Which torque wrench should I buy?

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by Train Man, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. Train Man

    Train Man Member

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    I recently bought an old school style torque wrench with the scale. I was wondering if you all could give some recommendations. I want something that's a bit more general for use with torx, screw bits, and sockets...cost is always important. Thanks
     
  2. Bodeen

    Bodeen Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    Unless you are using them for your livelihood, you cant go wrong with a Craftsman. Not the best but it comes in at a good price and does the job. Mr. Klarich always posts on here when the friends and family night is at Sears and you can save yourself a litle more cash.
    You get the Harbor freight thing but I wouldn't trust it to use on my HD. My .02

    Bodeen
     
  3. Porter

    Porter Junior Member

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    I am happy with my Craftsman brand.
    But I will say that for most of the maintenance items: screws to the primary cover, all the drain plugs, compression clamps on the mufflers/exhaust: I don't use a torque wrench any more. Once I got the feel of it, I know I am not over tightening them.

    The things I use a torque wrench for are the higher torque items or REAL CRITICAL items in my opinion: Rear wheel axle nut, front wheel axle bolts.

    I guess what I am saying is that if money is tight, I would look at the maintenance you arre going to do (adjusting belt tension?) and go with a wrench that will span that range. If it has an o-ring or gasket, as long as you are compressing the gasket, that is enough.
     
  4. R_W_B

    R_W_B Senior Member

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    Search this forum, the topic has been covered in detail but can't remember the exact name of thread. I had a bad Harbor Freight one right off the shelf. Took it back for a refund. But I still have two other H.F.s that work. Some folks swear by um.

    I assume you mean the Bar-Rail type when you say 'scale'. The Bar Rail is the most economical and totally reliable since they don't get out of calibration. But they are hard to read upside down or sideways. If you were rich you could buy a Dial reader which from what I'm told does not have to be recalibrated either.

    If you are not rich the easiest to work with is a clicker type. No matter which brand you work with check them when you buy them, and check them periodically afterwards. And if you drop it, check it two or three times before you use it again. If it's bad, you have 2 choices, throw it in the recycle or have it recalibrated. Nowadays (unless you work in a pro shop) the availability and costs of calibration is more expensive than just buying another wrench that works. I have 2 Harbor Freights that check within 2 ft. lbs of my Sears. The Sears works like a cadilac compared to the harder twist H.F.s but it cost $122 as opposed to $22 for the H.F.s. But they all (the clickers) work unless bad, so check them.

    I check mine like this. I bolt a 1/2" or 5/8" bolt to my truck trailer hitch mount. I torque it with one wrench to say 20 ft. lbs. Then I set another wrench to the same setting and try it. If the bolts moves before it clicks, I then set the original wrench to 21 ft lbs back on the bolt. I keep trying and keep turning the dial just a tad until it moves the bolt again and note the difference.

    In the reverse is the wrench being checked did click before moving the bolt, I would keep moving it's setting up 1 ft lb until it did move the bolt just to make sure it wasn't clicking too low.

    If you use a torque wrench often, you will probably get more use out of higher price one before it goes out of calibration, but for weekend wrenching you will save a bunch with a H.F. and still a some with a Sears since a Pro Snap will cost you from $250 up. And for that amount of cost you can buy several H.F.s and still come out ahead. But the thing to always keep in mind is CHECK THEM periodically or they can ruin something.
     
  5. Iceman24

    Iceman24 Well-Known Member

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    Harbor Freight's cheap, but effective for the budget wise shopper...I got a Kobalt b/c it was on sale & I get additional 10% military discount. If you're wrenching on torx, sm screws, etc...get the in/lb b/c most ft/lb start @ 10 which equal 120 in/lb & some of the smaller fastener specs are below this...
     
  6. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    As i seem to be a wee bit of a tool collector i have a few different torque wrenches that i use for different tasks i have 2 beam torque wrenches both of good quality and they get used occasionally one i was given for 21st birthday the other was my belonged to my dad he died in 83 but i managed to rescue some of his tools and use them to this day
    i also have 3 clicker torque wrenches a wee one for the wee stuff a big one for the big stuff and a bi directional for the middle sized stuff the bi directional one was by far the most expensive but is required in a few areas the big torque wrench is cheep and nasty but if you are torquing 250 lb/ft being 10lb out isn't much but if you are doing 20 lb/ft then 10lb out would not be good

    Brian
     
  7. kzoo

    kzoo Banned

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    I have a Harbor Freight one that I carry in the saddlebag just in case. I test it a couple times a year with my Craftsman at home just to see how far off it is. It is pretty accurate for field work!
     
  8. so cal hoss

    so cal hoss Member

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    I was told by an old machinist to always "0" out your torque wrench after each use. I have a high end Snap On clicker type that is now out of sync with the scale more than likely caused by not following his instructions.
     
  9. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    If the springs in the torque wrench are left under tension then they will get weak and give an incorrect reading if top end quality may be worth getting it rebuilt and tested

    Brian
     
  10. R_W_B

    R_W_B Senior Member

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    I used to zero mine, but some of them have instructions to put them at 10 percent of the range (usually like 16 ft lbs), so I do that now.
    Oh and one thing I forgot to add in my first post, a good rail (Beam as Brian correctly called it) wrench is a good backup checker for checking the clickers on a test.