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Advice in Buying a Socket Set


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20 replies to this topic

#1 Subarule

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 06:18 PM

I think I'll get one to have on hand. For mid-80s Subarus, what size range should I be looking at?

Thanks in advance.

#2 Turbone

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 08:22 PM

Craftsman - Cheap and has a warranty.
Matco - Average cost w/warr.
Mac - Same thing.
Cornwell - A little more expensive w/warr.
Snap-On - Costliest of the bunch, also w/warr.

Sizes needed would be;
8mm
10mm
12mm
14mm
17mm
22mm
32mm

#3 subiemech85

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 08:48 PM

harbor freight

3/8 laser etched 10 - 22 + fractional
http://www.harborfre...temnumber=93339

Posted Image

3/4 19 - 50
http://www.harborfre...itemnumber=5494

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buy both when on sale


7 8 10 12 13 14 16 17 19 22 36
6mm square E10 torx 14mm external hex 13/16 sparkplug

mostly 10 and 12

just by memory

#4 Subarule

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 09:59 PM

Thanks for the replies. Then do I want a 3/8" or a 3/4" drive? Or does it matter?

#5 Mugs

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 10:07 PM

Thanks for the replies. Then do I want a 3/8" or a 3/4" drive? Or does it matter?

Buddy if you have to 3/4 inch drive on a suby your doing something wrong :lol:

1/4in & 3/8in will do most stuff. 1/2 in for the big stuff.

Or you can step up to the plate :grin:

Posted Image

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and that is just 3 drawers of my tool box, and ther is not one single piece of crapsman in there :eek:

Posted Image

#6 cubastreet

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 11:35 PM

Thanks for the replies. Then do I want a 3/8" or a 3/4" drive? Or does it matter?


I bought a fairly cheap 1/2" drive set about ten years ago, it's still going strong but I upgraded the ratchet at some point.

Sometimes the 1/2" drive makes the small sockets a bit cumbersome in tight spaces, but not so bad that I've bothered to buy another smaller set.

For things like the hub nuts, 1/2" (or bigger) is what you want, so if you're buying just one set then that's what I'd recommend.

#7 Markus56

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 01:12 AM

get a metric set sockets if you are only going to get one kind. i found a 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2" craftsman ratchet set at a pawnshop for 40 bucks. its good for everything. look around in your pawn shops and craigslist. you will be surprised whats out there

#8 MilesFox

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 08:39 AM

harbor freight is good for buying cheap socket sets. they are as good or better than cheap 20 dollar 'mechanics tool set' that you find at wal mart.

cheap sockets get by just good, and are good for the price, easy to replace. spend your money on a good RATCHET, since chap ratchets are annoying to use.

use 1/4 drive on small bolts such as on the fender, and 10mm bolts on the motor(t-belts, oil pump, etc)

use 3/8 drive for most of the other bolts, 12 and 14mm.

use 1/2 dr for suspension bolts 17 and 19mm

dont forget open end/box wrench, sometimes a good ol wrench is easier than a ratchet. 8mm thru 22mm

offset box wrenches are great for pulling engines, 12mm for the flex plate bolts, 14mm for the bellhousing, 22mm for turning the crank

if you get gear wrenches(ratcheting) 10mm is great for clutch fan and valve covers. 14mm is great for the bellhousing

you could buy this whole assortment at harbor freight for within 100 bucks.

you are better off with smaller tool sets vs one big set in a case. the big sets are too east yo bump into and knock all the sockets out of their places, and its tedious to keep organized.

individual sets in a case are ideal, such as your 3/8 tools in one set, 1/4 in another set, metrics or standards in their own sets.

having a case makes it easy to see what tool you have out by which ones are missing from the case, makes it easier to not misplace tools.

ea81/2 axle nuts are 36mm, ej cars are 32mm

Edited by MilesFox, 30 March 2010 - 08:42 AM.


#9 john in KY

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 12:02 PM

My advice is to buy the best set you can afford. Cheap stuff is just that and over your lifetime you will replace them many times. I am still using tools my father purchased in 1955. You'll also need a 15mm socket to remove the starter.

#10 NoahDL88

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 01:14 PM

stock bolts for the starter are 14 and 17, your 15 could be aftermarket.




Buy once cry once. You don't "need" snap-on, but they are really nice, and any of the tool truck tools are about the same, Mac, Matco and snap-on.

I've got far too much invested into tools, I used to be a mechanic, so if a tool broke I wasn't making money. Most of the guys at my shop used Matco, but that boiled down to what guy showed up most regularly.

That said, Craftsman is about as cheap as I'd go, they lack a bit in the fit and finish, but they have a lifetime warranty, and when you're dealing with a 30 year old rusty Subaru, you're bound to break stuff every now and then.

#11 Twitch de la Brat

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 01:15 PM

I'm getting by with a cheap craftsman set right now, the 156(?) piece set.
It came with 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inch drives.
And it has metric and standard from 5mm up to 19mm, and 1/4" to 3/4".
It came with a few extras such as a bit driver and allen wrenches that I quickly
replaced.

But otherwise it has been a pretty good set for the various mechanicing I've
been doing.

I ditto all the advice everybody has been giving, buy the best you can afford.
If you can afford a $1000 set of Snap On wrenches and ratchets, go for it.
I have yet to hear of a Snap On tool failing unless being severely abused.

So if you can only afford the $20 set from harbor freight right now, go for it,
its better than no tools at all.

Twitch

#12 Subarule

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 06:46 PM

Thanks for all the replies. Very detailed - nice.

I'm a little old lady and I just want to have some sockets around for the occasional tweak or to change something out, both car and household use - nothing major. They don't need to last me a lifetime, just be servicable when needed. I have a small socket set but it is not metric and nothing in it seems to fit my 'Ru.

I have plenty of wrenches, both box and open-end.

#13 bheinen74

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 06:50 PM

3/8 drive Craftsman ratchet set from Sears with metric 6 point sockets is what you should go for. get one or two extensions

#14 monstaru

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 01:11 AM

i don't need fancy tools to make me feel speschal.........the inability to adapt and overcome is a lost art......:lol:cheers, brian

#15 Mugs

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 07:08 AM

I am suprised nobody has mentioned S & K they are what I could afford when I went through tec school and many of them I still use (but most have found there way into the spare tool box). There quality is bare non way better then sears and a smidge under the big 3. Just stay away from there wrenches they suck with the "S." They are about the same price as sears and have lifetime warrenty as well.
S & K is what I refer everyone to when they ask me what type of tools should I buy and there not a mechanic but just an "at home" use person.

Just my two cents.

#16 MilesFox

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 07:59 AM

i forgot about s-k, i used to have a 1/4-3/8 dr set. i guess i got too used to harbor freight lately.

when i worked at u-haul we had k-d tools, very similar to s-k, real nice

#17 Turbone

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 09:20 AM

I am suprised nobody has mentioned S & K they are what I could afford when I went through tec school and many of them I still use (but most have found there way into the spare tool box). There quality is bare non way better then sears and a smidge under the big 3. Just stay away from there wrenches they suck with the "S." They are about the same price as sears and have lifetime warrenty as well.
S & K is what I refer everyone to when they ask me what type of tools should I buy and there not a mechanic but just an "at home" use person.

Just my two cents.


Yeah, I forgot to mention them. Have several pieces from that brand.
One is a broken 17mm socket :-\
Not saying they are bad tools, we have a local parts store that sells them exclusively.
I bought my stuff off a local private truck.

#18 john in KY

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 10:10 AM

The majority of my metric tools I use are from Gray. They work for me and I am very satisfied with them. Have yet to break or strip any of them.


http://www.graytools.com/

#19 Mugs

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 06:12 AM

OK well someone in here (don't see the post now) said to show them a pic of a tool box that takes up a wall and then they will show me a pick of theirs. :) Well here goes. This is my buddies tool box who has been a mechanic where I work (he has been there for about 25 years now) and yes it is full. There was a truck in the way so I could not get a full frontal shot but you get the idea. So here goes. :lol:

Posted Image

Edited by Mugs, 05 April 2010 - 02:49 PM.


#20 edrach

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 08:37 AM

Craftsman - Cheap and has a warranty.
Matco - Average cost w/warr.
Mac - Same thing.
Cornwell - A little more expensive w/warr.
Snap-On - Costliest of the bunch, also w/warr.

Sizes needed would be;
8mm
10mm
12mm
14mm
17mm
22mm
32mm

Harbor Freight, cheaper and same lifetime replacement warranty as Craftsman.
I'd add 11mm, 19mm and 21mm; 36mm if you have an older Subaru,

Edited by edrach, 05 April 2010 - 08:42 AM.


#21 Allpar Mod

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 08:41 AM

Here's a few things to consider in regard to hand tools.

I have found that the adage "When you cheap out, you end up paying for it twice" applies. It's much better to get a better quality tool than the cheapy Chinese brands, even though I do buy some things from Harbor Freight, and just pay for them once and done. Hand tools are never one of the things I buy cheap. True, they do work for some, but it has been proven that the measurements and tolerances of the tools like sockets and wrenches are not always accurate on the cheap tools and you run a higher risk of rounding out nut and bolt heads than with a better quality set. Also, the risk of breaking the tool under repeated stresses is much greater.

I look at tools as an investment that saves me money down the road. Also, there are few tools that have only one use, so they are there for whatever job you have to deal with, automotive, RV or home, etc.

Some cheap tools do carry a lifetime warranty like Harbor Freight's Pitsburgh line. Still, if there isn't a brick & mortar store near you, the hassle of exchange through the mail is a very slow one. If you need your tool today and it breaks, there is usually a Sears store somewhere not that far away. Craftsman tools are still exchanged over the counter without any hassle or receipts needed as always. The preferred mechanic's lines like Matco, Snap-On and the rest are great tools for sure, but can be financially prohibitive for many to buy who don't use them for their career. Also, availability is tough as they are usually sold only by the roving truck dealers, with possible exception of mail order.

I've had an ever growing cache (up to two large tool chests now) of Craftsmen tools for over 30 years now and nearly all of the original ones are still in use. I've only exchanged two over the years, a screwdriver and a set of locking pliers. I've beat them mercilessly and they always work just fine.

I do have a couple of Home Depot's Husky line tools and one or two of Lowe's Cobalt ones. They have a similar warranty as Sears and are also good tool lines to consider. Husky air tools are excellent quality and a good value. I was recommended them by a diesel mechanic who kept destroying Snap-On impact guns until he switched brands on a whim. I bought a Husky Professional for $99 and put it through sheer heck and it always works just great.

Spend a few bucks and buy quality. You will not regret the investment.




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