JFs tool thread 2023

Basicay at work I am switching from a production lead to a wrench. I got a raise and told I was on a 90 day probationary period in this time I need to get my tools together. A senior mechanic/refrigeration tech is training me and letting me borrow tools in the mean time. Anyhow figured I will buying alot of tools or will be curious about certain tools so I will start a thead on it.

Bought a bunch of Harbor freight and Wal Mart shit so far but already having to replace some of it. (Ex I manged to snap a ratchet by standing on it). Also dropped an air ratchet off a scissor lift and it broke. I think indistrial usd just means idiot proof. :thinking:

Anyhow this is the box I picked up. Was going with A Milwaukee packout but found this for half the price. So far pretty sturdy and capable of falling down stairs with ease :grimacing:


Anyone know of any decent tools for detecting vacuum leaks?

I tried acetone but given its well over 100° around the machinery and the machinery itself is over 300° with oil fumes everywhere its a little rough. Have any of you auto mechanics used anything like this? Is it gimmicky or legit?


Wind detection powder from your hunting equipment squeeze your bottle near the place you suspect it will pull it in.


Total drag chasing a vacuum leak on a machine thats over 300° with over 500 possible spots for a vacuum leak. I mean you find it eventually but it takes 4-8 hours sometimes.


My opinion as a non-professional and only light use tool user is that Harbor Freight tools are great for how I use them. I have a good amount of them. However, I stick to their higher end line. They do have a lifetime warranty and returns are handled in store. I have heard that you have to have the complete set if you are returning something from a set like sockets or screwdrivers. If you you have lost a screwdriver and want to return a different one from the set that has broken, you could be SOL.
That said, I don’t know that I would use Harbor Freight tools if I made a living with them. If you value their opinion, ask your trainer or other senior workers at your job what tools are more heavily used and should be best quality and what is only an occasional use tool. You can probably get buy with a decent quality tool that won’t cost too much, especially when you have to get a lot in a short time.


The guy training me is weird most of his tools are as old as I am. His views seem pretty outdated in terms of tool selection tbh. Like my Craftsman stuff is not even on par with Hart or Husky, not by a long shot the materials are flimsy and cheap with lots of rattle.

I like some of Harbor freights stuff but thier cheapie tools are like my craftsman tools. Harbor freights ICON brand or thier Pittsburg Pro line seem legit enough for what I do but I have to hit bargin racks while I figure it out.

Wal Marts Hart brand is hit or miss but generally ok so far. About on parr with Husky which is solid enough.


There are a few things I am seeing that I find funny:

  1. Refrigeration/HVAC guys are weirdos like they dont getout much and obsess on weird stuff.

  2. electricians are lazy and like to milk work

  3. metal fabricators are not necessarily good wrenches and they like to drink and or do meth on the job

The best mechanic at my job is a dude who spent years as a mechanic at the Ford Dealership then went industrial. The guy literally walks circles around everyone else. He is also an ex biker with tons of fucked up stories. Sounds like between Harley and Ford he knows a thing or two about fixing broken shit :grimacing:


Cobalt tools at Lowes are good.


I use one that does the same thing for finding engine vacuum leaks, EVAP system leaks and exhaust leaks. I don’t know if they create enough pressure to check Refridgerant/HVAC leaks.
That particular you posted looks kind of crude or home made and it’s a lot cheaper than one off the tool trucks.


Hit the pawn shop, lots of high-end tools for cheap. Meth heads will pawn tools, long before they will use them to get a job.


We like to hit farm auctions and buy the older craftman and sk tools . Most of the new stuff is made in China and wont holdup to any hard use . That being said I had a 96 Lumina that had torx bolts on the brake calipers that I broke two sk sockets on without getting them to move . Then the only socket I could find in town was a greatneck brand that was a 1/3the cost and it not only got the job done but I still have it .


Not for refrigeration stuff, its to detect leaks in an industrial sized distillation unit with around 500 possible points for leaks. I can use sulfur sticks for refrigeration. They dont like us doing that around the distillation unit, I was thinking smoke might work though. Who are the good brands for this stuff?


Just picked this up


Craigslist and marketplace, lots of tools on both


Tools cost a lot I need to start hanging out with tweekers so I can pick up stuff cheap