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Torque wrench

Torque wrench

Torque wrench

I plan to rebuild my transmission and transfer case and obviously need a good torque wrench.  I've scoured the Internet and the Big MSC book. At engineeringtalk.com the Slimline Nobar was voted best for the buck and in MSC the Utica, Armstrong, and PROTO seem to be the best. I've only used a generic brand torque wrench from Autozone to replace the ball-joints in my truck.

Thank you,
Carl Harris

RE: Torque wrench

Since no one replied in two days, I will provide my opinion.  I have no direct experience with the specific products mentioned, but I know that Stanley makes high-quality power tools with built-in transducers.  I am sure their PROTO line of hand wrenches would be of high-quality also.

RE: Torque wrench

Most name brand torque wrenches will probably work.  As a former instructor of boat mechanics, its what happens afterwards that will make the difference.

- Drop the torque wrench repeatedly on a concrete floor.
- Use it as a breaker bar to loosen stuck fasteners.
- Take it for a ride with all your other wrenches in a
  toolbox in the back of your pickup down a back road.
- Use a 75 lb-ft wrench to torque your lug nuts or 200
  lb-ft wrench to rebuild your transmission.
- If you're doing a DIY project occasionally, use the
  homeowner quality, if your paycheck depends on the tool
  and you use it every day by the Snap-On, etc.

I have always had good luck with Craftsman, by following the above rules.


RE: Torque wrench

Thanks for the advice.

I was looking at a craftsman but the closest Sears to me is 60 miles away and it doesn't come with a case. It also seemed to have a little too much plastic for my taste (but what do I know, I've never owned one.) I had planned to pamper this tool, so I abandoned craftsman when I saw it didn't come with a case.

Carl Harris

RE: Torque wrench

You can buy a case from Sears for the click and set wrenches they sell.  Mine just resides in its own drawer in my Non-traveling tool box (See my tip #3 above).  I wrap it in one of the many towels my wife has deemed no longer good enough for company and therefore relegated to shop rag status when transporting the wrench.  Come to think of it, all my Blacksmith buddies use old bath towels to protect their handiwork too.


RE: Torque wrench

I have several wrenches, beam, dial and, click type (even an antique that has a light as indicator)  All are kept in my Kennedy box but, due to racing and the type of work I did, they traveled a lot over the years.  Being of several different makes (Proto, Craftsman, Bonney, Snap-on, Stanley,and the 'old' one) I often compare torque settings , one to the other. Just in case, you know. Had the    big Proto calibrated back in 1996, I think. All  work well in the hands of a KNOWLEDGEABLE mechanic.  Most of them have been with me for over 44 years now and are like 'old friends'.  I  personally prefer the beam type as it gives me a better 'feel'.  The click type is used mostly for wheel studs and such where I just don't need the 'feel'.(I doubt I will ever use the 1000 ft/lb Proto or the multiplier EVER AGAIN---let's not forget, I AM retired now.)  


RE: Torque wrench

would someone be so kind to give us a brief description of the three types, or point us to a picture, so that when someone mentions which type they think is best, we could identify it?

i assume the beam type is the two long, parallel rods where the skinny rod is a long cantilever that stays straight, and has a pointer on its free end near the handle that indicates the torque on a scale attached to the deflecting thick rod.  the skinny rod appears to swing back or forth over the wide scale.  and the handle cover pivots about the cover's centerpoint.  i have this type, but have been unable to read it in many situations.  i never knew it was the best because it's so hard to read.

but what are the "dial" and "click" types?  which one is the one with the handle that torsionally rotates to set the desired torque?  if this is the dial type, i thought it clicks, too (?).  i saw one like this with a ruined, tiny set screw, rendering the whole wrench rather useless, so total loss of investment.

once we can distinguish the three types by type name, we would love to hear more opinions on which brand and especially which type experienced engineers such as evelrod and Blacksmith have found to be best, most accurate, etc.  especially opinions on which type is typically most accurate (especially from people who've calibrated and compared some), which type is most durable, which brand/type is overall best investment, mainly with emphasis on accuracy, then durability, then ease of use, in that order.  we're hearing something here about brands so far but not much about types; we need to know brand plus type to get a picture of what the engineer is referring to so we can identify it in stores or catalogs and buy it.  and so, evelrod prefers the beam type.  which type does Blacksmith and others think is best?  (and i trust that you engineers will please discern if any post is made by a salesperson and heavily red flag it, because i only want info. from private individuals.)  thanks for any help.

RE: Torque wrench

Beam type - large spring steel rod and smaller pointer rod.  Spring bends under torque - pointer indicates reading.  Also my favorite for general purpose work and all of mine are this type.  $25 and up.

Click type - set your desired reading and apply torque - wrench lets off/vibrates when set level is reached.  I agree with Rod - never got used to the feel - always felt like the fastner was breaking off.  However, a good choice for those times you can't eyeball the scale easily.  About $50 and up.

Dial type - has internal mechanism and a dial face, pointer rotates to indicate torque.  Excellent for seting preloads on tapered rolling bearings, since we had to read these while rotating the shaft and wrench at 60 rpm by hand.  Downside, ensure unit doesn't have excessive torque - try by hand first - if you overload, it breaks and repair costs over half the purchase price. About $200 and up - but when you're setting up $1500+ outdrives, you don't have to not ruin too many before you pay for the tool.

Again, I'll state, all major brands will work, its the skill of the operator - buy what you ahve the most access to, best deal and feels right to you.


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