View Full Version : Question regarding ratchet/sockets

09-04-2009, 07:50 PM
I realize that this should be in the "tools" section, but I was hoping to have some comments tonight - and I think my odds are better posting here.

OK - many years ago, when I had no money, and was raising a couple of kids, I bit the bullet and bought a basic mechanics tool set. You, know the usual characters, 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2-inch drive ratchet, extensions, sockets, wobble thingies, and a fairly good assortment of open end and socket combo wrenches.

I'm sitting here, it's 79 degrees, 101 percent humidity, and I've about had it trying to get the 250 ready for an outing tomorrow. :madder:

Maybe this kit is worn out, I don't know, but here's my problem. I am trying to tighten a pinch bolt in the lower universal where the steering column attaches. I have a 1/2" socket wrench on the head of the bolt to keep it from turning and a 1/2",3/8" drive 12 point socket on the nyloc nut trying to tighten. MY SOCKET KEEPS FALLING OFF OF THE RATCHET. Seriously, do these sockets/ratchets wear out. Hey this is "Craftsman", paid lots of dough for them, and gee I thought they were guaranteed forever. I tried another ratchet and socket. - same result. Does this have something to do with the little button that releases the socket?

Now, once again, I don't have any money, but at least I have more free time!


Thanks in advance.


09-04-2009, 08:17 PM
Hey, Frank, as best I know, Craftsman tools are guaranteed. Take your old wrench in to Sears, and see if new sockets work better; or maybe it's your ratchet. I think they'll trade you, new for old.

BTW, happy 50th to your TR3 from mine!

09-04-2009, 08:29 PM
I am using the majority of the basic tool set I started with since 1975. The rachets have worn more to the gearing in them. Socket depend on where they are or how they get used. 12 point socket will go quicker.


09-04-2009, 08:30 PM
Yes the wrench can loose it's ability to lock the socket on AND they can loose the ability to switch between "ratchet right and ratchet left".....ask me how I know.....take it to Sears and they will hand you a new one and toss yours in a bucket full of broken wrenches.

09-04-2009, 08:36 PM
Gee, thanks. :bow: I didn't think they would take them back for normal wear and tear. I think we'll take a little trip later tomorrow. Complete report to follow. :yesnod:

Andrew Mace
09-04-2009, 08:49 PM
Yep, last I knew, the lifetime guarantee still held. But before you give up, you might try a bit of light oil in the ratchet mechanism, or maybe even WD-40 or the like. I've had them get sticky and not "lock" all the way in position, and lubricating them solved it.

My 1/4" drive and 3/8" drive ratchet handles are going on 40 years old. My 1/2" drive ratchet handle is only about 15 years old, but that's because my original (also almost 40 years old now) mysteriously disappeared in the hands of my then-young children. I'm convinced that it will either surface deep in the recesses of my garage, or an archaeologist will discover it decades from now in my yard where the children loved to dig around a pine tree. (Yes, more than once I caught them using that ratchet as a shovel!)

09-04-2009, 09:57 PM
They'll definitely take them back, I was surprised that they even replaced a broken tape measure I had - I went to buy a new tape for the insides and they just took the whole thing and gave me a new one.


09-04-2009, 10:33 PM
My thoughts were along the same lines as Andy's to try and service/clean the wrench first.

I can't comment about the particular style of wrench you have. However, mine are of a design where the ratchet and pawl can be released from the head by removing a snap ring. Once apart, you can removed the stiff grease and clean away any rust or perhaps even shards of metal off the pawl. When the wrench is apart you can also use WD-40 or similar to flush the locking ball mechanism. I've done this twice to my wrenches and it has restored them to near new each time.

09-04-2009, 10:47 PM
Usually, if the socket falls off, the detent ball is shot.
That said, I think I am the only person I know who periodically opens my Craftsman ratchets and cleans, then oils them.
Last a LONG time that way.
Clean them first:
They are full or dirt, crud, rust and all sorts of abominable things.

I have an old Dunlop bench grinder with medium and fine wire wheels on it, and clean the teeth carefully.


09-05-2009, 12:23 AM
Usually the detent ball gets stuck in the in position causing the sockets to fall off or sometimes the ball even becomes missing in action. If it is a Craftsman ratchet I have had Sears solve this very problem in two different ways 1. They gave me a whole new ratchet, 2. They gave me a ratchet rebuild kit. This kit consists of all of the innards for the head. Pop the snap ring off remove the old innards replace with the new innards and replace the snap ring and it is a done deal! The lord only know just how old my craftsman ratchets are, I inherited them from my dad and the lord only knows who or where he got them from.
The bottom line here is ...... craftsman tools are warranted against failure for LIFE. ..... whos life? Who knows *SMILE*
Some of the other broken craftsman tools I have returned and exchanged for new I have had the salesman proclaim "MAN! this thing is very old, I have never seen one exactly like this before" And ...... yes I got a different version of the same tool at NO CHARGE!

09-05-2009, 06:04 AM
It's an awful thing when you remember buying the tool, that upon returning it to the store for replacement, is older than the kid doing the transaction. :cryin: :blush:

Seriously, a jolly good cleaning is the first order of business.

There is nothing more frustrating than tools that are botching what should be a simple job.

09-05-2009, 06:08 AM
A quick post script.

I have used cheap superglue to hold various conglomerations together.

a socket on the extension and the nut in the socket.

The glue sticks long enough to get the nut started, but doesn't stick to the chrome enough that a short side to side motion won't break it free.

09-05-2009, 07:23 AM
Frank, I ditto everything that has been said, though I have never cleaned one out. I do clean the sockets on a regular basis. My 3/8 ratchet finally gave out on me a couple of years ago and a 30 minute trip to the local Sears store produced a factory rebuilt ratchet for me. Works fine, no further problems.


09-05-2009, 10:07 AM
I took my broken tools for replacement and gave them to the clerk. He asked what I had in my other hand and took the broken drill bits that I was going to purchase replacements for. He brought back all of the replacement including replacements for the drill bits and told me to have a good day. I did.