Ratchet / Sockets ...

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Murphy Slaw

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Since a mishap I'm in need of a better travel hand tool kit. My older American Craftsman set is gone and the new ones are Chinese and 12 point.

In a pinch I bought a Kobalt set last year and it's junk. The 3/8 ratchet locked up on the FIRST use, Lowes gave me a bit of a hassle (hassle free ?) and the second one did the same thing. First time..

I caught a Snapon truck and bought an American made 3/8 ratchet for $ 130.00 but still need to piece together some better grade six point sockets. Am looking at SK online, but have yet to find a brick and mortar dealer, I'd like to see some of their stuff in person.

What are you all buying now ?
 
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Ajwcotton

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Look at Williams usa for the best non snap on sockets. They are made in the same factory as snap on and use an older snap on design at a fraction of the price they are also covered by a lifetime warranty by mail. usually they will just send you a new socket if you need it. if you are worried about not seeing them in person first don't be I've used them as a pro mechanic for years.
 
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Pathfinder I

20+ years of buying Snap On, MATCO and Mac tools has filled two rollaways but I don'r take my good tools off road, I bought a cheap set from horrible freight in a blow mold case, don't care if I leave one on the trail.
 

PCO6

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Years ago I swore I'd never buy a tool set that came with a molded plastic case. I have a few times and as soon as I got home I tossed the case and put the tools in one of my chests. I've learned though that on the road or trails and especially the junk yard the cases are well worth having. They don't take up much space in your rig and not only can you find particular tools quickly you know what's missing when it's time to leave. I've left a few wrenches and sockets behind but fortunately nothing that expensive.

As for brands, up here we have Mastercraft Maximum at Canadian Tire and they're quite good ... and there's always something on sale.
 
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bmwguru

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S&K makes a decent tool. The first set of wrenches I bought 20+ years ago is an S&K set from 8-24mm. I still have it and use it at times. I will say this though in terms of wrenches nothing and I mean nothing beats a Snap On flank drive plus. Expensive but the best wrenches on this planet IMHO. Sockets, ratchets, screwdrivers and such not so much. This is coming from a 20+ year BMW master tech BTW. Would I take all my SnapOn tools on the trail, no but I will bring a set of those flank drive plus wrenches.
 

Dalton Kemak

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I'm a craftsman guy all the way. I have been working on equipment, cars, small engines, etc since I was a kid, and used snapon, craftsman, and parts store specials along the way, and I'd take craftsman any time. I usually carry a pieced together set basically only the most commonly used sizes. After all I won't be swapping a transmission on the trail since I don't carry a spare one of those. I only carry the tools to do what I know I can do on the trail which makes for a small, light kit. I also keep mine in a tool bag that way I can cram it in a nook if need be, but it does in fact make it real easy to lose tools...
 

Billiebob

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My choice for socket and combination wrenched is always SnapOn FlankDrive. Forget the 6 point, the SnapOn 12 point is the best.
Mine are all 50 years old.

But I also have some Matco & Proto tools and they are fine in the bigger sizes.

conventional-12-point (Small).jpg
 
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Twisted

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I've always been a Craftsman fan since I was a little kid. It is all my dad would use and I remember when I was real you he broke a ratchet. We went to sears and they replaced it right over the counter. I was sold. We have a shop full of his Craftsman tools. (He passed away couple months back) They are still what I use when I'm working in the shop. That being said, I bought a Craftsman mechanic kit like 10 years ago that came in a blow molded case. Nice laser etched kit with most everything. Couple hundred useful pieces. That case fell apart and I'm onto a different Craftsman blow mold toolbox type case. I like having a spot for everything so I know if anything is missing. That case stays in the house and if I'm going somewhere I know I'll need tools I bring it along. It is too big and heavy to carry all the time.

I recently wanted to find a decent selection to keep in the rig. Last year I bought a Craftsman 3/8 drive ratchet along with metric sockets. Also grabbed some wrenches. Haven't used them yet and in all honesty they were on a great sale so no big deal.

With all that being said and Sears going away I started looking again. I recently picked up a Husky ratchet with their universal sockets. The all black kit with 100 point ratchet or whatever it is. I've used it a little, nothing major. So far I love the ratchet. Not entirely sure how well the sockets will work. They always seem loose but I have yet to have one slip so who knows.
 
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Murphy Slaw

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Years ago I swore I'd never buy a tool set that came with a molded plastic case. I have a few times and as soon as I got home I tossed the case and put the tools in one of my chests. I've learned though that on the road or trails and especially the junk yard the cases are well worth having. They don't take up much space in your rig and not only can you find particular tools quickly you know what's missing when it's time to leave.
That's what I'm doing, actually. I'm replacing the junk China made Craftsmen tools in a molded case with a real hinge, with quality American made tools. It'll be a really nice set when I'm done. I don't want junk tools when I'm out on/off the road.

That's when I want the good stuff.
 

Lindenwood

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I'm going to go against the grain here. I have done 4 complete suspension swaps, using an impact wrench, with this socket set from Harbor Freight and never stripped a bolt (that wasn't already rusted out) or had a socket show any appreciable wear :P .

I bought this set over others because they are 6-point (I've never had an issue with accessibility that a 12pt would have fixed).

This is the 1/2" drive set, but I think the 3/8 set is like $15 or less.

67872_W3.jpg

I recently bought a set of super-compact 1/2-drive impact sockets as well, 10mm-24mm, that are only 1.1" long total. On sale for $41 on Amazon!

I have also been using the same HF ratchet through all these suspension swaps plus two engine swaps back in the day.

Admittedly, I went 1/2 drive a long time ago, partially to compensate for what I knew were inferior tools (HF, Stanley, etc). So, I cannot say their 3/8" stuff would have survived everything I've put my gear through.

Interestingly, oher than the impact wrench, every tool I used on any of these jobs sits in a 15" duffel bag inside my vehicle :) . I think I could replace all of it for like $250, lol.

To be fair, though, all their wrenches I have tried are kindof "eh." Some of them are starting to loosen up, so I have been pondering finding a new set.
 
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Billiebob

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I'm going to go against the grain here. I have done 4 complete suspension swaps, using an impact wrench, with this socket set from Harbor Freight and never stripped a bolt (that wasn't already rusted out) or had a socket show any appreciable wear :P .

I bought this set over others because they are 6-point (I've never had an issue with accessibility that a 12pt would have fixed).

This is the 1/2" drive set, but I think the 3/8 set is like $15 or less.

View attachment 101884

I recently bought a set of super-compact 1/2-drive impact sockets as well, 10mm-24mm, that are only 1.1" long total. On sale for $41 on Amazon!

I have also been using the same HF ratchet through all these suspension swaps plus two engine swaps back in the day.

Admittedly, I went 1/2 drive a long time ago, partially to compensate for what I knew were inferior tools (HF, Stanley, etc). So, I cannot say their 3/8" stuff would have survived everything I've put my gear through.

Interestingly, oher than the impact wrench, every tool I used on any of these jobs sits in a 15" duffel bag inside my vehicle :) . I think I could replace all of it for like $250, lol.

To be fair, though, all their wrenches I have tried are kindof "eh." Some of them are starting to loosen up, so I have been pondering finding a new set.
WOW they copied the Snap On Flank Drive !!
Thats a plus !!
 

slomatt

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Bay Area, CA
I've got nice US made wrenches and sockets at home, but for the truck I wanted something less expensive that I wouldn't be as sad to loose (or have stolen).

The socket wrenches I carry in my truck are from Harbor Freight, the 1/2" sockets are Harbor Freight impact sockets that have held up surprisingly well, and the 3/8" sockets and combination wrenches are US Craftsman.

Pictures are here:

If you want to avoid Harbor Freight but not pay Snapon prices I've had good luck with Gearwrench socket wrenches and Sunex sockets.

- Matt
 

agent00111

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I was at Overland Expo West this year and I was missing a 13mm ratchet wrench to reposition my roof top tent. The nice folks from the Tekton Tool booth where super nice and let me borrow one of theirs for the day. I was impressed enough with it that I bought a set of ratchet wrenches when I got home. Quality is really nice, and they have a no-questions-ask return policy. Much better than harbor freight or Kobalt, I wouldn't say as good as SnapOn, but I like the quality for the price as I'm trying to build up my tools to someday hand off to my boys.

No time limit on their guarantee, so if I give my tools to my boys and they have problems, Tekton will honor that and provide replacement.

Enjoy the picture, that's the shiniest you'll ever see these tools!

IMG_0395.jpg
 

toxicity_27

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I've been adding to my tool bag with Snap-On bought through eBay to save a significant amount of money. I've also been buying some of the Tekton stuff, and I've been impressed with it so far. It's also significantly less expensive than Snap-On.
 

MidOH

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Get your ratchets from SnapOn. 3/8 long flex. Foot long 1/2. 3/8 Standard. Best combo wrenches out there as well. Deep metric and SAE sockets.

Get all of your short sockets and 1/4''drive stuff from HarborFraught. When you com across a certain type of soclets you use the most, upgrade them as needed.

Nothings worse than expensive sockets that never get used.
 

MidOH

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It's limited access stuff where quality tools shine. Auto/diesel, gentech type stuff.

For example the giant, expensive SnapOn pry bar. Seems like a joke, but autobody shops swear by them. Because a cheap prybar has three times more flex. You run out of room for travel before the rusty door latch pops open. It just works.

Wobbles always have to be Matco for example. 10-19mm combo wrenches always SnapOn. Multimeters always Fluke. Box wrenches, GearWrench. Gaskets always FelPro. Sealant always Spermatex. Threadlock always Loktite.
 

Rd62

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Brian
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Not a mechanic but work on my own truck and cars. Among my tools I have a Popular Mechanics 3/8" metric socket set I bought at Walmart probably 25 years ago that has worked without fail.

For a set to through in a vehicle for a "what if", I'd have no qualms about a set from Craftsman or Kobalt. I feel they are a pretty good value for the money. If they splendidly fail, then I was likely using them for something I shouldn't have been, and if they are lost or stolen I won't loose any sleep.
 

Chuckem12

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I used nothing but Snap-On the whole time in the military. My own personal tool collection was composed of nothing but Craftsman in the past. Now, I've realized that different tool sets for different tasks make life easier. The tool kit I have in my truck is composed of Craftsman, Dewalt, Stanley, Pittsburg, Proto, and even some of the stuff you buy at the auto parts store. Little things I dont' mind losing because they can be replaced if broken or damaged. I've learned some wrenches and sockets you should have multiples of anyway (10's, 1/2's, 3/8's, 15's, etc) and in multiple lengths. The only things I won't even give a second look to is all the gimmicky tools that some manufacturers sell on a yearly basis. (Wrench that can pop a bottle cap and be a vice grip with a lazer pointer that shoots nails into concrete with the push of a button....hell yeah! take my money!) First use breaks....no bueno.
 
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