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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've never owned an air compressor and just started to read up on them. I found this one at Harbor Freight today and I thought I'd ask for some input here since I'm sure a lot of you have or at least know of what kind of compressors. Would this be a suitable unit for running an impact wrench to remove lug nuts? I don't have any need at this time to use if for anything more intense than that, but I may eventually buy other air tools to take advantage of having it.

3 HP, 21 Gallon, 120 Volt 115 PSI Cast Iron Vertical Air Compressor
 

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Works great for removal. I wouldn't use it to tighten them though. Use a torque wrench for that.
 

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Air delivery: 7.0 SCFM @ 40 PSI, 4.9 SCFM @ 90 PSI, 4.3 SCFM @ 115 PSI
those are the specs on your compressor, now look at the requirements of the tools you want to use...it'll probably need a little catch up time after a couple of lug nuts
 

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I really wouldn't recommend buying something as big as an air compressor from harbor freight. That size would be more than enough. I would look for a good name brand one used one on craigslist. I would also shy away from oil less compressors.
 

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You could just go electric impact wrench. I was hesitant to use them but I used one from Snap On a couple of years ago and never had a problem. Super portable. Just make sure you throw it on the charger every night. And some places sell cheaper ones that make plenty of torque.
 

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Dragon Tail Master
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I have a 30 Gallon 6 HP Craftsman oilless that keeps up fine. I believe a 21 gallon 3 HP should do one wheel without having to build up to much. I have a 3/8 drive air ratchet that the compressor will not keep up with though.

BTW in regards to oilless, works muck better for Paint Application :bigthumbsup
 

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In another thread a while back I posted how my wife ran into my air compressor in the garage and broke off the outlet valve, rendering it useless, but I needed one that day.

I ran out to my local Sears to get a replacement but couldn't make up my mind and wound up buying a very nice plugin electric Dewalt impact wrench. It has yet to fail to loosen any bolts I've tried it on so I haven't yet replaced my air compressor. I will eventually replace it to inflate tires and such, just wanted to know there's a place in my garage for an electric impact now. :bigthumbsup
 
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I generally don't recommend power tools from Harbor Freight... but if you're going to go the Harbor Freight route...

Get the 8 gallon 2hp one that they regularly have for $159 but run on sale several times a year for $89.99.

I bought mine when on sale about five years ago while my dad's Cambell Hausfield 40gal. was down (a fairly regular occurance because he doesn't take very good care of it). I bought my Harbor Freight one as a backup and it ended up being what I use all the time; and with regular maintenance (including an oil change about once a year, Shell Non-detergent 30-weight) the only thing that's gone wrong is the plastic cover over the switch broke.

It's got enough airflow and pressure that it can run my Aircat 1000 impact wrench (that puts out 1,000 ft lbs in reverse gentlemen) even with the tank low enough on pressure to have the motor running (regulator set to kick on at 100psi and off at 125), and it keeps up with the air demand once the motor kicks in. I've had the motor continuously running on it for over an hour several times and it just keeps going. The only job I've found it not up to the task for so far is sandblasting. Sandblasting demands 2/3 of the tank volume on this one in about 20 seconds, and that's the only job I've found yet where the motor couldn't maintain enough airflow and pressure for the tool in question.
 

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If the only thing you need an air compressor for is an impact wrench don't bother. An electric impact will work great for that. Air compressors are not an efficient way of transferring power. They make sense in large shops because the tools are cheap and you need air for blowing stuff in any case. In my machine shop I simply couldn't work without compressed air but I rarely use air tools. The occasional die grinder or impact is about it. I have electric grinder, electric drills etc none of which I would trade for air powered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, I ended up buying an used 33 gallon, 6 HP oil-less Craftsman air compressor off of Craigslist. The guy included a 50' hose and a 3-pc set of Craftsman air tools (wrench, impact, and chisel) and I got it all for $200. The think looks almost brand new. I'm happy with the purchase.
 

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Dragon Tail Master
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Sounds the same as mine, I have had mine for almost 5 years with out any problems except for the Drain valve broke when it was moved :bigthumbsup
 

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Well, I ended up buying an used 33 gallon, 6 HP oil-less Craftsman air compressor off of Craigslist. The guy included a 50' hose and a 3-pc set of Craftsman air tools (wrench, impact, and chisel) and I got it all for $200. The think looks almost brand new. I'm happy with the purchase.
Correction: You didn`t buy it, you STOLE it! Nice score.:bigthumbsup
Now get yourself a nice impact socket set.
Once you start using air tools, you`ll wonder how you got by without them, I know I did.
 
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