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What's a "good" manifold gauge

flannag1 on Fri August 03, 2012 9:25 AM User is offline

There's a lot of talk about people not diagnosing their vehicles correctly and the problem usually goes back to using a set of "good gauges" instead of the can gauge. Sure, there's a lot of other things people do to cut corners too but lets face it; 100 dollars to fix a problem is a big investment for a one time deal. So....

1. What makes a good set of gauges?

2. And, what gauges are good ones/bad ones?

3. Can I just by the cheapest manifold gauge and buy some teflon tape with it?

4. What are some features you would not be able to live without in your gauge set?

Bob on Fri August 03, 2012 10:29 AM User is offlineView users profile

Buy a good set, not harbor freight. Mastercool sold here is a example. Mine is made by Robinair. Bought gauges and a good vacuum pump to repair a compressor on a Caravan and paid less than having the compressor professionally replaced. Depending on the number of vehicles in your house, the tools (investment) will serve you well. I have used the gauges on other vehicles and on friends and families vehicles. The only thing I would change is to have a 4 port manifold for both vacuum and 30 lb cylinder. Good luck.

TRB on Fri August 03, 2012 10:33 AM User is offlineView users profile


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mk378 on Fri August 03, 2012 12:30 PM User is offline

I agree Mastercool is decent stuff especially for DIY use. Main features to look for are good quality gauges and couplers that fit to car fittings properly without leaking. No leaks anywhere of course. A 4 hose design is good for purists but not essential. The sight glass that some manifolds have in the center is completely unnecessary.

efxengr on Fri August 03, 2012 10:48 PM User is offline

I like the 72" hoses. They allow me to hang the gauges where I can see them from inside the car and watch the temp gauge in the vent while I rev the engine. Keep them away from moving parts. The Mastercools I got here are working great. They will pay for them selves easily. THe DIY kit I bought has more than paid for itself.

Leggie on Mon August 06, 2012 5:33 AM User is offline

The one from HF is fail. The low side will leak vacuum at the valve stem when its closed off. My primary one is a basic yellow jacket I got from an estate sale. It's not as fancy or sturdy looking as the Harbor Freight one, but it doesn't leak.

Edited: Mon August 06, 2012 at 5:34 AM by Leggie

bigkev on Mon August 06, 2012 8:24 AM User is offline

Stay away from chain stores and buy them online from this site. I have a couple sets of mastercools and I am very happy with them. Just go find a store that has a masterpro and look at it, then go to one of the auto parts garbage stores and look at their gauge set they have on the floor. The difference is unbelievable, even just looking at them. The idiot gauges they sell with the can constantly leak and the treads break off because its a plastic can. O yea, if you dont use it all the hose will swell and bust in you trunk. I talked to the guy i do business with at oreilly and he said he can get mastercool stuff so they are worth checking out. I would really rather you buy it from the site just to show support for them letting people use this forum.

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