Odds are there isn't a hot rodder alive who hasn't wandered out into his garage and used a standard socket on the end of his impact wrench. Wrong! There are two ways to do anything: the right way or again. Let's face it, an impact wrench, and proper extensions and sockets, can really lessen the effort and time—and both are really good tools.

The Eastwood Tool Company offers a wide assortment of air-driven impact tools but the latest addition is a 50-piece starter air tool kit (PN 30165) that's highlighted by a 1/2-inch impact wrench, 3/8-inch drive air ratchet, air hammer, and many accessories. To the major components there are other useful accessories, such as three-piece 125mm round chisels, 9-27mm 1/2-inch impact sockets, a 3/8-inch and 1/2-inch drive 3-inch bar extension, one-piece spring retainer, five male couplers, one female coupler, a roll of Teflon tape, an air gun along with a rubber nozzle, safety nozzle, and a high-pressure nozzle. To this there is the always-handy inflation needle (all the kids' toys and your floating raft), a 5/32-inch Allen wrench, a ball foot air chuck, an air blowgun adaptor, and a tape nozzle. There are also several female and male hose connectors in 1/4 inch to 1/4 inch along with a 1/4-inch male to female nipple. Additionally there's an oil pot, mini oiler, swivel hose connector, dual foot tire gauge, a screwdriver bit holder, and six 1/4-inch hex drive bits all kept in a handy traveling case. As with any tool it's always a good idea to round up accessories to fully benefit from the tool's versatility.

We took a trip to Hot Rods by Dean (HRD) in Phoenix where our 2014 AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour 1959 Chevy is under construction. Here we checked in with Dru Beeler of HRD and checked out The Eastwood Company 50-piece air starter tool kit. What we found was that the kit really does get you started.

First some background on air tools. An impact wrench is a socket wrench power tool designed to deliver high torque output. All the while keeping the user's efforts to a minimum and speeding up the work process.

Sockets and extensions for impact wrenches are made of high-tensile metal. The use of a "lighter" tensile metal will create a spring effect, thereby lessening the available torque. Using non-impact sockets or accessories with an impact wrench will often result in bending, fracturing, or otherwise damaging the socket or even an extension, as most are not capable of withstanding the sudden high torque of an impact tool, and can result in stripping the head on the fastener. Non-impact sockets and accessories are made of a harder, more brittle metal. That's reason not to use your standard sockets but probably won't stop many of us when in a rush to grab a standard socket and stick it on the end of the impact. Another way to lose the effectiveness of the impact is to use multiple extensions, universal joints, and other accessories as it will lessen the available torque.

Impact wrenches are often misused by those who don't know about their special needs. First of all, it is very important for the user to be careful when tightening a nut or bolt. Cross threading can occur quickly and easily and should you not be well versed in the use of an impact it is extremely easy (and fast) to over-torque (tighten) a bolt or a nut if you aren't familiar with the dos and don'ts. A way to prevent cross threading or over tightening is to hand-tighten the desired nuts and bolts before jumping on them with an impact. These impacts are not torque controlled, meaning they will stop when a specified torque is reached. Since this is the case, you will need to proceed slowly and at predetermined intervals check the torque value reached. Because of the speed an impact works you can over tighten quickly and easily so the rule here is to go slowly and carefully. Here is an excellent example of where nothing replaces experience. As you use your impact more and more you will become familiar with the "feel" and as such avoid all of the undesirable endings.

With impact in hand and the other accessories provided in the Eastwood starter kit it is a good idea. An impact wrench also requires a few special accessories. An air-powered model runs off of an air compressor with a tank; the air compressor should have at least a 10-gallon tank and be able to generate at least 3 hp. Another good idea is a water collector (separator) to remove moisture that develops in the tank and is transferred through the line into the gun.

Eastwood Tech Tip:

Eastwood's self-etch primer is one of the best primer/adhesion promoters for bare aluminum. If you're fabricating with aluminum panels and you're going to paint them, you must use this primer to assure adhesion.

Hot Rods By Dean
1 West Lone Cactus Drive
AZ  85027
Eastwood Company
263 Shoemaker Road
PA  19464