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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1/4" Craftsman beam torque wrench that I have a long unanswered question that I hope can be resolved. I don't have the instructions for this wrench anymore but I remember specifically what the pictogram told me NOT to do.

The wrench handle is rivoted in one spot to the main shaft of the wrench where it pivots back and forth. The instructions had a picture that said "correct" when the handle was in a straight position but "incorrect" if it the handle pivots. I don't know why the handle pivots or why it says that it is incorrect for it to pivot since there is no way that you can use this wrench without the darn handle pivoting. I am scared to use this for important jobs for fear of over and under torquing a bolt.

Please comment
 

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'14 3.6R Outback
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http://s.shld.net/is/image/Sears/00...op_sharpen=1&resMode=sharp&op_usm=0.9,0.5,0,0

These types of wrenches are garbage imo. Even if you use them correctly you can still be out of spec. Get a proper click type wrench and be happy.

Full disclosure: i only use a torque wrench when things are super critical like inside a differential or head gaskets, and then i rent a really good one. But I've between wrenching on bolts for 20 years so i can get close enough to spec because of that experience for my purposes.
 

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The concern with the pivoting handle is probably more a safety concern, then a useability concern.

With your hand on the handle, If you are holding it so it doesn't pivot, then you know you have a good grip on it and are in full control. If it can pivot, there is a possibility that you hand may twist. This could cause a sprained wrist, or you could slip and loose control of the wrench.

More of a legal CYA thing.
 

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1999 obw 2.5l Auto 194,000 mi
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the point of the pivoting handle is this:

The length of the wrench is directly related to the amount of tourque applied. the guage is calibrated for a certain lenght handle, if you apply force with the handle centered on the piviot all the force is transfered from that specific point the gauge is calibated for. If you tilt the handle the force is transfered farther forward or back and throws off the mesurement simular to moving forward and back on a childs seesaw. Basically it ust ensures you grip it the same everytime. I backup the other comments though, if your doing something real technical get the click type more accurate and less likely to be damaged and read wrong.
 

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This is the problem with the internet, anyone can give an opinion regardless of knowledge. Do yourself a favor and use Google to search about torque wrenches. What you will find is that beam style torque wrenches are just fine and their accuracy is right around the same as medium priced click style wrenches (sometime better). The handle has a pivot because you have to apply force on the handle at a specific point for the wrench to be accurate. This is where knowing how to use your tool is important and may be why some people find beam torque wrenches are not accurate. So, when turning a nut or bolt the handle should be balanced on it's pivot point at all times. This style of wrench works off the idea that the metal in the thick part of the wrench will bend when force is applied at the handle end. If the handle were pivoted so its edge touched the main, thick section of the wrench you would be changing the effective length of that section and it could bend slightly less. Also, you should always make sure the needle part is pointing to zero when the wrench is at rest. If it doesn't, you can carefully bend the pointer beam to be at zero but this is something you should follow instructions for.

Just use the tool and don't think twice about it, you're likely not building anything needing precision to +-0.5 ft lbs.
 

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Just to be clear, my issue with beam type is a usability issue and not an accuracy issue. Too many times i can't see the dial to know where I'm at. Used "properly" and still out of spec. For the price click type just work better. However, if I already had one in the garage and wanted to check my lug nuts i would still use it.
 

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2013 Legacy Lim CVT Car: 2011 OB Prem 6MT Car: 2006 Miata GT 6MT mc: 2003 Honda GL1800A * Reunite Gondwanaland *
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What you will find is that beam style torque wrenches are just fine
and their accuracy is right around the same as medium priced click
style wrenches (sometime better).
Correct. Also, if not abused, a beam style wrench does not require
periodic recalibration. The degree of bending in response to applied
torque is an inherent/invariant physical property (Young's modulus)
of the particular metal alloy used in the shaft. The design is elegant
in its idiot-proof simplicity. ...OTOH, idiots are rapidly improving.

...simple is better than better,

Looby
 

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Just to be clear, my issue with beam type is a usability issue and not an accuracy issue. Too many times i can't see the dial to know where I'm at. Used "properly" and still out of spec. For the price click type just work better. However, if I already had one in the garage and wanted to check my lug nuts i would still use it.
I have the same issue with them. Too often I either can't get the wrench somewhere because of the "dial" part, don't have enough room for the beam to bend, or can't see the numbers because of its angle compared to where I am. When it is a viable option I use it, otherwise I go with a click type.
 

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It is OK to have the handle pivot a little, but not so much the handle touches the arm.

As long as the handle does not touch, all force is being applied at the handle pivot, and only the normal force (force at 90 degrees to the arm) will result in applied torque.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you for the multiple responses in less than one day. The image that Novablue posted is the Beam style wrench that I have.

CNY Dave definately clarified my misunderstanding. I was not sure if it is possible to use the wrench without the handle touching the arm. So long as I am careful I can keep the handle from touching it.

What would be better a Pedro's click style or a SnapOn?

What would be a good price for a click style both in 1/2", and 3/8"?

Is it bad to step down a 1/2" torque wrench (beam or click) with a reduction bit to 3/8"?


This forum is great:)
 

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Thank you for the multiple responses in less than one day. The image that Novablue posted is the Beam style wrench that I have.

CNY Dave definately clarified my misunderstanding. I was not sure if it is possible to use the wrench without the handle touching the arm. So long as I am careful I can keep the handle from touching it.

What would be better a Pedro's click style or a SnapOn?

What would be a good price for a click style both in 1/2", and 3/8"?

Is it bad to step down a 1/2" torque wrench (beam or click) with a reduction bit to 3/8"?


This forum is great:)
SnapOn imo is overpriced because part of owning snapon tools is the service that comes with it. If you aren't using the service... your wasting money, again IMO. I've never heard of Pedro.

Click styles vary greatly in price. Answering that question would be easier if I knew what you were using it for. In general click styles are most accurate in the middle of their range so if it's 50-120 foot pounds you would want to use that wrench for 80-100 type jobs. Click wrenches need to be calibrated every once in a while too. Professionals have several wrenches that over lap each other and get them calibrated regularly. Of course professionals are using their wrenches for more than lug nuts. In general you get what you pay for. $100 is usually good mid-range click type.

Some mechanics will start swearing if they see you use a reduction bit. Me? I use them all the time. Having the extra joint can make tight spaces tighter and you run the risk of it slipping off.

You already have a good wrench in the beam type, don't get me wrong. But if I was going to buy a wrench a beam type would not necessarily be on my short list.

What do you plan to use the wrench for?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I originally purchased my beam torque wrench ('cause it was cheaper) to install a lift kit on my Wrangler.

As of now I want the click style torque wrench to replace my spark plugs and valve cover gaskets. I do see the need for a torque wrench for my O2 sensors someday.

Will I have any problems getting the bolts closest to the firewall off the valve cover and be able to get the valve cover gaskets on with the engine in the car?
 

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If you want to spend less than a SnapOn for a torque wrench and really want one that is accurate and will last go with a CDI Torque Products brand. They make the stuff for SnapOn but you don't pay for the SnapOn brand name. Should run about $140 on Amazon. If you all you are looking to do is tighten lug nuts and things like that go to Harbor Freight and get one on sale for $10. Check it over real well and make sure things like the click, ratchet, and lock nut work correctly.
 

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Is it bad to step down a 1/2" torque wrench (beam or click) with a reduction bit to 3/8"?
Smaller socket drives systems (e.g., 3/8 and 1/4) are designed to handle lower torque. There's no problem using a reduction bit as long as the torque being applied is within it's capabilities.

But this leads to another issue related to the torque wrench. If you're using the reduction adapter with a smaller size socket to tighten a small bolt/nut, the torque spec could fall in the bottom range of the 1/2-inch torque wrench. As Novablue mentioned, the wrenches are usually most reliable at their mid-range, which could lead to over- or under-tightening when using it with an adapter for a bottom-of-the-range torque setting.
 

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I originally purchased my beam torque wrench ('cause it was cheaper) to install a lift kit on my Wrangler.

As of now I want the click style torque wrench to replace my spark plugs and valve cover gaskets. I do see the need for a torque wrench for my O2 sensors someday.

Will I have any problems getting the bolts closest to the firewall off the valve cover and be able to get the valve cover gaskets on with the engine in the car?
I donno, what car do you have? :p

If that is all your are doing I second the $10 harbor freight model. Valve cover gaskets, O2 sensors, and spark plugs don't need to be with in .5 lbs as one above mentioned earlier.
 

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I have and use a digital flex-neck torque wrench with 1/2" drive... and I am very happy with it! It's +/- 0.3% accurate for 20-200Nm torque and calibrated to ISO17025 and ISA6789-2008 int'l standards. It wasn't cheap though... Usually I buy my specialty tools from www.griotsgarage.com - they are pricey but last for ever!
 

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For the record I have a couple of the Harbor Freight $10 specials. One broke right away, the lock nut on the handle, and they replaced it without question. No problems since. I did check that it was at least close enough for what I do. To check it I torqued a bolt with the HF wrench, then I checked that torque with my nicer beam torque wrench. Both were within 1 or so ft-lbs which is close enough for me.
 

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I have and use a digital flex-neck torque wrench with 1/2" drive...
Of course, when the neck is flexed, the applied torque will
be less than the clicker setting -- at the limit, 100% less.

...cosine(90°) = 0.000,

Looby

 

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This is the problem with the internet, anyone can give an opinion regardless of knowledge. Do yourself a favor and use Google to search about torque wrenches. What you will find is that beam style torque wrenches are just fine and their accuracy is right around the same as medium priced click style wrenches (sometime better). The handle has a pivot because you have to apply force on the handle at a specific point for the wrench to be accurate. This is where knowing how to use your tool is important and may be why some people find beam torque wrenches are not accurate. So, when turning a nut or bolt the handle should be balanced on it's pivot point at all times. This style of wrench works off the idea that the metal in the thick part of the wrench will bend when force is applied at the handle end. If the handle were pivoted so its edge touched the main, thick section of the wrench you would be changing the effective length of that section and it could bend slightly less. Also, you should always make sure the needle part is pointing to zero when the wrench is at rest. If it doesn't, you can carefully bend the pointer beam to be at zero but this is something you should follow instructions for.

Just use the tool and don't think twice about it, you're likely not building anything needing precision to +-0.5 ft lbs.
This answer is correct, therefore bears repeating.
 
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