Repair a Broken Ratchet





Introduction: Repair a Broken Ratchet

About: Just a guy tinkering in his spare time

I have a craftsman 18" ratchet that they no longer make and do not offer repair kits for any longer.  In fact to my knowledge they no longer make anything like it and I was offered a smaller one when I asked about the warranty.  I love this ratchet enough I have acquired 2 of them but I use them almost daily so I wanted to repair this one.

I took it apart and found the reason it was not holding was the spring under the ball that hold the ratcheting mechanism in place was broken.  Also, the ball had a flat spot worn on it that could also cause it to slip.  I am sorry I did not think of taking pictures when I started this project, so I will just use the same pictures of me putting it back together to show the procedure for taking it apart.  Please note it was much dirtier when I started. I cleaned the ratchet and inside parts with an ultrasonic cleaner(carb cleaner would have worked almost as well though).

Step 1: Start the Teardown

Take the ratchet apart.

Use a pair of needle nose pliers to remove the retaining clips and slowly pull the back of the ratchet apart.  Be careful not to loose the ball. You will find a spring in the hole located in the handle of the ratchet.

What you see in the picture is a ball from a ball bearing that happened to be the same size.  As to replacing the spring I just got lucky and found one in my spring drawer.  Hopefully yours is not worn out or you can find one the same size.

Step 2: Finnish the Teardown

You will find a retaining clip on the front of the wrench as well, holding the rest of the parts in, just remove it and pull the gear. The wrench is now completely apart.

Step 3: Clean and Lubricate

Clean all of the parts and coat them with oil for lubrication.  I used fluid film as it prevents rust and does not dry-out like most stuff.  I can also say the wrench has never felt smoother.

Step 4: Start Reassembly

Put the front of the ratchet on first so that it will be easier to keep the retaining ball in place on the back.

Step 5: Put the Back Together and Replace the Clip

Notice where the ball goes (the spring is below the ball pushing it up to hold the ratchet in the same direction)  

Finnish the assembly and enjoy your ratchet.

Most good ratchets are under warranty but maybe you just want to make your favorite ratchet work a little smoother.  This is less then the gas to take it back for warranty.  Or you could be under the same problem I have and can not get it replaced anymore and need to fix it.



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    Does anyone know how to disassemble the central gear portion? The locking BB with the quick release button on mine has had the spring go bad and doesn't lock onto sockets anymore and I'd rather fix it than trade it in for a possibly inferior one if possible. :\

    Sears did actually start making the repair kits for these ratchets again. I work there and i repair a couple of these ratchets a week.

    1 reply

    really I have a few that need parts that I can not make easily like broken teeth, any ideas as to how to find the part numbers to order the parts.

    Great work! "Never discard that which you can repair." - Me

    the older craftsman do have a bit better fit and finish as opposed to the new stuff a lot of my dads tools he gives me are 20 years old or more and you can kinda tell the difference , possibly better base metals and possibly better plating.

    mostly the newer stuff has more sharp edges and stuff like that ( wrenches ratchets)
    i actually took my 1" wrench and used a De-burring knife to it to clean up a few reasonably sharp edges on the box and open end

    When I was younger I always bought Craftsman, hi there I would like to trade this in. Got three new shoves in the last 15 years. Your idea is good.

    1 reply

    I have nothing against taking the warranty but they would not fix this ratchet, and I like it.

    Thanks for the Instructable, I can now repair my dads craftsman. I asked him a couple years ago why he didnt just take it to sears and trade it in for a new one. It turned out it was one of the few things he had from my grandfather. Now he can have this great piece of memorabilia and be able to use it again as it was and is much better than the few other ratchets he has.

    1 reply

    I worked with a guy and he had the same thing, would not let go of the old tool.

    I have a few of these type ratchets in 3/8" and 1/2". They are definitely my favorites and worth fixing. Nice instructable too.

    I have about 4 broken regular ratchets, but there isn't a sears for miles.

    1 reply

    You might get them to send a repair kit to you. Other then that cleaning them will likely get them to work.

    Thanks for the instructable. Now I need one that shows how to fix a craftsman air ratchet.

    3 replies

    I have repaired air tools in the past what model is it?

    The model # on it is 875.199430 I don't really know much about it, I bought it at a garage sale non-working.

    Well at least you can get parts for it here is a breakdown for your ratchet.

    does it do anything at all?

    10062149-00001 (1).png

    "I found them laying around from other things I had taken apart before."

    That's the whole reason I keep parts from other projects. I know I'll need them again sometime in the future. It might be tomorrow, it might be 10 years from now, but they'll be used eventually. Problem is I have boxes and bins of flotsam and jetsam from decades of deconstruction and salvage.

    Thanks for this instructable. Now I can check off item number 647845 off my "O.C.D. - Figure out how this item works" list. I no longer have to crack open a working ratchet to see how it works (which I've always wanted to do, but have never gotten around to).

    1 reply

    yeah they are kinda simple really. I was surprised when I took my first one apart. I did one last year with the fluid film and it is my main one now so I thought it was time to fix the other one. I would change to this one but I can not tell them apart anymore.

    great documentation, and way to go getting your ratchet working again!

    The parts inside your ratchet are very similar to an S K Wayne ratchet I took apart once. A good source for the small bearing balls is a bicycle shop. Wheel bearing balls for bicycles come in a wide variety of sizes, although you may have to buy a blister pack with enough balls for a whole wheel. Still, the cost would not be very much. Once I needed a very small spring I did not have and could not get, so I stuffed the hole for the spring with pieces from a rubber band until the response was about right. It had a slightly different feel, but worked for many years. Thank you for a very practical and well done Instructable.