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Tmoose (Mechanical) (OP)
30 May 11 20:57
I just successfully recharged my daughter's Honda Accord 134 AC system using one of those DIY Interdynamics kits available everywhere.  
My wife then announced the AC in her Mazda MPV probably needs recharge, too.

Unlike the convenient ports on the Honda, The Lowside port on the MAzda is buried way back by the firewall.
Before I consider just splicing a few feet of whatever in Is there a source for a DIY kit with a real long hose?
evelrod (Automotive)
31 May 11 13:22
You can always get one of these, especially if you plan on doing AC work in the future.

rmw (Mechanical)
1 Jun 11 20:31
You don't have to get the whole kit.  Go to a wholesale A/C warehouse and you can buy just the low side hose.  You may have to do some creative tubing adaptation to marry it to what you have, but if your store has much stuff you should have a good selection of tubing and/or pipe fittings to work from.

MikeHalloran (Mechanical)
1 Jun 11 22:54
Yes, but the a/c warehouse will charge you more for one hose and one quick-connect than the whole kit costs at Harbor Freight.


Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

thruthefence (Aerospace)
2 Jun 11 9:34
My "harbor fright" kit, identical to Rod's link, ( I only paid $39.95, couple of years ago) has hoses well over six feet.

How can they make this stuff, package & ship it over here at these prices?
MiketheEngineer (Structural)
2 Jun 11 11:35
Because good pay in China, India, etc is a couple of dollars a day!!! - not per hour - per day.
RossABQ (Mechanical)
2 Jun 11 18:56
I bought a Robinair manifold hose/gauge set, very nice quality, for under $75.  The hose rubber on the HF piece is not likely to last, nor would I expect the gauges to be very accurate, nor the valves to seat tightly. Why scrimp on your tools?
thruthefence (Aerospace)
2 Jun 11 19:22
I have to tell you, that as a professional Aircraft mechanic,40 years in the bid-ness, as well as a BSME (Louisiana tech, '64) I do not "scrimp on my tools". I have, for insurance purposes, approximately 60 large in hand tools & test equipment. I'm not even including the insane number of machine shop tools I own as part of my "Hobby".

My freon recovery unit, (in fact a 'Robinair' 12/134) shot craps six months after the warranty ran out. I actually bought it through the Snap-on jobber, because as a durable piece (HA!!) of test equipment I did NOT want to scrimp!

For Hobby, DIY, & occasional use, much, (but not all) of Harbor Freight tools are perfectly serviceable.

MiketheEngineer (Structural)
2 Jun 11 20:55
Harbor is great - if you use it about 2 times a year
MacGyverS2000 (Electrical)
3 Jun 11 8:24
There are several loooong threads about Harbor Freight on a woodworking site I'm on.  The arguments usually start with two main viewpoints, "All HF tools suck" and "They work well for the price range you pay for them".

After the dust settles it usually comes down to "Excluding the occasional lemon, certain tools are well worth the money and some aren't worth the gas to pick them up."  For example, one of the dirt-cheap clamps they sell breaks almost instantly with any pressure because they use plastic in the locking mechanism... people scream junk, but if you replace that piece with a $0.05 metal nut, it works as well as the best on the market.  An air-powered cutoff tool cost me $20, and it has been through some extremely tough times (cutting hardened concrete, for example)... a similar tool from a good manufacturer would have cost me at least triple that, but this one is still going strong.

You have to look at it on a tool-by-tool basis with HF...

Dan - Owner

thruthefence (Aerospace)
3 Jun 11 9:04
If I may beat this pony a bit more, I will give another example:

I am NOT a painter. Occasionally I have to touch up a bit of paint here & there for corrosion protection (and esthetics of course).

I offer for your appraisal:

and this: a "Brand name"

It's not even economical to CLEAN the cheapo version, for reuse!
TheBlacksmith (Mechanical)
3 Jun 11 9:22
My acid test, is this a tool I will turn to all the time; I just bought a DeWalt Lithium Ion Drill and Impact Driver set and a Toro lawnmower for example, or a job I'm likely to do once in the ownership of a vehicle, then I'm off to Harbor Freight, etc.
evelrod (Automotive)
3 Jun 11 11:04
Y'all can say what you want about HF...and...I'll likely agree to some degree, one way or the other.  HF is close by for me and I use many of their "cheap" tools.  Most are at least serviceable for my intended use, many are not.  My money, my choice. Generally speaking, I buy the best tool for the purpose. That means, I have my Ingersoll-Rand pneumatic tools in my shop tool box (Craftsman from the early 70's) along with a complete set of Mac and Craftsman hand tools.  However, in the racebox (Kennedy set from garage sale)  on the motorhome is an equal set of tools, HF make up the majority along with a bunch of odds and ends from a lifetime of automotive tinkering.  Nothing expensive and nothing I cannot afford to lose.

As to some of the HF tools, one or two have outlived the high priced brand...My chop saw has aided in building several roll cages and has gone through probably 20 blades...still going as is my band saw.  Most all my pneumatic couplers and hoses are HF and some are 20 years old.  Your money, your choice!

RossABQ (Mechanical)
3 Jun 11 12:00
I agree with all of the above, but one of my criteria for avoiding HF stuff is high pressure components.  Last thing I need is a hose blowing off a poorly crimped fitting, or the high-side hose splitting, etc.  I've seen too many issues with chinese compressed air hoses.

I've always wondered why more domestic tool companies don't make economical, simple tools like HF sells.  In their line of hydraulic tools, they basically have a couple of rams, and adapt them to dozens of simple tools like presses and lifts that are nothing but simple steel shapes cut and drilled to bolt together into different configurations. I can't believe the labor in these is such a huge chunk that a domestic couldn't come close on price.

On the other hand, nothing is as disappointing as a domestic tool that is a piece of junk.
patprimmer (Publican)
3 Jun 11 12:02
I find some cheap tools far outlive very expensive brands as no one bothers to steal them.

See FAQ731-376: Forum Policies for tips on use of eng-tips by professional engineers &
for site rules

rmw (Mechanical)
4 Jun 11 15:10
About the only thing I would consider HF tools good for is "loaners".  If you lose it (don't get it back) it you have lost nothing and if they break it, they deserve it.


PS to Thru-the-fence, I likewise escaped from Lolly Poly but about 7 years later.  I did get my senior ring while it was still an "institute" and somehow that has had a certain poignance to it ever since.  I was one of Mr. Thigpen's boys too.
berkshire (Aeronautics)
5 Jun 11 20:50
Beating on this dead horse,
Tools are worth what you want to pay for them I have Binks, Devilbiss,and Harbor freight spray guns, the Harbor freight guns perform as well as the Higher end guns and since I shoot Gelcoat and 2 part Polyurethane with them, if one plugs up because the paint cured in the gun, the trash can is right there.
 I have a manifold set for R12/R22that came from HF 10 years ago that has seen weekly use and the rubber hoses show no sign of cracking or flaking off inside.
 I have CP air tools and harbor freight air tools, I just paid $150 to get a CP air tool repaired. The equivalent HF tool would go in the trash if it ever broke.
  The scary thing is that HF has junk and good tools side by side on the shelf and you have to figure out which is which.

The good engineer does not need to memorize every formula; he just needs to know where he can find them when he needs them.  Old professor

evelrod (Automotive)
6 Jun 11 13:13
If anyone is still interested, HF just put the AC test gauges on sale for $35.....

thruthefence (Aerospace)
6 Jun 11 13:32
I wish some enterprising HF buyer would ask their vendors to develop a Royal 5C Lever action collet closer for the US market. Sell it for say, $25.00?  
berkshire (Aeronautics)
6 Jun 11 14:51
So , you don't like the handwheel?

The good engineer does not need to memorize every formula; he just needs to know where he can find them when he needs them.  Old professor

thruthefence (Aerospace)
6 Jun 11 16:00
I actually have a D1-4 camloc 5C collet chuck, that does use a "home grown" handwheel. It's sooooo slow for this fast paced life I live!!
berkshire (Aeronautics)
7 Jun 11 0:57

The good engineer does not need to memorize every formula; he just needs to know where he can find them when he needs them.  Old professor

ScottI2R (Electrical)
8 Jun 11 19:52
I have been using that very set of HF guages for years. The only problem I ever had was operator error. Opened the charge valve while the HP side valve was open. That coulda been really bad, especially when you consider the height the can was sitting at. I would be talking a few octaves higher, so to speak....


I really am a good egg, I'm just a little scrambled!

berkshire (Aeronautics)
10 Jun 11 0:12
So did the can swell up like a football, or go off with a loud bang?
Don't keep us in suspense.

The good engineer does not need to memorize every formula; he just needs to know where he can find them when he needs them.  Old professor

ScottI2R (Electrical)
10 Jun 11 15:37
Oh, the concave bottom of the can inverted (expediently) itself causing the can to jump off the core support. It also became very hot and it caused me to create this very bad smell!

Stupid mistake with a very good outcome. Lucky Learning I call it.


I really am a good egg, I'm just a little scrambled!

thruthefence (Aerospace)
10 Jun 11 18:25
Topping off the freon on my old Volvo 740 turbo at home, a few years ago, and I cleverly decided to speed up the process by carefully placing the can in the airflow from the radiator/condenser. Got side tracked talking to my neighbor, and Ker-BLAM!!! Isn't physics wonderful?
ScottI2R (Electrical)
11 Jun 11 3:04
"But Captain, I canna change the laws of physics!"
"well then Mr. Scott, you're fired. "

It didn't shrapnel the radiator did it?
This is why we have global warming. People like us blowing up 12 oz cans of freon. Oh and cow flatulence too!


I really am a good egg, I'm just a little scrambled!

rmw (Mechanical)
14 Jun 11 20:41
Who's talking about cows?  I've contributed much more flatulance to the cosmos than I have ever vented freon, so I guess the ozone hole is my fault.


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