Hot Rod, Mustang Monthly & Super Street Bike Reviews: The Earthquake Impact Wrench

 Hot Rod magazine gave generous props to the Central Pneumatic Earthquake 1/2″ Impact Wrench (#68424) in the Parts & Stuff section of their January 2013 issue:

“This is the Cadillac of ½-inch impact wrenches. From Harbor Freight, known for great tools and cheap prices, the Central Pneumatic Earthquake ½-inch Impact Wrench is rated at 700 lb-ft and has three forward speeds plus reverse. It has twin hammers inside that help to make more torque easier. It has less vibration than the competition and, according to Harbor Freight, is the most powerful wrench in its class. One other cool feature is that the exhaust port is pointed away from the user, so no more blowing air in your face when using the tool.”

While I do love Hot Rod for being a renowned mag, full of informative articles, how-to’s, showcases, etc., they’ll have to go to the back of the line on this one. Harbor Freight’s Earthquake 1/2″ impact wrench is already a well-documented legend for, not only its power, durability and performance, but also the great price– just $94.99 (around $76 with a 20% off coupon)!

Back in October, 2012, the Mustang Club of America’s online magazine, Mustang Monthly, had this to say:

 “Do we really need any excuse to go buy new tools for the garage? Of course we don’t, but the new Earthquake air tool from Harbor Freight gives you 700 reasons to pick one up when you need to get those stubborn, rusty fasteners off your Mustang!

“This professional class wrench (Item# 68424) delivers more power with better weight distribution, lighter materials and a more compact housing. Premium grade components with close tolerances give this tool a longer lifespan than conventional air wrenches.”

 Motorcycle enthusiast magazine Super Street Bike also had a few choice words regarding the Earthquake impact wrench in their January, 2013 issue:

“Harbor Freight returns with another price-conscious tool that should be in every garage: the Central Pneumatic Earthquake half-inch impact wrench. You may not need this tool for everyday wrenching on the bike, but when upgrading or replacing worn out sprockets requires the removal of a countershaft sprocket nut that will not loosen by hand, you’ll appreciate this tool’s power. The Earthquake Impact Wrench is an affordable way to get the job done with a torque range of 50-500 LBS.-FT., a working pressure of 90 PSI and three forward speeds. Make dropping a tooth or two with an aftermarket front sprocket easier with this tool.”

And it’s not just the magazines. Tool hounds at home also like the Earthquake impact wrench. For example, on this thread in GarageJournal.com’s forum, several members admitted their fondness for the air tool:

“I’ve had one for a bit over a year and have used it quite a bit. I have yet to come across something that I was unable to get off with it…”  strizzy

“I bought one a couple of years ago and couldn’t be happier with it. Incredible power and comfortable grip…. It’s been used and abused and just keeps on going. I’m sure keeping it lubed properly helps too. With an adapter and a Budd socket it even removed nuts from a truck that someone had swaged on with a cold chisel to make sure they NEVER came off. This thing had enough power to take them off right through the bunged up threads. I like it so much I’m thinking of buying their 3/8″ Earthquake…”  Curmudgeon

“I got the 1/2″ one too. I use it every once in a while to remove some rusty hardware on my 20 year old sports car (read: bolts that have not been touched in a long time) and the Earthquake does it without any trouble. Its a great purchase even if it was double the price. But since its not…stop typing and go buy one!”  sunshineFC3s

I couldn’t have said it better myself. The Earthquake impact wrench comes with:

+Precision machined to master-mechanic standards
+Most powerful wrench in its class
+Variable speed reversible
+Less vibration and lighter than the competition
+Handle-vented to direct exhaust away from user
+Twin-hammer delivers more torque to the anvil
+Three forward speeds

I know… you’re heading out the door. Don’t forget your 20% OFF COUPON!!

What About Harbor Freight? An Introduction

I had no idea what kind of following Harbor Freight Tools had when I joined the company. Now whenever I mention where I work, though, I hear, “I LOVE Harbor Freight!” Always with a big grin, as if they’re happily admitting a guilty pleasure– like watching the Ice Road Truckers marathon, or when the family goes on a trip and leaves them behind. It didn’t take long surfing the Internet to see just how widespread the love really is– way beyond the weekend tinkerers or ‘burb Dads with their “honey-do-ready” toolboxes. I quickly found a slew of niche websites whose members rely on HFT’s low priced, hard-to-find and odd hardware– not to mention the huge selection of essential tools and supplies. Numbered among these groups are survivalists and emergency preppers, solar energy enthusiasts, BBQ trailer builders, teardrop trailer builders, Pinterest crafters, RC model builders, paranormal investigators, AR builders… as well as your garden variety woodworkers, welders, car restorers, four-wheelers, motorcycle wrenchers, compulsive DIYers and all manner of tool-wielding madmen building better mousetraps.

In all of these blogs and forums the question inevitably always comes up: “I need to get a _____________.What about Harbor Freight?” Someone informs their group about a proud purchase they made of a tool cabinet, a winch or an abrasive blaster. Another member posts a photo of their latest DIY project (like the one above). A full-blown discussion ensues, more photos and links are posted, and ultimately others get inspired to “go and do likewise.” These sites also serve as war drums for whatever Harbor Freight Tools sale or coupon comes out and, truth be told, they spread the store’s advertising as much as the store itself.

It struck me that Harbor Freight Tools’ fan base, all spread out across the Internet, is like a big, open secret– each niche group sequestered from the others, each possessing information the others could use. Wouldn’t it be great if they could all come together to one forum, to exchange questions, views, projects, etc.? Dare to dream.

In the meantime, we’ll be looking at these niche groups and websites. What is it they get at Harbor Freight? What do they do with the products? What, if any, innovations have sprung from their purchases? The first group we’ll start with– the Survivalists– will be explored next week.

Stay tuned!

For The Guy Who Has Everything: A Place to Put It!

You may know someone who has every tool known to man (including some old, scary things you can’t identify). Venturing into their garage is like stumbling into a flea market– their workbench, walls and drawers all cluttered with hardware– and they spend about as much time looking for tools as they do using them. OK, I wasn’t going to say it, but… yeah, I’m talking about you. It’s time to end the madness!

When toofun (forum handle) decided he had outgrown his old tool cabinet, he shared his journey for a trade-up with fellow Pro-Touring.com members:

“So I have outgrown my start-up Craftsman 26-inch double-tiered toolbox and need to get something else for my HOME GARAGE– Snap On, Husky, Matco, Cornwell, etc… all HUGE money. And then I came across the 44-inch wide multi-drawered U.S. General tool box from Harbor Freight. I know it is not professional garage mechanic quality like Snap On, but COME ON. When I saw this in person, I was very impressed with it. For the two top and bottom “middle parts” pictured below, 21 drawers and it runs $689– that’s less than HALF all the big name brands charge for a similar set-up. Anyone have one they care to comment on? They also sell the add-ons and I am considering buying the side drawer add-on for another $200 so in total I would have 28 drawers all for $889??? Am I missing something here?”

No, toofun, you’re not missing a thing. In fact, you could get the entire ensemble pictured above, out-the-door (tax included), for under $1,200! I challenge any competitor to offer as much– with the same high quality– at such a low price.

Here’s a breakdown of the individual pieces:

It wasn’t hard for toofun to make his decision:

“Yeah, on my way to buy one for sure today! Can’t beat the price and Harbor Freight is killer in the deals department. I also like the fact that they have just about everything put together and set up for customers to touch and feel. The drawers really do slide in and out with ease. I have a Craftsman box right now and I would say they slide in and out better than those do. I also saw a video on YouTube of a guy STANDING on the top drawer of the lower cabinet with the drawer full of tools! Not crazy enough to do that but I though it made a good point, even though I probably would have chosen a different way to show it!”

In the end, toofun did go for all the three pieces he had been considering: the 44″ 13-drawer tool cabinet, the top chest and the 7-drawer end cabinet.  To say he was happy with the shopping experience would be an extreme understatement:

“Well, picked up the top, bottom and side pieces today. Worked out a deal with the store and got an even better deal– PLUS, they signed me up for the Customer Rewards, or-something-like-that (Inside Track, heh-heh…) program. Basically you get coupons every week that are discounted even lower than the regular coupons they send out to the regular mailings. The discounts are on average about 10%-15% lower than what they offer the general public, so it really adds up if you buy a lot of tools. Also, I was worried about the (upcoming) sale and they said that within 45 days if I see a better price than what I got it for, to bring in my slip and they would give me the difference back! MAN, I LOVE HARBOR FREIGHT. Always liked their online store, but now that there is a physical location 2 miles from my house, it’s like going into a strip joint to see what’s new! LOL! “

I couldn’t have said it better. When it comes to tool storage and organization, there isn’t a better deal out there than the heavy-duty, industrial-quality US General series, exclusively at Harbor Freight! Come into the store like toofun did, and try the cabinets out yourself– and don’t forget the countless other deals throughout the store. You’ll love the place, too!

OC Weekly: Best Hardware Store 2012 – Harbor Freight Tools!

OC Weekly, a news publication with a readership of around a quarter-million in Orange County and Long Beach, California, just released their annual Best of 2012 issue, covering the best and brightest of local restaurants, galleries, local bands and more. This year, under of the category of Best Hardware Store, Harbor Freight Tools was the recognized favorite:

“Whenever a business advertises its opening year, it’s usually a good sign. Harbor Freight Tools has been selling to your granddaddy since 1977. The company began as a mail-order catalog and has since grown into a significant hardware retailer, with stores all over the U.S. Yet it’s not this charming attainment of the good ol’ American dream that makes Harbor Freight the best—it’s that it feels like a neighborhood store right off Main Street. It’s small enough to be manageable, but established enough to carry almost everything you need at ridiculously low prices. Need welding tools, miniature drill bits, bandsaws, jigsaws, lawn gnomes or something you never thought you needed with the American flag on it? Harbor Freight stocks it all.”

Thanks to OC Weekly and all the good people of Orange County and Long Beach who have done business with Harbor Freight!

Chevy High Performance: 13-Drawer Tool Cabinet

Opinions are like hand tools: everybody’s got them.  But while they vary when it comes to which Harbor Freight tools customers have on their wish lists, one item seems to make ALL the lists– the wildly popular US General Pro 44″ 13-Drawer Roller Cabinet.

How many times did you have a ‘honey-do’ fix, or faced a weekend auto project, and didn’t know exactly where your needed tools were? They used to be in that drawer… or was it in that one spot on the workbench? I think it’s safe to say, I’m not the only one who goes through that hellacious routine from time to time.

In the December 2012 issue of Chevy High Performance, Henry De Los Santos shared that, since his team finally graduated to a “real toolbox” (the 13-drawer cabinet), they now enjoy being able to find any particular tool right away when they need it. And since this tool cabinet is modular, he gushed, it can expand even more, with the industrial-strength US General Pro Top Chest

 

…and the super-tough 7-Drawer End Cabinet.

 Whatever your work or hobby, the US General tool cabinets and carts are the best values you’re going to find. A lot of folks try saying that about their cabinets, but they don’t quite live up to the combination of solid construction and low prices you’ll find at Harbor Freight. Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it, or even the testimony of a magazine. Just go on the site and read the dozens of reviews given by the customers who use them every day. They pretty much all say the same thing as this owner of the 13-drawer cabinet:

“I have shopped around for a new tool cabinet for quite some time, and this is by far (very far, actually) the best value I have found. The reviews confirmed what I had already seen in the stores, so buying this beauty was a no-brainer.

The cabinet is very well built, and the sheet metal is a much heavier gauge than the competition. The large top drawer and the two deep bottom drawers have a double guide set-up to carry some extra weight, which is a very nice touch when you have to store heavy tools. They’ll load it for you at the store, but you better ask a friend to come over and help you unload this sucker or you might get hurt! When I unloaded mine, I had to remove all the drawers to even be able to slide it to the tailgate.

I bought it to put my mini-mill on, and I was a bit worried about how the 44″ span above the top drawer would do with a 150 lbs mill on it. I cut a piece of 3/4″ plywood as a bench top, put the mill on it, and the cabinet didn’t budge one bit. I had planned to bolt the cabinet to the wall to make the setup more rigid, but I didn’t have to, it was solid as a rock after locking the casters. However, it does have threaded holes (for the handle) on both sides, so it would be very easy to add wall brackets if I ever decide to do so.

The handles have paper labels with plastic covers, a nice feature for us who want to keep things organized.

I’m pretty picky with everything I buy for my shop, and usually try to stick with the “pro brand” stuff. However, this cabinet blows the competition plumb out of the water. A similar unit from the big brands would run at least three times more, and would still not be the same quality. Granted, I haven’t compared with the top-of-the-line professional brands, but it sure beats everything I have found in the department stores and home improvement stores.”  TN Gunsmith

Air Supremacy

Car Craft Tackles the Central Pneumatic Air Compressor

Air tools are convenient time-savers, and can be fun when performing tasks like whizzing off lug nuts with an impact wrench. But, when doing bodywork, it’s not just convenient to have an air compressor on hand, it’s essential.

In the November 2012 issue of Car Craft, John McGann shared how, while working on a past project, his team’s home air compressor couldn’t keep up the air demands of their spray gun.

“We could spray for about a minute before the air pressure began to drop, and when that happens, the spray pattern changes and becomes inconsistent, and we’d have to stop and wait for the compressor to charge back up. When spraying a solid color enamel, painting the car panel-by-panel is possible, but metallics and pearls need to cover the car all in one coat. If not, the pattern of the effects will vary from one panel to the other.”

John concluded that, to do the job right, get the biggest air compressor you can afford.

“Compressor horsepower ratings and tank volume are good selling points, but the real spec to be concerned with is the CFM rating. This rating refers to the volume of air the compressor can deliver at a given pressure, usually 90 psi.”

Although the compressor he was using had a 9 CFM rating, it wasn’t able to maintain enough air volume and pressure to power a sander or grinder for more than 30 seconds. Because it couldn’t keep up, the pressure dropped to around 60 psi and the motor continuously kept running. Consequently, moisture from the air got into the tank and water began to spray out of the air line.

“You don’t have to know a thing about painting cars to know that water in the paint will will ruin the paint job.”

After careful research, the team decided upon the Central Pneumatic 5 Horsepower, 60 Gallon, 165 PSI Two Stage Air Compressor (the manufacturer recently changed its name from U.S. General). With a 15.8 CFM rating at 90 psi, this reliable two-piston compressor’s got capacity to spare for a pro auto paint job, where the spray gun (the most demanding air tool) usually requires 12 CFM at 45 psi for proper performance.

The Car Craft team also installed a Central Pneumatic Industrial Air Filter Regulator, which manages air pressure and separates foreign matter and water, maintaining a steady 90 psi of dry, clean air, as well as Central Pneumatic 3′ Lead Air Hose, capable of 200 psi working pressure.

Now the latest of a long list of car enthusiast magazines, Car Craft affirms the value and performance of the products at Harbor Freight Tools.

 

Auto Enthusiast: Harbor Freight Transmission Jack

In their October 2012 issue, Auto Enthusiast magazine featured a transmission upgrade for a ’68 Camaro. The new tranny, a modified T56 Magnum– called a “Tranzilla”– was converted by Rockland Standard Gear. As AE reported:

“What they do is take the Magnum from Tremec, upgrade to carbon rings on gears one through four, and slap on a Viper tail shaft.”

This conversion allows the car to run up to 1,000 lbs-ft. and 1,200 horsepower.

In the process of switching out the transmissions, the techs at Auto Enthusiast noted how pleased they were with the Central Hydraulics 450 Lb. Capacity Low Lift Transmission Jack:

“We have to wrench on our stuff just like everyone else, on the ground. We found this helpful scissor transmission jack at Harbor Freight for $65. Trust us, it was the best $65 we ever spent. It made this job almost too easy.” (from slide #4 on the article)

It should be noted that the $65 price came with the use of a Harbor Freight 20% coupon– so make sure to clip one of those before you shop!

The 450 lb. transmission jack is perfect for removing trannies on small-to-mid vehicles. Riding on smooth, easily-maneuverable 3″ swivel casters, this tough jack was forged for rough, long-term use in the shop or garage. The saddle tilts for easy positioning during repair, making it the right tool for any professional auto garage or hobbyist.

And while you’re at it, pick up your copy of the October 2012 Auto Enthusiast and check out that great article, Bang, Shift, Zoom about the transmission switch.

Truckin’ Magazine: The Ultimate Work Truck– with Harbor Freight Tools

The Ultimate Work Truck Stocks Up on Harbor Freight Tools

If you thought “ultimate work truck,” how do you envision it might be outfitted? The staff at Truckin’ magazine recently took up that challenge, and in their October and November 2012 issues ran a 2-part series on creating the “Ultimate Ford F-150 Work Truck”– with a little help from Harbor Freight Tools!

Taking a 2012 F-150 SuperCab in Part 1, they installed a cool bed slide, a monster ladder rack (capable of holding 1,000 lbs) and a sweet commercial-grade diamond-plate toolbox.

In Part 2, they went on a shopping spree at Harbor Freight Tools and picked up a Predator 4000 Watt Portable Generator– to which they installed a shock/motion-activated alarm in the back of the truck, lest any covetous individuals think bad thoughts– a 17 Ft. Type 1A Multi-Task Ladder as well as a full stock of tools for the toolbox:

Then to fortify their heavily-equipped new rig, they installed a ladder lock, and secured the toolbox and everything else with a myriad of cables and locks, including the hitch. The end result: a “certifiable worksite on wheels.”

Take a peek at Truckin’ magazine’s drool-inducing articles– with lots of pics– and while you’re at it, check out the low prices and great reviews of the aforementioned tools on Harbor Freight’s website!

A Gun Gal’s Review of the Dual Rock Tumbler

Last month I compared different methods for cleaning used gun cartridges (“Cleaning Brass: Tumbler, Ultrasonic, or… Cement Mixer?” Jul 25, 2012)  that are practiced out there, and pretty much left it up to the reader to decide which one would be best for them. Well, I recently came across this video made by “GalsnGuns” that she admits is a “novice review of the Harbor Freight Dual Drum Rotary Rock Tumbler.”

I was really impressed by how she took us with her on her journey, experimenting with media, cleaner, different caliber shells and other things to get the best performance out of her tumbler. Her video– which is almost 8-1/2 minutes long– made a believer out of me that the Chicago Electric dual rock tumbler is a solid contender for cleaning gun brass.

A DIY reloader of .38, .357, 9 mm, .223, .556, .45 ACP, .44 magnum, 7.62 x 39 and 7.62 x 54, GalsnGuns has her work cut out for her, so– as she puts it, “first things first”– making sure she uses ready-clean shells is of the utmost imporatance.

Check out her video, and while you’re at it, take a look at the incredibly low-priced single and dual drum rock tumblers on HarborFreight.com, read the reviews and see if this sounds like just the ticket for you.

 

Harbor Freight does not endorse any other business or organization or any technique in any customer video or blog post. Always follow all of the instructions and warnings included with our products. Harbor Freight makes no representation or warranty of any kind by including the information on this website.

Haul-Master Utility Trailers Get a Lotta Love

If there’s anything I learned about Harbor Freight customers, it’s that they’ve got a lot of stuff to haul. A utility trailer is worth its weight in load—and Haul-Master’s been the go-to vehicle for years.

Foldable– AND Brawny!

I was curious why customers were so sweet on the Haul-Master utility trailers. I mean, it’s not like there’s a shortage of other brands. The first thing that caught my attention was all the noise about their durability. Talking about the 1195 lb. Capacity 48”x96” Foldable Utility Trailer (#90154), for instance—

 One guy said: “I bought this trailer about 8 years ago and have abused it without mercy during that period. I estimate it conservatively has about 7000 miles on it now. The longest single trip being around 1000 miles carrying a 2500 lb load…”

Another added, Having just returned from a 5,000 mile trip carting a 500# motorcycle without any problems……THIS LITTLE TRAILER is AWESOME.” (caps included).

And the comments just kept on coming.

When choosing a utility trailer, consider the space it’ll take up at the house. In some areas they don’t like it when you park it on the front yard, driveway or street (the neighbors might think it’s an eye sore– there’s no accounting for taste). But the nice thing about the 1195 lb. trailer, you can just fold it and lay it flat against the garage wall, or out back, and it takes up next-to-no room! And, whether it’s a full-size Harley, a power washer, a half-ton of top soil or a teardrop trailer, the formidable 1195 lb. Capacity Foldable Utility Trailer will take it on, and give you years of reliable service.

Solid Super Duty

If you prefer an un-foldable utility trailer, but still want the heavy load capacity, the 1720 lb. 48”x96” Super Duty (#94564) is just the ticket.

Able to take on everything the foldable trailer does—and more!—the Super Duty is a favorite among ATV, quad and kayak junkies (as well as others) ‘cause it’s lightweight, durable and it’ll tilt to the ground nicely for loading and unloading. One happy owner raved, “I have had one of these for almost 7 years and I love it. I’ve gotten so much use out of it, it’s paid for itself tenfold, at least.”

Another reported, “This is my fourth trailer. I have not worn one out yet but seem to give them away to the family. The one my son has is about 8-yrs old and still kicking.”

Point being, it’s a tough little sucker.

As with others, by adding your own planking to the 5-lug Super Duty, you’ve just created a heavy-duty cargo trailer, ready for anything. Head on over to your local home improvement store and get the thickest pressure-treated decking you can find. This type’s best ‘cause it’s got factory-injected water repellant,– which is up to eight times better than the surface-applied repellant—and they make awesome planking.

Because both the Foldable and Super Duty trailers sport 12” wheels, they’re great for camping trips– even spots that take you off-road—as well as transporting & launching small boats and jet skis. The trailer is fine going into salt water; just be sure to hose it off with fresh water when you get home. The 12 inches also provide a greater load-carrying capacity.

The Mighty Mini

If either one of those utility trailers is too large for your needs, Harbor Freight has smaller models to accommodate you. The 1090 lb. 40-1/2” x 48” Mini Utility Trailer (#90153) is every bit as rugged and reliable as the foldable and Super Duty models,…

…but also has the advantage of being able to brave narrow trails and smaller roadways. “I’ve had one of these for many years now,” bragged one traveler. “It always towed straight and true.”

Bikers like this trailer, too– not only to haul their motorcycles, but also to pull cargo behind their rides.  One biker told us, “Went over 3K miles on one trip. I highly recommend this to pull behind a motorcycle…” The Mini’s light, durable frame also makes it ideal for pulling behind smaller vehicles, and its space-efficient size allows it to fit nicely in the back of the garage.

 And More…

Utility trailer love spreads thick over other models as well. “This thing towed beautifully, solid sturdy and straight… What a great little trailer!” said one owner about his 870 lb. 40”x49” Utility Trailer (#42708).

Another shared this amazing story about the 950 lb. 4’x8’Foldable Utility Trailer (#42709): “Bought this trailer from the original owner who’s had it approximately 20 years” (underline added).

I have to add, I was also impressed with the countless ways customers made use of their utility trailers: besides the methods already mentioned, I read about dump runs, moving furniture, picking up lumber, pulling behind a garden tractor; hauling lawn mowers, sod, refrigerators, wood pellets, mulch, scuba gear, dog kennels, building materials, race tires, jacks, tools, luggage, sheetrock, DJ gear– even making campers out of them!

 Last—and definitely not least—buyers couldn’t say enough about what a great value the HFT trailers are. Time and again, I kept seeing, “the best utility trailer for the price!” No argument here.