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Impact wrench

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Here is a dummy one. I think (or rather I know now) that my trusty Everlast torque wrench is off, by a lot. I guess Everlast don't quite, if you get my drift.

Anyway, I got a Dewalt 18V impact driver rated max ouput of 300 ftlbs. Wanted to get the wheels off quicker for maintenance. But when I got it home, with a fresh battery, it would not budge any lug bolts. Went next for an pneumatic one, 350 ft lbs, same issue. Slowmo me then remembered taking off the bolts last time, using my 16 in breaker bar, I use most of my 240 lbs to get them off. Duh!!

So my 94 ftlbs mark on my wrench HAS to be wrong. I replaced my bolts using the Dewalt impact wrench, then tested when I can get the wrench to click, and it was around 55 ftlbs. This is for the impact wrench rated to 300 ftlbs, brand new. Same for the pneumatic.

So, my questions is, has anyone else have similar experience, and how bad have I been messing my wheel bolts? It just seems like with the impact wrenches, the bolts can be removed so much easier, I worry about them falling off.

Thanks in advance.


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Another experiment, Had my 89 lb son stand on exactly 12 in on the breaker bar to lock the bolt. I meaured with a new torque wrench with an indicator and it was around 90 ft lbs. Neither impact wrench would remove the bolt.

Used both wrenches to lock bolts, and used my son on the breaker bar to loosen the bolt, he didn't have to stand on the breaker bar completely to get the bolt loose.

I am know confused :huh:

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What type of pneumatic impact wrench? I have run into similar confusing scenarios with lugs on 1 ton truck wheels.

I had to pony up for the high dollar pneumatic (like $300 or so) to get anything to work. Even though the expensive 1 claimed to have the same lbft capacity as the cheap 1, it broke the lugs loose 1st try. I think the way the manufacturers rate their max torque is kinda arbitrary (not unlike how a Wal Mart car amplifier will claim to have 1000 watts, yet produce far less power than a 150 watt high end amp).

Just my 2 cents....

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Here is what I have so far. The Max Torque is what is claimed by the manufacturer:

"Maximum torque is the number most often given by manufacturers, which is the instantaneous peak torque delivered if the anvil is locked into a perfectly solid object. Working torque is a more realistic number for continually driving a very stiff fastener"

Most manufacturers do not tell you the working torque. So in order to remove a bolt from a 996 wheel torqued to 94 ftlbs, you need a minimum 550 ftlbs torque pneumatic. Ingersoll Rand may show the working torque on some of their product boxes, for example the 231G I got has 50-200 ftlbs. I think 100 is about right, as it will take the bolts off, but needed a 15 gallon compressor and a 3/8" air line. Forget the electric impact wrenches, I did not find any that would work, so selling my DeWalt "300 ftlbs" to anyone who wants it.

One person in a PepBoys shop showed me how the Ingersoll Rand 231 remove the wheel bolts off a truck, after torquing past 100 ftlbs. His opinion was the compressor had enough capacity to keep the air flow and pressure high enough, and long enough, to create the torque needed.

New compressor $149, Impact wrench $107, ability to take the wheels off like a pro - priceless.

Of course, you can do it for nothing if you do it by hand...... said my wife.

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I use a 90 ft-lb. torque stick with my impact wrench. It consistently and effortlessly brings the wheel bolt to almost the correct torque setting (96 ft-lb.) very quickly. Then I "top it off" with my Craftsman torque wrench set to 96 ft-lb. The last turn with the torque wrench ends up being about 1/3 of one turn, but identical every time.

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I've found that they come off without any problem. I use a 135 psi compressor (I don't have the model and exact specs here with me) with a 50 ft. hose and cheapo impact wrench. This wrench is similar to what I have


I make sure that the threads are always clean before reinstalling. Once every few times I remove them, I wipe them clean and reapply a small amount of anti-seize.

I am always extra cautious about using an impact wrench on the locking bolt as I know that overtorquing with that socket has been known to cause them to break.

I use soft sockets like these to avoid damage to wheels and lug nuts


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  • 4 years later...

Yeah 500ish max torque for an impact for lug nuts sounds about right. Make sure you check the air consumption of the impact vs your compressor too. How much air your compressor supplies is more important than tank size. The tank is the buffer and if your compressor can't keep up the torque will drop real fast.

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