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    Torque wrenches

    I’d like someone to school me on torque wrenches. What brand or style should I buy. I have never used one but also haven’t done any work where one is absolutely necessary... yet. I’m sure that I’ve worked on many things that might have been better properly torqued but have never caused a problem either like the thermostat housing and cover on my boat, for example. Do people even torque spark plugs too?
    thanks!

    #2
    Certain size and grade of fasteners are designed for specific torque values. Yes, that even includes spark plugs.

    I would suggest a decent quality beam type torque for something you won't be using all the time. If you decide to get a "clicker" type torque wrench, I HIGHLY recommend backing it off to a zero setting for storage in the case it came in.

    Jeff

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      #3
      Kind of depends on what you are working on and how often. At home, working on my stuff, I have a couple different (older, USA) Craftsman clickers, and a Craftsman beam. At work I have a couple Snap On clickers, a Napa clicker, a Snap On digital that also does torque-angle, and an older KD or Kent Moore (I honestly don't recall now) beam type that my Dad had, that I (and pretty much all my coworkers) use for setting up Jeep diffs.
      Regardless of your choice and needs I'd buy quality and take care of it.
      Brian - Spring Grove, IL
      IH 782 w/50c; Dad's 1650 (needs restored)
      CCC 782 dual stick w/44c; 1050 w/38c; 1861 w/54GT
      Parts 782, 1811, 1710, 1200
      Numerous IH, Brinly, Agri-Fab attachments

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        #4
        Originally posted by Joe View Post
        I’d like someone to school me on torque wrenches. What brand or style should I buy. I have never used one but also haven’t done any work where one is absolutely necessary... yet. I’m sure that I’ve worked on many things that might have been better properly torqued but have never caused a problem either like the thermostat housing and cover on my boat, for example. Do people even torque spark plugs too?
        thanks!

        The other guys make good points and suggestions! But maybe we need to explain a bit more since you want "schooled".

        There are at least 4 types of torque wrenches that you can buy:
        (Click on pic for larger picture.)

        1.) Beam
        beam.jpg

        2.) Dial
        dial.jpg
        3.) Click
        click.jpg
        4.) Digital
        digital.jpg



        Here's some things to consider:

        A beam style is easy to use, and considered one of the more accurate and simple in the fact that it never requires adjusting, and as long as it has a good indicator scale, you can accurately torque to any point on the scale. Even better news is they are also the cheapest. Simply put a socket on it and pull until the indicator points at the desired torque. Any mechanic that has been working for any length of time knows the value of a good beam torque wrench and likely has one in his box. I have one. (Not sure what brand but I think I have a Craftsman.)

        A dial style is also a very accurate wrench and has good points about it also. Some of the older Sna-On dial wrenches also incorporated a "click" on them. You set the wrench to the desired torque value and pull it until the pointer on the dial reaches the value. Most have a knob that you can move so that it is easy to see the desired torque. As I said, some Snap-On units would also make a loud "click". (Actually it hit pretty hard and almost sounded like a submarine "ping"!) I do have a dial style wrench, but don't often use it. (Snap-On brand)

        Click style is by far the most common anymore. The have a handle on the end that can be rotated to the value desired. Put a socket on it and pull until the wrench makes a click noise, or until you feel the handle "break away" (best description I can use). These wrenches are accurate, but do require calibration or at least checked now and again for accuracy. The problem with them is the spring inside that is used to set the torque value can weaken over time and change the torque setting. Or they get worn, and it takes more torque to make it click. For home use, this will likely never be an issue as it won't get used enough to fall out of setting, or wear out. This is why the guys suggested storing this wrench with the handle set to the lowest torque setting. This keeps the spring out of tension making it last longer. Actually, the instructions state to store it this way. I own several of these style torque wrenches and use them often. (I have both Snap On and I think the big one is a OTC.)

        Then there is the digital style. Supposedly, these never require calibration. They are considered to be the most accurate. (I have always wondered if they actually are though. Electronics can screw up.) These are obviously easy to use and a lot of time come with several different available options. As stated before, most can be set to read inlbs, ftlbs, NM, or even degrees. (If you aren't familiar with degrees, some of the new fastening specs are to torque to a set value, say 50 ftlbs, then after that sequence, go an additional 30 degrees.) This is a must have for doing almost all new torque sequences on involved engine work. Most all head bolts now require degree torquing. If you don't plan to get into that sort of thing, then you need not worry. But this style wrench still may interest you for it's ease of operation. It is however, of the more expensive line of wrenches. (I own a Snap-On)



        So, there's the breakdown of the different types. Now lets talk about sizes. You can buy torque wrenches just like rachets. They come in 1/4" drive, 3/8" drive, 1/2" drive, 3/4" drive, ect, ect. All the same sizes as rachets do. The smaller the drive, the smaller the torque value capabilities of the wrench, and the larger you go, the larger the values. Depending on what you intend to torque, a 3/8 drive would likely fit your needs well. Typically, a 3/8" drive torque wrench will torque from about 10 ftlbs to about 50 ftlbs. (Varies by manufacturer and model.) They are just fine for minor automotive repairs and great for work on old garden tractor engines. A digital would give you access to several different values to use also, which is really handy, although you may not want to spend that kind of money. A cheap one runs around $125, good ones $800. For DIY work a Craftsman would be fine and can be purchased on Amazon. The style you choose and size depends on your needs and budget. If you do choose a digital, I suggest not leaving the batteries in it while stored. I think I have at least 6 torque wrenches that will cover torque settings from about 10 inlbs to 600 ftlbs and also degrees, and I have at least one of each style. Not uncommon at all for a mechanic to own several.

        Hope this helps and good luck! If you have any questions on what to buy, just ask!
        ~Jonathan
        Oblong, Illinois

        Just because it's old, doesn't mean it's obsolete!

        I've got a lot of Cubs in the barn....but I have more implements/attachments!

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