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#4081952 - 10/25/20 07:44 AM Swivel sockets vs. Universal joint adapter
clientkill Offline

Registered: 09/11/20
Posts: 3
Loc: USA

I was wondering what the advantages might be to buying a whole set of dedicated swivel sockets instead of just using universal joint adapters to get to those hard-to-reach spots.

I've used universal joints for years with success, but I've only just bought an impact gun recently and noticed most people on YouTube using swivel sockets. However, the price is $140 per set at Harbor Freight, compared to just a few bucks for the universal joints.

Tell me what you think!
'04 MGM

#4081956 - 10/25/20 09:06 AM Re: Swivel sockets vs. Universal joint adapter [Re: clientkill]
Old_Guy_Stu Offline

Over the Hill

Registered: 04/28/19
Posts: 2553
Loc: Cleveland, OH
I wouldn't use HF swivel sockets with an impact. Even their straight impact sockets are barely adequate.

Swivel sockets can get into tighter spots than a socket + uni, but might not be deep enough. Better for bolts than nuts.

The only place I can think of that's you'd need one is the bellhousing bolts. You'd be better off buying one quality swivel socket in the size you need than a set from Horrible Fright.

1988 CVLX Formal Roof (Love Boat) POTM July 2019 & Aug 2020, 56K
E-code lights w/ relays, LEDs w/ switchbacks, 15x8 Ansen slots w/ 255/60 BFG's, Kenwood stereo, various hacks.

#4081970 - 10/25/20 11:45 AM Re: Swivel sockets vs. Universal joint adapter [Re: clientkill]
Davidzq Offline

Registered: 01/19/15
Posts: 566
Loc: Seattle, WA
Agreed, stay away from Harbor Freight, use them for expendable tools only.
NEVER use HF on an impact driver, even the ones they sell as "Impact Rated".
To give you an idea of what they consider impact rated, I can stall out a HF impact just by holding it with my hand (and then the motor smoked... 🙄).

You've made due with a standard universal joint all your life. I'd wait until either you need one for a project, or until you can afford a good quality set.
David Hensley
Member of Northwest Panthers Car Club

2008 P71, Norsea Blue SAP
-Message Center cluster retrofit
-Towncar Signature L heated power seats
-Long overhead console
-Compustar remote start/security

#4082096 - 10/26/20 01:17 PM Re: Swivel sockets vs. Universal joint adapter [Re: clientkill]
2007CrownVic Offline
Over the Hill

Registered: 11/19/11
Posts: 3231
Loc: Canada
Swivel sockets are shorter then a socket and the adapter but like Stu said are pretty shallow.

I've never had a to use a swivel socket with an impact. I wouldn't bother buying them especially at that price.

#4082138 - 10/26/20 06:54 PM Re: Swivel sockets vs. Universal joint adapter [Re: clientkill]
bluejay_32 Offline

Registered: 08/28/16
Posts: 9824
Loc: wny
Two things.

One, I wouldn't trust a Harbour Freight swivel as far as I could throw it, even though I could probably throw it pretty far.

Two, I try never to use my universals with an impact if I can help it. Sometimes it's the only way, but it's not preferable. About 12 or 13 years ago I got a socket in the eye because it flew off a universal when it slipped. An inch higher I probably would have lost my right eye.
2008 Grand Marquis - bought 7/29/16 - 60,210 mi
Inaugural CVNw POTM - December 2018 slug
CVN POTM - February 2019 joy

Originally Posted By Rob Gordon

#4085058 - 11/20/20 12:24 AM Re: Swivel sockets vs. Universal joint adapter [Re: clientkill]
CrystalPistol Offline
Over the Hill

Registered: 10/16/01
Posts: 3474
Loc: Shenandoah Valley
There are times I use swivels or universals, and they make them for impact guns but I don't use them on a impact gun, I've never had a swivel or universal break, but if floppy I have wrapped a few wraps of electrical tape on one.

For my use which is not professional shop use, I've been pleased with HF stuff. I have mostly Craftsman, Snap-On, some old Wizard, several sets gear wrenches stuff, and other misc stuff. If I need to make a wrench, I'll cut a HF and go from there. I've busted sockets, most often a 12 point. I have 1/2 impact socket set for that use.

My swivels & universals are Craftsman. The swivel sockets I have are my Dad's, they are Craftsman made in the '60s, there is a 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, and there's a 5/8. Last time I used on of them was the 9/16 with extensions to get to bellhousing bolts up at the top in my Chevelle, GTO, or maybe my Dart 340 Swinger, gotta be 40 years ago. I have used the universals more recently, they are in 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 drive sizes.

I usually use them to spin a already loosened loose bolt or nut out or to start it, rarely ever to apply tightening torque or to break free a stubborn fastener unless like a 10 or 12mm nut or 1/2 or 9/16 maybe, not big stuff. I will use one when swapping plugs, but that's not heavy torque.

Edited by CrystalPistol (11/20/20 12:43 AM)

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