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Please forgive me if this deviates from the vehicle-specific nature of this forum topic, but I'm hoping members who follow the 2010-2011 thread may be able to offer some helpful advice.


I'd like to equip my garage with some basic automotive tools I intend to use specifically with my GT500 (though none are particularly vehicle-specific). I'd appreciate any "quick and dirty" rule-of-thumb guidelines that might help give me a starting point.


I'd like to buy an air compressor for tire inflation and use with an impact wrench that would allow me to perform my own tire changes. I've looked at established name like Snap-On, but there's no such thing as a Snap-On compressor priced for the home enthusiast. I'd like to find a good, reliable and accurate inflation/bleed gauge (digital if possible) with a swappable chuck that would allow me to switch-out the chuck depending upon the valve stem type (i.e. screw-on or grasp seal). Without having to become an expert in air volume displacement and so forth, I'd appreciate any guidance with respect to the following (as well as any additional information I should look-out for). Although I don't intend it to power other air-driven tools, it'd be a nice benefit if I could find a suitable compressor without blowing the budget.


  1. How much volume (gallons), horsepower, CFM/PSI would be adequate?
  2. Should I choose a 3/8", 1/2", or 3/4" impact wrench?
  3. Would I be wise to purchase a separate torque wrench?
  4. Has anybody come across an "end all be all" inflation/bleed gauge?

I don't require weapons grade, just decent, predictable and reliable performance in an environment that's not likely to incur a great deal of abuse.


Thanks in advance for any helpful insight.



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If it were me I'd pick the air wrench I wanted first (I'd go with 1/2 inch) and then by a compressor that met the requirements of that particular wrench. Look at sears, northern tool, harbor freight, or www. You definitely need a separate torque wrench. No advise on the magic inflation tool but if you find one let me know please.


BTW snap-on has a really cool battery impact wrench (about $560) but maybe cheaper than air wrench and compressor.

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Madlock, I have a 4 horsepower, 30 gallon, De Villbiss, electric compressor in my garage. It is has an (orange colored tank). It will handle any air-wrench you purchase. Its not cumbersome and doesn't take up much space. It does require a heavy duty curcuit to handle the electrical drain. My air gun is an Ingersoll Rand 231 Impact tool, model A. I believe I bought it at Sears about ten years ago. Its a quality product and has been bullet-proof, as has the compressor. These products are sufficient to handle any lug nut I've encountered and I use the compressor for a myriad of projects. Would never be w/o one. Definitely buy a stand alone torque wrench. I ordered mine from Sears catelog on line. Its made by K/D tools and I think the model # is 3498. Its USA made and has heavy rubber covering (looks like a off road tire tread) for the head and handle. Very accurate and again, good reputation for toughness. Both tools are 1/2 inch, which is what I'd suggest you go with. Tire guage quality is dependant on price variation. I have a BMW tire gauge with flexible hose & a manual air release button on the side. It is not digital. Get one with that feature, (release button), its very helpful. This gauge will handle any application. Hope this helps you out. I did considerable research before choosing these products and it paid off with flawless performance by all of them. Happy New Year!!

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As others have said, IMO for your application the torque wrench is the #1 thing to have, all others are optional.


I have a 21 year old Sears Craftsman 1/2" torque wrench that has given me excellent service over the years. I recently did a quick calibration against a friend's brand new torque wrench and found that mine was still good. As with other things from Sears, there is no telling whether the quality of a tool you buy today is the same as that of 20-year old tools - my guess is probably not.


My air compressor is also a Sears Craftsman (Professional Grade) but much newer - about 4 years old. It is a 2hp 30 gallon belt-driven oiled-bearings unit. I have 2 pieces of advice on air compressors:

1) You will need to choose between 220V and 110V. Essentially 110V limits you to about 2-3hp but has the advantage that it can be mobile. 220V means you can get much higher hp but generally is limited to the immediate vicinity of your 220V outlet, assuming you have one in the garage. I did not have one in the garage so decided to limit myself to 110V; in hindsight it has been fine for everything I've done with it (including some serious cutting and grinding on my project car). The limitation would come if I wanted to shoot paint with the compressor I have - generally you will need a 220V compressor to shoot paint. (BTW all this is assuming you want an electric and not gas-driven compressor - cleaner, smaller, cheaper, less noisy - but limited by the 110/220 debate.)

2) The second point about compressors is you should choose a belt driven oiled-bearings model over a sealed "oil-less" model. Here the point is about noise. The sealed oil-less models use ceramic bearings that are incredibly noisy - expect to use hearing protection at all times and limit yourself to hours when you won't have the neighbors call the police. The oiled-bearing models can be harder to find but are WAAAY less noisy.


Re: air tools, I have a bunch of them - air wrench (2 kinds), air grinder, air riveter, air cut-off tool, etc. - but my philosophy there had been to go in for the el cheapo Harbor Freight varieties until I was sure I really needed a particular tool, and then to shop around for a decent one. So far (4 years) I have yet to wear out any of my original HF tools, so I have yet to buy any others.


No advice on the tire gauge - still looking!

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Hands down the best impact gun: Ingersoll-Rand Model # 232TGSL




Best digital tire inflating gun:



I have the Craftsman 33gal compressor. No problems. have had it for years.


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IR makes a good 20 gal home shop compressor that I'm considering purchasing myself. It is available through Sears, but may not be in stock at the stores; but they can order it or you can order it on-line.




IR also offers good air-driven tools; I have heard good things about their Titanium line. Always use impact grade sockets with impact tools ... I have several sets of 1/2" drive IR sockets (STD, Deep, SAE and Metric) that I bought from Amazon at a good price.


CDI offers a variety of very nice torque wrenches. I understand that CDI makes the Snap-on line of torque wrenches, but the CDI branded tools offer a better value. They are more expensive than the Craftsman brand but are much higher quality.



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