Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Messages

Advanced

Buying a torque wrench?

Posted by Kelly 
February 07, 2009 07:02PM
Hi All,

Well, there comes a time in some women's lives when they find themselves wondering the tool aisles in a dazed and confused state overwhemled by the shiny array set before them. (Now, I would not have this problem in the kitchen knife aisle.)

I inocently thought "I'll just buy a Craftsman." But, no no no.... I think the lifetime warrenty may not apply to torque wrenches. And there was some on-line posting that the Craftman has some internal gear-let which breaks.

So so lost in the chrome. Please advise. Kelly
February 07, 2009 09:08PM
Quote
Kelly
Hi All,

Well, there comes a time in some women's lives when they find themselves wondering the tool aisles in a dazed and confused state overwhemled by the shiny array set before them. (Now, I would not have this problem in the kitchen knife aisle.)

I inocently thought "I'll just buy a Craftsman." But, no no no.... I think the lifetime warrenty may not apply to torque wrenches. And there was some on-line posting that the Craftman has some internal gear-let which breaks.

So so lost in the chrome. Please advise. Kelly
February 07, 2009 09:14PM
Hey Kelly,

You've got to treat these tools like you would kitchen knives. You know what job the knife has to do and buy accordingly. It's the same with car stuff; don't get carried away with the chrome and warranty if you only need to skin a prawn every now and then or torque a pan bolt occasionally.

One thing you need to know is that you should have two types of torque wrench as there is no really good one that does it all. You need one for the heavy duty stuff luke crank shaft bolts and another for the delicate things like valve cover nuts.
The reason is that these tools are most accurate at one end of their scales...so one that is good to 300 lb ft won't do you much good for the 1 lb ft you need on the small stuff.

I would go for a pair of lower cost but recognizable brands rather than top of the line...there is a huge difference in cost!
February 08, 2009 08:47AM
Most of my hand tools are Craftsman, including my torque wrenches. While most Craftsman tools are very well made, I'm afraid I must agree that their torque wrenches are a disappointment. When mine breaks, which it inevitably will, I will be replacing it with something else. You are correct that the Craftsman lifetime replacement service does not apply to torque wrenches.

I'll second what Peter says in that you should have two torque wrenches: a 1/2-inch drive one that will put 50-80 foot-pounds in the middle of its range, and a small 3/8-inch drive one that will read in inch-pounds. If you want to start out with just one, start with the bigger one, since that will be more useful for most things. When you find you need one for something smaller, then you can go out and buy one of the little ones.

I will also point out that there are two types of torque wrenches: dial-type ones that click when you reach a set torque, and beam-type ones that have a pointer that moves along a scale as you tighten the wrench. The dial wrenches are more convenient, but more expensive. They also are subject to variations in calibration. The beam wrenches are less convenient to use, since you need to carefully watch the scale as you pull on it, but they are much, much cheaper, and surprisingly tend to be more accurate than the dial wrenches.

The problem with the Craftsman torque wrenches is that the plastic dials tend to break over time. The beam wrenches have no moving parts and are pretty indestructible, so I would recommend the Craftsman if you decide to go that way. If you want a nice dial type wrench, I'm afraid I don't have any personal experience to go on, other than Snap-On tools are as good as they get, but you'd probably need to take out a small loan to afford one. Good luck!

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
rkj
February 10, 2009 11:48AM
Actually, you should have three to cover everything but for you kelly, figure out what you want it for and buy one that will service your needs now. Later, if you need another for a different end of the scale buy another. The clicking kind are the best if they are treated nicely. This is one tool you don't want to drop or treat roughly. I have a snap-on (the middle size)and have it calibrated occasionally but I'm sure there are good brands out there without spending that kind of money. Maybe your brother could advise you if he looks on the interweb but do spend a fair amount because its one tool you have to count on when you use it!

One important thing to remember is that the threads play a big part in how a bolt/nut is tightened, and to what torque; make sure your threads are clean and work easy (some need a little oil or neversieze to work right and tighten properly), if they're tight all threads have to chased or redone.

Rick
February 12, 2009 09:40PM
Quote
rkj
Actually, you should have three to cover everything but for you kelly, figure out what you want it for and buy one that will service your needs now. Later, if you need another for a different end of the scale buy another. The clicking kind are the best if they are treated nicely. This is one tool you don't want to drop or treat roughly. I have a snap-on (the middle size)and have it calibrated occasionally but I'm sure there are good brands out there without spending that kind of money. Maybe your brother could advise you if he looks on the interweb but do spend a fair amount because its one tool you have to count on when you use it!

One important thing to remember is that the threads play a big part in how a bolt/nut is tightened, and to what torque; make sure your threads are clean and work easy (some need a little oil or neversieze to work right and tighten properly), if they're tight all threads have to chased or redone.

Rick


Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all info above. Obviously, I will not be a torquing "heavy user." My goals are to remove the instument cluster (remove steering wheel - torquing required for replacement) and maybe the spark-plugs (male helper might be required). Hence the wrench. I want to polish out the etched spots on the I Cluster. I recenlty polished 2 iPods (rather sucessfully I think). Let me know if you ever need to polish a white plastic iPod; got that covered. The Cluster is my next target.

My brother has a Craftsman torque wrench. The black plastic handle rotates and clicks to set the pressure. But he lives in Wash DC, and I live in California.

Good to know about the "clean and easy" thread operation.

Egad - I just looked at the Snap-on $$$. I could buy 3 Craftsman for the price of one Snap-On. I suppose that answers the question given that I will only use the wrench occationally.

Thanks, Kelly :-) The Infrequent Torquer
February 12, 2009 10:01PM
Yeah, Snap-On and Matco are expensive, but the quality is definitely higher. There are plenty of things that Craftsman are great for though. Their sockets and professional series wrenches are great and cost far less, but their ratchets are really for the birds. I broke a few of them myself, but they were so bad that the Sears had a bucket of them at the counter for warranty! Snap-On or Matco are the way to go on screw drivers, pliers and ratchets IMO. The Craftsman torque wrench is perfect for someone who is not going to use it very often. To be honest, there are very few things that really need to be torqued and most mechanics barely even use their torque wrenches. I would suggest getting one that covers 25-150, that way you will be able to torque a vast majority of things. Finally, if you get the clicker type wrench, make sure you zero it after each use before you store it to retard the rate it goes out of calibration.
February 13, 2009 06:33AM
Quote
Andy 90 325i
their ratchets are really for the birds. I broke a few of them myself, but they were so bad that the Sears had a bucket of them at the counter for warranty!
I think this is only partly true. IME it depends on what kind of ratchet you get. I have a collection of quite a few Craftsman ratchets, and they come in (at least) three different designs.The ones that have a simple little pawl that you click back and forth are, as you say, junk. I have broken a couple of those (and gotten them replaced for free). But I also have two different designs where the whole back of the ratchet is a kind of circular switch that rotates each way, and those have been trouble-free for many many years.

Having said that, the only Snap-On tools I own are a couple of 1/2-inch ratchets, and those are by far my favorite tools. They are a level above everything else and are just a joy to use.
Quote

if you get the clicker type wrench, make sure you zero it after each use before you store it to retard the rate it goes out of calibration.
+1

I wish I was better at remembering to do that every time.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
February 14, 2009 12:02AM
Dave, those are the old Craftsman Ratchets and yeah, they used to be good. Unfortunately, I don't believe they offer those any longer. I have heard that the professional series ones are pretty good, but I haven't used one. I have played with them a little and they don't feel as nice as the high ends, but as long as my knuckles remain intact I could deal with that for the savings. I generally buy stuff like ratchets used off ebay, then, if they are broken, I have them warrantied by Snap-On and I have a like new ratchet for 1/3 of the price of a new one!
February 15, 2009 07:50PM
I have two; one is a Craftsman 3/8" drive, and the other is a NAPA house brand, 1/2" drive. Bought both on eBay; one new and one very near new, for about half retail price. I think the two brands are of comnparable quality. My younger brother, who is a pro, uses the Snap-On dial-type. Love them, but as was stated above, they're pricey; even on eBay.

Andy
1987 325ic
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

Online Users

Guests: 12
Record Number of Users: 3 on September 29, 2015
Record Number of Guests: 116 on November 11, 2017