In an auto shop like the one I work at, an impact wrench is a necessary tool. That may sound obvious, but with a necessary tool comes a bit of familiarity…and mechanics tend to be creatures of habit. Having worked on cars and trucks for over two decades, I know that some of the body bolts require higher torque to remove and fasten. That’s always meant having a pneumatic torque wrench handy—something that involves air hoses and intrusive lines that you have to navigate around when you work on a vehicle. When Pro Tool Reviews handed me an ACDelco ARI2060 impact wrench, I wasn’t sure if it would really be able to do the job of the pneumatic wrenches I’d been using for years. As it turns out, I was wrong.
Taking the ACDelco ARI2060 impact wrench for a spin gave me a chance to not only see if this tool could replace my pneumatic tools, it allowed me a way to understand the way in which a digitally-controlled tool could increase my efficiency. I was curious, for example, to know if I could perform work more quickly. I also wanted to see how a cordless tool might help me avoid some of the delays inherent in using a corded pneumatic impact wrench. Most of all, I was very interested to see if the onboard electronic torque clutch would be accurate and eliminate the need for using a manual torque wrench to check my work on more sensitive applications.
ACDelco ARI2060 Impact Wrench Features
The ACDelco ARI2060 impact wrench comes in a hard case with two 18V 3.0 Ah batteries and a charger. It uses an unusual (but very cool) patent-pending electronic torque clutch with 6 torque settings. The 4 pole high torque motor delivers highly efficient torque in a compact size. The onboard LCD display shows the torque setting as well as the battery level and torque stage memory functions. The tool operates at up to 2,000 rpm with 0-3,000 ipm for super-quick fastening. A durable aluminum gearbox housing ensures good protection of the motor, and the reversible controllers let you apply up to 1,100 ft-lbs (foot pounds) of breakaway torque, 780 ft-lbs of reverse torque, and 500 foot pounds of tightening torque.
Here’s how the torque breaks out:
Feature Quick List
- Electronic torque clutch with 6 torque settings
- 4 pole high torque motor
- 1/2″ square drive
- Torque: 1100 ft-lbs max. breakaway; 780 ft-lbs max. reverse; 500 ft-lbs max. tightening
- LCD display
- Speed: 0-2,000 rpm
- Impacts: 0-3,000 ipm
- Aluminum gearbox housing
- Variable speed with reversible control
- Anti-slip soft grip
- Built-in LED light
Using the ACDelco ARI2060 Impact Wrench
Suspension bolts are one of the toughest bolts to remove. They have thread lock where they’re really tight coming off. That means you need a long breaker bar or, more commonly for a mechanic, a pneumatic impact wrench that can apply the 80+ foot-pounds of torque needed to remove them.
Another important issue with the use of impact wrenches is accuracy. I like to set my wheels at 80 foot-pounds of torque, and I wanted to know whether or not I could use the automatic digital clutch of the ACDelco ARI2060 impact wrench to “set it and forget it”. To find out, I used a traditional torque wrench to double check my work. Every time it was nearly spot on. What’s especially nice with this cordless impact wrench is that when you hit the desired torque set on the LCD display, the tool shuts itself off automatically.
Another application in which the ACDelco ARI2060 impact wrench proved very useful was pulling out a transmission on a 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis. For this, I placed the tool in the Max torque setting in order to break the bolts free. This was yet another application where I didn’t have to reach for my pneumatic tool.
After using the ACDelco cordless impact wrench for several weeks in a full time job working on Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles, I wasn’t really able to find anything it couldn’t loosen up and remove. That was a pleasant revelation for this mechanic.
I have to admit that I’ve been really slow to adopt cordless, but this tool has definitely changed my mind. I went from grabbing it tentatively to “see if it worked”, to quickly considering it a staple of my tool arsenal and something I go to first.
The potential for the battery to need recharging is about the only thing that keeps me from reaching for it every time. Since the tool comes with two batteries that’s really only an issue if I forget to place one on the charger. To give you an idea of the run-time, I used the ACDelco impact wrench to complete 6 tire rotations on a single battery (that’s 24 wheels or more than 144 lug nuts removed!) And it still had some life left on the battery.
About the toughest application I had for a tool like this was removing tough drive shaft bolts. Normally you’re not going to touch those with anything less than 1/2″ unless they’ve been previously removed a couple of times. Exhaust bolts and anything that’s rusted solid also seemed to come off without any real problems.
Being a Ford guy, I may have to admit to having been just a little biased against ACDelco, but the ACDelco ARI2060 impact wrench has really been great for me and has changed—for the better—the way I work in the shop. You can get your own kit for less than $375.