Harbor Freight is the tool store everyone loves to hate and hates to love.

I recently tapped my Bluebird’s air brake system to set up an extra tank for running air tools. Overall this has been great, we run all kinds of things from it, but there’s one job we’ve never been able to do: remove school bus lug nuts.

See, unlike a car which might have 75 lb/ft or torque, these wheels are specced around 500-600. Big truck mechanic shops use massive air systems and monster impact guns to handle them. It’s a different world compared to your typical car.

So when I tried to combine my bus-driven compressor system with a Harbor Freight 3/4 inch heavy duty impact gun, I guess I wasn’t too surprised when it couldn’t do the job. To be fair, my entire system is 1/4 inch line, and the impact had a 3/8 inlet. You’re already talking about a big difference in air flow, and the result wasn’t just uninspiring, it was actually kind of sad.

Talking with my little brother, he tells me I should go get the Earthquake XT 1/2 cordless impact because it’s supposed to be amazing and bad ass and crazy powerful. Of course, bring a HF tool, I don’t believe him. I’ve seen the equipment they use for these, and some oversize drill with a battery sure won’t do it.

But I found myself headed to the store anyway, returning the air impact that wasn’t able to do the job, and there was a coupon, and so in the end I brought one home. When it fails, I’ll just return it, right?

So here’s how it went.