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1/2 Impact Air Wrench

05 Blue Unlimited

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I am planning on replacing the ball joints and need (use this as an excuse to the wife) an impact wrench. I really like the electric compact models since they are so portable, but not their price. So I am looking at air and any recommendations. What is the ft/lbs needed to press the joints out and in.
 

andy29847

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I used a Kobalt from Lowe's. it was ~$50 impact gun and rates around 400 ft/pounds. I have a 120v air compressor with a 5 gallon tank. My setup is nothing near commercial setups. The impact wrench is mostly for getting the tires on an off. Breaking the ball joints loose took a 18" breaker bar with a 2' cheater bar. It takes a lot of force. Mine were the original ball joints. Once I got them out, the new ones went in easy.

You need a good ball joint tool kit. I rented mine for Advance Auto - their tool kit number 46. I also rented a pickle fork kit - tool kit 15.

FWIW, I replaced the front axle u-joints, front wheel bearings, and the ball joints all at the same time. My Jeep had 62,000 on the odo and another 10K being towed. The axle shaft U-joints were bad when I got in there - tight in one axis. I am planning a big summer trip and I was doing what I thought was preventative maintenance. I am glad I went ahead with the project.

Something I bought new for my project was an air powered ratchet. Mine is rated for 50 ft/pounds and I bought it off of ebay. I should have bought one of these 25 years ago. http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&toolid=10001&campid=5337789113&icep_item=293032944666
 

andy29847

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Did you try the impact on the joints though?

There is a lot of pieces and parts involved in getting the removal tool in position. Also, when you removed the top ball joint, there isn't that much room. I did not try the impact gun while working on ball joints. It was my first time doing ball joints and I wanted control of the forces involved. Also, it helps to tighten and then bang on the knuckle as you remove the joints. the vibrations help break things loose. I did use the impact gun to disassemble the u-joints. That took more force than expected. I used the air ratchet to removed the bolts holding on the wheel bearings. Air tools are a convenience for this job, not a necessity. Buy the tools. I won't tell your wifey. :)
 

Quigley

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I am planning on replacing the ball joints and need (use this as an excuse to the wife) an impact wrench. I really like the electric compact models since they are so portable, but not their price. So I am looking at air and any recommendations. What is the ft/lbs needed to press the joints out and in.
The nuts themselves are around 80ft lbs if I remember correctly. Do you already have the compressor needed to run the tools something like a 20 gallon with 5-6cfm at 80 psi?
you could look at some of the guns at harbor freight. 500-700ft pounds is a good range. They have an earthquake model that’s around $100. My neighbor has this and loves it.

If you have a cordless set for around the house you could buy just the tool. Most sets have the impact tool only option. I found my dewalt cordless tool only for $100. Takes off everything.... so far
 
OP
05 Blue Unlimited

05 Blue Unlimited

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The nuts themselves are around 80ft lbs if I remember correctly. Do you already have the compressor needed to run the tools something like a 20 gallon with 5-6cfm at 80 psi?
you could look at some of the guns at harbor freight. 500-700ft pounds is a good range. They have an earthquake model that’s around $100. My neighbor has this and loves it.

If you have a cordless set for around the house you could buy just the tool. Most sets have the impact tool only option. I found my dewalt cordless tool only for $100. Takes off everything.... so far
Yes all set to run air and do in other applications. What got me looking at the possibility was this vid from bleepin jeep-

Using the impact (in his case a Milwaukee m18) with the "special adapters" made the job quicker. I just can't justify 2 bills. He is right though it was much faster as I've watched him struggle the rental adapters and breaker bar.
 
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Quigley

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I love bleepinjeep, but you can definitely tell when subscribers and sponsors started funding them. It’s like an online version of all the Jeep magazines now.
 

pagrey

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Personally I'd never use a press with an impact gun for actually pushing on anything. I use a small electric to spin them but never to actually do pressing. I need to feel the resistance so I know what's going on. I guess opinions vary but I use a small electric 3/8 impact driver to spin it in position and then a ratchet or breaker bar for the real work. Tap with a hammer if it is stuck but using an impact wrench and going to town sounds like a ball joint press break waiting to happen.

The only thing I've ever used an air impact wrench for on my Jeep is the crank pulley. Tell your wife you need to change your timing chain. The 1/2 Harbor Freight Ultra Compact Xtereme Stubby is supposed to be really nice. A good clone of a name brand that actually works.
 

coherent

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After researching reviews and comparisons with snap on etc, I bought a Harbor Freight Earthquake XT a couple years ago and it has worked flawlessly. It has 3 torque setting and on the highest setting I have actually cracked the steel under the nut on an assembly I was working on (not a vehicle). I originally bought it because I had an old trailer that the lug nuts had rusted to the studs. Even after using PB blaster I couldn't get them all off with a breaker bar. This impact removed them all first try. I know some HF tools are junk, but this is one I give a thumbs up for the price. A pretty good deal when they are on sale/discount coupon. I've use a couple of different electric models and while they have their place for some projects, I've never been impressed with the torque or battery life considering the cost for the good electric ones vs air.
 
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05 Blue Unlimited

05 Blue Unlimited

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After researching reviews and comparisons with snap on etc, I bought a Harbor Freight Earthquake XT a couple years ago and it has worked flawlessly. It has 3 torque setting and on the highest setting I have actually cracked the steel under the nut on an assembly I was working on (not a vehicle). I originally bought it because I had an old trailer that the lug nuts had rusted to the studs. Even after using PB blaster I couldn't get them all off with a breaker bar. This impact removed them all first try. I know some HF tools are junk, but this is one I give a thumbs up for the price. A pretty good deal when they are on sale/discount coupon. I've use a couple of different electric models and while they have their place for some projects, I've never been impressed with the torque or battery life considering the cost for the good electric ones vs air.
Thanks for that. I believe with HF you have to pick your tools and match for intended use. For instance I paid 19.00 for one of their sawsalls for a project I was working on. It only had to last that one project. Not only did it fly through cutting everything I bought it for, I am now using it for tree trimming and other stuff that I need cut up.