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Old 09-05-2010, 11:41 PM   #1
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Default Harbor Freight Win-or-Fail Thread

Anyone interested in a Harbor Freight win-or-fail a.k.a hit-or-miss thread? Most of us are cheap bastards and a lot of us shop at HF so why not document it for the rest.

Please include the part number so that if a hot link breaks later on, it can still be identified.

I'll start off...

Win - Grassroots Motorsports and (I think) Popular Mechanics always have a 20% off coupon in the back of each issue. The great thing about this coupon is it also applies to sale items.

Last edited by ZX-Tex; 09-05-2010 at 11:54 PM.
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Old 09-05-2010, 11:46 PM   #2
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Win
13 Drawer Red Industrial Quality Roller Cabinet
ITEM # 90320
MANUFACTURER: U.S. GENERAL
Current sale price $369


I bought mine a few months ago on sale with the coupon so out the door with tax it was about $350. That is a steal IMO for this thing. It is huge for a home tool box and holds a lot of stuff. Ball bearing slides are nice, and it has decent wheels so it rolls around easily even when loaded. Take a truck or a trailer if you buy one. The crate is large and in my case was loaded (by HF staff) with a fork lift.

The only thing about it I do not like are the drawer mats. They are slick and hand tools slide around too easily. This can be fixed with some better matting.

Last edited by ZX-Tex; 09-06-2010 at 12:15 AM.
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Old 09-05-2010, 11:51 PM   #3
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Fail
4.5" Angle Grinder (120V).
ITEM # 95578
MANUFACTURER: DRILL MASTER
Current price $10 (overpriced)


I bought this and got about 2 hours of use out of it. The first set of brushes melted down while using a flapper wheel on some steel. I replaced the brushes, even bought spares, then one of the winding wires inside of the grinder overheated and failed like a fuse. I disassembled it to find the failure mode and promptly threw it in the trash. I have read elsewhere to stay away from the 'blue' grinders so that is consistent with my experience.

I since bought a different 4.5" angle grinder that was on sale.
ITEM # 91223 MANUFACTURER: CHICAGO ELECTRIC POWER TOOLS
It has an orange case. So far so good, though I am not ready to give it a win yet.
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:00 AM   #4
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harbor freight wobble extension set. 70% WIN, 30% FAIL



The 1/4" extensions all broke pretty much on first use.

The 3/8" extensions when all stacked shortest to longest and on the end of my other standard long extension make removing the tranny bolts on a miata SUPER EASY.

Not bad for 11.99 but it appears they now make a 3/8 impact wobble extension set for 7.99.

oh and regarding the angle grinder, I just bought a miluakee the first time and it's awesome. probably way quieter than the harbor freight ones too.
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:01 AM   #5
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Win (mostly)
3 HP, 21 Gallon, 120 Volt 115 PSI Cast Iron Vertical Air Compressor
ITEM # 94667
MANUFACTURER: CENTRAL PNEUMATIC
Current Price $130


I bought this when I was about to do a large job, like an engine pull or something, and was tired of not having air tools. I did not expect it to last very long but figured if I got a decent amount of use out of it for awhile, why not at the price? Well I have had it for over a year now and have run it for many, many, many hours. I definitely got my money out of this unit and it is still going strong.

Some things I do not like about it:
1. It is noisy, but all cheap portable compressors like this one are noisy.
2. The wheels were ****. I had to replace them.
3. The pressure regulator is not very good. It does not flow well. I replaced it with an ingersoll-rand dryer/regulator i picked up at Northern Tool. Much better.
4. The condensation drain is hard to use. I replaced it with a 90 deg fitting, some piping, and a 1/4 turn ball valve, about $10 worth of stuff if that. Now it is easy to drain.
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:03 AM   #6
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I get a lot of **** at my job (auto tech) for shopping the "freight". I usually have great luck with their hand and air tools. While most of my stuff is mac or matco, lately i've been buying more and more from HF.

Here's an example-I was shopping a air powered disc grinder for cleaning off old gaskets. Mac wanted $135 for theirs plus $20 for the arbor. I bought one at HF for $7.99 and picked up an arbor for $6. I've been using it for 3yrs with no issues, it even has a grease fitting on the head! I also picked up a HF cutoff wheel for $10 bucks and that sucker works better than my bosses matco one.

I figure I save a least a grand a year shopping there first before hitting up the tool trucks.

One thing I won't buy from HF is an impact gun, those suckers have no *****! I won't buy a box either. While they're fine for home use, most customers don't want to see there car being worked on by a guy pulling tools out of a US general box.
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:07 AM   #7
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Win
1/2" 'Earthquake' Impact Wrench
ITEM # 2623
MANUFACTURER: CENTRAL PNEUMATIC EARTHQUAKE
Current Price $90


For $90 this unit definitely does the job. It has busted loose several large thread, rusted-to-crap bolts, and takes off wheel lug nuts like they are nothing. The power adjuster and reverser switch can be hard to move around but otherwise it works fine. It is capable of splitting standard sockets so impact sockets are a good idea.

I had a silver bodied $25 HF impact wrench before this one and it is worthless. Really, don't even bother. I still have it, don't know why, might make a nice hammer someday
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:10 AM   #8
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HF electric impact. Epic epic fail. I bought this to remove flywheel bolts. It half removed one before it bit the dust.

HF lowspeed heavy duty drill. WIN. I have used this thing for hours and hours and it never fails, and drills through anything. I bought it for 30 dollars on the display table (unpacked but still new.) I had to buy a chuck key from lowes for 6 bucks.






Edit: These were also a failure. These damn things twisted every which way when i tried to use them, and eventually broke in half.


Last edited by chicksdigmiatas; 09-06-2010 at 12:28 AM.
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZX-Tex View Post
Fail
4.5" Angle Grinder (120V).
ITEM # 95578
MANUFACTURER: DRILL MASTER
Current price $10 (overpriced)


I bought this and got about 2 hours of use out of it. The first set of brushes melted down while using a flapper wheel on some steel. I replaced the brushes, even bought spares, then one of the winding wires inside of the grinder overheated and failed like a fuse. I disassembled it to find the failure mode and promptly threw it in the trash. I have read elsewhere to stay away from the 'blue' grinders so that is consistent with my experience.
LOL, when I saw the title to this thread, I was going to put this up as a fail. Mine ran for 30 seconds, smoked and stopped.
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZX-Tex View Post
Win
1/2" 'Earthquake' Impact Wrench
ITEM # 2623
MANUFACTURER: CENTRAL PNEUMATIC EARTHQUAKE
Current Price $90


For $90 this unit definitely does the job. It has busted loose several large thread, rusted-to-crap bolts, and takes off wheel lug nuts like they are nothing. The power adjuster and reverser switch can be hard to move around but otherwise it works fine. It is capable of splitting standard sockets so impact sockets are a good idea.

I had a silver bodied $25 HF impact wrench before this one and it is worthless. Really, don't even bother. I still have it, don't know why, might make a nice hammer someday
Never seen that one?

I just bought this one to replace my old IR 231 classic. About a pound lighter and packs 800lbft reverse and 650lbft forward. Works awesome, i'm just afraid to drop it.
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Old 09-06-2010, 01:38 AM   #11
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My $10 angle grinder (orange case) does all my cutting, and completely restored my motorcycle, which took a lot of grinding, sanding, and cutting. It's lasted at least 3 years, + or - a year. Still going strong with no signs of stopping.

I've been looking at their $60 aluminum racing jack to get under my car now that it's too low for my standard jack, and it'll go higher.
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Old 09-06-2010, 01:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curly View Post
My $10 angle grinder (orange case) does all my cutting, and completely restored my motorcycle, which took a lot of grinding, sanding, and cutting. It's lasted at least 3 years, + or - a year. Still going strong with no signs of stopping.

I've been looking at their $60 aluminum racing jack to get under my car now that it's too low for my standard jack, and it'll go higher.
If you're talking about the blue one, it's well worth it.
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Old 09-06-2010, 02:06 AM   #13
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+1. Blue jack and protection plan. I had one replaced already, the second seems to be holding up well. All the broken one really needed was some new E clips, but I didn't want to mess with it.
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Old 09-06-2010, 02:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZX-Tex View Post
Win (mostly)
3 HP, 21 Gallon, 120 Volt 115 PSI Cast Iron Vertical Air Compressor
ITEM # 94667
MANUFACTURER: CENTRAL PNEUMATIC
Current Price $130


I bought this when I was about to do a large job, like an engine pull or something, and was tired of not having air tools. I did not expect it to last very long but figured if I got a decent amount of use out of it for awhile, why not at the price? Well I have had it for over a year now and have run it for many, many, many hours. I definitely got my money out of this unit and it is still going strong.

Some things I do not like about it:
1. It is noisy, but all cheap portable compressors like this one are noisy.
2. The wheels were ****. I had to replace them.
3. The pressure regulator is not very good. It does not flow well. I replaced it with an ingersoll-rand dryer/regulator i picked up at Northern Tool. Much better.
4. The condensation drain is hard to use. I replaced it with a 90 deg fitting, some piping, and a 1/4 turn ball valve, about $10 worth of stuff if that. Now it is easy to drain.
bot one when they had them for same price for the 4th of july, i am pleased
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Old 09-06-2010, 09:31 AM   #15
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Win
Horizontal/Vertical Metal Cutting Bandsaw
ITEM # 93762
MANUFACTURER: CENTRAL MACHINERY


For the price it sure is great having a vertical band saw which is all I have used it for so far. It cuts well and is relatively quiet. So far I have cut tubing, pipes, angle iron, and 1/8" plate, all in aluminum and steel. No problems. It pummels a hack saw.

The things I do not like:
1. The brackets that holds the wheels for rolling it around are ****. The brackets just bend and then the wheels no longer work. I do not move it around much so I have not fixed this yet.
2. The blade it comes with is not very good. Get a bimetal blade the second you buy this saw. 64.5" IIRC.
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Old 09-06-2010, 09:38 AM   #16
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Fail
8" Three-Jaw Puller
ITEM # 40970
MANUFACTURER: PITTSBURGH


I bought this to remove a stubborn axle from a wheel hub (Miata) and it failed in just a few seconds. One of the six plates that attach the jaw to the center portion snapped at the bolt hole. It is sitting on the floor under the bench waiting for repair. Now granted I was using an impact on it, and this particular axle would just not separate from the hub (penetrant, heat, pounding, blah blah) so it could have just been a case of a stoppable force meeting an immovable object. Whatever. It broke.
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Old 09-06-2010, 10:38 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by ZX-Tex View Post
^^^This is one of my favorite new tools. Picked up their impact socket and impact u-joint, and it all works nicely together.

Fail
Abrasive Blast Cabinet
ITEM # 42202
MANUFACTURER: Central Pneumatic
Current price $119


Comes nearly fully assembled, which I thought was nice. The included blast gun made a fantastic paperweight, but it never pulled a grain of sand through the hose. The 3 included plastic sheets to protect the inside of the glass were enough to do about one small part each. The glass should be annealed to make it a little harder, and more resistant to abrasion. After I replaced the blast gun with another I had laying around, It shoots pretty well. I also covered the inside of the glass with wide clear tape and just replace a strip of tape or two when I need to see again. After use, sand dust covers EVERYTHING within a 10 foot radius.
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Old 09-06-2010, 11:54 AM   #18
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WIN
ball joint tool. simple, just where eye protection an put a rag or something over the ball joint to act as anet. When it pops, it really goes.

Bench top drill press.

disc brake caliper tool kit, works well, it's the same one that autozone rents

FAIL
Wrenches: they start to bend under load and they don't seem to grip a nut that is slightly worn.
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:05 PM   #19
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Transmission Jack: Full of Win

I have used it on a dozen plus clutch jobs and it always makes life easier. Well worth the $40 I spent on it.
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Old 09-06-2010, 01:33 PM   #20
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Best thread ever, i need a trans jack now.
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