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Hilti Ground Rod Driver #43794 10/22/04 08:55 AM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
Dave55 Offline OP
I know this has been covered in other threads, I did a search through the archives. I'm looking at Hilti demolition hammers, but would really prefer a combo unit in case I want to core or drill. For the price of these ($1200-$1450) I'd like it to do more than pound ground rods.

The soil around here (swampland, Illinois) is better than Arizona. I can get a ground rod in with a 4 lb. hammer in about 30 minutes when it's tough. I don't know how anyone uses a sledge. I'd probably miss the rod & hit my leg. I may also opt for the cheap pipe with sledge head welded on.

So the question is what model do you have, how is it holding it 8' up with ground rods? If you use it for drilling or coring, what size holes, etc.? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

I've never used these before & its about triple what I usually spend on tools. I want to make sure it will be my new best friend.


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Re: Hilti Ground Rod Driver #43795 10/22/04 06:21 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 947
twh Offline
I worked at a place that used a Hilti TE60 or similar (too long ago to remember) with the proper 'bit'. It was great! Pounded a 10 foot rod in a few minutes.

I'm a little embarrassed to say what it's like holding it up on a 10 foot rod. Would it suffice to say that no ladders were involved?

Re: Hilti Ground Rod Driver #43796 10/22/04 07:02 PM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 259
Joey D Offline
I have a TE76 and use it mostly for ground rods but do blast holes in foundations with it as well. When I install a rod strait down I drill down 1st with my long bit then start the rod by hand then just put the Hilti on it and shoot it in. Only takes a few seconds or a minute at best if it it tough.

Re: Hilti Ground Rod Driver #43797 10/22/04 11:36 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 151
Dallas Offline
I've got a 1-1/2" Milwaukee roto-hammer I use for ground rods. Certainly has made me a bit lazier about driving rods.

Just out of curiousity, has anyone ever used a big cup of water and drove one hydraulically?

Re: Hilti Ground Rod Driver #43798 10/23/04 06:03 AM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,287
electure Offline
I had 2 guys yesterday using a light Hilti Hammer with a ground rod driver.

It took 3 hrs to drive an 8'x 5/8" and a 10' x 3/4". The soil was very hard clay.

Be sure that the driver you get has enough weight & punch to do the job. Holding a heavy hammer up for a few minutes sure beats holding a light one up for a few hours [Linked Image]...S

Re: Hilti Ground Rod Driver #43799 10/23/04 07:41 AM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
Dave55 Offline OP
Can you find out the model number of that light Hilti, electure? I'd really be upset to spend $1,000 0n something to light to do the job.


Re: Hilti Ground Rod Driver #43800 10/23/04 08:52 AM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 25
adamb Offline
"Just out of curiousity, has anyone ever used a big cup of water and drove one hydraulically?"

I've never heard of it, if you can explain how i'll try it.

Re: Hilti Ground Rod Driver #43801 10/23/04 11:13 AM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 206
capt al Offline
Hi Dave, I use a Dewalt DW541K Rotary Hammer Drill. 3/4" ground rods are no problem for it. It will take a 1 1/2" bit and I have dry cored 4" holes for Wiremold poke thur floor boxes. I also use it as a chipping gun. The company I work for has about 50 large hammer drills. A combination of Dewalt and Bosch. They used to buy Hilti but don't anymore. I believe the reason is price.

Re: Hilti Ground Rod Driver #43802 10/23/04 11:19 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 151
Dallas Offline
Driving one with a cup of water:

I use a 32oz cup full of water. I start the ground rod by simply pushing it as far as I can get it and still withdraw it. Withdraw the rod, fill the hole with water, replace the rod, and shove the rod down HARD, as far as it will go and still pull out partially. Pull up on the rod two feet or so, but not completely out this time. And repeat. Trickle water down the rod to wash off the resistance of the mud on the rod each time you pull the rod back up, enough to wash off the rod mostly, but no more is needed. The water also will run down into the ground along the rod, and as you shove the rod down again, the water provides hydraulic pressure by being compressed in the hole by the rod, and this shoves dirt out if the way.

If you've ever watched an older well drilling rig, they use the same method to drive a casing to some pretty good depths.

Of course, this works best in morain soils, since really sandy soils won't contain the water in the pounded hole long enough to create the pressure needed, and rocky soils will cause the same problems AND the rocks themself block the rod. Clay soils can be worked if you find some sand to help loosen the grip of the wet clay, but it's a job.

Now, there were a couple of inspectors who didn't like us "drilling" with water, but none could ever cite a Code violation. If you wait a while for the ground to drain, you can't pull the rod back out, so the one concern of a "loose ground" seems groundless! [Linked Image]

Re: Hilti Ground Rod Driver #43803 10/23/04 11:35 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 558
caselec Offline
I have tried using my rotary hammer to drive ground rods but it is too slow for me. I use a Bosch demolition hammer which works great. Hilti makes great tools but since it sound like you’re not going to be using this tool that frequently you might want to consider getting both a rotary hammer and 20-30lb demolition hammer from another manufacture for about the same price. I haven’t priced these tools recently but I would guess you could get the demolition hammer for around $800 and a decent rotary hammer for $400. The demolition hammer will work much better for the ground rods, breaking concrete and trenching with a clay spade. The large rotary hammers can do pretty well for all of these things but they are very heavy to use for drilling.


Curt Swartz
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