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Old 11-05-2013, 04:55 PM   #1
Artemus Gordon
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Torque Wrench Purchase!

This "close friend" of mine with "little knowledge of tools, needs a Torque Wrench. Coincidentally he has the exact same 3750 as I have. Same Truck that I have, well let's just pretend its me! What size 1/2 inch for example, etc wrench should he buy? Can I use, I mean can "he" use different size adapters? What range should he buy, brand? I will get info to him ASAP. Thanks everyone......
 
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Old 11-05-2013, 05:53 PM   #2
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I bought an inexpensive torque wrench and it didn't last more than a year. By inexpensive, I mean $40 (IIRC). You can get them over $100. You need a range of at least 150#. I have a medium priced one now. One thing to note is that most torque wrenchs do not recommend using it as a regular 1/2" rachet wrench... You will get many more opinions on this subject, but I guess I would recommend a middle of the road torque wrench. Also a note: when you are finished using you wrench set the torque back to zero to reduce wear on the springs in the assembly.
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:33 PM   #3
Carl n Susan
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If someone, hypothetically, needed a torque wrench for mundane tasks such as tightening axle U bolts or lug nuts, and *NOT* performing precision assembly tasks such as engine construction, then, hypothetically, an inexpensive torque wrench should suffice. My suggestion, if I were asked - which I wasn't, is to purchase one that has a margin of error < 5% from a purveyor of inexpensive tools such as Harbor Freight (HF). They are rumored to have a 1/2" drive good to 150 Lbs. for well under $25. Also find a 6" extension and the proper sized 6 point socket. Someone's knuckles will appreciate the extra clearance while using the wrench. Hypothetically if someone were to buy a wrench be sure to set the torque back to zero when done (as suggested earlier).
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:36 PM   #4
Art-n-Marge
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Your truck probably requires 150ft/lbs, the trailer probably needs 110 to 120 ft/lbs, maybe more if you have larger than the standards wheels. Get a wrench that meets the highest rating you need, probably 150ft/lbs. I didn't pay much for the ones I have but I do have two (keep one in the truck and one in the trailer's tool box), then I alternate them just so they read each other's torque. I also have a set of long sockets to fit and some extensions since it's no fun rapping your knuckles while checking the torque. Do keep the extension as short as possible. I understand if they are too long the torque setting might not be accurate enough.

One thing to remember about the wrenches is to store them at their recommended value. Mine say to store at 0 ft/lbs. So I make sure to set them to 0 ft/lbs before storing them. I've heard that not doing that might cause them to not work correctly over time. Since I don't know what time that is, I store them at 0. Your wrench may vary, but there should be a storage setting. I prefer the clicking kind (they click and release when the right torque is reached). Once you hear the click, STOP. I've also heard it's not a good idea to go beyond 1 or 2 times to click or you risk overtightening.

This is one of the best tools to have in your arsenal. You'd be surprised how many people with rigs don't carry one. When checking my rig, I've been approached so I can check their rig. You'd also be surprised how many people don't know their settings either.
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Old 11-05-2013, 07:42 PM   #5
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I paid around $120.00 for my torque wrench, guess I have a good one. Always store set at zero.

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Old 11-05-2013, 07:48 PM   #6
Artemus Gordon
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Thank you everyone! My friend and I deeply appreciate it! Lol. Well I feel better!
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Old 11-06-2013, 12:45 AM   #7
Bill and Jan
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Make sure it is in foot pounds as we learned when we were at the Goshen Rally.
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Old 11-06-2013, 02:48 AM   #8
DQDick
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As recommended earlier, no matter what wrench you have, get a 6" extension. Makes things a lot easier.
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:09 AM   #9
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I opted for the Harbor Freight clicker type about 6 years ago and paid the outlandish price they had it on sale for at the time of $9.99. Came with a hard plastic case and has stayed in the rig(s) for all this time. I do set it back to zero, and it still looks like new.
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:12 AM   #10
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You can spend upwards of $100 or more for one. I bought two 1/2" clicker 150# torque wrenches for $12.99 each on sale from Harbor Freight. Work fine for me. One stays in the trailer, the other in the home tool box.
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:40 AM   #11
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Yep I concur on the Harbor Freight if you are not goning to be using it every day. Just wait till they put it on sale for 12.99.
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:08 AM   #12
Tom S.
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I'll pass on the Harbour Freight one. I don't expect people to buy one like my Snap-on, but you should still consider a reasonable quality one like to Craftsman. Wheel torque is 120 per lug. If your cheap wrench is 10% off (or more, which is not unheard of), you could be over torquing to 132lbs or under torquing to 108 lbs. Just another form of cheap insurance, IMHO. Also, even if you don't do your own tire rotation, you should check the lug nut torque because I've seen tire places over torque and under torque using impact wrenches.
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:16 AM   #13
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Strange story about resetting to 0. Back in my trailer hauling days, I ended up in Washington State to pick up a boat to haul to Long Beach (about 1200 miles). As I was doing my precheck and torquing the wheels, after I finished the manufacturing manager at the factory raced out to me and saw me getting ready to stow my wrench. He stopped me and asked, "How was the tire torque?". I told him only two bolts on two different tires were off and that was way better than most other trailers I tow. Then he asked "So what setting do you use when stowing your wrench". After I responded, "I use 0 because that's what my manual said". He then said, "YES! I keep telling my guys that". Upon further discussion he was complaining that his employees who build the boat trailers were not doing that after they finished with the tires on each trailer. They wouldn't set it to 0 until they finished their shift at the end of the day (8 to 10 hours later) and his opinion was that they should reset to 0 after they are done with all four tires on each trailer they put together (they did several trailers per day. I kinda agreed with him and wished him luck that he would be able to change their process - after all he was their manager.

However, I don't believe you can have complete torque until you actually driven around for a while. For example, after rotating my tires, I'll check the torque over a few days of driving. While the torque might be a little off, the torque does eventually quick click 100%.

Two Questions - Tom S. brings up an excellent point. How does one know when their wrench is beyond the tolerance? While I recall even my cheap wrenches were in the 5% range, I'm not even happy with that. If the number to use is so specific then I'd prefer exact but I've never seen a wrench like that (maybe those expensive ones are so) and even being off 5% is too much to me but I use it because it's better than not. And how do you know when your wrench has decayed so that it needs replacing? I've had my wrenches 7 years. Is it an age thing, does the thing automatically fall apart in your hands, do you take it somewhere for calibration? Tom S. or anyone else, do you know? Oops, that's three questions.
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:35 AM   #14
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I'm going to side with an earlier poster as to price and accuracy of any given torque wrench. If I did alot of engine work especially motorcycle and aluminum component stuff, I'd use my Snap-On or Mac hands down. If I were in the market for just a torque wrench to drag around with me to check lugs or ubolts, I'd opt for the $10 Harbor Freight issue or a Craftsman if it were on one of their 50% off pre Christmas sales. With the size of our wheel studs or ubolts ... being off 5 - 10 ft lbs won't really matter in my world. Just a few years back we all hauled around a 4 way or a simple tire iron and tightened lugs as much as you could lean on it ... very few have tales of a tire passing them out on the road. Art has a good point about the storage setting of your clicker wrenches no matter what you paid for yours.
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:36 AM   #15
bncinwv
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Seems like we had an extensive post about tolerances on these tools previously and someone actually produced a study that included the Harbor Freight torque wrenches, Craftsman, and a couple of others. I did a search and came up with this:

Torque Wrench Review

Harbor Freight's manual for the clicker wrench states it's accuracy in the +/- 4% range. That is plenty good for me! As always, it is a personal preference.

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Old 11-06-2013, 04:59 AM   #16
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Interesting link, Bingo. Did anyone notice that the digital tester accuracy was accurate to 0.10? That's 10%. At least it did show what happens when not resetting to 0. I'm glad I'm adamant about that process. I like the idea of the additional digital gauge. That can be used to tell when your wrench is starting to decay, but then wouldn't this digital gauge decay over time, too? And at $39 that's probably more than I paid for BOTH my wrenches. Okay, overthinking is occurring. I'm just gonna go relax now, and go have a beer, or maybe I'll have breakfast first. Geez, it's not even 9 am here.
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Old 11-06-2013, 05:08 AM   #17
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I think you are misreading that figure Art or at least I am interpreting it differently. The gauge is accurate to within 0.1 pounds. That would not change as the torque increases. For instance at 60 pounds, it would be accurate to 59.9-60.1 pounds. I think that is substantially less than 10%.
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Old 11-06-2013, 05:08 AM   #18
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3Xs on the 6 inch extension...
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:45 AM   #19
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Yup, I believe it's important to check the wheels on a new unit or once the wheel has been removed and replaced more often, and when underway, at least every few days or so, I can honestly say I've seen very few RVer's doing this when leaving their respective campgrounds. Sure, I've seen a few, a very few, but I'd guess it's less than 2% of the folks I've watched breaking camp.

Personally I use a Harbor Freight unit. Seems to work fine. After 15 years of owning one, I can't say how accurate it is, but I will say I've never lost a wheel on any of my vehicles, not even wobbly.
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:14 AM   #20
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Quote:
quote:Two Questions - Tom S. brings up an excellent point. How does one know when their wrench is beyond the tolerance? While I recall even my cheap wrenches were in the 5% range, I'm not even happy with that. If the number to use is so specific then I'd prefer exact but I've never seen a wrench like that (maybe those expensive ones are so) and even being off 5% is too much to me but I use it because it's better than not. And how do you know when your wrench has decayed so that it needs replacing? I've had my wrenches 7 years. Is it an age thing, does the thing automatically fall apart in your hands, do you take it somewhere for calibration? Tom S. or anyone else, do you know? Oops, that's three questions.
Art, the easiest and cheapest way is to take a bolt and lug to a trusted mechanic (engine builders are the best, IMHO) and ask them to torque it to some figure, say 100 pounds (just make sure you have a bolt and nut that will take that torque). Take it home and put it in a vice. Set your wrench to 100. If the nut tightens more than just a tiny amount, you need to have the wrench calibrated. If it doesn't tighten it, try loosening the nut and see how much torque it takes to break it free. If it's within your 5%, you're golden.

I'm not sure, but I believe some Snap On drivers (and possible Matco too) have the ability to check torque wrenches. Of course they also have the ability to sell you a new one, which you won't like! A word on recalibration too: it isn't cheap and sometimes it's just cheaper to buy an new wrench.

So, what can you do if your wrench is out of calibration and you are too [s]cheap[/s] frugal to have it recalibrated or buy a new one? Go back to your friendly mechanic, only ask for two bolts and nuts to be tightened to 120 lbs (the same as our lug nuts). Take them home and see how much torque it takes to loosen one using your out of spec wrench. Then use that figure and try tightening the second bolt and unloosening it as I stated above. Chances are you will be within the 5% (or even closer). Now all you have to do is remember that when you want to check the lugs to use the 'new setting'.

Last, but certainly not least, a word on extensions. Although extensions are made of steel, cheap ones can twist and reduce the actual torque the wrench is delivering to the nut. You won't see the twist, but it's there. If you want to go cheap, get the heaviest impact extension you can find (they are normally black in color).
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