For a busy technician, the difference between an easy day and the hard one can be as simple has having access to just the right hand tool to get the job done. Fleet Maintenance caught up with Brian Noel, automotive mechanics technology professor at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, California, to get his take on the EZRED 8" S-Shaped Quarter Stick.
Q: How did the tool function as far as saving you time?
A: This tool has been a time saver in its intended types of applications. Its size and shape not only help access fasteners within tight confines, but also allow the technician to grip the tool slightly further away than similar products, in an area where hopefully more clearance exists. This allows this tool to save more time in actual use, at least in certain situations, where one might otherwise still be struggling to grip and operate the tool.
Q: How easy was it to use?
A: The Quarter Stick is just as easy to use as any traditional ratchet but provides a unique form factor that can be beneficial for accessing fasteners in tight areas or without a clear line of sight.
Q: What features did you like?
A. The knurled wheel on the backside of each ratcheting mechanism provides an easy way to help manually rotate the socket or bit being used until there is sufficient friction to allow the ratcheting mechanism to work consistently.
Q: Is there any way you could think to improve or add to this tool?
A: The offset built into each end of the tool via its S shape works well in general, but a fixed offset will never work perfectly in every possible application. Having the ability to vary this offset would increase access in certain circumstances, but the additional bulk generated by such a mechanism might outweigh some of the advantages.
Q: What types of jobs/repairs did you use this tool for? Please provide a few specific examples.
A: This tool worked well for accessing A/C compressor hardware in a cramped location between the compressor and the frame rail. It also provided a nice balance between leverage and accessibility for various tasks in tight underhood confines. The tool also worked well for accessing interior trim fasteners located in close quarters, such as screws holding instrument cluster trim where one must work through or around the steering wheel, fasteners on the top of the dashboard with the windshield sloping over the top, etc.
Q: How does this tool compare to other tools you’ve used like it?
A: The offset of this tool as well as its length provide advantages in terms of access around obstructions and leverage that are not provided by similar tools.
Q: Is there anything you had questions or concerns about in regard to the tool?
A: The tool doesn’t provide a specification or recommendation of any sort regarding its intended torque capacity. Exhaust work is one of the areas specifically targeted in the tool’s marketing, and while it could certainly be useful in accessing exhaust manifold fasteners, I question its long term durability when used in such an application given that it uses a 1/4” drive ratcheting mechanism that seems as though it may have already been scaled down some from typical dimensions to make the tool more compact.
This product was given to the reviewer free of charge by the manufacturer.