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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 10-30-2010, 01:48 PM   #1
paraklas
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Using "Normal" sockets with Impact Wrench

I recently acquired a heavy duty electric impact wrench, for loosening the stubborn nuts and bolts (torque wrench always for tightening) and I was wondering - given the fact that we are working on a BMW, and not erecting steel beams on a building - is it mandatory to get impact wrench compatible sockets? From what I understand, impact wrench sockets are stronger than the normal ones which may break.

Mine already came with 17, 19, 21 and 22mm sockets but if I remember well, suspension, braking and other components are 16mm and below.

Thanks
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Old 10-30-2010, 03:25 PM   #2
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I use regular sockets on my impact gun when the impact sockets are too thick. I also use Snap-on and Craftsman sockets, so if I do snap one, I'll just get a free replacement.
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Old 10-30-2010, 04:38 PM   #3
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Never use chrome plated sockets in an impact gun. They are made differently from the impact sockets and and could break under the torque of the impact wrench.
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Old 10-30-2010, 05:45 PM   #4
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yea def a big no no on pneumatic impacts...electric ones are a little more forgiving. my snap on one has yet to break one or round the teeth inside the socket but im sure it will happen eventually...for those stubborn bolts i would recommend using hand tools to break them loose and remove them as an electric one wont break them loose. i love my electric one for removing fender bolts valve cover bolts, and any bolts that there are alot of...it doesnt have enough torque to break really stubborn ones loose. the guys here at the shop use makita li ion elec impacts for the same thing.
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Old 10-30-2010, 06:02 PM   #5
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I've been using "normal socket" on my cars for the past 3 years and haven't had any issues with it.
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Old 10-30-2010, 06:31 PM   #6
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I use regular sockets all the time. I have broken some. It is not going to hurt anything aside from your socket.
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Old 10-31-2010, 07:06 AM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback! The impact wrench is a 220v model with 450Nm of torque so I guess it could snap a socket, although most of the impact wrench accessible nuts/bolts on a BMW shouldn't be torqued THAT much. Will get the bigger sockets and the joints for now.
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Old 10-31-2010, 09:51 AM   #8
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not mandatory but if you want to get the most torque possible, you'll need impact sockets to withstand the abuse. Otherwise, you'll keep cracking regular sockets.
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Old 11-02-2010, 03:18 PM   #9
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One think to be careful of is whether they are 12pt or 6pt sockets. Impact sockets are always 6pt. There is a bigger risk of rounding over heads with 12pt.
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Old 11-02-2010, 04:02 PM   #10
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Regular sockets are not designed to take the shock that impact wrenches apply - when using them in this way there is a chance that a socket could break and that pieces could end up flying into an eye - or elsewhere. However small or large that chance is sounds like a debate that I am not prepared to have.

If you decide to use a standard socket with an impact wrench - use caution. It makes protecting yourself that much more important. then again, safety glasses and heavy work gloves should be standard fare with an impact wrench regardless of what type of socket is at the end of it.
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Old 11-02-2010, 07:21 PM   #11
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If you are using a relatively low power 3/8" air wratchet...you'll be OK. If you are using a 3/4" impact gun on "blow your mind" mode with 2 reducers and a regular 3/8" socket on the end...not a good idea.

In the long run, you'll save money using impact sockets if you frequently use air tools by not having to replace cracked sockets.
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Old 11-03-2010, 02:05 AM   #12
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This is the one I have:
Link here

Guess for its power rating I should get the proper sockets
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Old 11-06-2010, 07:21 AM   #13
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Has any DIYer (not professional mechanic) on this site actually broken a 1/2" drive regular socket with an impact gun? or is this just another read and regurgitate situation that is so common in car forums.
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Old 11-06-2010, 08:17 AM   #14
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I broke an 8mm deep socket on my 3/8" air wratchet.
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Old 11-06-2010, 05:44 PM   #15
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My uncles right hand is basically crippled from having it wrapped around a chrome socket when it exploded. Shrapnel ripped most of the tendons in his hand. I will not use anything but impact 3/8 and above. Pneumatic or electric. It's not worth it.
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:06 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mystert View Post
Has any DIYer (not professional mechanic) on this site actually broken a 1/2" drive regular socket with an impact gun? or is this just another read and regurgitate situation that is so common in car forums.
I have broke 1/2" drive sockets using a hand op torque wrech. I would get a good set of CRV sockets.

that torque wrench is a monster. I am not sure I have come across a 110v one that can get 450NM (330ftlb). Must be a 220 thing.....

I lied


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