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General Automotive General automotive discussion. This is intended to be a discussion about other not VW and Diesel cars you may have or interested in.

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Old November 25th, 2019, 10:57   #1
nokivasara
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Default 1/4, 3/8 or 1/2" drive?

My first tools was a large socket set with 1/4" and 1/2" sockets, ratchets and breaker bars. Got them when I was about 15 years old and still have most of them left, 25 years later...
I have never really felt that I need the 3/8" size but a friend of mine swears by them and doesn't use the 1/2" stuff much.
I have a good 1/4 ratchet that I use a lot on all the smaller fasteners.

What do you guys use?
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Old November 25th, 2019, 13:43   #2
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I use a long 3/8" ratchet 99% of the time unless it is too big to fit the space/bolt or I need a big, beefy 1/2" drive to break something apart. ... Gearwrench 81210P



But, I love having all 3 drive sizes when I need them, and I also have a 3/4 drive set for big drivetrain and suspension fasteners.
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Old November 25th, 2019, 16:28   #3
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Typically 3/8" for most things, 1/4" where it's more convenient or space constrained, and 1/2" for stuff that requires more power.


I usually keep the 1/2" in my tool box, not my traveling tool kit, since the tools are just so much heavier and bulkier.



Like RallyWagon, I really like having all three.
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Old November 26th, 2019, 06:12   #4
BKmetz
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I have a S&K brand tools. I started building my set about 25 years ago. I use 3/8" drive around ~90%, 1/4" drive around ~9%, and 1/2" drive around ~1%.

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Old November 26th, 2019, 09:24   #5
nokivasara
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Maybe the 3/8 size is one of those things you didn't know you missed until you tried one type of deals

I have a 3/4 breaker bar for the axle nuts/bolts, don't use it for much else.
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Old November 27th, 2019, 07:32   #6
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I switch it up, it depends on the job. If I'm underneath the car and changing stuff that'll require some force, I'll have my 3/8" set with me with an electric ratchet, 3/8" impact for luxury items. But the 3/8" flex head extendable ratchet is the MVP in my tool box.

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Old November 27th, 2019, 07:34   #7
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I use it all, LOL. 3/8" stuff is by FAR the most common, though. Only time I use 1/4" is when the 3/8" won't fit, and the only time I use 1/2" is when 3/8" isn't enough to do the job. Even have a handful of 3/4" stuff for axle nuts/bolts and things.

I also use a lot of the 1/2" to 3/8" adapto-extensions so I can use my big impact in tighter spaces.
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Old November 27th, 2019, 16:15   #8
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More Power is good up to the point where the bolt snaps off!!
The most valuable tools are those you made yourself to do that "impossible" job.
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Old November 27th, 2019, 20:19   #9
tdidieselbobny
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKmetz View Post
I have a S&K brand tools. I started building my set about 25 years ago. I use 3/8" drive around ~90%, 1/4" drive around ~9%, and 1/2" drive around ~1%.

Can they even be replaced anymore if you break them? I have a bunch that my dad had from years ago, they've been tucked away in a toolbox since he passed over 32 years ago... to the op's question, how much do you wrench? Oil changes and light duty, 1/4 and 3/8 will suffice. If you do brakes /suspension stuff, 1/2" will be nice to have. I have a good selection of all sizes, including the addition of the hot wrench this year(oxycetelene torch outfit)....
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Old November 28th, 2019, 09:43   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKmetz View Post
I have a S&K brand tools. I started building my set about 25 years ago. I use 3/8" drive around ~90%, 1/4" drive around ~9%, and 1/2" drive around ~1%.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdidieselbobny View Post
Can they even be replaced anymore if you break them? I have a bunch that my dad had from years ago, they've been tucked away in a toolbox since he passed over 32 years ago.
My original S&K sets were made at the Chicago facility back when they were making sockets and wrenches for Sears. My S&K tool box was made by Remline. Remline went out of business long ago. S&K went through a revolving door of owners who exploited the name and not much else. For several years now Ideal Industries has owned S&K and has given the brand much needed stability.

https://sktools.com/content/sktools/en_US.html

S&K still has the lifetime warranty. Its product line has changed a bit so you might not get an exact replacement tool, but you will get an equivalent tool. Link to S&K's warranty page. It reads like every other tool company's warranty page.
https://sktools.com/content/sktools/en_US/warranty.html

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Last edited by BKmetz; November 28th, 2019 at 09:45.
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Old November 28th, 2019, 12:28   #11
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I mostly use 3/8, have the others AND a 1" drive with a couple of sockets from my aircooled days. The memories of loosening that @$!### axle nut......
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Old November 30th, 2019, 05:52   #12
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Mostly 3/8. Second place is 1/2. Occasionally 1/4. Big and small air tools used with all sizes. Lots and lots of extensions, both straight and wobble. Other air tools that make life easier are a cut off wheel and grinder. Also a big selection of breaker bars. A torch is good for warming up stuck fasteners. The torch and a Sawzall are great time savers for exhaust work. Another real life saver is a set of ratcheting box wrenches that are not offset. Those things can get into places no other wrench can and make the occasional almost impossible task easy. I like Wright and Allen for hand tools when I need a replacement for my ancient tools. I also have a selection of real Vise Grips. Tools are fun.
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Old November 30th, 2019, 06:45   #13
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Here's my tool storage chests. The bottom chest is my S&K branded Remline, made in the mid-90s at the long-gone Remline plant in Yorkville, IL. The top chest is Masterforce brand sold at Menard's I bought a few years ago.

The bottom chest is 38" wide which was a common size years ago. Nobody makes 38" wide chests now so that's I went with the Masterforce top chest as it's 36".

Back in the day one could get tool chests in any color they wanted, as long as it was red.


Drive more and worry less.

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