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This is a discussion on Harbor Freight Tools within the Product Reviews forums, part of the General Forums category!
This here is a can of worms - I know... I am specifically talking about THIS compression testing kit. I ...

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Old 09-05-2017, 05:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Thumbs down Harbor Freight Tools

This here is a can of worms - I know...

I am specifically talking about THIS compression testing kit.

I bought the kit because it had all the screw in connections, rather than those rubber hold-and-hope jobs that the other kit has. I am testing the compression on my XJ by myself so I had to have the screw in type, and I also don't trust the hold in place types. Needless to say - none of the fittings... uhhh... fit the jeep. I thought that it was initially a SAE/metric issue, but the 4.0L in the XJ uses 14mm spark plugs and I had a 14mm attachment. I read and reread the instructions and it mentions an adaptor for deep well plugs, but it doesn't come with this adaptor.

I drive over to Advance Auto to rent a tool - but they don't rent compression testers. Needless to say, they have lost me as a customer. The sales person behind the counter looked at me like I was crazy for wanting to rent one, rather than buy there $89 kit. So I drove to AutoZone.

They had a basic kit with the extension for 14mm deep well socket for rent. I used it and it worked like a champ. Super easy to manipulate and use. Tested all cylinders in about 45 minutes.

On the last cylinder, I thought that maybe with the extension this Harbor Freight kit would work just fine. I screwed the extension on and tested it - but I got ZERO psi. I kinda freaked because that is bad bad news for compression. I took the Harbor Freight tester off, installed the AutoZone one, and it read just fine. I reinstalled the Harbor Freight one thinking that I must have done something wrong... and it still read zero. So even with the adaptor, the tool failed to work at all.

I love Harbor Freight, but I think from now on, I'll stick to the cheap hand tools and free flashlights. I give this product zero stars to match the ZERO psi it wasn't reading.

I would be curious if anyone else has had better luck with anything that is more complex than a hammer or a socket.

Last edited by djtimyd; 09-05-2017 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 09-05-2017, 05:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have had their sockets crack. Broke two 1/2" drive ones. Broke a 3/8" one. Their screw drivers bend like the nile river runs around corners. I had an extention break and the square part that snaps into the socket stuck in the socket. A couple of other hand tools broke I can't remember. Haven't been there in years. I do have one of their larger floor jacks and that has been ok but I usually use safety stands and a second floor jack where needed. I don't want that to give way when I am under it.

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Old 09-05-2017, 06:20 PM   #3 (permalink)

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I've broken 2 sockets ( regular cheaper ones ) from harbor freight over the years but nothing else.
Of course most of what I use is their impact line of sockets , never screwdrivers, testing equipment etc
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Old 09-05-2017, 07:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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YMMV with HF stuff.
Some of it is amazingly good for the price.
Some of it is absolute sh*t.
I have stuff here of theirs i've had for like 14 years (4x8 1100# rated folding trailer. best $200 I've ever spent), I've had stuf last one project (took down a 30' chestnut tree with one of their electric chainsaws), and I've had stuff break right out of the box.
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Old 09-05-2017, 08:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Their "pro" line of hand tools is good, at least for a DIY'er. I have a few odds and ends. I have their Daytona floor jack which is eerily similar to one Snap On sells.
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Old 09-06-2017, 10:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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75 buck floor jack works great. 12 ton bottle jack works awesome. 9000lb cable come along works for tensioning rope on trees. Wrenches are a bit wonky. Anything "free" there is to be avoided

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Old 09-06-2017, 11:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have a heavy duty welded metal yard cart that is awesome, a pressure washer that is very good, and a woodchipper I have not tried yet.

I learned the hard way that, for automotive work, their cheapo sockets are not going to last. The impact sets I've purchase are terrific.
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Old 09-07-2017, 08:24 AM   #8 (permalink)

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I have their 2-ton engine lift (cherry picker)... used it to remove and install engines on perhaps a dozen or more jobs... it is fantastic, especially for the $130 paid.

Their hydraulic tools seem solid; impact sockets, no problem. Drill bits are garbage. The digital dial calipers are great and very accurate. The sledgehammers are great too.

What else... tie rod separator, pickle fork, works fine. The metal clasp storage boxes are good (my wife uses them for her fancy pens and markers). Their towing stuff seems good so far, the $9 HVLP paint sprayer works fantastic for cheap or small projects.

Like was said, some gems in there and some trash... it's not all junk. But some of it is best left on the slow boat to China.
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Old 10-07-2017, 06:47 PM   #9 (permalink)

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Stay away from their ac manifolds too. They're good for maybe 2-3 uses.

I have one of their aluminum floor jacks. Its been great for the past several years.
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
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If you use a tool once or maybe once a year HF is still a bad choice.

I use my tools everyday at work,once all where switched out for Snap On,Matco,Cornwell,and MAC(with a few other brand names without mobile tool trucks) I rarely ever break a tool anymore besides drill bits/extractors.Think the last tool I broke was 3 years ago but you expect that when you pay prices like $500+ for a 10 piece wrench set(10mm-19mm).

Have over $100,000 in tools and won't even walk into a HF,which is 1/2 mile up the road from my place.
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