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Discussion Starter #1
I know this topic has been covered before:eek:, but, I am in the market for a (new) good torque wrench that will be set to do more than just tightening lug nuts, more like working on the engine and such. I keep reading Snap On, and of course, this is a given answer, but there are either click and electronic ones, any advice on a good affordable wrench, slightly below the Snap On price tag? And given that you would want to calibrate it every now and then, which ones can be good candidates? Any advice based on experience is much appreciated.
 

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Craftsman too

my crafstman 3/8 click type is great, and one other idea is to talk to your local snap on tool guy and ask if he has any used ones---
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, I want one trustworthy for engine work like I said. I may have yet to check out the SK Tools one, I know I was out to buy American, I heard that the Kobalt one is made in America and currently measured for accuracy by a German Laboratory close to DC. This is crazy, I have been reading about it for days. Everyone so far has actually sworn by the Craftsman one, at least from what I read. But people were also saying that Craftsman no longer makes their tools in America and that now they manufacture their products somewhere in Asia. Have you purchased yours recently or a little while ago? Maybe it was one of the last ones of the "good ones". I never thought to ask a Snap On guy about a used one, I would take it get calibrated before use of course since it would be used and all.
 

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I use a large 1/2" Craftsman click type for the bigger stuff and a 3/8" Craftsman inch pound one for the smaller stuff. The inch pound one can be converted to ft/lbs by dividing by 12. Never felt like I needed anything better.
Charles
 

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its taking care of it

that really counts. I have a very old snap on 1/2 drive click type that I have always left zeroed out, and to this day its within 5% calibration. How do I know? I check its calibration myself by fixturing a bolt in my vise, and hanging the torque ratchet off the bolt head horizontally. I then dial in 25 lbs, and hang 2 10 lb plates and a 5 lb plate off it and see if it clicks -- if not, then I use a spring scale to pull down until it clicks-- etc===

then repeat at 45 lbs -- with my 2 measurements I can now draw the calibration line and voila good to go.

Both the Snap on 1/2 and craftsman 3/8 are so close it doesnt really matter to me. Torque ranges are reasonably loose even in engine work (non racing application) so Ive never had an issue doing this method-- as long as I release the spring by zeroing out when not in use, its good to go== my 1/2 snap on was manufactured in 1973 and I bought from Boeing in 1990 at a surplus sale. The craftsman I bought new about 10 years ago --yep it says MADE IN USA, 5 to 80 ft-lbs, model num ber 944596
 

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SK Tools are pretty good and prices are reasonable.
Keep in mind, SK has been bought and sold a couple times now and went bankrupt last year. The assets were purchased by Ideal Industries who may or may not be honoring the SK lifetime warranty (I read mixed messages in that regard).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, sound like the Craftsman is generally well accepted. The Snap On torque wrench I heard is made by CDI. I checked out their site and I have to say that it is a slightly cheaper, so, basically here you get a Snap On with a different badge. Well, Its actually vice versa. I am going to go check out the Craftsman also, I cannot argue how much praise it has gotten across any forum. The Sk tools website looks good though, now I understand how women can spend hours trying to choose the right clothes:D, I am doing much worse with this choice.
 

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Well I have a 1/2" Craftsman that I bought new about 35 years ago. Last year I took it to a professional calibration shop, paid the fee ($65 I think!) and personally met the tech that did the work. He said it was within spec for a new one when he first tested it! I've been using that tool (as nicely as possible of course) for years as a breaker bar when I needed one and didn't have one handy (left it in the truck, etc.) I don't know the quality of the new ones vs. the old ones but I can't imagine how anything else could have given me better value.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Italcarnut, you mean the digital or old school ones? Well, went to Sears and Lowes to compare Kobalt etc. So, turns out to be the info on these are all screwed up. Sears, still made in the USA for the Digitorque 3/8 drive, the 1/2 inch, "Assembled in the USA". Kobalt, Taiwan baby! I think i am pretty much sold on Sears, although, the digital ones are sweet man, but they cost exactly as much as the digital Snap On, 500 for the set, I mean, the 1/2 and 3/4, one range going from 20-250 ft-lb and 10-100 ft-lb. In the case of the digitorque, I am looking at 250 for the set I believe.
 

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Click type torque wrenches are notoriously unreliable.

If you look at Griott's garage they have some nice digital ones. I have two of these. I forget the brand but they are actually made by a very respected British torque wrench mfg. They come with the calibration certificate for the specific wrench.

Griott used to offer lifetime calibration bit no longer does so. They claim they no longer have the equipment which sounds like a rather lame excuse given that some snap on drivers have calibration machine on the truck.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'll take a look, saw a bunch of interesting videos on youtube teaching you how to check the wrench for accuracy. I feel more comfortable, looking to make the purchase in the next few weeks. Just blew a few hundred on parts on my Audi, it was time for a timing belt and replaced a bunch of other stuff on her also. No Alfa work today...sob
 

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If you want it to be accurate you need a "torqueometer". The click type have an accuracy range. I'm a helicopter inspector and torques are one thing i know pretty well. We mostly use snap-on click type torque wrenches and they are the most accurate of all of them. i worked in the calibration lab for a while and played with the torque wrench calibration machine and found that with click types when the wrench does click it is about 10 to 11 in/lbs past the setting so they aren't really that accurate. the digital ones are an upgraded version of a torqueometer and are the better of the 2 in my opinion. the cool thing about torqueometers is that they work for all types of torque and can be calibrated for reverse torques as well. but i don't really think 100% accuracy is needed. I mean we use click type torque wrenches for all of our torques including flight critical stuff and engine torques so i can't imagine accuracy would be a big worry on a car as well. Check out ebay and you should be able to find a good deal on a nice new torque wrench. You can always get an older dial style torqueometer for cheaper than the digital. I prefer the dial torqueometers for the same reason i hate digital clocks, digital calipers, digital micrometers, and pretty much everything digital. digital takes no skill and makes people lazy. thats just my opinion though.

SK tools are the american version of the French brand FACOM which are very good tools. FACOM ratchets are from everything I've read one of the best ratchets you can buy. I personally have a 1/4 and 3/8 drive FACOM set and the ratchets are by far better than the snap-on ratchet that now sits in my junkyard tool bag.
 

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to add to the FACOM bit I can't remember where i read it but i do remember reading that they are the official tool company of Scuderia Ferrar so they must be pretty good.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
No kidding, I have a few FACOM wrenches, they were my grandfathers, I brought them back from Italy after he passed.

Almost forgot, I know what you mean, I had this conversation with my good friend last Saturday, he works on the CH-53s on the air station and he told me the exact same thing you told me. They send theirs off all theirs to get re-calibrated often, then again, I know we are talking precision here, I used to work on the flight line where F-15s flew, we had to inspect every single thing because you are talking lives here. You guys have to have a person inspect you while you torque the bolt as well, at least my friend tells me he does in any case.
 

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yea we have ours calibrated every 6 months on site because we have the equipment to do it. i work for sikorsky in production but the only torques that need to be witnessed by some one else, because i'm inspection, are flight critical on government ships. I worked on the MQ-8 firescout UAV and we had a northrop grumman source inspecor and a defense contract managment inspector witness every flight critical thing. it gets crazy because there is this whole ridiculous song and dance crap because the northrop guy is a pain.
 

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I have a couple of torque wrenches. A 20+ year old Craftsman beam type 1/2" drive and a more recent Craftsman 3/8" drive 'clicker'. The advantage of a beam type torque wrench is that (baring extreme abuse...) they never go out of calibration. Their disadvantage is that one has to be able to see the scale to use it.

I use the beam wrench to check the clicker. Using a 1/2" or 5/8" coupling nut (picture a nut that is >1" long) and an appropriate socket in each wrench I couple them together & set the clicker to the desired setting to check while watching the scale on the beam wrench. So far the clicker agrees with the beam wrench. If it ever needs calibration I'd have to weigh the cost of adjustment vs replacement.

BTW, always return the clicker to its lowest setting before storage.
 

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oh yea that is a very important point. another is when using a crows foot always keep it at a 90 degree to the head of the torque wrench and never use a cheater bar and always torque from the center of the handle. if you don't do these things you will lose the proper fulcrum and your torque will be inaccurate. these all should be common knowledge to the mechanically inclined but some people don't know. i have the formula for adjusted torque values for use of cheater bars or crows feet written down somewhere and can post if anyone is interested or if it would help anyone out. also if a torque wrench is dropped it is best to assume calibration has been knocked out of whack so don't use it. obviously this is most likely common knowledge so sorry if i offend.
 
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