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Thread: Torque Wrench recommendations

  1. #1
    Registered User bobframe's Avatar
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    Torque Wrench recommendations

    I am trying to build out my wrenching capabilities and having a good quality torque wrench seems like a good idea. I noticed that a top of the line Snap-On wrench can approach $500. Not likely.

    So, any suggestions for what I should buy. Have no problem hunting down a used one, but I'd like an experienced guy to tell me what to look for. In particular:

    -electronic??
    -what size drive?? I'm guessing 3/8" for the widest range of applications, but what do I know?
    -brand matter?? Any to avoid?
    -speaking of avoid...anything to avoid?
    -is "used" a good idea? or a bad idea?
    -many suggest having the wrenches calibrated. Can any wrench be calibrated...or is only the more expensive wrenches?
    -buy a newton meter wrench...or ft.lbs and convert?? Or should I expect one wrench to do it all?
    -what's the most useful range of torque settings on a wrench? Do I need two wrenches? Three? C'mon.
    -what should I expect to pay?

    Many thanks,

    Bob
    Last edited by bobframe; 02-15-2013 at 01:32 PM.
    We don't take a trip...the trip takes us.

    2006 BMW R1200GS
    2008 BMW R1200RT

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    I have two
    Both sears and 3/8 drive micro click
    One has about a 10 inch handle and handles the lower metric ranges
    The other has a 14in handle and higher metric range for wheels and axel torque requirements
    Both see limited use only used for maintaining two bikes
    I would avoid the very cheap ones found at HF, and discount stores
    Most will say avoid the Chinese made wrenches, and go with US, German or Swedish made

  3. #3
    neanderssance man sedanman's Avatar
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    Actually I would recommend the Harbor Freight offerings. One of the major car magazines just did a Consumer Reports style test and the Harbor Freight units were rated very high for accuracy. Better than one of the Snap-on wrenches.
    Paul
    "Friends don't let friends ride junk!"
    2011 R1200RT

  4. #4
    Registered User argent brick's Avatar
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    I would suggest getting two wrenches. One in inch pounds and another in foot pounds.
    Lynn
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    Current Ride: 1995 K75 Standard
    Past: 1978 Yamaha XS 750, 1976 BMW R60/6

  5. #5
    RK Ryder
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    I use a couple of 3/8" torque wrenches, each having a different range. Remember, that a torque wrench tends to be most accurate in it's mid-range. As well, a 1/2" drive is occasionally needed, but not as frequently as the 3/8" drives. Try to find torque wrenches which display both Nm and ft/lbs.

    I'd definite go for new, and if the H.F. ones have a good review, why not start with one from there?
    Paul
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
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  6. #6
    Touring Jarhead jeepinbanditrider's Avatar
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    I have two Harbor Freight "click" type torque wrenches. One in inch lbs theother in Ft lbs. I also have a Craftsman I paid decent money for.

    For your average shade tree mech like myself who only works on their own vehicles I'd suggest just getting a Harbor Freight model. You can buy a bunch of them for the cost of one "high end" torque wrench.
    2007 F800ST
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  7. #7
    Mars needs women! 35634's Avatar
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    I recently bought the HF 3/8" for $10 (with coupon) to replace my old beam type Craftsman. It is of surprisingly good quality, and I'm happy with it.
    1987 K75S
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  8. #8
    3 Red Bricks
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    This month, a lot of the car magazines (Autoweek, Circle Track, etc.) have the Harbor Freight coupons for $9.99 torque wrenches. Limit 9 wrenches per coupon. Valid through 6/19/13. Good for 1/4" drive inch/lb, 3/8" ft/lb, and 1/2" ft/lb wrenches. Wrenches also have newton/meter markings. Accuracy within 4%.

    I would recommend buying all three; 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2".



    LONG MAY YOUR BRICK FLY!

    Ride Safe, Ride Far, Ride Often

    Lee Fulton Forum Moderator
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  9. #9
    Registered User bobframe's Avatar
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    Calibration

    Is calibration an issue that you worry about? I have no idea how far off a torque wrench can get.
    We don't take a trip...the trip takes us.

    2006 BMW R1200GS
    2008 BMW R1200RT

  10. #10
    3 Red Bricks
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    They are calibrated when new to within the tolerance specified by the manufacturer (plus or minus 4% for the Harbor Freight ones).

    Unless you abuse them, they should stay accurate enough.



    LONG MAY YOUR BRICK FLY!

    Ride Safe, Ride Far, Ride Often

    Lee Fulton Forum Moderator
    3 Marakesh Red K75Ss
    Mine, Hers, Spare

  11. #11
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Opinion: I don't worry about calibration unless I forget to zero a clicker before putting it away or I otherwise drop/damage the tool. According to Machinery's Handbook 25 (table on page 1404) a torque wrench is only +/- 25% accurate anyway.

    Edit: where "accurate" means measuring the actual preload applied to the fastener.

  12. #12
    3 Red Bricks
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    Agreed.

    The torque applied to the HEAD of the fastener is as accurate as the wrench.

    The variable is the friction caused by fastener material, smoothness, lubrication, contact area, etc, etc. For what we are using it for, going by the wrench is more than close enough.

    In most motorcycle applications, it is more about insuring that you don't get fasteners TOO tight and strip threads out of aluminum heads, tranny housings, etc. Very few non-engine internal fasteners are really torque critical except for things like axle and swingarm preload. Most are "make sure it doesn't strip or fall off". Striping threads in aluminum is very easy for the inexperienced without a torque wrench. Very few people tighten things insufficiently so they fall off.


    LONG MAY YOUR BRICK FLY!

    Ride Safe, Ride Far, Ride Often

    Lee Fulton Forum Moderator
    3 Marakesh Red K75Ss
    Mine, Hers, Spare

  13. #13
    Registered User David13's Avatar
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    I recommend you use a torque wrench.
    Any kind basically.
    The only thing you don't want, is an old rusty one, that doesn't seem to 'click' no matter how hard you wrench on that bolt.
    My neighbor learned that the hard way with an old rusty one I had. He wrenched on an engine cradle bolt under a Toyota (240 foot pound spec?), even tho' I told him the wrench might be bad.
    It was not easy to get that broken stub out.
    dc

  14. #14
    R1200S, R1200RT, R100 JT_R1200RT's Avatar
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    Go Electronic

    After years of doing conversions between NM and Ft/Lbs I broke down and got an electronic wrench, best purchase I ever made, this is a good one for our bikes

    $300

    Range: 10.0-100.0 Ft/Lb / 120-1200 In/Lb / 13.6-135.6 Nm / 138-1382 Kg.Cm

    http://www.toolsource.com/computorq3...b-p-97791.html

    Not your harbor Freight unit, but a great tool.

    JT

  15. #15
    3 Red Bricks
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    Quote Originally Posted by JT_R1200S View Post
    After years of doing conversions between NM and Ft/Lbs I broke down and got an electronic wrench, best purchase I ever made, this is a good one for our bikes

    $300

    Range: 10.0-100.0 Ft/Lb / 120-1200 In/Lb / 13.6-135.6 Nm / 138-1382 Kg.Cm

    http://www.toolsource.com/computorq3...b-p-97791.html

    Not your harbor Freight unit, but a great tool.

    JT
    Would not be good for early K-bikes (don't know about others) as the valve cover bolts are 6.5 ft/lb. The HF wrenches are marked in Nm and in/lb or Nm and ft/lb on the same wrench. No conversion needed.


    LONG MAY YOUR BRICK FLY!

    Ride Safe, Ride Far, Ride Often

    Lee Fulton Forum Moderator
    3 Marakesh Red K75Ss
    Mine, Hers, Spare

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