Review: GEARWRENCH 120XP 86126 XL WRENCH SET
If you are a hobbyist or into DIY tasks, chances are you have at least one set of standard (SAE) and metric wrenches laying around in your tool box. If you examine the length of those wrenches, you will most likely find that the similar sized wrenches all share similar lengths. Owning a set of wrenches with longer handles can make certain jobs much easier as well as saving your knuckles!
The Gearwrench 86126 set came in a blow-molded plastic case for easy storage. While the case may work well for some, it took up too much storage space in my tool chest, so I ditched it in favor or the home-made shelving organizer shown in the main picture. The wrenches are fully polished and the size indicators are colored for extra visibility.
Neither six point or twelve point, the Gearwrench 86126 wrench set consists of (2) spline drive ends. One end being fixed, while the other end of the wrench head is ratcheting and flexes to allow reaching into angled locations.
If you are not familiar with spline drive, it features twelve points of contact on the nut or fastener head. As shown in the picture, these points of contact are not on the edges of the fastener, so they can be more useful than other types of wrenches when dealing with a bolt head or fastener that is partially rounded.
The flex head of each wrench is able to swing over 180 degrees. This allows you to access many locations with the wrench head that would not normally be possible. The Gearwrench 120xp series only requires 3 degrees of swing to engage the ratcheting action, so you can utilize the ratcheting function in all but the tightest of spaces. The extra fine ratcheting action does not come at the price of durability, however, as the wrenches actually contain (2) 60 tooth gears that work alternate of each other.
To change direction with this wrench, you simply turn the wrench over. There is no lever to switch from forward to reverse on these wrenches. One must be cautious about clearance when removing a bolt or nut in a tight location. I have found that in certain circumstances the fastener being removed can take up the room needed to remove the wrench. If that happens and you cannot switch directions to tighten the fastener up a few turns, you may be in for some fun times. Luckily this situation doesn’t come up too often.
Coming in at almost twice the length as a standard sized wrench these wrenches really shine on tasks that require extra reach like engine fan bolts. The non-ratcheting side also has somewhat of an offset to allow a more positive and slip resistant connection to the fastener head.
This wrench set is not cheap. In fact, I spent a lot of time searching for an extra long set of wrenches before I decided on purchasing the Gearwrench 120xp XL Wrench Set. One of the drawbacks that I read on almost all of the cheaper non-Gearwrench sets were complaints of the wrenches bending. Because of the extra length, you can put a lot more leverage on these than a regular wrench and I did not want to worry about bending a wrench or rounding a fastener head because of inferior steel. Gearwrench also has some cheaper sets, but they lack the flex-head end and I figured if I was going to spend the money on a longer set, I might as well buy a set that would encompass all of my needs instead of needing another set later. Once I opened these and used them, any buyers remorse was eclipsed by the quality and feel of these wrenches. I highly recommend picking up a set.