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Discussion Starter #1
I need to get myself a torque wrench. Locally, the only place that carries them is Sears, but they want $150 for a basic 1/2" drive one, and Lowes doesn't carry them.

What do you guys recommend is a good quality tool at a reasonable price?
 

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I recently got one from advance auto. they had 3 different ones ranging from $40-120. I got the middle one at $80 and it works great.
 

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if I were shopping again knowing what I know now, I would get 2, I would get a wrench with 200 ftlbs at the top, and a second wrench - inch-lbs or something that topped out around 40-50-60 ftlbs. w'ever
 

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i belong to a 4runner forum and there is a vendor that is selling a torque wrench:

Brown Line Metalworks, LLC | Professional Grade Digital Torque Wrench

it's digital and great price for the members.

having said that... i have a sears mechanical/click style torque wrench and i actually prefer that one. i think i paid about $80 or so for it about 3 years ago.

i think i just have to get used to the brownline one.

joel
 

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For a home mechanic, two or three Harbor Freight click type wrenches are OK. They are cheap, "ball park" accurate, and any torque wrench is better than no torque wrench. They are certainly good enough. One wrench is inadequate for your tool box, since it can't handle the wide range of torque values you may encounter, and they are only accurate in the middle of their torque range, not at the extremes!

I would start with a 1/2 drive 150 or 175 ft lb unit, for wheel lugs and heavy suspension stuff. Then add a 3/8 drive 75 ft lb and 1/4 drive 200 INCH lb wrench. If you ever have to torque a really big bolt like a harmonic balancer bolt, rent a 3/4 drive tool from the auto parts store, because those suckers are expensive...

If you ever plan to turn pro, spend the extra $$$ now on a set of high quality tools, and get them calibrated at least every few years. In the aircraft industry they have to be calibrated annually.

Do NOT buy any wrench that does not have an audible and tactile "click!!!" - often you can't watch the display and reef on the bolt at the same time. You must be able to feel it reach the set limit. That digital wrench is pretty cool, but you have to either watch the lights or display, or listen for the beep, and in a noisy environment that may not be satisfactory.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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Seems pricey for Sears! I picked up my 1/2" and 3/8" Click wrenches from them for about 80$ I think, def under 100. They seem good quality and I have no complaints.

What are you using them for? For lug nuts I'm sure a cheaper HF wrench will be fine, I'd want to use something a little better for suspension, etc stuff.
 

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Joel,
Could you share your impressions of the Brown Line wrench in more detail?
By the way, there's a deal for USMB members, too.

i belong to a 4runner forum and there is a vendor that is selling a torque wrench:

Brown Line Metalworks, LLC | Professional Grade Digital Torque Wrench

it's digital and great price for the members.

having said that... i have a sears mechanical/click style torque wrench and i actually prefer that one. i think i paid about $80 or so for it about 3 years ago.

i think i just have to get used to the brownline one.

joel
 

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Joel,
Could you share your impressions of the Brown Line wrench in more detail?
By the way, there's a deal for USMB members, too.
hi AVK,

unfortunately, i only used the brownline once... it was about two weeks ago.

i installed the batteries and then set the amount of torque i wanted.

i was using the torque wrench to check my lug nuts that were set by the dealer when i did my last service.

i wasn't used to the handle as it's pretty bulky and i have smaller hands.

i can't recall but after the i reached the torque value i set it beeped but i think i was still able to apply more torque as the Twrench did not "click/slip" like my sears mechanical does.

if i remember the digital display shows you the highest amount of torque applied.

i will play with it again and report back.

also, i think there is a youtube video... i'll see what i can find.

here's A video, there are several...


joel
 

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Thanks a lot. So it works sort of like a beam-type wrench with a sensor and a read-out. I feel tempted to get one, but on the other hand, a torque wrench can be loaned free of charge from AutoZone.
 

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Thanks a lot. So it works sort of like a beam-type wrench with a sensor and a read-out. I feel tempted to get one, but on the other hand, a torque wrench can be loaned free of charge from AutoZone.
if you can get the same price as the 4runner forum then... sure.

if you have to pay full retail then maybe go the autozone route.

also, as others have mentioned harbor freight has torque wrenches, too.

let us know which way you go!

joel
 

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dunno about the OP, but I have already needed 156 ftlbs, and 180 ft/lbs.

but, using that same toque wrench is dangerous below about 20-30 ftlbs or so because you can't really feel the click well. I don't reach for the torque wrench for everything, but I try to use it even on smaller connections if I have good access. I'm gonna tighten stuff anyway - may as well do it right when possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the advice. I am planning to head into one of the larger cities around me this weekend, and I'll have to look around while I''m there.

For me, I mainly need it for torquing tire lug nuts. If I had my own, I am sure I can find other uses.

I prefer to get good quality tools that last and have a warranty. Craftsman and Kobalt mainly. I have some Husky stuff, but I don't have a Home Depot anywhere within an hour's drive. But I am open for other options.
 

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I prefer to get good quality tools that last and have a warranty. Craftsman and Kobalt mainly. I have some Husky stuff, but I don't have a Home Depot anywhere within an hour's drive. But I am open for other options.
The NAPA branded tools are very good quality and have a lifetime warranty. I am sure there are some NAPAs near you.

http://www.napaonline.com/Catalog/Result.aspx?N=40419

I want to reiterate what I mentioned before - these wrenches are only accurate in the center portion of their range. Don't use a 20 to 175 ft lb tool to torque a 30 or 160 ft lb fastener - it won't be correct! OTH, it will probably be a LOT closer than you can estimate using a regular socket handle.....

But that size would be ideal for lug nuts.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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I want to reiterate what I mentioned before - these wrenches are only accurate in the center portion of their range. Don't use a 20 to 175 ft lb tool to torque a 30 or 160 ft lb fastener - it won't be correct! OTH, it will probably be a LOT closer than you can estimate using a regular socket handle.....

But that size would be ideal for lug nuts.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
Accuracy of torque wrenches is dependent on the type of wrench and you should read carefully the owner's/operator's manual for the one you use. After reading this thread I found this website with a lot of good information including their owner's and calibration manuals for each wrench they make. I copied the link to one of their white papers, but you can get to the rest of their site from there.
Understand, Maintain and Service Your Torque Wrench | Mountz

Please note that some of the electronic type wrenches are really more for production facilities than home mechanic use. Anyhow, worth reading the information they provide. I found much of interest through their 'Learning Center' link.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Over the weekend, I took my son up to the Pittsburgh Zoo, a 2.5 hr drive. I stopped at a mall in Pittsburgh and stuck my head in Sears. They had their Craftsman, 1/2" drive click type torque wrench on sale for $60 so I picked it up. It has a 30-150 ft-lb range, so the 100 ft-lbs for my Fusions lug nuts, is well in the middle.

After getting it home and reading though the paperwork on it, I found that apparently Craftsman's Lifetime warranty on hand tools does not apply to torque wrenches. It only has a 1 year warranty and you need the receipt. So major disappointment there. Oh well. If this one ever breaks, I'll replace it somewhere else.

Other than that, it works fine.

One other thing I learned: Use a 3" extension or deep sockets when you check your tires. the socket right on the wrench will put the handle right on the edge of your tire sidewall and the body of the car and bang up your hand.

Thanks for the advice everyone!
 
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