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Thread: Torque wrench suggestion?

  1. #1
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    Feb 2010

    Torque wrench suggestion?

    What are your suggestions for a serviceable, yet inexpensive, torque wrench for a "shade tree mechanic"?

    Some reviews of the cheapest torque wrenches make me wonder if they're even close to being accurate. On the other hand, a high-end, torque wrench is pretty expensive.

    What are you guys using for a torque wrench?

    '95 R1100RS "Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the Government take care of him, better take a closer look at the American Indian!" Henry Ford

  2. #2
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    May 2007
    Raleigh, NC
    I have two Craftsman torque wrenches, one 3/8 drive and one 1/2 drive. I like the 'beam' type with a deflector needle because they never go out of calibration. The 'click' type can, and from what I've seen, do go out of calibration.

    There are times I'd like a click type though. One reason is that at 47, I can't read the @$#%! scale w/o reading glasses now. Also, there are times when your position makes it hard to read the wrench gauge, like when using it upside down. I use a mirror for this, but still.

    You can also use a beam wrench to check the calibration of the click wrench. My neighbor has clicks and that's how we checked his. If cost is a concern, the beam wrenches are much less costly than the click wrenches.

    I'd get a good brand. Craftsman is good, the Home Depot and Lowes brands are good, and of course Snap On, Milwaukee, etc. are all good. This is a tool that will last longer than you do and your son will say "this was my Dad's wrench".
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  3. #3
    Registered User kgadley01's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    South Carolina
    I agree on the Craftman wrench. it works well for the money. watch for a tool sale at Sears to get a good price...
    Lifes too short to ride an ugly Motorcycle

  4. #4
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
    Spring Lake NJ, USA
    If you're willing to venture into Ebay - and consider used.. I picked up a Craftsman electronic torque wrench (much like the MUCH more expensive SnapOn) on Ebay for about $100. It's 3/8" - the range is something like 10ft/lbs to 100ft/lbs and it has switchable Nm or Ft/Lb display/scale. It beeps and lights up as you get close to the torque, it then beeps, buzzes and lights up when you reach the torque, and when you're done - it displays the actual torque value.

    I've had beam type (problem using these upside down on a bike/car - can't read the scale), clickers (surprisingly - the SnapOn I have has not gone out of calibration after over 35 years of use.. I checked it against the electronic Craftsman). Out of the ones I've used..

    • Electronic one comes in first place. Since it uses an electronic strain-gauge, it shouldn't go out of adjustment. Having a Nm or ft/lb switchable display is simply wonderful! It seems to work well at low torque settings.
    • Clicker comes in second place (but mine was expensive new, and is probably still very expensive from SnapOn..) It has remained accurate despite all sorts of abuse. I would not trust it for low torque settings.. the "click" is difficult to feel at anything less then 30 ft/lbs (and it requires me to do the Nm to Ft/Lb conversions.)
    • Beam trails by a long amount since the needle is prone to parallax errors in reading, and you may need to use it in places where you can't see the scale, making it useless. The plus is - unless you run over it with a truck, it's likely to remain accurate (as accurate as you can get using a needle and scale.)
    Don Eilenberger
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

  5. #5

    Torque Wrench

    Harbor Freight currently has a 3/8 drive one for $9.99.
    Coupon in bike magazines.

  6. #6
    Registered User
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    Sep 2005
    Eastern KY
    I can hear the anti-Chinese tool comments coming...

  7. #7
    Registered User MOTOR31's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Full timr RV'er, where we park is home. No fixed address or location.
    Any torque wrench is better than no torque wrench. Go to Sears and get the craftsman model. If you buy used, check into getting it calibrated (you do NOT know how the previous owner treated the wrench) before you trust it. Calibration services are available and are used by professional mechanics (like A&P's are required to do) all over the country. It ain't rocket science, just airplane science.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Motor31 View Post
    Any torque wrench is better than no torque wrench. Go to Sears and get the craftsman model.
    Just so...The Craftsman will last you the rest of your life...if yer bucks down, the Harbor Freight model will work fine too...It's not the exact torque value that's as important as EVEN torque value, in my, the cheaper one is two foot pounds off...that don't mean nothin', as long as all of the fasteners on the assembly you're torquing are two foot pounds off!!!

    Before the OCD engineers get to bashing on me for this, I'm talkin' about the run of the mill shade tree/home garage mechanic here...not Rocketdyne booster units

  9. #9
    John. jstrube's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    Atwater, CA
    I can tell ya that a fastener that should be torqued at 10Nm, if torqued to 18Nm, will strip out the valve cover bolts...
    The wrench should at least have accuracy better than that.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by JStrube View Post
    I can tell ya that a fastener that should be torqued at 10Nm, if torqued to 18Nm, will strip out the valve cover bolts...
    The wrench should at least have accuracy better than that.

  11. #11
    Registered User lmo1131's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Pismo Beach, CA
    ... not Rocketdyne booster units
    I'm more of a Morton Thiokol SRB kinda guy myself...
    "It is what you discover, after you know it all, that counts." _ John Wooden
    Lew Morris
    1973 R75/5 - original owner
    1963 Dnepr

  12. #12

    Angry torque wrench

    =======you get what you is paying 4--

  13. #13
    These links point to a nice bit of info on threaded fasteners (bolts) and the accuracy of various torque wrenches. The articles were authored by a fellow MOA member.

    How a Bolt Works

    The Nuts and Bolts of Bolting

    Torque Wrenches - How Good Are They?

    Following are additional links with info / opinions on torque wrenches -

  14. #14
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Canada and the Alps
    Quote Originally Posted by piperjim View Post
    What are you guys using for a torque wrench?
    Three click-type Snap-On torque wrenches that cover a range of 30 to 250 lbf.ft.

    I've personally calibrated them at work (5 readings at each 5# increment, less on the 1/4" drive unit). They are within spec and have excellent repeatability. In fact, one of them is now 35 years old.

    They are stored properly, not used as breaker bars and not loaned out.

    You get what you pay for. If you don't trust the one you are using, of what use is it?

    I've been told Precision Instruments supplies Snap-On. Their pricing is better.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Lmo1131 View Post
    I'm more of a Morton Thiokol SRB kinda guy myself...
    Those! Yeah! Dem der! Those too!!!!

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