Torque wrenches?

Discussion in 'The Coffee Shop ~ Chit Chat' started by PantheraUncia, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. PantheraUncia

    PantheraUncia Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I am looking for torque wrenches to work on my Silverado and I need to know which 2 types and the quality of the different brands. For example I need one that is foot pounds and one that is inch pounds and in what ranges do I need if I am looking at 1 of each.

    Then, what about the brands? I typically buy Craftsman, but am not a big fan of anything "Sears" anymore. I typically hear that harbor freight and northern tools are cheap junk, and then we are left with Snap-On, Matco, etc which are like priced through the roof, but they also come with lifetime re-calibration.

    Then there are multiple types....... the traditional one with a meter on it, the twist lock ones (still manual) and then the electronic ones (Which I keep hearing have the most that can go wrong, but with lifetime calibration, what is wrong with say a Snap-On electronic Torque Wrench?)
  2. kennythewelder

    kennythewelder Rockstar 3 Years 1000 Posts

    I have a 1/2 drive ratchet foot pound harbor freight torque wrench, and it is all I need. As for inch pounds, I have never used one in all the years I have done mechanic work. The only time I needed one was when I took 2 Honda mower engines, and made 1 good engine from the two, then I found a chart to convert inch pounds to foot pounds. When I was a mechanic in the 1970s, I would buy Mac, Matco, and Snap-on, and they are the best there is, but like you say, they are very expensive. For the guy just doing his own mechanic work, Harbor Freight is just fine, and if it quits after a few years, just throw it away and get another one. As for calibration, 1 or 2 foot pounds is not going to make a lot of difference, it is much more important, to have the bolts the same. If the specs say 85 foot pounds, and you put 87 because the calibration is off, it wont hurt a thing, as long as all the bolts have the same 87 FPs. and you follow the sequnce, and torque in steps your good. Most torque charts say from _ FPs to _ FPs so there is about a 5 FP range that will be in spec anyway. Aluminum is more critical that it be torqued than steel or cast iron.
    silverado002 likes this.
  3. silverado002

    silverado002 Rockstar 3 Years 1000 Posts

    I have craftsman torque wrenches and only used the inch pound one twice. I used the foot/lb one all the time. 12 inch pounds = 1 foot pound if I remember correctly. The click stop wrenches are nice to have as they stop turning the bolt/nut at the what you set the wrench for. They are more expensive than the beam type.
    kennythewelder likes this.
  4. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida Rockstar 4 Years 100 Posts

    The most important item for a torque wrench is its accuracy. I feel the same about Craftsman tools were some of their lines have dropped in quality. I would not trust any tool from Harbor Freight that requires calibration. I buy HF tools but a torque wrench I would not. Don't overlook Home Depot Husky line. I've bought some their ratchets and hand wrenches and I'm impressed.
  5. xPosTech

    xPosTech Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Like Kenny I don't believe absolute accuracy is necessary with 3/8 or 1/2 inch torque wrenches. Repeatability is more important. But I'm gonna veer off and say that the 1/4 inch inch/pound or the more accurate inch/ounce wrench is absolutely desirable.

    I learned the importance of small accurate torque wrenches working on mainframe computer disk drives. The screws holding the heads on the servo system had to be torqued to (can't remember exact numbers here but it's relative) 36 inch/ounces. At 32 inch/ounces the screws couldn't hold the heads securely in the aluminum mounts. At 40 inch/ounces the screws would start to strip the threads.

    My point here is that as fastener size decreases necessary accuracy increases. It's like trying to determine which is heavier a 50 pound sack as opposed to a 45 pound sack or a 1 ounce bass plug compared to a .85 ounce bass plug just by picking them up and "hefting" them.

    For the big stuff close enough for government work will get you by but as more and more precision sensors and other assemblies wind up on our vehicles the greater the need for smaller more accurate torque wrenches.

    Of course these are just my opinions and might be wildly off from other's thoughts. And when I say absolute accuracy is not needed I'm not talking about reassembling a high dollar mostly aluminum racing engine. Head bolts on an aluminum block need to be as accurate as possible.

    kennythewelder and thegawd like this.
  6. Flyinfool

    Flyinfool Rockstar 100 Posts

    I have the 1/2 3/8 and 1/4 drive Torque wrenches from Harbor freight. I took them in to work and had them checked and they were all within 2% accuracy and repeatability was right on. If I was a mechanic I would spend for the higher quality so it would last in daily use. but for the couple of times a year that I will use them, they should last a long time. The most used one is the 1/2 drive when I rotate tires every 6 months. I even bought a second 1/2 drive to keep in the truck in case I ever have to change a tire away from home.

    The click type wrenches do not stop turning the fastener at the setting, you will feel the click but if you keep pulling it will keep tightening until you break something. I watched a teenager doing his first ever tire change twist off his wheel studs by continuing to pull after the click.
    xPosTech likes this.
  7. Teknix

    Teknix New Member

    I have Matco 1/4 "ln 3/8 & 1/2 'lbs twist lock ratchets. I don't use 1/4 inch much but enough to be happy I have one and as far as the digital snap-on wrenches are nice cause the have a wide range and also count for angle when torquing to yield ford head bolts. Just can't justify the price. When an angle gauge is like $20. My 3/8 goes from 5ftlbs all the way to 110ftlbs in 1ftlb increments I believe and had training but I'll get back to that... 1/2 goes from 35ftlbs up to 250. ... in training to prolong life its go to keep a lil tension on the spring so I go all the way down and add a couple. The other part that's pertinent was to try to use around the middle range wide as it may be but towards the lighter side less accurate and toward the higher side more stress and often needs more often calibration.
  8. xPosTech

    xPosTech Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Most gauges and dial indicators are most accurate in the center of their range. That got beat into my head in the Air Force back in the sixties.

    And Jeff I also have the torque wrenches from HF. They don't get used much but that's because I don't do much that needs torquing, not because of any worry about accuracy. HF also has a very reasonably priced 25" 1/2" breaker bar. I've got two of those - one in the truck and one in the roll a round.


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