Tool Review: Mac Tools 3/8" Drive Impact Wrench

Oct. 8, 2012
Impact wrench has reduced weight, more durability

Mac Tools 3/8" Drive Impact Wrench, No. AWP038, is part of a line of wrenches constructed with titanium front housing for reduced weight and maximum durability.

A rubber bumper provides anti-marring protection and a side fed air motor provides an unobstructed path for air flow resulting in more power in high-torque applications such as changing tires, crankshaft bolts and engine tear downs.

The impact wrench also features a titanium exhaust deflector for increased durability, an integrated muffler for reduced noise and a 360-degree rotation air inlet providing the technician ease of movement while operating the tool. A soft rubber grip delivers comfort during prolonged use. In addition, a one-hand power adjustment and forward/reverse system enables the technician a free hand to hold fasteners and complete his job easier and more efficiently. A feathered throttle offers maximum operator control over the power output.

The impact wrench comes in a standard cardboard box with a picture and list of features on both the front and the back. The manual has a parts breakdown.

The review

Lou Fort, lead tech at K.A.R.S. Inc., Hungtinburg, IN, tested the tool and called it the "fastest (10500 RPM free speed)/hardest hitting (525 ft/lbs nut-busting torque) 3/8" impact I have ever held in my hands."

Lou says the tool has enough power to change a tire, not that he would recommend doing this without torquing the lugs. "It will most definitely take 90-plus percent of them off with ease. Having this kind of power in a 3/8" impact has kept me from having to switch out to my 1/2" several times."

Lou notes that the unique trigger/power/direction lever took some time getting used to. "The AWP038 looks a tad odd when compared to other brands, but makes up for it with power and speed."

"At first I did not care for the trigger/direction/power adjustment setup. I have come to love them. I do still catch myself looking at the direction lever just to make sure it is set to the direction intended, though. I am sure this urge will pass in time as I become more used to it."

Lou has used this impact for pulling a transmission out of a '94 Toyota 4Runner; for suspension, front axle and brake work on a 99 Dodge R2500; and for a timing belt replacement on another Toyota 4Runner. "The number one upside was not having to switch out with my 1/2" as often during teardowns."

It was easy to set up, only requiring him to thread the air hose nipple to the tool. The hose swivels 360 degrees, which allows the user to avoid tangling the hose and push the hose away when working in tight spots.

On a one to 10 scale, Lou rates this tool an 11. "We all keep asking for more power with less weight and Mac sure has delivered!"

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