cordless impact wrench question


Hello to all: I dont understand something. I am looking to buy a cordless compact impact wrench. I have narrowed my choice down to to. The dewalt dw051k, which is a 3/8 inch 12 volt, and the dewalt 053k, which is a 1/2 inch 12 volt. The only differences that I can see, is that the 1/2 is a few ounces heavier, and its maximum torque is about 20 percent more. Plus the 1/2 inch uses a detent pin retention, the 3/8 uses a hog ring retention. The question I have is, it seems that there is a huge greater range of accessories for the 1/2 inch, which in my opinion makes it a logical choice, especially with the bit added torque, but in a lot of place the 1/2 inch, is priced less then the 3/8 inch, and this surprises me, and thats why I am questioning this. Is there something I dont understand? I am leaning towards the 1/2 inch, but is one retention method better and thats why they are of equal cost, or even the 3/8 is more expensive.? It doesnt seem logical.
Much regards Jerry
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Both of those impact cordless wrenches are toys as far as automotive work is concerned. Neither one gets close to the torque you need to spin off a rusty lug nut. Compare them to the 600 ft. lbs. or more of a typical Ingersol-Rand, CP, SnapOn, or Matco air impact that a pro mechanic will have in his toolbox. The old adage is always true: there ain't no substitute for torque and cubic inches. Air power rules in that field. As for the kiddie toy DeWalts, it's a toss-up. If you buy the 3/8" you can use a 3/8 - 1/2" adapter to use your 1/2" socket set. And if you buy the 1/2", the reverse is true. If compact size is important get the 3/8". in any case, buy a 1/2 " Craftsman breaker bar in the longest size they have to start the tough nuts turning before you abuse the baby cordless. If you really need to get some work done, get the best air compressor you can afford and an Ingersol-Rand 1/2" 231 or 3/8" 212 series. IR has hairier ones than these. but this is a good place to start. HTH
Joe Retired ASE Certified Master Mechanic
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J.Lef wrote:

for it..
What are you going to use it for?
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Thanks for the two replies so far. The problem is, that I just got out of the military after being in for nine years, and serverly injured my back during my second stint in Iraq, a week before I was due to rotate back to the states. Basically, I am just looking for something to make it easier for me in case I need to change a flat tire on my vehicles, and to use for when I want to rotate tires on my vehicles, as well as for some household use, or occassionally if I need it to work on a motor. (Light stuff only). I have to adapt to my present capabilities and need to prepare for how to best handle a situation. I will only use the wrench to take off the lugs, and use a manual torque wrench to properly put on the lugz.
Much regards
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J.
Sorry to hear of the bad back. These cheap impact wrenches are not a solution to lug nuts. As mm suggests, get a breaker bar and the correct socket, stand on the breaker bar, and bounce up and down. I'm pretty light and this always works. Once you've moved the lugs use a ratchet to get them off. The danger to your back will be in putting the tire in the trunk.
Dave M.
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J.Lef wrote:

Well, being in a similar situation as you I perhaps shouldn't make this discourse public but too late now... I will be blunt and it's not a reflection upon you so please take it that way.
You WILL have to get used to not being able to do MANY things that you did before. I didn't and only hurt myself more! Don't do it to yourself. It's a sad day when it hits you but you must move forward.
My solution to your problem: AAA and cell phone. Changing tires is a past activity. Have your tires rotated at inspection time or just go to a tire dealer that does it cheap. Say $10 -$20 a year is cheaper than an impact wrench that you KNOW in your heart will NOT be charged when you need it.
Thank you for your service to our country, there is NO way I could express my gratitude. Please take advantage of any and all help available to you.
Take care
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Another thing I have done, once when it was raining, but I was supposed to be at an important meeting representing my employer, a congressional candidate in a primary, looking well-dressed, in a make-or-break situation, was to drive 3 blocks on the flat tire to a gas station. Yes, it ruined the tire. They changed the tire in 5 minutes, iirc.
And another time, when the tire hadn't been in the snow at all, I couldn't get it off even by jumping on the wrench, and I tried over and over for a long time, again I drove it about 5 blocks, and again I ruined the tire.
I don't buy expensive tires, and they weren't new either, so that made it easier.
Of course I have no idea how badly you were hurt.
And I know on two occasions when my back hurt, once for so many months that I went to an orthopedist, it was never hurt badly.
But despite that, in one case it took 4 years for it to be back to normal, and in the second case it's been a little over two years now and it's pretty good.
So don't give up home on your back improving, maybe even getting better, although maybe that can't happen in your situation.

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Harbor Freight has a 1/2" drive 12V impact driver that plugs into the cigarette lighter outlet,240 ft-lbs,but a low striking rate. Sells for around $20 USD.It's intended for wheel lug nuts. Then you don't have the battery problems of seldom-used cordless tools.
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Jim Yanik
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I tried these 12V cigarette lighter plug in impact wrenches and found them to be quite useless. They are lighter to handle than the 110V, but don't have near the power.

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Jim Yanik
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wrote:

Long ago, I had a cigarette lighter soldering iron, that never got hot enough to solder. Maybe if we could get 10 cars together, we could ahve 120 volts.
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I have a 1/2 inch 110V impact wrench that I use around the shop. I find it just great for removing lug nuts and such. I use it quite a lot to remove the Crank nuts, upper and lower, on lawn tractors and mowers. If a supply of 110V power is readily available and you don't have a fairly large volume air supply compressor then I would go with the 110V electric over the battery operated one. As another poster has said, there are battery operated ones that will do the job for you, however they are a bit pricey. You can get a fairly good 110V, 1/2 in. drive for under $100. Good luck.

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Harbor Freight has one of these corded 1/2" impact drivers on sale for $40,from time to time.Regular price is IIRC,~$90.
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J.Lef wrote:

over the end of the lug nut wrench. Get the longest piece that will fit in the trunk of your car - perhaps 3-4 feet. You won't have to stand on it to move the nuts.
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And you will quickly learn whether the wrench was built with cheap steel or the lug studs have stood up to time! :)
-- "Tell me what I should do, Annie." "Stay. Here. Forever."
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Thanks to all that have responded. Standing on a lug wrench and jumping on it, or waiting hours for help and not being self reliant, is not my best solutions. I purchased the tool at a place that seems to have great prices on line, and appears to be very reputable. They said if it doesnt work out, keep the packing material , send it back, and they will refund with no problem, less my return shipping. It seems I have nothing to lose by trying. Much thanks for the various public and private sentiments also. Much appreciated.
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