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I Love This Tool: Milwaukee M12 Fuel 3/8" High Speed Ratchet

Posted July 28, 2022 5:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: motorcycles Tools

Once, in the before time, I scoffed at the idea of a powered ratcheting wrench. After all, a ratchet and socket set is already kind of magic. Power seemed like cheating, akin to saying you've "read" an audiobook (a practice I also stubbornly refuse to adopt for no valid reason). At best, a powered ratchet seemed like an indulgence—and possibly of limited use given the extra bulk compared to a manual tool. Eventually, I received enough recommendations (mostly second hand) to put it on my wish list.

Now, my only regret is that I didn't get one sooner. It's not quite essential, like ratcheting combination wrenches, but it's close. And my fondness increases the more I use it. Here are some of the reasons why:

It's not too strong

Anybody who's used an impact wrench, or had to undo the over-tightening that comes with any visit to a tire shop, knows that too much power can be a bad thing. The Milwaukee, according to the specifications, tops out at 35 pound-feet. That's approximately "good and snug" for a calibrated wrist, and close the actual spec for many fasteners under the hood. Most importantly, it's a level of twist that's unlikely break anything. Just don't use the powered ratchet where careful, gradual tightening is necessary like when squeezing a gasket between two pieces of metal.

It's easy to use

The Milwaukee powered ratchet works via a big flat switch right where your fingers fall when you hold it, and it has variable speed. Squeeze it a little, and the ratchet moves slow. Pull it all the way in, and the ratchet spins up to 400 rpm. Moderating the speed is easy and intuitive. There's also a small LED light that helps illuminate the target, a lock switch, and a four-LED indicator for battery charge. I have two minor gripes. There's no way to tell at a glance which direction the ratchet is set unlike the labeled "on" and "off" toggle on my Gearwrench ratchets. Second, the finger trigger is easy to activate when handling the tool in a hurry.

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Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 32
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#1

Re: I Love This Tool: Milwaukee M12 Fuel 3/8" High Speed Ratchet

07/29/2022 7:45 AM

We use a ton of these at work. Most times because of limited access to swing a ratchet or use a traditional pistol grip tool but other places for the specific "not too strong" reason to keep from breaking stuff. Actually I have asked several of the manufacturers to come up with something even smaller and lower torque battery tool to replace our tiny 1/4" drive air ratchets.

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#2

Re: I Love This Tool: Milwaukee M12 Fuel 3/8" High Speed Ratchet

07/31/2022 8:07 AM

When replacing the timing belt on some motors,it is very hard to reach the timing cover bolts with regular tools.I was considering buying a long-reach 1/4 inch air ratchet,but do not do enough work to justify it.I had a 1/4 inch air ratchet,a Harbor Freight cheap-o,and after a few years it failed.The control switch was worn out.I disassembled it and removed the switch,and added a 1 foot long nipple extension with a plug in connector at the end.I adapted a air gun to the fittings,and have made a very good extension for the air ratchet.I can control the power with the handle of the air sprayer.And the ratchet has a lot more power,because I removed the built in restriction of the original switch.It is unbelievable how fast this thing is at full power,and I have to be careful to adjust the pressure regulator on small stuff ;it will break them off.Pressure is easily adjusted by small regulator in the supply line for this.I will probably break it internally due to over stress,but it was broken when I modified it,about to be trashed.1 less item in the scrap pile.

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