the Kobalt ones on one bolt. BTW they would not replace.

If it doesn't come loose pretty easy get the hot wrench and save your tools. They were not meant to have 500 ft. lbs. put on them.

David

When a man is in the woods and talks and no women are there is he still wrong??:P

David

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I'd recommend swiping a nice set from RocketFoot's collection: good quality and it would be free!  It would also annoy him to no end to find a missing tool, and he'd spend the next week 24/7 looking all over for it!

 

Here's the link:

https://www.7173mustangs.com/thread-who-has-tool-ocd-besides-me

 

No, that's OK!  I spend enough time looking for that darn 10mm socket all of the time!  Somewhere in the world is a warehouse filled with 10mm sockets!  LOL!

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Funny as just today my wife and I went to a nearby "estate sale". I always hit the garage first and there was a nice USA Craftsman 1/2" drive breaker bar for $10. Next to it was a box of loose tools. Browsing the box I found another breaker bar, a long handled 1/2" drive Snap-On. I asked the guy manning the garage a price and he said $4, no I will go $3... Needless to say it is in my garage.

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I have wrenched professionally (I used to do installs and custom fabrication for a speed shop), and I own a bunch of different brands, more Craftsman then anything else (the polished ones are much better than the standard ones, worth the extra price), followed by Snap-On, a few Mac and Cornwell as well as tons of others. I'm going to recommend something surprising: 90% of the time my go-to rachet is a harbor freight composite (not the pro ones, I've never tried the pro ones):

https://www.harborfreight.com/3-8-eighth-inch-heavy-duty-composite-ratchet-66313.html

 

They feel better in your hand so you can push harder and not end up sore at the end of the day, they don't slip, they don't get icy cold in cold weather and too hot to pick up if you leave it sitting in the sun. I've never broken one, and honestly, they just feel right to me (now I have very large hands, I kind of borderline fit in XXL work gloves). They're my first choice for most jobs when I'm in the shop, they're my first choice when I'm throwing something in my tool bag to go to someone or to take to the JY (honestly, they're dirt cheap, use one of HF's perpetual 20% off coupon on top of that, if I lose one I can buy 5 or more for the cost of replacing most of my other ratchets. To take that a step further, if I had to get rid of all but one set of ratchets, this is the one I'd keep. Yes, they're that good.

 

The only thing negative I have to say about them is if you use the head to whack something (don't lie, we've all done it), you will ding it up since it is composite (plastic).

 

Second place is one that would be fussy to use as your only one (it could be done, I've done it), but gets me out of more tight spots than anything else is a low profile, Kobalt pass-through socket/ratchet set. Even crazier, the sockets cover both SAE and Metric with the same sockets. It looks like the current ones are not the same but I found someone selling them (I doubt it will be long, looks like they don't make them anymore):

http://ratchetingwrenchset.net/en/kobalt_xtreme_access_extreme_14_pc_pass_through_tool_set_3_8_ratchet_socket_set.php

Similar to the HF composites in feel, but they have a flat, low profile pass through head with an angled handle that can be used right side up or upside down. This thing is a miracle for getting into tight spaces. I've used it in places that I couldn't get a ratcheting box end to work and if anyone has done spark plugs on a small block chevy with tight-fitting headers (the plugs are under the tubes, there are cases you can't get any kind of regular wrench on them), this setup turns what could be a multiple hour oreal into a 10minute job. REALLY

 

This looks very similar with a different case and brand name:

https://www.grainger.com/product/CHANNELLOCK-3-8-Drive-SAE-Metric-Chrome-38UU83

 

3rd place, this craftsman stubby flex head:

https://www.craftsman.com/products/craftsman-3-8-in-drive-full-polish-stubby-flex-head-quick-release-teardrop-ratchet-a010313779

It has a REALLY nice feel, gets you real socket sizes in a space that you'd normally have to resort to a 1/4" drive. This was my go-to ratchet for years before the HF composite ratchets showed up. I used it on anything that didn't need the torque of a full-length ratchet. I often grab a couple of sizes of the HF composites and this one and use this wherever I can because the small size/short length lets you go REALLY fast. It's my go-to for things like bodywork, spark plugs where there is good access...

 

Finally, an honorable mention, this HF flex head:

https://www.harborfreight.com/38-in-drive-professional-flex-head-ratchet-62321.html

I wouldn't want to get stuck with this as my only ratchet (it's longer than normal and the flex head can get annoying if you're trying to go fast), but there are places where this thing is sweet, and if you're taking your time you can get to most fasteners with it and the longer handle lets you get even stubborn ones loose. A friend of mine had a snap-on one like this but with a slight bend in the handle 25years ago (and I think he said it was his dad's before it was his) that he called his secret weapon for getting out stubborn, stuck, and hard to reach fasteners (I've never run across the snap on one on myself).

 

None of my high $$$ ones even make my list. I don't remember the last time I had one of my snap-on ratchets in my hand. The polished craftsman ones come out when I'm doing things that need 2 rachets (say suspension work where you have access to the bolt head and nut, or if you're going back and forth between sockets constantly). The standard craftsman ones rarely do, I don't like the feel and they break too easy.

[align=center]M a r k

'71 Mustang Mach 1 | M Code 351C (with 2bbl heads) | C6

aka: Silverback, WS6 TA, JYDog, 83 Crossfire TA, mpikas, mmp...[/align]

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I've found my groove with the following, Home Depot Husky for standard grade sockets and ratchets, 1/4 3/8 1/2, I really like the handle design and have yet to crack or strain one. For impact they WILL break eventually, its the nature of how it works, so go cheap, harbor freight. I like the husky torque wrenches for 3/8 and 1/2 inch but if you need inch pounds craftsman is the only good one that doesn't break the bank. Anything regarding drill and taps is either MAC or SnapOn and any socket or wrench over an inch is one of the following, if one single use (ie the main nut on my old 5.7 hemi crank that I will take off once or twice then Northern Tool. If multiple uses MAC or SnapOn. Another reason that MAC and SnapOn cost so much, other than they are incredibly tough, is that they replace parts when they fail and most importantly they back that truck up to YOU! It costs a lot of money to just keep checking by and driving around to replace this bit or that tap. You're paying for a premium tool, premium replacement, and premium customer service.

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