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Old 10-15-2010, 09:06 PM   #1
Kirbot
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Default 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

I was just wondering what your opinion on smaller breaker bars is.

I always figured if a 3/8" ratchet won't do it, use a 1/2" ratchet, and if that's still not enough, use a 1/2" breaker.

I really don't see where the 1/4" and 3/8" are supposed to fit in.
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

Probably more of a variety thing than anything else. Most back yard hobbyists don't have the huge array of 1/2" drive stuff that more advanced users might have so the 3/8" breaker could come in handy if you don't have the 1/2" stuff you need.

As for the 1/4", well they're just too cute not to have. I've never used on though....
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

Always wondered this myself. 1/4 breaker bars seemed totally pointless.
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

Bleeding brakes

I have lots of these bought another 1/4 today.
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but you can still use a large tool w/ small nuts, i don't recommend using a small tool w/ large nuts though.
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

1/4 drive breaker is on my list of tools to buy, just waiting on the "right" one. Straight out you can spin them like a speeder, put a bar through the hole in the end for lots of torque, they are a handy flexible tool. Better clearance in some situations as well.
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

Can't say I've ever used a 1/4" breaker bar more than a handful of times, but I use a 3/8" breaker bar alot in space limited places.
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

I use a 3/8" breaker bar. I don't see any problem. If I have a bolt that needs a breaker, and a nut that fits the bolt, then it's always worked just fine. Haven't broken anything to date.
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:33 PM   #8
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Default Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

I guess using a smaller breaker is better than stripping out a ratchet; I plan on getting a 3/8 t-handle soon.
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

why use a breaker at all when you have a ratchet and a hammer?
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I have seen first hand so called mechanics using said ratchet as a hammer. These are the same people who are waiting for the (insert tool maker here) for a warranty claim, because they were too stupid & lazy to get up and retrieve a hammer or what ever impact tool they required for said job . . .
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

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why use a breaker at all when you have a ratchet and a hammer?
Because you're not supposed to hammer on a rat. That's what the breaker bar is for. A 3/8'' breaker will let you hammer on a breaker bar in places where for whatever reason, a wrench or 1/2" breaker won't work.

Still don't know the real value of the 1/4" beyond novelty. I have one but it's purely for kicks.

Edit: I think I fell for sarcasm hook line an' all... I'm a dumbass.
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:54 PM   #11
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Default Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

I use the 3/8 breaker bar as a deep off-set box wrench to hold a nut/bolt while ratcheting the other side.
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Old 10-15-2010, 10:07 PM   #12
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Default Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

The smaller breaker bars work well when you need to adjust something using a socket and don't want to fight shifting a ratchet back and forth. For example, when doing the Neon timing belt today I used my 3/8" breaker bar with an 18 mm socket to move the cam back and forth to get it lined up. The belt adjuster has a 1/4" square hole to work the adjuster cam, my 1/4" drive breaker bar with a short 1/4" extension did the job. Plus, a lot of times the breaker bars will fit where a ratchet head won't.
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Old 10-15-2010, 10:07 PM   #13
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Default Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

Despite the name breaker bar, you can do countless things with them besides break a fastener loose. You can use them in places where a ratchet won't fit. You can use them as an all metal spinner handle. You can use them as an additional drive tool to hold a nut on the backside of something while tightening the bolt head with your ratchet. They can be very versitle and they're cheaper than a ratchet. I think their usefulness is overlooked.
Personally I miss the old style that could double as an extension with the female square drive in the base of the handle.
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Old 10-15-2010, 10:11 PM   #14
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Default Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

Back in the day when sockets and drive tools were 1st being developed, the breaker bar (ell handle) was far more comon than the ratchet. Standard sets were sold with just the breaker bar or T-handle. Deluxe sets were sold with a ratchet in addition the breaker bar and/or T-handle.

And, during this same time, non-trade related tools in general were not common in most households. Most folks got by with the few tools that came with their cars and motorcyles and maybe a hammer and a hand saw. I remember my dad had very few mechanics tools up until the 1960's. Then he only added a tool or two when he needed them. He never owned a complete set of anything. And he was an avid wrencher.

I use breaker bars all the time and enjoy using them. I also use speeder handles for running nut and bolts on and off. It's a tactile thing. Do I use ratchets? Hell yes, they're fun too and they're faster in many circumstances. And, most importantly, women go for guys who know how to use their ratchets.
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Old 10-15-2010, 10:20 PM   #15
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Lightbulb Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

I use the 1/4 inch breaker many times on appliances, furnaces, space heaters and electrical stuff.

If it is a tight fit a 1/4 inch breaker will probably fit.

Also don't forget that a 1/4 inch hex adapter lets one use all of those many exotic and handy bits too.
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Old 10-15-2010, 10:31 PM   #16
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Default Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

A breaker bar works better when you are using crowoot wrenches.
Also if you need to fit into tight places, or if you want to hold a bolt head when tightening a nut onto the other end of the bolt.
I use 1/4 & 3/8 breaker bars a lot.
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Old 10-15-2010, 10:35 PM   #17
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Default Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

Quote:
Originally Posted by King Bojack View Post
Because you're not supposed to hammer on a rat. That's what the breaker bar is for. A 3/8'' breaker will let you hammer on a breaker bar in places where for whatever reason, a wrench or 1/2" breaker won't work.

Still don't know the real value of the 1/4" beyond novelty. I have one but it's purely for kicks.

Edit: I think I fell for sarcasm hook line an' all... I'm a dumbass.
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I have seen first hand so called mechanics using said ratchet as a hammer. These are the same people who are waiting for the (insert tool maker here) for a warranty claim, because they were too stupid & lazy to get up and retrieve a hammer or what ever impact tool they required for said job . . .
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Old 10-15-2010, 10:42 PM   #18
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Default Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

Ever tried to pull a #4 plug on a 4.6 or 5.4 Ford truck motor that leaks coolant into the spark plug hole? 3/8 breaker all day long. I use 1/4 breakers for bleeding brakes and bleeders on GM coolant systems.
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Old 10-15-2010, 10:49 PM   #19
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Default Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

The little breaker bars are nice in places where a ratchet head just won't fit, and a wrench is too short to reach or give sufficient leverage.

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Old 10-15-2010, 10:51 PM   #20
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Default Re: 3/8"& 1/4" breaker bars, whats the point?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fedwrench View Post
Despite the name breaker bar, you can do countless things with them besides break a fastener loose.
Bingo. I use a 3/8 hinge handle as a handle for my machinist's vise.

Very handy...no need to ratchet, just twist closed and open.



I dream of someday having a hinge handle for every socket in a complete set.
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