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Old 04-08-11, 10:00 AM   #1
sgrobben
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Pittsburgh Torque Wrench

Anyone using the Pittsburgh torque wrench from Harbor Freight on their bikes? 3/8 drive click wrench for $22 seems like a bargain. Wondering how accurate it would be for that price.

http://www.harborfreight.com/3-8-eig...rench-807.html
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Old 04-08-11, 10:59 AM   #2
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wouldn't the 1/4 drive ($19) be a better option since you are more likely to use an inch-pound wrench than a foot-pound one for wrenching on a bike?
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Old 04-08-11, 01:10 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by cmolway View Post
wouldn't the 1/4 drive ($19) be a better option since you are more likely to use an inch-pound wrench than a foot-pound one for wrenching on a bike?
You're may be right. I was looking at the 3/8 since most of the hex sockets seem to be 3/8.

I am more concerned about the quality of the wrench and wondered if anyone was using it.
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Old 04-08-11, 04:12 PM   #4
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I think it has the same accuracy of Snap On and I have checked it against it and both were at same torque. It also hold up better than the Craftsman with the plastic handle. The handle breaks when over tightened and they will NOT warranty.
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Old 04-08-11, 04:46 PM   #5
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I have the 3/8 and the 1/4 both. they are nice and work OK. I am sure a fancy Snap On would be more accurate by a pound or two but "back in the day" you never used a torque wrench in the shop so what difference does a pound or two make?

I believe the hub bub over torque wrenches and torque values on parts is simply a liability issue.
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Old 04-08-11, 05:37 PM   #6
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the hub bub is just that...for non-carbon bikes but for carbon bikes it is indeed easy to over tighten a bolt and damage a tube. click torque wrenches have to be properly calibrated regularly if you want to trust them. I wouldn't trust a cheap click torque wrench. an inexpensive beam torque wrench is easily calibrated if it goes out and is a much safer alternative to a cheap click torque wrench.
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Old 04-08-11, 05:51 PM   #7
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I've used the Pittsburg torque-wrenches on my car and motorcycle for years. They may be a +/- a couple percentage points off from a Snap-on, but are FAR more accurate than the human-hand and guessing. Although at the higher torque-ranges, I prefer my Snap-on beam-type wrench due to the creep factor of the fasteners. A cylinder-head nut at 125-lb*ft doesn't just "click" into that torque, it will reach it and require another 20-60 degrees of turning for that torque to "stick".
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Old 04-08-11, 07:23 PM   #8
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I have the 1/4" and it seems fine. I use it for the headset bearings and for everything carbon.
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Old 04-08-11, 08:12 PM   #9
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Sears will absolutely warranty even their cheap $25 POS Craftsman beam-torque wrenches. Take it to another mall if the one nearby refuses, and complain about the service at the other branch.

And this is the answer to the question. I've bought and broken a lot of tools. The tools that were the cheapest wound up costing the most - they're inaccurate, they break, they're made sloppily, and that can actually damage the work, and not just the tool. A well-made tool is good, support for the tool after you buy it is better.

I used to live in Daytona Beach, and I've been in the Sears at the mall across from the Speedway during both Bike Week and Race Week. I've seen pit crew members =running= through the tool department, tossing a busted wrench at a salesman while diving out the door with a new one. (Do not try this at home.) Those fat guys with the nametags aren't just cashiers - they actually do know what they stock and what it's good for, and will swap out your busted tool for a new one should you need it. I needed it only once - a set of dikes got sticky and wouldn't pop open after a cut. Exchanged, on the spot, for a much more modern pair. He also sold me on a miniature hex-socket ratchet that I use pretty much every week - no pressure, just asked me what I was working on, showed me the tool and let me play with it while he got the new cutters.

Customer service really, really, really is worth paying for. First-world engineering and QC, too.

That said, I don't know if it's in your budget, but here's the tool to dream about.
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Old 04-09-11, 12:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
I have the 3/8 and the 1/4 both. they are nice and work OK. I am sure a fancy Snap On would be more accurate by a pound or two but "back in the day" you never used a torque wrench in the shop so what difference does a pound or two make?

I believe the hub bub over torque wrenches and torque values on parts is simply a liability issue.
Definitely not. Torque wrenches are a must for most modern bikes and anything carbon. The manufacturing tolerances of today's performance components demand it. Many manufacturers even recommend friction paste in addition to torque wrenches even on their alloy components.
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Old 04-09-11, 04:41 AM   #11
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Sears will warrant their Craftsman beam torque wrench for lifetime, but not their click versions. These only have a 1 year warranty. Read the fine print.
They no longer replace ratchets with new ones either. You now get a rebuilt old one. And sometimes the choices available look worse than the one you're returning!
+1 on their plastic handle. Mine cracked. Luckily it was under a year and got a new one. Replacement flexed and the handle became loose and the calibration was lost. I had to tighten everything and calibrated it against my beam torque wrench.
I ran into a similar problem with a high torque Husky model. Plastic handle flexes too much during high torque, broke loose.
For anything critical like engine, tranny work, I stick with my beam wrench. :-\

I don't have any CF bikes or gear...so for my bikes, I make do with my 47 year old cailbrated elbows.
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Old 04-09-11, 05:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
I have the 3/8 and the 1/4 both. they are nice and work OK. I am sure a fancy Snap On would be more accurate by a pound or two but "back in the day" you never used a torque wrench in the shop so what difference does a pound or two make?

I believe the hub bub over torque wrenches and torque values on parts is simply a liability issue.
yes it is a liability issue. over torque and the crank will crack(fsa cranks, but they suck anyways) or bolts break(ti bolts). under torque and crank arms fall off or stem slips etc
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Old 04-09-11, 04:51 PM   #13
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Thanks for the input, purchased the wrench today. Mostly concerned with stripping bolts and voiding warranties, hopefully this budget wrench will work in that regard.
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Old 04-10-11, 03:52 AM   #14
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I've had my 3/8 from Harbor Freight for years. It has served me well and I've only over-torqued one bolt since I looked in the manual and read 50lb for the wrong bolt which should have been 34lb, so not the wrench's fault. It says accurate to within 4%, does that mean it is never further from being 4% or 4% is as close as it gets?

If you're cheap (you ARE shopping at HF) you can use 20% coupons and wait on sales and get torque wrenches for about $10. I have all three (1/4, 3/8, 1/2).

Its kind of nice to find the torque value, then tighten by hand, then hit it with the torquer to see how close you got.
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Old 04-10-11, 08:01 AM   #15
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excellent quality one for 50 bucks here http://store.harryepstein.com/cp/Mis...tory/CDTW.html
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Old 04-10-11, 08:39 AM   #16
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I've got the 1/4", 3/8" & 1/2" with a set of HF socket adapters. This allows me to use any size socket on any size wrench to keep the required torque nearer the middle of the range.
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Old 04-11-11, 06:46 AM   #17
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realized a Harbor Freight recently opened near me. Stopped in and grabbed the 1/4" click torque. Works just fine. A little bigger than the more expensive one and it doesn't have a Newton meter scale (though it's easy to print out a conversion chart off the internet). For $20 I am not complaining.
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Old 04-11-11, 12:31 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by mjoekingz28 View Post
I've had my 3/8 from Harbor Freight for years. It has served me well and I've only over-torqued one bolt since I looked in the manual and read 50lb for the wrong bolt which should have been 34lb, so not the wrench's fault. It says accurate to within 4%, does that mean it is never further from being 4% or 4% is as close as it gets?
Within 4% means "within 4%". Might be spot on, might be 4% high, might be 4% low, might be anywhere in between. Do it a second time, you might get a different result, but it'll still be within 4%.
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Old 04-12-11, 12:06 PM   #19
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Click type torque wrenches have pawls that wear and springs that change tension requiring calibration. Beam type can just be pulled back into calibration. I'd never buy an inexpensive click wrench.
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