Harbor Freight - Gems and Junk

Shop, Garage and Tools

  1. kevindahle

    kevindahle Well-Known Member

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    Not automotive but this power snake I bought worked great and it was cheaper than calling the plumber on a holiday!
     

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  2. Revhendo

    Revhendo Master ACME Tech

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    Funny you mention the welding wire. I was warned away as it being made in China. Well, I checked my Hobart roll and it was made in Italy. I looked at a roll of Lincoln wire at the shop, it was made in Italy. (The other was made in Mexico). I bought a ball joint press kit and was looking at the mig wire, it is made in Italy. Did some internet hunting and it appears that the Italian MIG wire at HF is made in the same plant as the Lincoln and Hobart stuff.

    Oh, and I just bought the HF 1000 lbs engine stand and it works great. (I swapped out the bolts for grade 8 hardware, though.

    Funny story.
    I had a local auto chain store here advertising a AC Delco storable engine hoist for about $350. I showed them a HF ad for a similar folding engine hoist for much less and actually got them to price match it.

    The Delco one is way beefier.......
     
  3. JoesEdge

    JoesEdge Well-Known Member

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    I have some HF .030 MIG wire in my Lincoln. I don't like it. The arc isn't the same as Lincoln wire. It just doesn't spark up the same. Seems to burn quicker. The beads don't look right. Since I'm not using it for making anything that's life threatening then it's no big deal, but I'm not buying it again.
     
  4. jimharvard

    jimharvard JimHarvard FABO Gold Member

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    i get the HF "newspaper" tool advertisment and usually find 5-10 "low tech" items that i stop by and pick up. my rule for HF stuff is simple - how complacated is the item? anything that usually has more than a few moving parts i stay away from. also, the steel in all the items is inferior and of low strength so i don't buy anything there that i would rely upon the tensil strength of the item. i do have a "wish list" of simple items that i plan on buying from HF - the basic shop press, the metal brake bending tool, a number of simple specialized hand tools, wheel casters, etc. i will say that i bought the wheeled red and chrome single drawer tool cart and it is actually a very nice item.
     
  5. Revhendo

    Revhendo Master ACME Tech

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    I've heard this, too. I'm still on the fence. I was gonna pick up some Miller or Lincoln .030 to compare to the HF stuff I just got. (I just moved up from the .023 Hobart for a different project).

    The welding cart I got for like forty bucks a couple of years ago is holding up well, though....
     
  6. 63VALIANT*KISS

    63VALIANT*KISS Well-Known Member

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    cut off grinder good.....da grinder it was the 30$ one good........my angle grinder electric has lasted me over 5yrs...my wlder has been great to me aswell....the $20 heat gun is terrable
     
  7. JoesEdge

    JoesEdge Well-Known Member

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    My Harbor Freight Luck...

    The good:
    1. Pneumatic Angle Grinder
    2. Step drill bits
    3. Jigsaw
    4. 1/2" Variable Speed Drill

    The bad:
    1. Black 4.5" Grinders - burnt out in less than a day
    2. Tube Notcher - bushing block made out of pot metal and saw rod is not aligned
    3. Pneumatic body saw - makes noise but doesn't really cut. Maybe it's only for super-dooper thin metal
     
  8. 69383valiant

    69383valiant Not renewing gold membership

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    Bought the disposable electric chainsaw got it for 46 bucks. Already cut a few trees up with. So far so good...
     
  9. tmj91

    tmj91 member 10,000

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    If anyone needs welding wire, just go to your local Welding supply store. Youll get it cheaper than Harbor Freight and itll be way better.
     
  10. siuauto

    siuauto Well-Known Member

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    As a former technician and now a hobbiest my view has changed. The majority of my tools are snap on and Mac but I have to say I have been happy with some of the stuff from harbor freight.

    Good
    Spot weld cutter (didn't last but they are cheep enough to justify)
    220v plasma (paid for itself with one job)
    Electric sheet metal sheers
    Throatless sheer
    Sheet metal break
    Parts washer
    Dial indicator

    Bad
    Cut off wheel
    Drill bits
    Flap wheels
    Air sheet metal flanger/punch
    All sockets and wrenches ( I did not buy but know someone who has
    T gage set
     
  11. zkx14

    zkx14 Duster De-ruster FABO Gold Member

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    I've got lots of stuff from HF, but these are really great to have around. Saves a lot of time sorting through hardware. Dump in tray, find what you need and funnel corner lets you dump it right back in the container. Recently got a second one so I could keep one downstairs and one in the garage. $2.99
     

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  12. Revhendo

    Revhendo Master ACME Tech

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    I was just at Home Depot and looking at the Lincoln mig wire. I was there for steel wool, but this thread had me thinking. 2 rolls had spots on them like they were rusting. I had heard that before and actually had seen brown spots on flux core wire at HF. Maybe quality can be sort of a crap shoot at times. I'm gonna have to find another local welding supply seeing how I don't work buy the one I was using anymore.

    I've had good luck with the 3" Rol-Loc scotch bright pads at HF.
     
  13. roadrunnerh

    roadrunnerh Well-Known Member

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    The HF MIG wire is made in Italy, just like the other brands. Don't waste your money.
     
  14. 67 prostreet gt

    67 prostreet gt Well-Known Member

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    Most if the tools I drag with me to the track for my atv's were bought at harbor freight and they all work excellent even after years of rattling around in a tool box from track to track and years of wrenching on cars especially the race jack I never will buy another kind of jack cause this one is awesome

    Posted via Topify using iPhone/iPad
     
  15. grimreaper

    grimreaper Cross Member

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    It seems as though the Harbor freight stuff is just kind of a crapshoot on quality. I've had quite a few different items fro HF as my wifes grandfather liked to give me stuff from there for Christmas presents.
    I bought one of the aluminum jacks several years ago and it worked a couple of times and then would leak down as fast as it pumped up. I swore I would never buy another but Grandad found out my jack was broke and bought me one just like it as a gift and it has worked extremely well for years. I had similar luck with one of their 4-1/2 grinders. A couple of uses before the guts grenaded. The second one has worked as well as my old Milwaukee. A chop saw was a one time use deal before it melted down. I have a dust collector in my woodworking area and it works very well aside from a switch replacement.
    Some stuff is pure junk, anything abrasive, saw blades and drill bits, air couplers, welding wire, etc so I do not even consider those items. I do use some of their wrenches and sockets as my carry along stuff in my cars and they seem to be fairly decent. So my thought is that if it is something I would be upset over if it doesn't work more than once I don't buy it and if it continues to work I am pleasantly surprised!
     
  16. SRT_DSTR15

    SRT_DSTR15 Well-Known Member

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    Got my Impact for 40 haha. Their cut off wheel is OK until the lock button breaks :(
     
  17. SRT_DSTR15

    SRT_DSTR15 Well-Known Member

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    Things I have bought:
    Grinder was OK until lock button broke.
    Paint mask with dual filters worked well.
    HVLP gun kit, came with big and small gun. The big gun worked well for primer.
    Dust masks HORRIBLE
    The rubber gloves I love.
    Impact wrench works well.
    I have their brake cailper piston tool, but have not used yet.
    AAA batteries
    Spray paint
    Wire wheel kits I like a lot
    Spot weld cutter tool works for short while.
    Cut off wheels disintegrate quickly or the metal centers come off and they start to spin freely.
    The Cherry picker worked the one time I used it.
     
  18. roadrunnerh

    roadrunnerh Well-Known Member

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  19. ESP47

    ESP47 Well-Known Member

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    Their 20 ton press works fine and the pitman arm puller holds up pretty well.

    Anything that can be attached to a grinder or anything that has teeth should be avoided. That stuff gets worn out after just a couple uses.
     
  20. Jo Diesel

    Jo Diesel My other car is a Dodge

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    [​IMG]
    Just bought this and sharpened 4 chains and works like a champ. The bicycle brake that clamps the chain is slicker than snot
     
  21. DaveBonds

    DaveBonds Garage Trash

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    Shattered the cast blocks on the 10 ton press. Look out for that.

    Creepers are too weak for me, but I'm 6'5" 210. They tend to split on the mold line.

    Jaw pullers are sketchy, broke the steel link that connects the cast jaw to the center. Could probably be modified with better steel arms.

    Impact guns work, but they are weaker than you want them to be. They won't touch anything around 130+ ft lbs

    Don't bother with the air hammer. They may have improved, but I tried 3 of them and got bypass/ hissing with no hammer action on the trigger, out of the box

    blasting cabinet is wicked. Beat the snot out of it with heavy garnet, down to glass bead. Get a better gun and gloves, when they go out, from a supplier. I use a roll of acetate and masking tape, with a board template to cut window protectors for the view and light. Get two buckets with a lid, cut the lid and glue a doubled up metal screen to clean the media. Also, get an air line dryer and put it lower than the media sump on the side of the cabinet, to keep from clogging the gun with wet media.

    3/4 hp bench grinder is weaker than advertised. I'd be curious to measure amps, because I don't think it's even close. We use one for a polisher and it cuts slow, so we put the light rouges on it. It might do better with stone wheels that help keep inertia.

    Cutoff wheels and consumables are good.

    I've had good luck with the titanium bits, they also sell cobalt bits that are even stronger, but I'm really nice to my drill bits and oil them when I cut hard/ rusted metal or chuck them in a press. I had a full 30pc set for 3 years, until my boss and his dad got a hold of them and ate them like candy in minutes on a crooked drill on a broken stud. You should be using cobalt for that kind of work, anyway.

    I'll try their cobalt bits next time. If they behave well, like the titanium ones, I'm willing to bet that they will fare good when oiled.

    Quite honestly, my boss blamed the bits. He bought a $250 set of 40 from a tool guy and none of them are sharp after 6 months. People really underestimate oil on drill bits. Even some penetrating spray helps when cutting sheet metal.

    We have a chop saw from HF at the shop. Same story as the bench grinder. Works, but it's weak.

    I'm not against buying electrical tools from them, but anything with an expensive winding in them, they seriously cut down on copper to save money. Welders, electric motors, etc. Just know that you're getting an entry level/ hobby/ occasional use tool out of anything with an electric coil in it from them.

    It doesn't really matter where a tool is made, or rather, what company it comes from. The manufacturing process and quality control is so all over the map, even with companies like Lincoln Electric, Craftsman and even Snap-On, that you can't trust a name or place of manufacturing anymore.

    The best thing you can do, if you plan on purchasing a piece of equipment that is either expensive, and/ or will be used heavily, is to look into product support from the company and look on sites that offer reviews, like cnet and Amazon. Sometimes the parent company will offer tool reviews on the site. HF has a great review log.
     
  22. roadrunnerh

    roadrunnerh Well-Known Member

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    Which Impact gun did you use? I have the Earthquake 1/2" gun and it's real powerful....
     
  23. DaveBonds

    DaveBonds Garage Trash

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    It was the low end 1/2" drive. The one that gets put on special at times. Chicago? No idea. I took it back after using it once, so I don't remember the brand name they were using, but it was the cheap one. They work on lugnuts, etc, but it was useless on a harmonic balancer.
     
  24. moparmat2000

    moparmat2000 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    the air angle die grinders. i keep a cutoff wheel on one, and a scotchbright roloc mandrel on the other. at $15 each i use em every day at work, and have a set at home in the shop. get the ones that have the bronse bushing pressed in the main housing as a guide for the throttle pin. i have seen em with just a hole bored in the aluminum housing those are no good.

    i get about 3 to 5 years out of em, and when the bevel gears give up the ghost, i unthread my fittings, and my mandrels, and pitch em into the scrap bucket.

    also love my HF chop saw. yes it doesnt have the oomph that the makita at my work has, but for home use its plenty fine. just gotta go easy with it. but its better than using a hacksaw.
     
  25. 66durgederp

    66durgederp "pull hard, itll come easy"

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    most of what Ive purchased was more storage/light duty use items than more important items, besides my fold-up cherry picker, which has removed and installed over 10 engines, what i can recollect and not counting how many times ive loaned it out, the smallest being a 250 chev, my 318/904 combo in the dart, my 400 in the chrysler, a jeep 360, and 401 (twice), 327 chev, ford 300-6, ford 302 (2 different ones) ford 351, and a 460. hasnt winced or even bled off a single bit. its been very very very reliable. yes, im honestly surprised. I bought the us general side cabinet and modified it for my costco CSPS box, the metal is thicker than the CSPS box, and it uses the EXACT same roller tracks for the drawers as the CSPS box and craftsman boxes, theyre very smooth, and havent given me any fits for 5+ years of moderate use. Obviously if these were being used day in and day out they probably wouldnt last long, but theyre not, and Im pleased with it. The 4-way chuck works great when the 1/16th inch thick crappy paint is removed, then it actually fits chucks. the ALUMINUM seal driver set works awesome, the metal framed creeper, not bad, however the casters, COMPLETE CRAP!!! the pneumatic stool, not too shabby, the 30ft. air compressor hose (goodyear hose, for what its worth) been working great for years, mityvac brake bleeder kit, exact same one i sell at NAPA, under half the price, framing square, it does framing square stuffs real good haha. roll punch set, does ok, except mine separated the handle from the punch, no big deal, they still do the task at hand.
     
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