View Full Version : shop remodel killed my cordless drill

04-13-2006, 03:42 PM
I have been in the process of remodeling my shop to make room for my reloading bench. You know how it goes. To do one thing...you have to move 6638588873 other things to make room for the new thing. I started by building a 12x8 overhead loft above one of the roll up doors. It was just wasted space until the loft was finished last night. Now I can store Sh!tloads of my pack rat stuff that I may need 43 years from now. I have systematically positioned everything in my shop to maximize floor space and allow for my new 12 foot long reloading bench against the East wall. I have been building the new bench supports out of 3" angle with 2x2 legs and a few knee braces in the middle. Afterwards there will be a double layer of 11/8 flooring for the top with formica glued on. It should be strong enough for me to tap dance on it...... Anyway, in the process of all this moving and building and spending money at the lumber yard....I broke my Makita cordless drill. I was devistated. This thing has been my most used drill for 10+ yrs. I was running in a 5/16x2 1/2 lag bolt when the gear box in the nose cone of the drill barfed. It started to sound like an old Chrysler starter. Then....SNAP..no more turn...done. Now the motor turns and the chuck has no power to it. Dammit!

I am in the market for a new drill I guess. I am tempted to buy another makita since the last one has lasted for 10+ yrs. I am wondering about what voltage to buy. The last one was a 12V because that was the biggest then..but now there are things with 14,18,14,and 28 volts!!.. What says yous guys? Makita, Milwaukee, Bosch...what voltage...I am thinking 1/2 inch chuck this time instead of 3/8th's inch. I hear that Milwaukee has crappy batteries?


04-13-2006, 04:02 PM
I buy the really cheap ones. I got an 18v cordless with clutch and two speed transmission and dc braking for $35 with two battery packs and case recently. It's great and when it wears out I just buy another. I actually have three of them, it's the batteries that croak and buying a new drill is cheaper than the batteries.

Maybe I'll build a battlebot with the spares someday. As it is I have all three sitting around the shop with various ready-to-go bits in them.

04-13-2006, 05:11 PM
We've had good luck out of the later model 3 speed dewalt's at work. We've also had the makita's but could never get the batteries to stand up to the abuse like the dewalts do. By the way Evan, I just rebuilt two battery packs for my cheapo drill out of harbor freight drill batteries. I needed 18 volt packs and I priced the nicads through several dealers and the batteries alone were goint to be around $80-$90 and I was still going to have to solder them up. There packs didn't match my drill but I just took their batteries out of the case and put them in my battery case. So far they have been holding up real well. I think they were around $12 a piece. I've had such good luck with the drill I just hated to throw it out.

04-13-2006, 05:16 PM
I'm with Evan,I buy cheap ones ,and pull them to pieces for spares when the battery kicks it's last.Even Makita's batteries cost more then a new drill,so for knockabout use,why pay more then you need to?
On the other hand,if it was for commercial use,I'd happily lay down the dough for a new Makita.
I had a Makita 10mm corded drill at work,that was used and abused for near enough to 15 years,and last I heard it was still going strong.
For what it's worth,I feel the packs 14.4volt and over are fairly heavy to use all day.I always have 1 battery on charge while the other is in use,so I'm never stuck waiting for a charge up.Hence the 12 volt packs do me just fine.

04-13-2006, 06:57 PM
I have two Dewalt 18v drill motors. One is hammer the other is not. The non-hammer model has driven approximately 700 3" square drive deck screws and feels as strong as the hammer drill which is brand new. The battery lasts what seems a long time.

Problems: It's heavy (but balanced) and pricey..JRouche

04-13-2006, 07:30 PM
I have two Dewalt 18v drill motors. One is hammer the other is not. The non-hammer model has driven approximately 700 3" square drive deck screws and feels as strong as the hammer drill which is brand new. The battery lasts what seems a long time.

Problems: It's heavy (but balanced) and pricey..JRouche

I have 2 of each,and am like evan sitting around with bits in them one always has a sleeve type screw starter with square bit.;)

Mike Burdick
04-13-2006, 07:34 PM

Just curious...have you taken the old drill apart to make sure it isn't fixable?

04-13-2006, 07:41 PM
Here is a link with Tool Repair Parts with Schematics for
Makita Cordless Drills.If the parts aren't to expensive
you could repair it and have a spare.

04-13-2006, 07:55 PM
My company uses cordless drills in an industrial environment driving all sorts of fasteners so we see a wide range of performance requirements. I can honestly say that Makita and DeWalt perform about the same but most of the workers prefer the 14v Dewalts due to balance and weight issues.

If you think a 14 is heavy, try lugging an 18 all day...

04-13-2006, 09:23 PM
I'm still using my Craftsman 9.6 volt that I've had seemingly forever. I know the batteries are about $30 a pop but it has been a good drill and I'll keep using it until finally gives up the ghost. I use a 9.6 volt Makita at work and the only thing other than batteries is the chuck crapped out. A new chuck and we're back to work.
If and when I need a new drill I may get a Dewalt. I've heard some good things about them.

04-13-2006, 09:46 PM
I haven't taken the poor little Makita apart yet. It still works and will drive screws up to #10 x 1". Anything bigger and the gearbox slips. It is a stripped drive gear I think ....it could be a bad clutch in that it sounds the same as if you were to set the clutch to the lowest setting. Problem is that it does this when the clutch is not used....in the "drill" setting.

Thanks for the tool parts link. I did look up the model number and found that the clutch and gear box are sold as one unit for $51.34. I may contemplate that at a later time. As for now I think I will replace the Makita with a little bigger machine. I use the snot outta my drill all the time...usually on a daily basis so I can justify buying a high dollar quality one. From now on I think I will drive lags with my air impact gun.

I am sitting on the fence between Makita, DeWalt, and Bosch. The fellow that sells Bosch speaks very highly of them and there is a decent sale price at the moment. 14V 1/2 inch drive two batteries, charger and carry case for a hundred and a half. The salesman said that the Bosch rep brought one of the Bosch "Brute" model drills to demo at a trade show. Which he did... He took a 14 Volt model and went out in the parking lot and repeatedly threw the drill up in the air as high as he could ...letting it smash on the concrete.. each time the battery would pop out.. He replaced the battery each time for 15 throws. After 15 times he commenced to drive 1 pound of 3 inch deck screws in a 4x4 post then using a paddle bit drilled 6 1.5 inch holes in the same post. The salesman was stunned. The Bosch rep asked several reps from Makita, Dewalt, Milwaukee, and Panasonic if he could try that with their drills....they declined. If it will handle that sort of abuse...it ought to last me a while.


04-14-2006, 12:16 AM
I love the Makita. I've owned two and they last a long time. This was the first battery powered drill which I found lasted long enough to get useful work done as a contractor.

I remember telling this to an elderly friend (I think he was over 80) of mine in Florida. He wouldn't have anything to do with a "battery" powered drill. In the same conversation I showed my friend how I stowed my electrical cords so that they wouldn't tangle. I made strings of half-hitches so that I could pull out as much cord as I needed and it wouldn't tangle.

He said, "what do you mean, tangle?" He went to his rack and grabbed a coil of 50' cord. He held onto one end and threw the cord and layed the whole thing out in a straight line. I was astounded.

I learned a lot from that wonderful man. I don't use half-hitchs any more. I just coil it properly.

I still love my Makita.

04-14-2006, 09:08 AM
Motorcyclemac, I recently worked on a Makita that had the slider to shift from low to hi. It was doing what you describe only in both ranges.

Took it apart and flushed out the shifter mechanism. The slider moves a spring loaded shift arm that changes the transmission and it was packed up and would not let it go into gear.

04-14-2006, 10:10 AM

Someday soon, some clever person is going to come up with a cordless tool series with battery packs that take normal cells. When one or two cells go bad, replace them, not the whole F$$$ing pack.

I've got a 14.4 volt Milwalkee that SWMBO bought me for Christmas some years ago. I've used it for drilling, driving, and even powering parts of my gear cutting machine before it got motorized. The packs come apart easily enough, but the cells are size "SC" or some such weirdness.

On the first battery pack death, I took it apart and checked - only a couple of cells (out of 12) were bad. The new pack is $70. Yeesh.

04-14-2006, 12:41 PM
The battery death is a major PITA. I have an 18v Skil that I got for christmas one year and love it to death. It has enough torque to break your arm or at least throw you off the ladder. When the batteries get weak and will no longer charge properly I will take one apart and see if I can buy the individual cells from an industrial battery supplier. We have one here in Tallahassee, Fl. that will make up packs of cells to replace whatever cluster of cells you bring in. I don't know the cost but I will bet it will be cheaper than a new pack. The ham radio folks that have nicad packs for their HT's can buy the nicad inserts from E. H. Yost and a host of other companies already made up to fit in the cases. I will bet that this too is possible for drill packs.

Jim (KB4IVH)

04-14-2006, 05:38 PM
I'm going to get a Dewalt because I like Matt Kenseth and he came in second in the last NASCAR race. I'll buy it at Lowes because I like Jimmie Johnson, too. I'd rather buy it at the Home Depot, because I like Tony Stewart more than I do Jimmie, but not enough more to drive thirty miles to their closest store.

I'm the kind of person the NASCAR sponsors dream about--a total idiot. :D


04-14-2006, 06:07 PM
I had a Makita 14.something given as a gift a couple of years ago, It was called a work force or something like that, it lasted two years before the clutch stripped out. I did not use it professionally. It wasn't cheap.
I decided to buy a cheapo from Sears, the 19.2 recent model. I'm very impressed so far with the balance, CHEAP batteries, and overall quality of the unit. I figure if these things are averaging a couple of years anyway, why pay the big money for the big names.
this one has a better chuck than the Makita and a led light that comes on when you pull the trigger. A thumbs up.

04-14-2006, 07:17 PM
My first cordless years ago was the old trusty Mikita 9.6volt. Lasted quite awhile. Then I bought a dewalt 14v. Loved that drill as it had good power, good balance, and light weight. Trigger switch went out - $50 for a new switch.

I purchased a reconditioned dewalt 18v last year. Built a good sized deck with it driving deck screws. Didn't take long to wish I had got another 14v. 18v was too heavy for the marginal increase in power. Purchased a couple of spare 18v packs. Shortly after the deck project the clutch locked up in the drill mode (no clutch)... where it still sits today. Have to take it apart one of these days and see if I can unlock it.


04-19-2006, 06:04 PM

Just curious...have you taken the old drill apart to make sure it isn't fixable?

I took the Makita apart to determine the cause of its demise. After splitting the case into two halves I located and disassembled the planetary gear drive assembly. Piece by piece I examined the parts for damage or excessive wear. I couldnt find a darned thing that looked broken or damaged. I cleaned the parts in solvent because the lube in the gear box was pretty dirty from gear wear. I reassembled the gear box (damn there are a lot of little gears in there) and re-lubed everything with synthetic grease as I assembled. I was totally puzzled as to why it makes this disgusting grinding noise. I put a bunch of effort in examining the clutch and found it to be healthy. While I was putting the motor and gearbox back in the case I found the culprit. As someone mentioned the shift fork and the sliding clutch to change gears may be the culprit. It was. What had happened was quite simple. A piece of metal chip found its way into the shift fork and was preventing the gear box from fully locking the gear teeth into low gear. So when under heavy torque it would spit the gear out of engagement. Since the shift fork is spring loaded it would repeatedly attempt to force it back in low gear ....thus the repeated grinding noise. I extracted the chip which was neatly stuck in the case and WaaahLaaah...FIXED. Thanks to all of you for your help and comments. I love saving money by fixing tools.


04-19-2006, 11:04 PM
FWIW, when I prematurely killed the batteries in my 14.4v Craftsman by leaving them constantly in the "dumb" charger when they weren't in the drill, the price of replacement batteries made me look for alternatives. Sears wanted about $50 per battery and I ruined two of them...on a drill kit I paid about $50 for when it was new.

Decided batteries were the weak link -- just like Gillette and razors, they were "giving away" the drills to hook you on their batteries -- so I ended up buying a Harbor Freight drill similar to # 93440 and some extra 18v batteries for less than one Craftsman battery would have cost. Have been planning to replace the cells in the Craftsman batteries with some from the extra HF ones, but haven't yet. The HF drill is working just fine and I've not felt a need to get the Craftsman back in service.


Bruce Griffing
04-20-2006, 08:50 AM
I have a 9.6v, (2) 12V and an 18V drill. Makita and DeWalt. In my opinion, the 18V is too heavy for regular use. If you get a NiCad model, I would stick with 12V. If you go nickel metal hydride - 14V. This is based only on weight. I like my Makitas the most.

04-20-2006, 06:08 PM
Doesn't anyone use the panasonic cordless drills? I don't own one, but I've used 'em before and pack a lot of torque and pretty low weight. Pricey too, but see the reviews on amazon (taken with a grain of salt of course). Can't comment on long term durability. I think part of the reason they're not hugely popular, aside from being somewhat pricey, is that they don't have a real flashy look to them.


04-20-2006, 07:33 PM
Get the 18V-XR DeWalt if you want a keeper.

The one Makita chuck I played with seemed to small for my hands to allow me to tighten it enough.

Don't let any salesman talk you into Bosch anything. (now I'm in trouble)

Throw-away drills are not fun drills and can be a royal pain at just the wrong times.

I rebuild my battery packs. Tear one apart, you'll see how easy and inexpensive it can be.

Tom M.

04-20-2006, 07:49 PM
When I was selling tools the Panasonic cordless drills, where "technically" the best drill on the market, in just about every "scientifically" measurable way. They did come with only one battery then. But they had only three service centers in the States, and were not known for a rapid "turn around" when you sent a drill in for repair, warrenty or otherwise. I don't know if that has changed in the last few years, either the tool (outstanding then) or the service (much below the "standard" then) maybe different today.

Dewalt may not be the "best" tool on the block, but B&D service centers are everywhere. I think Makita makes a very good drill, batteries, and service support. The other battery powered Makita tools are nice. They both sold well, with few customer complaints

I own Dewalt 12V drills, and a few lights. But think the other tools offered by DeWalt are not as "good/nice" as the market competition.