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What do you spend on hot rod and garage tools every time you go into Harbor Freight ?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 2many projects, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. the metalsurgeon
    Joined: Apr 19, 2009
    Posts: 1,239

    the metalsurgeon
    from Denver

    all its good for is to hang your coat on!
  2. lordairgtar
    Joined: Oct 11, 2009
    Posts: 416


    Even my new GM trucklet had Chinese brake rotors. I swapped them out with some Canadian made ones from NAPA. No USA made ones in stock. NAPA has less costly Chinese rotors as well. My OEM rotors were vibrating up a storm and rather than having them machined on warranty, I just changed them. Others with my problem state that the shaking comes back in 500 miles anyway. I also understand that different Chinese manufacturers have differing quality levels. Depends on the parent company of the factory and what quality control and manufacturing practices they put in place. That said, I don't shop at HF or NT either. I would rather have a North American company get my money.
  3. johnny bondo
    Joined: Aug 20, 2005
    Posts: 1,547

    johnny bondo
    from illinois

    buy american, dont buy that garbage. for safety and our country. ive had those tools blow up in my face and almost take out my dads eye!
  4. Halfdozen
    Joined: Mar 8, 2008
    Posts: 603


    Not meaning to slag anyone for their choices, as long as you don't get hurt better to have cheap tools than no tools, I guess.

    My $.02: I've been collecting tools for 45+ years, most of my stuff is older, North American made, I do have a couple Chinese POS's. I've used cheap tools at work and at friend's garages. There IS a difference. Cheap tools don't feel as good in your hands, they don't fit as well, the plating flakes and zips ya, the power tools vibrate, things dull, break and bend because the metallurgy is wrong- they're made of "steel", not necessarily the proper alloy and heat treat, etc. Your chances of getting a decent tool are better if you buy a brand name, even if they're made offshore. At least the brand names supply engineering know-how, impose quality standards, and generally oversee the manufacturing process better, in an effort to maintain their reputation. They're more likely to have a 4% return rate than 40%. You might be lucky and get a decent, serviceable HF tool, but it's more of a crapshoot. I won't buy "disposable" tools. I suppose if you're young and haven't had the opportunity to use good tools you might not know the difference.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2009
  5. Diavolo
    Joined: Apr 1, 2009
    Posts: 810


    When I needed a cherry picker, I shopped around. I even shopped for steel to make my own. After calling and checking just about every store in town, unless I was willing to pay $750 or more for a picker with an 8 ton ram I was screwed. I picked up a picker from Pep Boys for the same price as HF because all the rams were Torin (HF has Central Hydraulic or something) and the differences in price was all over the place. Got the cheapest picker for less than the cost of the metal and the ram lasted 4 years which I will now replace with a rebuildable, quality unit.

    Shop with care and inspect what you are buying. I buy HF for rarely used and when it breaks I upgrade. Oddly, stupid emergency jacks I get when my non HF jack or ram fails seem to last forever and the ones I don't get there fail or leak within a year.
  6. Johnny1290
    Joined: Apr 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,834


    I know this doesn't answer the original question, but almost all my airtools are from there.

    They're cheap and disposeable, I'm not a pro and if something croaks while I'm using it I'm not missing work, and it let me try a bunch of different tools I never would have experimented with if I was paying $80 each.

    My main hand tools are snapon, but when I needed a wrench the other day that I knew was somewhere around 1 1/4" and I wanted to be able to heat and bend it, fat chance I was going to spend $$$ on craftsman or snapon. $30 at HF and I got a huge set of skinny wrenches to figure out what size I needed, and I can bend it without sacrificing an expensive tool.

    Expensive tools are nice, but at the end of the day it's the guy holding the end of the wrench that's most important.

    Although if someone wants to champion ratchets or raised panel wrenches from Craftsman I'm all ears! Their non-pro stuff is the worst. It's cheap and good for the money, but once you use some better stuff it's hard to go back.

    EDIT: The step drill bits are great! I probably ought to get a new set, on sale they're $10 or less for 3.

    I was at OSH and a similar Irwin was around $50 for one!
  7. Products I have used from H.F.

    The Good;
    MIG wire
    Self darkening welding helmet
    Welding gloves
    Welding cart
    mini air compressor
    Aluminum racing jack
    Hydraulic vertical press
    engine tilter
    $12.00 Binks 7 copy spray gun. (Primer)
    Rachet straps
    8" pneumatic wheels/tires
    bottle jack
    10 ton jack stands

    The bad;
    4" angle grinder
    18v cordless drill motor
    steel 3 ton floor jack (works but leaks)
    Mini grease gun
    110v heat gun
    flap wheels
    air line quick connectors
    Impact sockets
    DA sander
    tire gauge
    C clamps
  8. neverliftmotorsports
    Joined: Sep 19, 2009
    Posts: 127


    I went to HF yesterday to get a couple things like the magnets to hold metal when tacking it and stuff like that. My brothers buddy had him building his racecar and is a cheap ass. He got the mig wire from Hf and its junk. Never seen a weld thats easyer to drill threw then the metal you welded to next to it. Since that day its back to good welding wire. That scared the shit out of me hearing that the welds were softer than the metal and yes the welds were cool. I bought one of their orange 4 1/2" grinders for $14 2 years ago to get me threw a project thinking if it makes it cool its still going strong. Hell the black and decker i bought from Wal-mart 5 years ago to get threw a night of working on a racecar because no one else was open is still going stong also and sent my dumb ass brother to the hostial 2 times because of the cut off disc.
  9. Jimv
    Joined: Dec 5, 2001
    Posts: 2,925


    I bought one of there manual tire changers & it works great!I save a shitload of money & time.I lag it to my deck when i need it & viola! its small & outta the way when i'm not using it.
    Thats one tool i recommend to anyone, get yourself a 20% off coupon & its reall cheap then.
  10. Life time total at HF.... $9.99 plus tax.......... Transfer punch set..
  11. monkey19
    Joined: Nov 18, 2009
    Posts: 44


    I use a 4 1/2inch grinder and one of their palm sanders on a daily basis. They have been going strong for 6 months or so....I am looking to replace both ASAP.

    I also tried to use some utilty blades from HF that basically snap on contact.
  12. Von_Ziggy
    Joined: Oct 22, 2009
    Posts: 32

    from Canada admitted to shopping at harbor freight. You're bad.:cool:
  13. HF rule of thumb - if it uses electric or has an exerting force being used either giving or receiving, don't buy it. I bought one of those 4 in grinders and after 5 mins it burst into flame. FLAMES! I thought it would be good for the rare use up in the country on weekends, but NO. The air powered sabre saw blew apart in my hand first cut it made but I did have good luck so far with the red handel DA sander. I now drag my good tools back & forth again every weekend and leave HF tools back on display in the store where they belong.
  14. floored
    Joined: Apr 11, 2007
    Posts: 469


    I got tired of a buddy constantly borrowing my wet saw when he decided he was going to be a tile setter. I told him to go to HF and pick one up for a couple hundred, but be sure to get the waranty. That was quite a while ago, and the saw is still going, when the blade goes bad he can return the saw for new one.

    You just have to be realistic in your expectations, get the waranty, and return it everytime it breaks. With that being said I never buy a tool that I use for work because I can't afford the down time if it breaks.

  15. Lobucrod
    Joined: Mar 22, 2006
    Posts: 4,120

    Alliance Vendor
    from Texas

    I kick my ass everytime after going in Harbor Freight. Keep thinking I'll buy something there thats worth a shit. The last time about 2 years ago I bought a set of end wrenches to use in the house. One if the jaws broke on the 9/16" open end the first time I used it. I'm done with them.
  16. Quite an intersting read this. We don't have a harbor freight in OZ so i haven't bought anyhting from there, but if I was in teh states, i'd probably get cheap some of the random stuff mentioned here. Dunno if i'd chance cutoff wheels, autodarkening helmets (i like my eyes the way they work now), or anything that plugs into an electrical outlet. I like to have decent quality wrenches, socket sets, drills and angle grinders.

    It is quite funny tho, alot of people in this thread have been bagging the chinese, saying they make cheap cr@p, like it's their fault! HAHAHA It's supply and demand in its simplest form...people want to spend as little as possible and dont care too much about quality, so someone has stepped up to supply that product. Doesn't seem that weird to me. I don't know, but I'm guessing HF is owned by an american company that makes a tonne of stuff super cheap in chinese factories (of varying quality), brings it to the USA and sells it. Not saying it's right or wrong, just interesting is all..

    my 2c worth :)
  17. TrannyMan
    Joined: Dec 3, 2005
    Posts: 473


    Damn, how do you break a wrench? :confused: must be some good old drop forged pot metal.
  18. Bigchuck
    Joined: Oct 23, 2007
    Posts: 1,139

    from Austin, TX

    I try not to buy too much of their cheap stuff. I've got one of the orange 4" angle grinders that I abuse that has lasted well over 5 yrs, can hardley believe it. The orange sawzall didn't do so well-stripped out the drive gear after a few months of light use. I bought a Milwaukee and there is no comparison. I tried one of the tail-pipe expanders, the pos stripped right off- got my money back. Got a couple of cheapo die grinders, and the electric shears that work ok. Other than jack stands that is about it. Guess that is kinda a lot a stuff, but my Crapsman floor jack is made in China, as is my Poopboys engine hoist. Hard to stay away from Chinese made stuff, but I can't really justify spending $600 on a floor jack or engine hoist for limited use. I try not to buy Chinese stuff as much as possible seems more impossible every day.
    I stay away from Chinese made auto parts though.
  19. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,565

    from Garner, NC

    I wouldn't pick up a cast iron V8 with one though, especially a big block. I've seen a few pics of them coming apart. No thanks...

    This isn't the same one, but is similar to what I remember.

    I don't think I force them to do anything they can't. But the HF ones do come apart. The Metabo, Klingspor, and Dewalt ones I prefer don't and last longer. I've also had problems with the Blackstone ones which is Fastenal's house brand.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2009
  20. Motorhead Extraordinaire
    Joined: May 19, 2009
    Posts: 225

    Motorhead Extraordinaire
    Alliance Vendor

    I very rarely buy any tool from Harbour Freight, Lowes, or Home Depot. For the most part it is cheap Chinese crap and worse that than, it's NOT American made. You have to be careful in Sears cause some of their stuff is also made in China,

    I am a BIG proponent of Made-in-America and that is exactly why in our business we refuse to sell anything from China, Taiwan, Korea, or any other 'crappy product" country. Besides, if you really want to help our economy and your fellow Americans, you should make every effort to Buy American.

    Just my humble opinion.

  21. hugh m
    Joined: Jul 18, 2007
    Posts: 2,142

    hugh m
    from ct.

    REPEAT, before the thread is closed.
  22. I was back at Harbor Freight on Saturday.
    Bought 4 new jack stands and a large screen $50 auto darkening welding helmet.
    I grabbed a few other small ticket items and over all I'm very pleased.
    All the stuff works fine , nothing exploded and I still have my eye sight.
    Today I went up there and bought an engine run in test stand.
    Comes with a small fuel tank, ign. switch and key, a few instruments, but no radiator or electric fan.
    For slightly less than $200 I'm very pleased.
    So I need to adapt a radiator and a few minor accesories to that so bad?
    Try and duplicate that for under a grand anywhere.
    When I get it all assembled and move my 454 and then my 392 onto it I'll let you know how well it stood up.
    Truthfully, I wont rev them over three grand, just being cautious and smart.
  23. redsteely
    Joined: Nov 4, 2008
    Posts: 183

    from Phoenix az

    Harbor freight= Hammered chinese POOP.

    Spend A few extra bucks and buy American!

    Unless you like chinese shit. Then by all means piss your money away.
  24. Left Turn
    Joined: Nov 13, 2009
    Posts: 634

    Left Turn
    Member Emeritus
    from Omaha, NE

    I just buy disposables at harbor freight... If I need to bend a 3/4 box end wrench six different ways and open the box end I'll just buy a whole wrench set for $5.... I've got a drawer on the tool box full of reworked HF tools...

    I did buy a big gantry crane from there... I figure it's got to be good because it's load rated... I bought a couple engine stands there too, not to bad at all... I won't by a jack or jack stands though... Not sure I want to intrust my life to Harbor Freight....

    Everything I use at the shop is Snap On, MAC, Matco, Cornwell, Proto, and most specialty tools are OTC. But one drawer in the massive red Snap On box is full of bent, twisted, heated, and cut on Harbor Freight shit.... The rest is 98% Snap On... Good shit.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
  25. mikemo
    Joined: Oct 31, 2007
    Posts: 110


    I went to the place once, out of curiousity, but didn't see anything that I wanted to own........... Buy American, or say bye bye America.
  26. barnescole
    Joined: Dec 2, 2008
    Posts: 138


    one of the most used items i have from harbor freight is a set of the nylon/plastic prying great for popping off the baby moons, and were very handy when installing windshield and rear window rubber. get some use on the OT vehicles too.

    i think they were like 3 bucks.

    recently purchased a Milwaukee cordless drill, made in china!? WTF?
  27. This has been a fun read, good waste of a half an hour. Buy old tools, they last forever and ever. Plomb=good stuff.
  28. Cruiser
    Joined: May 29, 2006
    Posts: 2,240


    Zman - I wear may HF cut off wheels some times down to a 1" and they have never broken or come apart. Some times they brake when I put them down without looking side ways. I still think some guys use too much pressure when cutting off things and too much pressure when grinding. Let the tool do the work and you'll get good results. I learned good shop habits and respect for using tools properly from my high school shop teacher a listen well learned. I've used Dewalt wheels and they are good. :D

    CRUISER :cool:
  29. What do you spend on hot rod and garage tools every time you go into Harbor Freight?

    NOTHING!!! I will never spend a dime of my hard-earned money in that place again! EVER! I buy quality tools, not that HF shit!
  30. sonim38
    Joined: Apr 29, 2007
    Posts: 213


    my good friend had a huge snapon box full of tools. 18k invested. he got a career change and sold his box for 4,000. now 2 years later hes going back back to being a diesel mech and i personally saw him spend 1800 at harbor freight. on tools alone. very scary!!! but hes happy and he demanded a discount, and they gave him 25% off!!!

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