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1/16/2020 9:48:49 PM
Posted: 12/30/2006 12:41:12 PM EST
Hey Guys,

I need to get a torque wrench with 3/8" drive. My main range of torque will be in the 15-40 ft-lbs area. I want the ratchet style that has the audible "click" when it reaches the set limit.

Now, I am on a budget so I'd like to have a limit at or very near $150 and not go below about $80 (otherwise it'll be crap).

Suggestions?

Thanks,
CMOS
Link Posted: 12/30/2006 7:02:58 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/30/2006 7:04:14 PM EST by bala_shark]
I went to Sears, bought a couple of craftsman wrenches. Been happy with them so far.

Edit: Don't remember what I paid for them though, and its been about 5 years, so even if I did remember, the price probably has changed since then.
Link Posted: 12/30/2006 7:04:25 PM EST
Sears although Husky ain't bad either. My 1/2 inch is a Sears and my 3/8 is a Husky
Link Posted: 12/30/2006 11:41:26 PM EST
I have Husky torque wrences, too, and I'm happy with them. I think my 1/2" was like $60 or $80, so they're a good value and have a lifetime guarantee. As long as you zero it out before storing it, you shouldn't have any problems.

But like all tools, the brand and money are dependent on your need(s). The very first consideration for any torque wrench is the degree of accuracy you need. For wrenching on cars or tightening lugs in an electrical panel--just general overall use, in other words--Husky and similiar are dandy. While no "clicker" will ever match the accuracy of scale or digital, there are much more accurate ones out there in Snap-On, Proto, Bluetooth, etc. If you need precision for delicate, expensive wrenching, you need expensive tools. +/- 4% is considered an average degree of accuracy - no big deal in the ranges of a 3/8 drive and at the values you mentioned.

The other thing you need to look at is the tooth spacing - how far you can turn the socket before the ratchet will reset and grab to take another bite. Nothing is more frustrating than turning in a tight, confined space where the handle only travels a tiny distance and the ratchet won't reset. I wouldn't go with anything less than a 72-tooth. More expensive, but so is your time if you do alot of cramped work. If you're just wrenching on your workbench or in an open area, it won't make a lot of difference, of course.

Along that same line of thinking, look at the different thicknesses of the ratchet heads themselves, and consider, once again, where it's likely to be used. In general, cheaper ratchets are larger ratchets, and larger ratchets don't always fit into the space you need them to when you've got a socket on 'em. If you have to rip off parts so your ratchet will fit and function properly, you're not saving any money by saving money, if you know what I mean.

How does it feel in your hand? There are lots of different designs out there, and nothing screams OUCH more than a tool that doesn't fit your hand properly and comfortably. Take it off the shelf and fondle it like a tit on free hooker Friday. An uncomfortable tool is a dangerous tool you'll never be satisfied using, no matter how high the quality.

Price should always be your last consideration if you're out to buy a tool - especially if you'll be using said tool to turn a profit while you're turning bolts. Anything will get you by in a pinch, but if you just "eh, why pay more" kind of shop, your knuckles will curse you every time a project arises. An extra $50 now will save you literally thousands in time, safety, sweat, and frustration.

But $150 will buy you a top of the line torque wrench in 3/8" drive. That's 2 or 3 Craftsman (I hate Craftsman tools) or Huskys. Shop around, but stay away from Napa and Harbor Freight if you plan on using this often, reliably, and accurately. No Stanley garbage, either. With your budget, a good Proto is reachable, as is Bluetooth. That'd be where my money got invested.

In conclusion:

1. Where and how will you be using this ratchet?

  • Degree of accuracy


  • Tooth deviation


  • Area used in versus head size



2. Comfort of use.

3. Price.

Let us know what you decide, and I hope this helps!
Link Posted: 12/31/2006 4:19:56 AM EST
Snap On

you should be able to get into Snap On for $150 and you'll have that tool forever.
It's worth spending money on quality tools, esp for ones that matter. (for screwdrivers, no, for wrenches, yes)

Link Posted: 12/31/2006 4:51:54 AM EST
Great info Rich247!


I will mostly use this 3/8" drive torque wrench for changing spark plugs in my vehicles at home, therefore I do want something that is of a better than average quality.

I will consider your input as I shop around.

Where can I get the Proto or Bluetooth?


CMOS
Link Posted: 12/31/2006 6:50:02 AM EST

Originally Posted By CMOS:
Great info Rich247!


I will mostly use this 3/8" drive torque wrench for changing spark plugs in my vehicles at home, therefore I do want something that is of a better than average quality.

I will consider your input as I shop around.

Where can I get the Proto or Bluetooth?


CMOS



If that's all you plan to do with it, you don't need a torque wrench. I've rebuilt many engines and have never used a torque wrench. Some of the newer engines with other than normal alloys need torque wrenches but for everyday work, you don't need one.

A lot of people will disagree with me on this issue though.

If you do buy one, don't get a cheap one. A cheap one is probably less accurate than your calibrated hands.

Snap On is a little overpriced for what you get IMO. They are good though. I'd look at Craftsman.
Link Posted: 12/31/2006 7:07:42 AM EST
Klein Tools makes excellent torque wrenches.
Link Posted: 12/31/2006 9:01:41 AM EST
ColtRifle,

I normally use my own judgment when torqing spark plus but this engine is a different beast, and comes with some plug/thread issue. I feel I'm better off this time using the torque wrench.

CMOS
Link Posted: 12/31/2006 10:23:25 AM EST

Originally Posted By CMOS:
ColtRifle,

I normally use my own judgment when torqing spark plus but this engine is a different beast, and comes with some plug/thread issue. I feel I'm better off this time using the torque wrench.

CMOS


One thing you'll want to consider, then, is that changing plugs normally requires the use of an extension and possibly a swivel - both affect the value of the given torque, and a swivel or swivel socket will not read accurately at all.

If this is that sensitive that you need to use a torque wrench for plugs, do not use a swivel or a swivel socket, or extensions that have the rounded 3/8" mount to give them a tiny bit of axis, or a reducer.

Use an extension that is high quality and has no twist at all and fits the ratchet tightly. Use the minimum length you have to.

I used to have some links that showed the percentile effect of exensions per inch on torque values. I'll see can I find those for you, just for reference.
Link Posted: 12/31/2006 10:35:14 AM EST
Link Posted: 12/31/2006 11:56:20 AM EST

Originally Posted By richardh247:

Originally Posted By CMOS:
ColtRifle,

I normally use my own judgment when torqing spark plus but this engine is a different beast, and comes with some plug/thread issue. I feel I'm better off this time using the torque wrench.

CMOS


One thing you'll want to consider, then, is that changing plugs normally requires the use of an extension and possibly a swivel - both affect the value of the given torque, and a swivel or swivel socket will not read accurately at all.

If this is that sensitive that you need to use a torque wrench for plugs, do not use a swivel or a swivel socket, or extensions that have the rounded 3/8" mount to give them a tiny bit of axis, or a reducer.

Use an extension that is high quality and has no twist at all and fits the ratchet tightly. Use the minimum length you have to.

I used to have some links that showed the percentile effect of exensions per inch on torque values. I'll see can I find those for you, just for reference.




I did not know this. Thanks for the heads-up. I ***think *** I can get enough crap out of the way to use an extension only to get these plugs in and out.

CMOS
Link Posted: 12/31/2006 12:18:59 PM EST
goog now that we have that out of thw way,i'd like to hear more about this free hooker friday
Link Posted: 12/31/2006 12:41:59 PM EST

Originally Posted By CMOS:

Originally Posted By richardh247:

Originally Posted By CMOS:
ColtRifle,

I normally use my own judgment when torqing spark plus but this engine is a different beast, and comes with some plug/thread issue. I feel I'm better off this time using the torque wrench.

CMOS


One thing you'll want to consider, then, is that changing plugs normally requires the use of an extension and possibly a swivel - both affect the value of the given torque, and a swivel or swivel socket will not read accurately at all.

If this is that sensitive that you need to use a torque wrench for plugs, do not use a swivel or a swivel socket, or extensions that have the rounded 3/8" mount to give them a tiny bit of axis, or a reducer.

Use an extension that is high quality and has no twist at all and fits the ratchet tightly. Use the minimum length you have to.

I used to have some links that showed the percentile effect of exensions per inch on torque values. I'll see can I find those for you, just for reference.




I did not know this. Thanks for the heads-up. I ***think *** I can get enough crap out of the way to use an extension only to get these plugs in and out.

CMOS


My friend, I am VERY far from an expert or a mechanic, so please take what I have offered or what I do/will offer as that of someone who does not make their living turning wrenches. Mechanics are paid by shop hour, not man hour, so they are essentially working flat rate. Torque values for OEM parts mean nothing. When was the last time you saw a mechanic torque lug nuts? That's why your wife will be calling a tow truck for a flat tire unless she has a 3-foot breaker bar to jump on because some newb with a fancy MAC 1/2-inch impact hit the lugs. UGH! Different rant for a different day.

Torque is nothing more than applied pressure. That is, the torque of a car combines the variables of the horsepower, driveshaft, and gearing that put the twist of the shaft into the tire rotation, coupled with grip (which is why rear-end torque is measured at the rear tires). Change the shaft angle, you change the torque.

Same thing with tools.

Direct pressure that goes right through your arm to the tool to the bolt is a 1:1 force (generically speaking. All tools have handles, your hands have fingers, and etc). That's the torque value: The setting compared to the length of the handle compared to the size of the drive.

To think about it: Is it easier or harder to turn a ratchet with you hand closer to the end, or closer to the head? That the torque you're EXERTING, which is always leverage, which is why bolts turn easier the further away from them you are. Torque wrenches work the same way: The closer to the work they are, and the less resistance they face, the more that "click" will be accurate.

If it's at an angle, such as a swivel which is not only angle but also resistance, the directly applied pressure changes, so the torque to the bolt head changes, so the ratchet clicks before it should. With an extension, you have "stretch:" Applied pressure over length and surface area. So a long, 3/8" diameter extension will twist slightly, telling the torque wrench the torque setting has been reached, even though the bolt never moved.

Think of it like a really long, skinny screwdriver. When you go to use it, the shaft takes SOME pressure exerted, which is torque, and that pressure will finally increase until the screw breaks free. Once it breaks free, it's easy to loosen. But until then, the applied force is somewhat taken up by the shaft.

Same goes for an extension on a torque wrench, but opposite: As you try to tighten, the extension will make the ratchet click, even though it's pressure the extension (shaft) is taking up, not the bolt itself. And if you introduce a swivel, you now have a bunch of resistance... and resistance is what make the ratchet "click" at the given value. So it is now inaccurate, and your 40-ft/lb torque setting clicks when the bolt is in 30 pounds of pressure, as the other 10 pounds are taken up by the shaft and resistance.

Not important for spark plugs, but I was in the mood to type and figured I'd do so. You may ignore this post. I just need something to do right now.
Link Posted: 12/31/2006 12:42:39 PM EST

Originally Posted By curt:
goog now that we have that out of thw way,i'd like to hear more about this free hooker friday


Let me call my ex-wife. BRB.

Link Posted: 12/31/2006 1:37:31 PM EST

Originally Posted By richardh247:

Originally Posted By CMOS:

Originally Posted By richardh247:

Originally Posted By CMOS:
ColtRifle,

I normally use my own judgment when torqing spark plus but this engine is a different beast, and comes with some plug/thread issue. I feel I'm better off this time using the torque wrench.

CMOS


One thing you'll want to consider, then, is that changing plugs normally requires the use of an extension and possibly a swivel - both affect the value of the given torque, and a swivel or swivel socket will not read accurately at all.

If this is that sensitive that you need to use a torque wrench for plugs, do not use a swivel or a swivel socket, or extensions that have the rounded 3/8" mount to give them a tiny bit of axis, or a reducer.

Use an extension that is high quality and has no twist at all and fits the ratchet tightly. Use the minimum length you have to.

I used to have some links that showed the percentile effect of exensions per inch on torque values. I'll see can I find those for you, just for reference.




I did not know this. Thanks for the heads-up. I ***think *** I can get enough crap out of the way to use an extension only to get these plugs in and out.

CMOS


My friend, I am VERY far from an expert or a mechanic, so please take what I have offered or what I do/will offer as that of someone who does not make their living turning wrenches. Mechanics are paid by shop hour, not man hour, so they are essentially working flat rate. Torque values for OEM parts mean nothing. When was the last time you saw a mechanic torque lug nuts? That's why your wife will be calling a tow truck for a flat tire unless she has a 3-foot breaker bar to jump on because some newb with a fancy MAC 1/2-inch impact hit the lugs. UGH! Different rant for a different day.

Torque is nothing more than applied pressure. That is, the torque of a car combines the variables of the horsepower, driveshaft, and gearing that put the twist of the shaft into the tire rotation, coupled with grip (which is why rear-end torque is measured at the rear tires). Change the shaft angle, you change the torque.

Same thing with tools.

Direct pressure that goes right through your arm to the tool to the bolt is a 1:1 force (generically speaking. All tools have handles, your hands have fingers, and etc). That's the torque value: The setting compared to the length of the handle compared to the size of the drive.

To think about it: Is it easier or harder to turn a ratchet with you hand closer to the end, or closer to the head? That the torque you're EXERTING, which is always leverage, which is why bolts turn easier the further away from them you are. Torque wrenches work the same way: The closer to the work they are, and the less resistance they face, the more that "click" will be accurate.

If it's at an angle, such as a swivel which is not only angle but also resistance, the directly applied pressure changes, so the torque to the bolt head changes, so the ratchet clicks before it should. With an extension, you have "stretch:" Applied pressure over length and surface area. So a long, 3/8" diameter extension will twist slightly, telling the torque wrench the torque setting has been reached, even though the bolt never moved.

Think of it like a really long, skinny screwdriver. When you go to use it, the shaft takes SOME pressure exerted, which is torque, and that pressure will finally increase until the screw breaks free. Once it breaks free, it's easy to loosen. But until then, the applied force is somewhat taken up by the shaft.

Same goes for an extension on a torque wrench, but opposite: As you try to tighten, the extension will make the ratchet click, even though it's pressure the extension (shaft) is taking up, not the bolt itself. And if you introduce a swivel, you now have a bunch of resistance... and resistance is what make the ratchet "click" at the given value. So it is now inaccurate, and your 40-ft/lb torque setting clicks when the bolt is in 30 pounds of pressure, as the other 10 pounds are taken up by the shaft and resistance.

Not important for spark plugs, but I was in the mood to type and figured I'd do so. You may ignore this post. I just need something to do right now.



Richard,

Thank you for the info. It's easy to see your point. I may end up trusting my own judgment on these plugs. Been doing that on every other vehicle I have ever worked on so I'm betting I'll do just fine on this one.

CMOS
Link Posted: 12/31/2006 9:09:31 PM EST
Just use German torque.

gudentite!



Seriously, I've had two Snap-On torque wrenches we use almost daily for the last ten years. Flawless. We send 'em out for calibration about once a year. Or sooner when I drop 'em.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 3:07:44 PM EST

Originally Posted By JasonFRC:
Just use German torque.

gudentite!



Seriously, I've had two Snap-On torque wrenches we use almost daily for the last ten years. Flawless. We send 'em out for calibration about once a year. Or sooner when I drop 'em.


A Snap-On would be a waste of money for what this poster needs, which is just torquing spark plugs in a troubled block for whatever reason he deems it necessary. A .5% accuracy is simply not needed on threads pitched such as spark plugs. He's not going to get any type of accuracy anyway if the threads are messed up in the block, so I'd hate to see him waste $180+ on a Snap-On 3/8" torque wrench just for the status of having a Snap-On tool.

His money would be better spent on a Husky.

But yes, I do agree Snap-On makes a damn fine torque wrench, and the free calibration is definately a plus!
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