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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I think its time to add a torque wrench to the tool chest...
ok it's actually past time to do it.

This is for torquing spark plugs, valve covers, lugnuts etc.

Recommendations please as to what i should look at buying.
I looked at Sears on line , and their wrenches got slammed big time.

Thanks in advance

George
 

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1966-2013
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IMO, as long as it's within the following criteria, most any are decent:

1) retains at least a semblance of accuracy, unless you've got someplace you can get it recalibrated and/or certified periodically (many larger machine shops are capable of that in many cases)

2) micrometer style adjustment, not spinning dial, or worse yet, swinging needle (the dial and needle are horrifically easy to use wrong and require a specific technique to use right, while the micrometer style is simply much easier to use as all you need do is set the torque and listen for the click)

3) 1/2" drive (as in 'yes, you'll need to get a second one in 3/8" drive that is calibrated in inches not pounds to do the low torque spec stuff since one torque wrench will not do all the jobs that require thier use')

4) does torque in left and right rotation (at least if you ever want to do spindle bearings and a couple other items correctly)

Other than that, just look for what appears to be quality. A crap tool will look and feel like a crap tool.

I'm sure Snap-On will sell you one for a bagazillion dollars, (but you get the lifetime warrantee and the neighbors get to see the cool truck all the time as he keeps coming back like some twisted Schwann's delivery guy) or mabe one of your local hometown parts counters has something suitable, or then again, mabe the Sears one isnt all that bad. (most people are more prone to complain than they are to compliment, so take all the bad reports with a grain of salt and rest assured that there's very much most likely many times that # who are happy but don't go online to bubble about it)

Me, I got my 1/2" drive ft/lbs at one of those truck sales several years ago and am quite happy with it's non-name-brand price and the accuracy it's held over all this time. (not once has it needed any actual adjustment when the calibration was checked)

My 3/8" drive in/lbs is one of the cheaper Sears ones, and it's been pretty fair to me too. :shrug:

Take into consideration how much you'll be using one also.

If it's just going to be something that gets pulled out mabe once a year to use and two other times just to show off, don't bother buying but borrow instead.

They have to be used with some level of frequency to keep all thier innards working the way they should.
 

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Well, :)I just broke down and bought a Sears 3/8" "clicker model upgrading from the 1/2" Sears pivot beam model (that I've had for 30 yrs or so) that each time you did a swing, :mad:you had to take it off the nut and put it back on. The latter went to 150 ft lbs or something while the newer goes to 75.
 

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The clicker styles are easier to use but can lose accuracy.

The beam style will remain 'calibrated' (baring extreme abuse) but can be difficult to use in awkward positions (when you can't easily see the scale).

If they are of the same quality/accuracy, the clicker will cost more. And a clicker should be checked for accuracy from time to time (and re-calibrated if needed) - which could be an added cost.

Either torque wrench will be at it most accurate when used in the middle of its range. Thus a 0-100 range is best used in the 25-30 to 70-75 range. So most of us will need (want...) a couple of torque wrenches. One for smaller to medium values and another for medium to large values.

Treat your torque wrench carefully. Never exceed its rated value, don't toss it around, drop it, etc.

edited to add: Sear's Craftsman line is of decent quality. Avoid the 'Companion' tools.
 

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Treat your torque wrench carefully. Never exceed its rated value, don't toss it around, drop it, etc.

Instructions for the "clicker" model say to turn it down to a low lb. value after use.
 

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Instructions for the "clicker" model say to turn it down to a low lb. value after use.

I always set mine to the lowest value on the scale when done. (actually I set back to lowest value then set a new value when there's two or more different torque values in an assembly)

If maintaining calibration is a super concern with a clicker, then go for the dial type (sorry needle beam versions just agitate the crap out of me)

Dial types are used the same way as beam, but they have a nice dial indicator looking device on them that spins a needle around a scale.
 

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Have to agree with many of the comments so far (especially Tifosi's comments on what to have in the garage).

Here's a link to Norbar torque wrench website - not dirt cheap, but very well made.

http://www.norbar.com/splash.php

The slimline wrenches are probably the best buy re. torque range, and small size to work in tight engine bays.


Dino
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the great responces.

Like I said, its more or less for use playing around
with the car.Use maybe 6 times a year.

Although once I have it, i'll find more uses for it than I think, i guess

I've got a couple of metric Crows feet, that I've used twice in 20 years.
But a long as its not out of line price wise, I've just bought what tools i need,
ok want.:D

I've also bought tools at pawnshops sometimes , but I'm thinking thats not a goodthing with Torque wrenches.

I kinda think is if I were paying some one to do it, it would cost me more than buying the tool.So I'll usually buy it.

I'll take another look at the Sears "Craftsman" wrench, but on there website it really got slammed!!!!

Thanks again
 

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I'll take another look at the Sears "Craftsman" wrench, but on there website it really got slammed!!!!
Ah, yes, the dark power of the internet. I wonder if some of those that had trouble with their wrench read the instruction manual or abused the tool?

It is true that Craftsman's torque wrench warranty is for 1 year. Not 'life-time' like other hand tools. But that is clearly stated so no-one should be complaining about that.
 

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I checked my 2 year old $15 1/2" Harbor Freight clicker against a calibrated torque meter. It was within 2% from 30 to 120 lb-ft. Chinese tools get slammed by some people but this one is a bargain.
Ed Prytherch
79 Spider
2 x 88 Verde's
 

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The one I bought from my local Auto parts house looked and felt nice. But on first use I stripped a water pump bolt from an aluminum block because it was 10 ft lb miscalibrated (for a 6 ft lb torque spec bolt!) at the low end. Always check your torque wrench calibration. A ruler and a weight or set of weights is all you need. I use a spring balance or bathroom scale just to know whether things are within 10% or so. You don't want 16 ft lb on a small screw.

Michael
 

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I think that the accuracy is worse at the ends of the range. They are usually most accurate in the center of the range. I would not attempt an accurate adjustment of less than 20 lb-ft with my 1/2" wrench. I use a 1/4" for small bolts.
Ed
 
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