Milwaukee M18 Fuel cordless grinder review

I have been wanting a cordless grinder for a while now.  Partly due to just not having to deal with cords when working in the shop but also I am planning on going to a salvage yard to pull some parts and it would be handy to have a grinder with a cutoff wheel that I could use on site to cut off rusty parts as needed.

I am a fan of Milwaukee tools and have been looking at the new cordless grinder.  They have a new “fuel” line of M18 cordless tools that have brushless motors that are supposed to have good power.  I while back I decided to pick up the new “M18 Fuel Cordless Grinder”.

I bought the “tool only” option that does not come with a battery since I already have a couple of 1.5 Amp/hour batteries that came with my drill/impact driver kit that I bought about 5 years ago.  I also have a newer 5.0 amp/hour “XC” battery that I use when I do a lot of work with the 1/4″ impact driver just to extend the runtime.

The big question I had with the grinder is if it is usable as a replacement to a corded grinder or is it just “reasonable” performance and really only benefit is the cordless convenience.  I put together a few somewhat scientific tests to find out.

The test didn’t go as smoothly as I expected…. to no fault of the tool!  The thing I didn’t consider was the battery performance.  I did most of the testing with the 1.5 amp/hour batteries.  After running through all of my tests and being a little bit disappointed with the performance I realized I should try again with the newer “XC” battery.

I have to say with the better battery I am very impressed with the performance of the tool.  Check out the video for details.

This has me thinking I need to do an “M18 battery shootout” test.  There are some aftermarket companies who make compatible batteries for the Milwaukee tools.  I have ordered a few of them, as long as a new 2.0 amp/hour genuine Milwaukee battery (to see if my old batteries have lost any performance) and plan on doing a full test of all to see how the 3rd party manufacturers stand up to the real thing.

Stay tuned for that video in a week or two!


Bendpak lift update – caster wheels and ramp modification

I have had a lot of interest and feedback on my lift install video from a few months ago.  When I shot the video I figured a few people would find it interesting but I am happy to hear several people have actually made use of the video and do an install themselves!  Great to hear I could be of use!

I have had some questions that led me to shoot a couple more videos.  One was about the caster wheels.  Somebody wanted to see the design more closely since he was considering building his own wheels.  While the caster wheels are pretty good as-is the design certainly could be improved so I figured it would be good to do a detailed video showing how they work and how they could be improved (basically by making them a bit longer).

The other questions were about the ramps.  Specifically about if they are removable and how much they stick out when the lift is up…. basically the issue was someone wants to install a lift but is tight on space and needs to know how much “extra” room to leave for the ramps.

While the ramps technically are not removable I have been thinking they are often in my way and I have been considering modifying them to make it easy to pull them off.

This video shows the ramps in more detail and my modification to make them removable.


I got my lift!

This is something that has been very high on my list for many years.  My old garage didn’t have the ceiling height for it but the new barn is more than high enough.  I have now had it for just over a month and it is making the brake work I am doing on the old International 1000A much nicer.

I of course filmed the whole installation process to share the experience.  To be honest I was a little concerned about doing this on my own but I found that it is a doable project for one man (as long as you have a tractor to move the heavy bits!).  Please remember that I am NOT an expert and this is CERTAINLY NOT a replacement for reading and fully understanding the manual if you are going to do this yourself!!!  I don’t want to be blamed for you dropping a car on your head!

But, hopefully people will find this useful as I show a few things I learned while I installed mine.

I have 2 versions of the video, the full detailed version where I explain lots of detail:

And a quick 2 minute “short attention span” version if you just want to see an EXTREMELY condensed version (set to music of course).


I broke my sprinter van!

The check engine light has been lit up on the sprinter van for a few weeks now.  Since in New Hampshire this will cause it to fail the state inspection, and that inspection is due on the van at the end of the month I figured it was time to get that taken care of.

The code reader showed a code P0546 which was something about an exhaust temperature sensor.  I did a little research and found out about 4 different sensors on the Sprinter van.  I had heard that occasionally they get covered in carbon and just need a little cleaning.  So, I attempted to pull out the first one to give it a cleaning….  and of course I SNAPPED THE DARN THING OFF!!!!!

So I had to fix that with a little JB weld (will see how successful that is) and then did some more investigation.  Of course I found out that the problem wasn’t with any of these 4 that I had found out about but there is a 5th sensor which is MUCH harder to get to.  This one is on the turbo which is on the back of the engine.

Anyway, managed to get it out, new sensor has been ordered and should be here in a couple days.  Fingers crossed that this actually fixes the problem and I can get the van through the yearly inspection.