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Posted: 4/10/2006 9:58:49 AM EDT
I am thinking of buying a good troque wrench.

I see that there are a bunch of different types and that the "click" type seems to be the most popular.


Is a torque wrench pretty easy to use or do you have to develop a feel for it?

Anything else I should know?


Any brands to avoid?
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 10:07:56 AM EDT
Some folks actually prefer a wrench with a needle. The idea is, if you see the needle climbing too quickly, you can immediately see that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. It goes without saying that identifying such a problem requires experience.

Myself, I use breakaway wrenches, most times.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 10:09:40 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 10:10:06 AM EDT
Most people use the "click" type for convenience, you don't have to look at the gauge to accurately measure the bolt torque, it comes in handy when you are under your vehicle and the bolt/nut is in hard to reach area and it's kind of difficult to get a reading from the gauge type torque wrench.

Recommended = Snap-On

Good/decent alternative = Craftsman

Link Posted: 4/10/2006 10:10:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/10/2006 10:12:44 AM EDT by Redcap]
I prefer click or break type. Beam-type wrenches seem to be less accurate. Be prepared to spend a good chunk of change for a good torque wrench, too.

I've got a Snap-On, 2 old Protos and a Craftsman. They all work equally well.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 10:11:57 AM EDT
I prefer the breakaway wrenches also. If not available, I will go with the click type. Needle type tend to become inaccurate and the guage may not always be visible or might get in the way in some circumstances. No training is required to use a torque wrench. Simply set it by rotating the grip and then tightening the lock at the base of the grip and when it clicks or breaks, you are there....
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 10:12:31 AM EDT
Click type just means there is an audible movement/click when your desired torque is reached. If you buy a used wrench, from somewhere like EBay, make sure it has been certified recently if it is old. You can have them checked by the MFG for accuracy. It is not really different than using a standard wratchet just don't put your hand on the head of the wrench when you are torqueing down a bolt, it can throw it off. I would go with a Snap-On, Matco, or Mac wrench for quality.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 10:12:56 AM EDT
The electronic ones are pretty nice too. They'll tell you exactly how much torque you ended up applying.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 10:13:15 AM EDT
Buy quality.
They are only as good as the last time it was calibrated.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 10:19:17 AM EDT
Get a Snap-on Matco or Mac Click type.
The key is to go slow. And most torque wrenches should not be used to loosen stuff.
Be prepared to pay a good chunk of $$$ for a good one.
This goes for every tool: You get what you pay for
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 10:31:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Punani:
Get a Snap-on Matco or Mac Click type.
The key is to go slow. And most torque wrenches should not be used to loosen stuff.
Be prepared to pay a good chunk of $$$ for a good one.
This goes for every tool: You get what you pay for



YEah, torque wrenches are designed to indicate only one way. I believe using them to loosen will damage them. There are some 2-way wrenches that measure torque in both directions but that's usually not necessary. Also, the calibration should be checked periodically. In the Navy, I think it was annually. Also, you should get the right size: desired torque should be between 1/2 and 3/4 of the range of the wrench. If it's outside the range, use a bigger, or smaller wrench as apropriate...
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 10:44:12 AM EDT
Hmm, I bought a cheap torque wrench with a needle and it seemed to be constantly giving me a changing reading so I couldn't tell when I hit x lbs.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 10:49:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SubnetMask:
Some folks actually prefer a wrench with a needle. The idea is, if you see the needle climbing too quickly, you can immediately see that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. It goes without saying that identifying such a problem requires experience.





They are also bi-directional, for free. It's one thing if you can afford a good clicker, but I've had 2 properly maintained cheap clickers fail to click, resulting in stripped threads...
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 10:52:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/10/2006 10:55:16 AM EDT by Sodie]
I have several types, my Snap_on is the best. But the price difference is big, $70-80 to $260.00. At least the grip doesn't eventually loosen and fall off from the Snap-on and they have a lifetime calibration guarantee.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 10:58:53 AM EDT
Where were you guys 20 years ago when I bought a needle-style Craftsman torque wrench? Guess how often I have used it? Never.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 11:05:59 AM EDT
Get a Snap On and forget about everything else
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 11:34:54 AM EDT
I have both, and use both. I may be mistaken but with the clicker types don't you have to remember to reset to 0 when you're done for the day, otherwise you screw up the calibration? does anyone know the truth to this?

I do know that the recal on a beam type wrench simply requires that you move the scale so that it lines up with the pointer at 0...and that you can easily tell if it's off-cal as a result.

I use the 0-250 in-lbs clicker for everything from my rifle action screws to my spark plugs...the 0-100 FT-lbs beam type get's used for stuff like lug nut torques.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 12:27:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/10/2006 12:28:12 PM EDT by Mike_Mills]
I haven't used one in a while but IIRC, here are some tips as I remember them.

With the break-type you torque it until it clicks AND the nut stops moving.

Never torque the bolt, only torque the nut.

Fastener torque values are for DRY threads (no lube).

Return the setting to zero prior to storage.


Are they correct?


I definitely had to develop a technique, it was not as easy as I first thought.

There is another brand out there that makes professional quality wrenches. I'll look them up.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 4:13:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/10/2006 4:14:23 PM EDT by Zakk_Wylde_470]

Originally Posted By Mike_Mills:
I haven't used one in a while but IIRC, here are some tips as I remember them.

With the break-type you torque it until it clicks AND the nut stops moving.

Never torque the bolt, only torque the nut.

Fastener torque values are for DRY threads (no lube).

Return the setting to zero prior to storage.


Are they correct?


I definitely had to develop a technique, it was not as easy as I first thought.

There is another brand out there that makes professional quality wrenches. I'll look them up.



Always put some light oil on the threads. Gives you accurate and repeatable torque readings.


ETA: And only "click" it once. I've seen people do it again, I guess to double-check, but you can over-torque if you do that.
Link Posted: 4/11/2006 10:59:42 AM EDT
Damn Snap-On torque wrenches are expensive.
Link Posted: 4/11/2006 11:03:37 AM EDT
Easier to hear the click than read the scale when that vein is sticking out on your neck as you tighten the bolt to 180 lbs/Ft !!

With that being said, I currently only have a scale type wrench since they are considerably cheaper.

Ed
Link Posted: 4/11/2006 2:00:04 PM EDT
I use clicker type from Sears. 1/2" for auto lug nuts and a small one for the gas system on M14 style rifles. Seems like they're around $75 when on sale. I didn't care for the needle one I had. Last time I was in Sears, a guy was in trying to get his old unit replaced, the grip fell apart. Torque wrench is only good for one year of replacement.
Link Posted: 4/11/2006 3:54:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By LeonardC:
I use clicker type from Sears. 1/2" for auto lug nuts and a small one for the gas system on M14 style rifles. Seems like they're around $75 when on sale. I didn't care for the needle one I had. Last time I was in Sears, a guy was in trying to get his old unit replaced, the grip fell apart. Torque wrench is only good for one year of replacement.



And recalibration through Craftsman is expensive, last time I checked.

I just try not to abuse mine and hope it stays somewhere close to calibrated.

Jim
Link Posted: 4/11/2006 3:57:29 PM EDT
I bought a Snap On torque wrench from a board member.....click type with a flex head...... 1/2in drive, very very nice.....
Link Posted: 4/11/2006 4:38:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/11/2006 4:40:57 PM EDT by JB69]

Originally Posted By Mike_Mills:
I haven't used one in a while but IIRC, here are some tips as I remember them.

With the break-type you torque it until it clicks AND the nut stops moving.

No........ You turn to click / indication..... if the nut doesn't stop moving, you've just over-torqued your fastener.


Never torque the bolt, only torque the nut.

Mostly, unless you're torquing *A* bolt.... Think engine "head bolts".... aint got no nut. Also, some require a washer while torquing as well, check the manufacturer's spec's always.



Fastener torque values are for DRY threads (no lube).

What Zakk said above, about the oil...... Never use dry threads. You can't get an accurate measurement of the strain (torque) you've put ON a fastener, unless you eliminate the added resistance of dry metal friction, and/or crappy threads.

Always clean the threads the best you can first, then a light coating of oil. 3-in-1 type is fine, or even plain old motor oil will do. One little bit of crud in the threads can VASTLY throw off the supposed torque you THINK you're putting on it.


Return the setting to zero prior to storage.


Yes ! Very important..... Torque werenches use a predetermined amount of spring loading internally, TO measure the torque. You want to relieve that pressure by setting back to zero, when you store em, or they'll take a 'set' and need to be recalibrated often.


Are they correct?


I definitely had to develop a technique, it was not as easy as I first thought.

There is another brand out there that makes professional quality wrenches. I'll look them up.




Also, when torquing certain types of fasteners "Torque to yield" you ONLY torque it once.... These are used a LOT nowadays, in auto engines. You need to go slowly and progressively, until you reach the amount required. These kinds of fasteners are a one use only thing, as they actually are designed to stretch a tiny amount as they're torqued, and if you overstretch them, then try to go back again and retorque a 2nd time, you can forget about it holding consistently.


In short.... RTFM
Link Posted: 4/11/2006 5:39:48 PM EDT
Snap-On is my choice as an auto technician, I'm not sure what your needs and budget are like, but if you plan on using it for work, or more than the occasional job at home then by all means buy a good tool. A decent one will run you around $350, I have two click types and one new style electronic torque wrench.

The electronic one is very good, it has three torque scales that change with the press of a button, N.m.(Newton Meters), Ft Lbs., and Inch-Lbs so it's versatile on all types of jobs, plus it vibrates and beeps when it reaches the torque you set it for. You can't go wrong with this tool.

Link Posted: 4/11/2006 8:59:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JB69:

Fastener torque values are for DRY threads (no lube).

What Zakk said above, about the oil...... Never use dry threads. You can't get an accurate measurement of the strain (torque) you've put ON a fastener, unless you eliminate the added resistance of dry metal friction, and/or crappy threads.

Always clean the threads the best you can first, then a light coating of oil. 3-in-1 type is fine, or even plain old motor oil will do. One little bit of crud in the threads can VASTLY throw off the supposed torque you THINK you're putting on it.





You absolutley must have clean threads.

What I was thinking of here was a certain KTM motorcycle engine mounting bolt. The bolt was a high strength bolt that had to be torqued dry. If you lubed the threads and torqued it to the spec, you'd break the bolt every time. If you did it dry, it worked every time and stayed tight. I will admit I had to do this assembly job three times - twice with lubed threads (grease) and finally once with dry threads.

I'm also remembering an admonition to never, ever lube lug nuts even if torquing to spec.
Link Posted: 4/11/2006 9:28:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Mike_Mills:

Originally Posted By JB69:
Fastener torque values are for DRY threads (no lube).

What Zakk said above, about the oil...... Never use dry threads. You can't get an accurate measurement of the strain (torque) you've put ON a fastener, unless you eliminate the added resistance of dry metal friction, and/or crappy threads.


You absolutley must have clean threads.
What I was thinking of here was a certain KTM motorcycle engine mounting bolt. The bolt was a high strength bolt that had to be torqued dry. If you lubed the threads and torqued it to the spec, you'd break the bolt every time. If you did it dry, it worked every time and stayed tight. I'm also remembering an admonition to never, ever lube lug nuts even if torquing to spec.



OK, let's all be clear about this: Yes, you probably want to work with 'lubricated' threads to get really accurate torque measurements, HOWEVER (!!!!!!!) be sure you know that as soon as you add ANY lubricant the torque value specified gets adjusted DOWN. (If a torque value is intended for anything other than DRY threads it will clearly say so, at least in common US and European usage)

Here is an exemplar chart:

BOLT TORQUE FACTORS
LUBRICANT OR PLATING TORQUE CHANGES
Oil Reduce torque 15% to 25%
Dry Film (Teflon or moly based) Reduce torque 50%
Dry Wax (Cetyl alcohol) Reduce torque 50%
Chrome plating No change
Cadmium plating Reduce torque 25%
Zinc plating Reduce torque 15%

Baseline torque is calculated for a non-lubricated, un-plated bolt

Some applications will already have taken the bolt plating into account, but almost none address any lubrication. So, either install dry (with reduced accuracy of torque, seizure, corrosion, etc.) or ADJUST YOUR TORQUE for the Lubricant used. Anyone who has not been doing this, you've been overtorquing things for the last umpteen years, if nothing broke you got darn lucky.

Futuristic


Link Posted: 4/11/2006 10:02:03 PM EDT
Here's a tip: Snap-On torque wrenches are made by CDI in Southern California (City of Industry, CA to be exact). Go to eBay and search for "CDI torque wrench". You'll get the same wrench for MUCH less. I was in the torque tool industry for 10 years and we sold CDI tools for a while. For around the house/hobby work the CDI or even Craftsman wrenches will be fine. If you can get a certificate of calibration with it then that's even better. I carried demonstration tools for 3 years using them weekly and never calibrated them. They would still be in spec when put on an analyzer. Oh, and Snap-On probably pays about $70 for that $300 torque wrench. Get it from CDI and save some coin.

As for lubricating threads: most all US specs call for dry threads. If you lube the threads you are applying WAY too much torque. Think of it this way; when applying force to a fastener 50% of the torque is used up overcoming the friction of the bolt face making contact with the application; 40% of the torque is used up overcoming the thread friction, leaving 10% of the torque actually being applied to the stretching of the fastener required to create the desired tension, which is actually what you are trying to create. You create tension, not torque. Torque is just the method used to create the tension. Anyway, when you lubricate the threads you lessen the thread friction so where does that freed up force go? It goes to the stretching of the fastener. So, now you have 50% of the applied force in bolt face friction, 20% of the applied force in thread friction and 30% going to tension. You have just tripled your tension. Something's going to give. Maybe not today but one day when you are bouncing down a rough road it will.

Click wrenches are easy to use. As others have stated just dial it in, apply force slowly and evenly and STOP when it clicks. Be sure to hold it by the handle and not choke up or add a "cheater" bar. Usually there is a line engraved on the handle or finger grips so you know where to hold it to get the most application of torque. Back the handle off to relieve the spring tension when it's not being used. Dial or needle wrenches are the least accurate because of the angle that you may look at the dial and because the accuracy statement usually includes "plus or minus one count" This means that if the stated accuracy is +/- 5% of reading, +/- one count, on a 10-100 lbf.ft wrench with 2 lbf.ft increments then the actual acceptable range at, say, 80 lbf.ft. would be 74-86 lbf.ft. I could drive a truck through that accuracy range. Adjustable torque wrenches must be +/-3% of setting, I believe, per ANSI.

Oh, and one more name that you can eBay search that might turn up a nice find is Norbar. Very nice wrenches.

Link Posted: 4/12/2006 3:33:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Mike_Mills:

Originally Posted By JB69:

Fastener torque values are for DRY threads (no lube).

What Zakk said above, about the oil...... Never use dry threads. You can't get an accurate measurement of the strain (torque) you've put ON a fastener, unless you eliminate the added resistance of dry metal friction, and/or crappy threads.

Always clean the threads the best you can first, then a light coating of oil. 3-in-1 type is fine, or even plain old motor oil will do. One little bit of crud in the threads can VASTLY throw off the supposed torque you THINK you're putting on it.





You absolutley must have clean threads.

What I was thinking of here was a certain KTM motorcycle engine mounting bolt. The bolt was a high strength bolt that had to be torqued dry. If you lubed the threads and torqued it to the spec, you'd break the bolt every time. If you did it dry, it worked every time and stayed tight. I will admit I had to do this assembly job three times - twice with lubed threads (grease) and finally once with dry threads.

I'm also remembering an admonition to never, ever lube lug nuts even if torquing to spec.





I don't doubt that for a second, there's always exceptions to every rule.......... Hence my final disclaimer there, RTFM

Always do what da book sez !

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