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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently tossed my Craftsman needle (beam) style 3/8" torque wrench. It stopped reading above around 20 ft-lbs even when far higher. I also have a Harbor Freight 1/2" drive clicker, which based on a check with my torque-stick is surprisingly accurate at around 90 ft-lbs, and since I use it for torquing wheel nuts it's fine.

I need something for parts like head gaskets and spark plugs and intake manifold bolts. Can I trust a cheap clicker like I have for the big stuff? My gut says no.

I see there are digital converters now too. They let me use my ratchet and it measures the torque that I'm applying to the tool.

Let me know what your recommendations are.

-Tad
 

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Tad said:
I recently tossed my Craftsman needle (beam) style 3/8" torque wrench. It stopped reading above around 20 ft-lbs even when far higher. I also have a Harbor Freight 1/2" drive clicker, which based on a check with my torque-stick is surprisingly accurate at around 90 ft-lbs, and since I use it for torquing wheel nuts it's fine.

I need something for parts like head gaskets and spark plugs and intake manifold bolts. Can I trust a cheap clicker like I have for the big stuff? My gut says no.

I see there are digital converters now too. They let me use my ratchet and it measures the torque that I'm applying to the tool.

Let me know what your recommendations are.

-Tad
I'd say trust the clicker.

If you are concerned about the accuracy, check it against a known good one.
 

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Don't you have a set of the torque sticks that go on your impact gun? Those supposedly hold up in court to be just as good as a torque wrench.

This is typed kind of tounge in cheek, but depending on what you'll be doing, they may work just fine.

Joe
 

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Tad said:
Heh, funny Joe.

I was thinking for things like the 21 ft-lb spark plug and 13 ft-lb intake manifolds.

-Tad
My cheapo clicker has never failed me in almost 30 years of use.

For everything from spark plugs, to manifold, head bolts, etc.

I just don't use it to actually install or loosen anything. And especially never as a 'breaker bar'. Not even the least. It is used strictly for final torque. And kept in it's protective case, otherwise.

I think a lot of people who 'poo-poo' clickers, abuse them, and expect them to stay accurate.

Kind of like using a digital caliper to tighten a bolt with, and expecting it to still accurately measure something tiny.

They may not even understand that they have abused the clicker. Maybe they think it is supposed to hold up to that kind of abuse. Or maybe they didn't think they ranked on it that much.

Whatever.

If you wonder about the accuracy, check it against one that is known to be accurate. If it checks out ok, protect it, and go ahead and rely on it.
 

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I use a Craftsman 1/2" drive clicker style on the bigger stuff. I have an AC Delco swivel head 3/8" drive clicker style for spark plugs and intake manifold gasket type stuff.

Joe
 

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The biggest thing to watch for with clickers, with time spent unused they get sticky. To ensure accuracy after a period of dormancy do this: rotate torque selection knob/dial all the way to max value then to min value twice each. THEN set to the desired torque for the job at hand. This will ensure that the internal lubrication is evenly distributed & the wrench is 'warmed up' as it were.

~psguardian
 

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psguardian said:
The biggest thing to watch for with clickers, with time spent unused they get sticky. To ensure accuracy after a period of dormancy do this: rotate torque selection knob/dial all the way to max value then to min value twice each. THEN set to the desired torque for the job at hand. This will ensure that the internal lubrication is evenly distributed & the wrench is 'warmed up' as it were.

~psguardian
I also heard not to leave them set to a torque setting. You should return them to zero every time you are done with the tool.
 

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I was at Sears today and they had a $30 off sale for torque wrenches! So my awesome girlfriend bought me a 1/2" drive and 3/8" drive TW.
As well as a 3 ton hydraulic floor jack ($80), extension and universal socket adapter set ($40) and 3/8 12pt deep socket set ($22).

I must have been a good boy last year! :D

Now im just looking for a replacement ratchet gear for my old Craftsman 3/8" torque wrench. Then I will try and sell it on fleabay. :lol:
 

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Clicking torque wrenches. I must have half a dozen of them between Nevada and Washington. I use the HF wrenches for wheel nuts and I have Husky torque wrenches for engine work. Industry re-calibrates their torque wrenches every so often. There are shops in most big towns that can do this. Its hard to baby a ¾" drive 300' lb. wrench Used to torque wheel nuts on big jets.
Never drop a torque wrench.
Always set it to zero Lbs. When storing

No rust in Las Vegas
 

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I spent over a decade on a tool truck. First with Mac and then with Matco. I would NEVER use a cheep torque wrench on anything. What's the point if it's not accurate? There's a reason business's exist to re-calibrate professional torque wrenches. I've seen the damage from engine parts that were installed with a out of calibrated tool. Harbor Freight has their place but not in precision instruments. If you want the best...http://www.torqwrench.com/
Gearwrench has a nice line, it's basically a Matco for a lot less and most anything Craftsman is plenty fine. Matco, Craftsman, Gearwrench, KD are all made by the same parent company, Danaher. The primary difference is the Rockwell hardness of the steal. S-K is back in production after bankruptcy under new ownership, great bang for the buck as is Proto .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, I just did an IMG replacement on my BIL's Trooper with the Northern Tool digital torque wrench. I really like that it isn't set. It measures the torque as you apply it an then it just beeps when you hit the specified torque. It was nice and quick and I don't have to remember to un-set it.

-Tad
 

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Well another 2 cents worth here. I use the clicker Harbor Freight. I have built 1 engine, and done several head gaskets. I don't abuse it and always return it to zero and will "warm it up" as previously suggested. I also compared it to a Snap On for accuracy after several uses and it was right on. It is properly stored and only used for torque. If I was a professional mechanic I would have more of a name brand one, but for my shade tree mechanics, this one works fine and was in my budget when I needed one. I plan of one more rebuild in the next few years and then I will most likely be done doing that. And I plan on using the HF clicker.
 

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Go with a snap-on, I have to send out our torque wrench's at work once a year to get calibrated and I have yet to see a snap-on fail. We use them on Helicopters almost everyday. I bought a matco off the truck and sent it right out for cal...It failed and needed parts before it was ever used. You can find a used snap-on on ebay pretty cheap and get it cal'd once and you should be good for life.
 

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The Sanp-on is made by Precision Torque Wrench aka Precision Tool, Snap-on didn't make it themselves. For years Sanp-on had the exclusive with Precision but kicked them to the curb when they came out with their first digital torque wrench. The owner of Precision was devastated by Snap-on decision. Precision then offered their wrenches to the other mobiles and the WD's and their sales were larger than ever before. Then there was a serious calibration issue with Snap-on's new digital wrench and a large number were baned for use in GM plants and Snap-on was back a Precision's door buying torque wrenches again only this time they no longer had the exclusive. Great lesson here in the fact Precision thought they would have to close their doors when Snap-on first dropped them, only to emerge more successful than they ever had been.

...http://www.torqwrench.com/
 

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Like others have said, go with a nice name brand one that comes with a calibration certificate. The whole point of precision instruments like a torque wrench is not does it work... but is it accurate? Otherwise what's the point, if you use a cheap torque wrench that may be 20% off, then you might as well use a breaker bar and German torque (gutentight).

I ended up getting the Snap-On clicker type (1/4" and 3/8" drive) calibrated to 4% accuracy guaranteed, and it's likely wherever I end up working will pay to get it re-calibrated yearly. I had thought about getting the fancy digital ones, but decided it was mostly a gimmick I didn't need, plus I don't want to have to worry about batteries.
 

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hessmess said:
Well another 2 cents worth here. I use the clicker Harbor Freight. I have built 1 engine, and done several head gaskets. I don't abuse it and always return it to zero and will "warm it up" as previously suggested. I also compared it to a Snap On for accuracy after several uses and it was right on. It is properly stored and only used for torque. If I was a professional mechanic I would have more of a name brand one, but for my shade tree mechanics, this one works fine and was in my budget when I needed one. I plan of one more rebuild in the next few years and then I will most likely be done doing that. And I plan on using the HF clicker.
I think the deal with HF is their quality control is really hit or miss. Sure you got one that seems to be accurate, but I wouldn't bet on that happening twice in a row. I think that's why I find so many people split on HF tools, one guys buys a tool and it works great, the next guy to buy that same tool off the same shelf, and it breaks first time he uses it. I doubt most HF brands really even have QC, it's kind of like a lottery... whether you get one that works, or not?
 
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