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Old 12-01-05, 11:49 PM   #1
cheeseflavor
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Recommendations for torque wrench

Looking to add some tools to my growing bike tool kit, and was wondering what, if anything, would be a good torque wrench to get. Park Tools, of course, has some. Are these a good value? Anything else just as good and cheaper?

TIA for any advice!

Steve
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Old 12-02-05, 09:38 AM   #2
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I'll probably get flamed on this, but I use torque wrenches from Harbor Freight. They are produced in Taiwan and seem to be of good quality. I have 1/2" and 1/4" drive ones with socket adapters for going up and down in drive size. I probably paid less than $20 for each of them. I wouldn't buy one made in China and wish I could justify one from the good ol' U.S. of A. But, I wrench for a hobby and just can't justify that expense.

I also have a beam type 1/2" craftsman. I do feel a bit more secure with the beam wrench for some reason, I guess for its simplicity, but it's not as handy and you can't always read the guage in all positions. I've dones some "A/B" testing, using the Craftsman, comparing it to the Harbor Freight units, and they seem to feel pretty close, but that's just a subjective test. I think if you check, you'd find many "brand name" tools are made in Taiwan, some even in China. At any rate, and in my opinion, a reasonably good one is better than none at all for most applications.

If you think you need one because of very critical torque requirments, or you do a lot of wrenching, go for the gold. But for casual use these are probably just fine. OHB
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Old 12-02-05, 11:43 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Old Hammer Boy
I'll probably get flamed on [snip]
No way! Harbor Freight rocks! I agree 100% with what you said. *Click* http://www.harborfreight.com/
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Old 12-02-05, 12:19 PM   #4
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Craftsman (Sears) are probably the best bang-for-the-buck tools and their waranty is unbeatable. Unless you are going to do a lot of wrench work, beam-types are much cheaper and more reliable. What you give up is convenience and the ability to torque a "blind" fastener, i.e. one you can't see. This is useful in auto menchanics but I've never had a bike component I couldn't see easily.
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Old 12-02-05, 12:59 PM   #5
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I would not trust a Harbor Freight torque wrench to be accurate. For consumer use I would get the Craftsman. If you need an inch pound wrench You might even consider a nicer one to be sure that what you set it for is what it torques.
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Old 12-02-05, 01:01 PM   #6
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Park Tool makes a couple of them. I personally have the craftsmam ones with the dial.
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Old 12-02-05, 04:45 PM   #7
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How often are you really going to use it? If you buy one, look at 3/8 in socket torque wrenches at Lowe's, Home Depot or Sears. It seems one of them is always having a special.
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Old 12-02-05, 08:30 PM   #8
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My 25-250 inch pounds 'adjustable' has a 90 day guarantee. Not infinite! The beam type does have the infinite guarantee. My prejudice is to buy Sears on sale.
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Old 12-03-05, 12:56 AM   #9
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Thanks to everyone for your input. Being new to bike mechanics (but not mechanics in general), I wasn't sure if there was anything in particular I needed to look for.

Thanks!

Steve
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Old 12-03-05, 12:59 AM   #10
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two words.. SNAP ON
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Old 12-03-05, 03:42 AM   #11
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Snap-on is great quality at a huge price. If you are a professional mechanic and are going to use it every day, OK, but otherwise, it is probably extreme overkill. If you can find one on eBay or elsewhere at a reasonable price, go for it.

I went the lower-cost route at Home Depot. No regrets.
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Old 12-03-05, 07:58 AM   #12
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Bang for buck = Sears during sale
Harbor Freight bending beam would be OK and good value if someone can calibrate it for you

illusion of having a torque wrench: if you were wrenching on bigger fasteners like in a car, it is not that bad because (i.e.) 5 ft-lb delta with 85 ft-lb is not that bad and within safety tolerance. But on a bike, most of your fasteners are much "lighter" so any variation is exaggerated. The BB is prob the item that will require the most torque and if memory is correct is only 35 ft-lb (someone check on this please?)

Snap-0n = when I find a pot of money.
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Old 12-03-05, 10:17 AM   #13
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My son works in a Precision Measurement Equipment Labratory (PMEL) and calibrates torque wrwnches. I use UTICA Bonney and Craftsman per his recommendations. He strongly advised against Snap On and Craftsman "dial" types due calibration retention/stability issues.
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Old 12-03-05, 12:17 PM   #14
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Anyone ever use the Pedro's torque wrench?
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Old 12-03-05, 03:04 PM   #15
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Thrifty, do you mean dial as in there is a dial with a pointer. I never bought one of those, they look to delicate. I prefer the click type as you cannot always be in a position to read the indicator.

I don't have a Pedros. but I did get one of the Magura torque screwdrivers, it is pretty handy for the very light torque screws but setting the torque is a pain. You have to remove the tool arm and install a tool into the handle to adjust it.
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Old 12-03-05, 03:12 PM   #16
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I think Nashbar's got some click type torquers for 70 bones right now, made by 'michigan industrial' which is probably a chinese tradename... I can't vouch for these in any way, just pointing them out.
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Old 12-03-05, 04:11 PM   #17
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Rev Chuck.....yes....looks like a dial indicator dial on the torque wrench handle/body. I have a UTICA Bonney "click" type torque screwdriver that take standard 1/4" "hex" bits. Two important torque wrench considerations: DO NOT DROP any variety/style and do not store with tension on the mechanism or return the setting to zero.
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Old 12-03-05, 06:35 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thrifty1
Rev Chuck.....yes....looks like a dial indicator dial on the torque wrench handle/body. I have a UTICA Bonney "click" type torque screwdriver that take standard 1/4" "hex" bits. Two important torque wrench considerations: DO NOT DROP any variety/style and do not store with tension on the mechanism or return the setting to zero.
Are "short" hex bits long enough to get close enough to the frame or places where the hex is necessary?

I've seen these more pricy, longer bits:

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...8&storeId=6970

And a short set:

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...2&storeId=6970
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Old 12-04-05, 02:11 AM   #19
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my snap-on torque wrench is the click type.. i use it when i work on my civic and on other cars.. so it came in very handy when i was building my fetish bike.

plus getting the snap on as a present wasn't all that bad either.. hehe
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Old 02-17-06, 03:58 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poopncow
The BB is prob the item that will require the most torque and if memory is correct is only 35 ft-lb (someone check on this please?)

Snap-0n = when I find a pot of money.
Sorry to bump this thread back up from the dead.... but can someone please confirm what the highest torque rating usually is on a bike?? Is it at the BB and usually 35 ft-lbs??

And about snap-on ~ they seem expensive but snap-on has a lifetime warranty. I use one and will have it for the rest of my life. It is super reliable and I trust it with everything. Helped me do an entire engine swap on my car. Maybe you don't want to spend $100 to $150 for a torque wrench, but consider the lifetime warranty and great accuracy and it's not such a bad deal... especially if you're dealing with nice parts.

I'll be buying another snap-on torque wrench for my bike. The one I have now is for Auto and doesn't start at zero.
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Old 02-17-06, 05:08 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepystarz
Sorry to bump this thread back up from the dead.... but can someone please confirm what the highest torque rating usually is on a bike?? Is it at the BB and usually 35 ft-lbs??
Yes.

I use a torque wrench for bottom brackets and crankams and for higher end stem installation. That said, the other issue of torque wrenches for bicycle use is that the same wrench doesn't work well for both uses. Bottom brackets and crank arms usually take 30-35 ft/lbs. Stems take far less than I'd use if left to my own judgement so I use a 1/4" drive torque wrench for that.
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Old 02-17-06, 06:04 AM   #22
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I have 3 "click " type Snap ons & a cpl of "Beam" types . If ihad to buy them all over again ,i think i woud just buy them from Kragen auto parts(Crewline brand) for a fraction of the price & still have a "lifetime guarantee" with them.
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Old 02-17-06, 06:13 AM   #23
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As a scientist, I respect the interest represented here for use of torque wrenches and care in meeting precise specifications. However, I wonder how many bikes, even expensive machines are assembled at the factory/shop with the level of care that includes use of a torque wrench?

I'd be surprised if any of the shops here use a torque wrench for repairs. I have built bikes and conducted major service overhauls without a TW. One does need some specialist tools for the things like freehub, bottom bracket, pedal etc. that have proprietary designs. The most important thing with threaded parts on a bike* is learning the correct feel for tightness and care in initial mating of the threads to avoid cross threading.

You won't go wrong using a torque wrench properly, but it isn't top priority in the bike tools list in my opinion.

Cheers,

Ed

*Of course there are other applications where a torque wrench is essential - I wouldn't re-place the cylinder head bolts on my MG by feel
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Old 02-17-06, 09:03 AM   #24
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I pretty much agree with Ed. I have one, and do as much automtive work as bicycle - probably more - but I don't use it very often. That said, I'm glad to have one in my toolbox, and recommend one to anyone who considers themselves a mechanic. Stay away from electronic - how do you know when they aren't working properly?. The good old beam type is reliable and durable, and as accurate as you need. You can't read the backside, but you can make a little mark ahead of time where you want the pointer to be, and use that! You can't do that with an electronic or dial type. I'd go Craftsman because of the warranty, and they are pretty good too for the home mechanic.

As we say in engineering - measure it with a micrometer, mark it with a grease pencil, and cut it with an ax.

Here's another one I like, and agree with, from the 3rd Edition (1980) of Sutherland's Handbook for Bicycle Mechanics:
"Cheap tools are an extravegance that no bicycle shop can afford."
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Old 02-17-06, 09:14 AM   #25
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I wonder who makes Craftsmen torque wrenches?
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