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Harbor Freight pin nailer problem & solution

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Forum topic by Oldtool posted 09-04-2014 06:15 PM 1878 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Oldtool

2374 posts in 1656 days


09-04-2014 06:15 PM

Topic tags/keywords: harbor freight pin nailer nailer problems question

I purchased a big box special (I think about $79) of a 2 gallon 100 PSI compressor & 18 GA pin nailer / stapler about 8 to 9 months ago, because I wanted it for mounting trim molding on furniture. At first use I discovered that it produced a wide staple size hole in the wood, regardless of the installation of pin nails.
I then went to Harbor Freight for an advertised pin nail gun, for about $20, which I’ve used since then to my satisfaction. Two days ago I took out the HF gun, again added a few drops of oil, as I always did in the past, then tried to use it. The nailer simply shot air out around the trigger on each pull, without firing or ejecting a pin nail. As I’ve only used this gun sparingly in the past, on an estimated 150 to 200 maximum nails, based upon the nearly full box of nails on hand, I decided to call HF for advise.
The advise provided to me was to flood the gun with oil & let it set overnight, due to the large number of O rings in the gun.
I did as instructed, and today the gun worked fine. I shot some 50 or so 1” nails, then again discharged it about another 100 times empty. Worked every time.
Only drawback to this, oil everywhere. Oil out the pressure release holes in the back of the gun body, oil plus more oil out around the trigger, it continued to shoot & spray oil until I was finished testing the gun. It then was only spraying out the back release holes.
My question then, is as follows for those of you have used a better or more costly pin gun: will a better pin nailer provide me better service without drenching my wood with oil?, or is some small amount of oil to be expected from such a tool?

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln


15 replies so far

View crank49's profile

crank49

3981 posts in 2436 days


#1 posted 09-04-2014 06:57 PM

My Porter Cable pin nailer is oilless.

You may need to change oil to something that won’t gum up the works.

For my guns that use oil I use Marvel Mystery Oil. Never had a problem, but I’m not a heavy user either. YMMV

I normally use an 18 ga. brad for attaching trim. Only use pins for alignment while glue is setting or very small pieces that a brad might split.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View mds2's profile

mds2

310 posts in 1410 days


#2 posted 09-04-2014 07:04 PM

I have the same HF pin nailer and havent had that problem, but I have had the exact same thing happen with an expensive Bostitch nailer. I think it just comes down to the O rings in the guns, but really I have no clue.

The HF pin nailer is a handy SOB though, wish I would have bought mine 3 years ago.

View nicksmurf111's profile

nicksmurf111

361 posts in 916 days


#3 posted 09-04-2014 07:13 PM

Do you have a parts diagram for the gun? If it was me, I’d rip it apart and clean everything. They probably greased it in the factory to keep it from rusting. After you used it, it gummed up the works.

-- Nicholas

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

2374 posts in 1656 days


#4 posted 09-04-2014 10:56 PM

Thanks for the responses guys, much appreciated.
I’ve pretty much decided to keep using this HF nailer, mainly due to the fact that I use it so infrequently. Looked at an oil-free version, too much for my budget.
Guess if this happens again, I’ll use less oil and see if that works.
I have the HF parts drawing, but no real desire to disassemble this device. At a $20 investment, not worth the effort & time to try that. If it craps, then I’ll get a decent brand name nail gun. HF offers no parts for reparing this.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View MrUnix's profile (online now)

MrUnix

4231 posts in 1664 days


#5 posted 09-04-2014 11:08 PM


I have the HF parts drawing, but no real desire to disassemble this device. At a $20 investment, not worth the effort & time to try that. If it craps, then I ll get a decent brand name nail gun.

That just doesn’t make sense to me..

Even if it were free, I’d take it apart, clean it up and use some teflon based o-ring lube on it. Disassembly, cleaning and ‘fixing’ machining errors are kind of expected for most HF tools I’ve purchased.. after which they are generally trouble free. Can’t see going out and buying another, more expensive nailer when you can get the one you have working fine.. particularly since you will use it so infrequently. JMHO.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View Todd's profile

Todd

384 posts in 1142 days


#6 posted 09-05-2014 09:00 PM

I’ve had mine for several years, done nothing to it, and nailed hundreds, maybe thousands of brads. Maybe I just got lucky.

-- Todd, Huntsville, AL

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

2374 posts in 1656 days


#7 posted 09-05-2014 09:40 PM

MrUnix:
I used to subscribe to your stated philosophy, but at my age my tune has changed somewhat. I want to spend my time making things out of wood, have a list of period furniture items I want to try and build. Also, I want to master Christian Beckvoort’s dovetail method of mounting molding, which negates the need for the nail gun, somewhat.
I’ll make you a deal, if this thing craps again, I’ll private message you for an address & ship you the gun, free of charge and postage on me. How’s that?
Have a great time woodworking.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

1470 posts in 2103 days


#8 posted 09-05-2014 09:51 PM

I picked one up for $7 at the tent sale, with some “as is” sticker on it. I haven’t opened it. I figured it was worth a whirl for $7.

-Paul

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4858 posts in 2278 days


#9 posted 09-05-2014 10:38 PM

Bostitch makes a 18 gauge brad nailer that is not only oil-less, but has an anti dry-fire feature built in.
It is the BT1855K, and it is a great gun.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2853 posts in 2696 days


#10 posted 09-05-2014 11:00 PM

I think my pin nailer is the same as the one described by the OP. 23 ga shoots headless pins. I had the same problem, or very similar anyway. It would misfire. When I checked it, a pin was jammed. Clean it, shoot a good one then jam. I cleaned it and oiled it, but the problem persisted. I threw it in the trash!

Later, I retrieved it and put it on the shelf. I haven’t looked at it since.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

2374 posts in 1656 days


#11 posted 09-05-2014 11:28 PM

Can’t go wrong for $7 Ocelot.
I just looked up the Bostitch BT1855K, only $70 at Lowes. If this HF unit fails again, on to Lowes should I want a replacement.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View sawdust703's profile

sawdust703

270 posts in 885 days


#12 posted 09-06-2014 04:21 PM

Might I offer my two cents worth, if you don’t mind. Having some experience with several types of, & sizes of nail guns. Not a brag mind you, but I had the oppurtunity, if you will, at a manufactured home plant I was once employed at, to take on the maintenance persons’ job of taking care of the nail guns used in the plant, on top of the wall construction supervisor job I was already assigned to. If you’ll take the hex head screws out of the head of the nail gun, the drive piston etc will come out of the cylinder of the gun. They are a lot easier than they look. Clean the parts with brake cleaner. YES! The type ya buy at Napa! Make sure you get ALL the factory anti rust/stick gel off the o rings & o ring grooves! USING MINERAL OIL, lightly coat the piston, o rings, etc with the mineral oil, & inside the cylinder. Install the piston back in your gun, be sure to put mineral oil on the o ring around the head as well, after installing the head & screws, tighten your head screws a little at a time. REMEMBER!!! Your gun is cast aluminum, so don’t get overly carried away tightening your head screws. Put a COUPLE DROPS of AIR TOOL OIL in the gun, put the air the to it, a few nails in it, & pull trigger. You shouldn’t have anymore issues. Yes, it may sound like a major process, but it takes about an hour of your valuable time to save your priceless gun!! My second piece of advice to you would be that if you are going to leave the gun sit for awhile, put some sort of an end cap over the air connection, & DO NOT FLOOD IT WITH OIL! Just from experience. my two cents. Hope it is helpful.

-- Sawdust703

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

3926 posts in 2709 days


#13 posted 09-06-2014 04:49 PM

I have found that HF nails can be the problem. I don’t use them. Instead, I buy a name brand nail, like Porter Cable, Senco, Bostitch or Hitachi. Some who would rather toss than take apart a tool may also be financially well off. I am not financially well off, so I opt to repair it if I can.

View smokehead's profile

smokehead

14 posts in 1567 days


#14 posted 09-06-2014 05:12 PM

Agree with Mr Ron have the same nailer would not shoot HF nails but would shoot Bostitch/ Porter Cable name brand ones.Had to exchange three guns to find this out mainly after a good friend educated me on this fact. MT_Stringer you may want to try the better nails worked for me.

View sawdust703's profile

sawdust703

270 posts in 885 days


#15 posted 09-07-2014 01:24 AM

I use several sizes of HF nails in my nail guns, & have never had any issues, but it could be your issue, I suppose. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say that a higher dollar brand name nail will solve your problem, but it would sure be worth a try. Another brand name that is reasonably affordable, & dependable is the Grip Rite line. You can get them at your big box stores, and most lumber yards. Having to agree with MrRon on one account, I’m not financially well off neither, & most of my tools are used or “antiques”, but my tools are well taken care of. Whether they be HF tools, or any other name brand. I guess that is one of the things that fascinates me most about this forum. I’ve read time & time again about how folks cant get a tool they just purchased to do this or that, or they have a tool they are trying to get to do something it wasn’t even designed to do. I was raised old school. Ya respect & take care of what you have, even if ain’t much, & DON”T use the tool for anything more than what was designed to do. My apologies for the ramble, but my point is basically the same as MrRons. Take the time to understand your equipment, and figure it out, & then other issues will be easier to understand. Again, my apologies for rufflin’ any feathers, or buttin’ in, just a few more cents worth. thank you.

-- Sawdust703

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