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Old 03-26-2018, 10:33 PM   #1
blee
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Ratchet Refurb

I took delivery of my Grand Prix, ordered to my specs, on my birthday in 1999. Somewhere around that time I also bought a set of Craftsman ratchets and sockets, which have served me well ever since. Over the past few years, however, the ratchets were starting to show their age. The selector switch on the 1/4" stopped staying in place reliably, and the teeth inside the 3/8" wrench seemed pretty worn.

Lo and behold, Craftsman actually made rebuild kits for these wrenches. There have been a few iterations of the ratcheting mechanisms over the years, so you need to do a little homework (just look it up by the model number on the wrench). I think the kits are no longer made, but there are plenty to be found on eBay and such.

The kits include all-new innards -- ratcheting gear, pawl, selector lever, detent spring, ball bearing for the spring, rear cover, and snap ring. The rebuild process is straightforward except for one VERY ANNOYING part -- the ball bearing must be depressed and held in place while the pawl is slipped into position, which must be done after the selector is put in place. Some older rebuild kits came with a tool for that purpose. I tried to make do with a small screwdriver, and I got it on the first try with the 3/8" wrench. I lost both the new and the old ball bearings for the 1/4" wrench, so I went back to eBay and discovered that Snap-On made a tool designed specifically to hold that ball bearing in place. So I bought one of those as well as 10 ball bearings of the appropriate size. I now have eight left and one working 1/4" ratchet.

Anyway, bottom line: the ratchets work like new again. Sure, they're just okay wrenches to begin with, and I have (more than once) wished for one with more teeth, a hinged head, thinner body, and so on, but I'm pretty attached to them. They've held together a bunch of pretty freaking cool cars and I couldn't see the benefits to just buying new ones. Plus, I saved a few bucks.
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:30 AM   #2
ff
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I've had my craftsman set now for close to 30 years (damn, am I really getting to be that old?), ever since getting out of college. Other than perpetually losing screwdrivers faster than I lose my hair, the set has held up perfectly well. Two of the socket wrenches have been replaced over the years, but back before Sears started handing out the repair kits instead of replacing the entire wrench.
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:37 AM   #3
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I have the same wrenches since college as well, and the ratchet on mine is also hosed.

Craftsman doesn't have a lifetime warranty? It makes me want to buy kobalt tools from Lowes. I've never tried it but I'm told you just walk in with the failed tool and they replace it.
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:34 AM   #4
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They should have a lifetime warranty - if you can find an actual Sears store.

That's a neat project, but I can't imagine it was cost effective (especially for a special tool and a 1/4" ratchet.)
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Old 03-27-2018, 11:52 AM   #5
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The last three Craftsman ratchets I has toasted were replaced via the rebuild system. Handed them the bad one, got a new one with "some assembly required" (per Blee's picture)
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Old 03-27-2018, 01:14 PM   #6
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They should have a lifetime warranty - if you can find an actual Sears store.
If you do find one, they will give you a Chinese-made replacement. Better off rebuilding.
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Old 03-27-2018, 02:13 PM   #7
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I’m told that Sears has stopped exchanging Craftsman without proof of purchase.
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Old 03-27-2018, 04:38 PM   #8
blee
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Craftsman tools are supposed to have lifetime warranties, but I've never needed to use it and I've also heard that the process is less convenient than it once was (eg, walk into a Sears with a broken tool). Compounding the problem is the dwindling number of Sears locations around here. I also wonder what sort of effect the brand's sale to Stanley will have in the long run. Either way, I actually did spend less than I would've on new ratchets, even with the new tool and replacement ball bearings. More importantly, I'm still using the same ratchet. Sears swears that the newer wrenches made in "Asia" are improved designs...quite possible, but I don't want new wrenches.
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Old 03-27-2018, 05:41 PM   #9
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The Sears in my local mall is a very sad place to visit. . . . not much in stock. The automotive center in it closed. The thermostats seem to be set for 80 degrees in the summer and 63 in the winter.

Kinda sad, someone needs to pull the plug.

We did just buy a 28 cubic foot fridge from Sears with free delivery and 0% financing. Unfortunately, if they close CitiBank will still want the money
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kognito View Post
The Sears in my local mall is a very sad place to visit. . . . not much in stock. The automotive center in it closed. The thermostats seem to be set for 80 degrees in the summer and 63 in the winter.



Kinda sad, someone needs to pull the plug.



We did just buy a 28 cubic foot fridge from Sears with free delivery and 0% financing. Unfortunately, if they close CitiBank will still want the money


They shut down the one near me a few months ago. Apparently the Objectivist Randian approach to management didn’t work out.
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