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How important is a torque wrench?

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How important is a torque wrench?

Old 06-12-20, 05:12 PM
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trek330
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How important is a torque wrench?

I've decided to replace my BB myself.I don't have a torque wrench and have never used one and don't want to spend the money on one.Anyone have some hints on how to tighten the BB by feel?
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Old 06-12-20, 05:16 PM
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fietsbob
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Many years of experience .. grasshopper..
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Old 06-12-20, 05:48 PM
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trek330
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I guess I qualify.I"m old.
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Old 06-12-20, 05:49 PM
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walnutz
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Originally Posted by trek330 View Post
I've decided to replace my BB myself.I don't have a torque wrench and have never used one and don't want to spend the money on one.Anyone have some hints on how to tighten the BB by feel?
Iíve removed and installed many a bottom bracket without a torque wrench. No problems yet. Iíve found you can go pretty hard. I do use a torque wrench for most other bits though.
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Old 06-12-20, 06:11 PM
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Is it metal or carbon fiber? Since I don't own any 'fiber I have never used a torque wrench on a bicycle...And the old Campy tool kit didn't come with one either. New composite bikes now are a different breed though.
Just don't use any cheater bars and you should be ok. It takes less torque than you think to hold stuff together.
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Old 06-12-20, 06:24 PM
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Not very for bottom brackets. I have never had a problem where you the issue is getting things, like BB cups, that need to be tight, tight enough. When the issue is making sure you don’t get things too tight (e.g. seat post and stem clamps around carbon posts and bars) a torque wrench is useful. But even then going by feel rarely causes a problem unless you get carried away.
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Old 06-12-20, 06:26 PM
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You can do the calculation - e.g. if the spec is 600 inch pounds, that's 50 lbs. pushing down on the end of a 12 inch wrench (or 60 lbs. on a 10 inch wrench, etc.) Then you can guestimate how that force will feel on your hand.

For screw in BB cups I put almost as much force as I can into a 10 inch BB wrench with one hand. Figure I'm putting force into the wrench around the 8 inch mark, I'm pushing/pulling 75 pounds to get 600 inch pounds torque.
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Old 06-12-20, 06:35 PM
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Tightening anything with carbon, stem on a carbon steerer, h-bar, carbon seatpost, I’d use a torque wrench.
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Old 06-12-20, 06:47 PM
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trek330
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The bike is aluminum.
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Old 06-12-20, 06:50 PM
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Great advice everyone!I think I'll manage Sans torque wrench,
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Old 06-12-20, 09:21 PM
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A torque wrench is handy. I highly recommend it. We install hitches on cars and came across one that was 186 Foot lbs of torque and the mechanic who does it said his arms were worn out getting up there and he has a Snap On Torque Wrench for the job. Sure you will probably be fine installing it without one I certainly have but sometimes making sure it is properly torqued can be quite handy. Too low and it comes loose too tight and it breaks.
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Old 06-12-20, 09:54 PM
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I suggest getting eventually a digital torque adapter, rather than a full wrench, e.g., Performance Tool M206.
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Old 06-12-20, 10:21 PM
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I use a torque wrench on the square taper crankset because I never seem to tighten the bolts enough, and it will eventually creak
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Old 06-13-20, 05:06 AM
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On a car, I meticulously use a torque wrench. On a bicycle not so much. I was taught early on that if all the threads are meticulously clean and lightly lubricated just hand tightening by feel of all the small bolts and nuts is just fine. However, when a bike part has a marked torque spec, like a cassette lockring and crank bolts, I use a torque wrench.
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Old 06-13-20, 06:50 AM
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If it weren't for Covid I'd tell you to come on over. I have one that I bought specifically to install a BB. I find it overkill for anything else though.
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Old 06-13-20, 07:04 AM
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I only have reservations about not using a torque tool with carbon parts. I hate doing the stem bolts on a carbon steerer. Else i dont much care. Guess its like having a pump with a gauge. Once you have it, you enjoy the convenience and wont ever go back.
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Old 06-13-20, 07:10 AM
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I never used a torque wrench and all my friends would tell me that I was over-tightening everything. So, I used less torque and some fasteners were coming loose. I bought a torque wrench (actually two) about 15 years ago and I use them on everything. I have a chart with all the torque specs attached to my tool caddie . No guess work anymore.
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Old 06-13-20, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
You can do the calculation - e.g. if the spec is 600 inch pounds, that's 50 lbs. pushing down on the end of a 12 inch wrench (or 60 lbs. on a 10 inch wrench, etc.) Then you can guestimate how that force will feel on your hand.

For screw in BB cups I put almost as much force as I can into a 10 inch BB wrench with one hand. Figure I'm putting force into the wrench around the 8 inch mark, I'm pushing/pulling 75 pounds to get 600 inch pounds torque.
This is my method as well. I lift a lot of 40 pound weights and I use that for my force estimate, and vary my hand position on the wrench for different torques.
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Old 06-13-20, 07:33 AM
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I don’t use a torque wrench. I tightened by feel on my carbon bikes and have never had an issue.
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Old 06-13-20, 07:33 AM
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Most every auto parts store will have a tool loan program. Put a deposit down, use tool, return and get deposit back.

https://www.autozone.com/lp/loan-a-tool
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Old 06-13-20, 08:01 AM
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The only time I use a torque wrench is on my cf bike. Everything else by feel after all these years wrenching on cars and bikes.
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Old 06-13-20, 08:05 AM
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Well you can always put a wrench on the currently installed bb and try to barely tighten it see what pressure you need.

John
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Old 06-13-20, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
If it weren't for Covid I'd tell you to come on over. I have one that I bought specifically to install a BB. I find it overkill for anything else though.
And if you were in the better borough (aka Queens), I'd tell you to come on over as well. After working on motorcycles, I prefer to use a torque wrench whenever possible. That said, I don't have a good set of torx bits yet, so I do those by feel (and of course a lot of the new stuff for carbon fiber uses them).
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Old 06-13-20, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Many years of experience .. grasshopper..
Yep, and with all those years of experience, I still use a torque wrench, probably even more after all those years of experience. I am talking about 45 years of experience.
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Old 06-13-20, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by trek330 View Post
Great advice everyone!I think I'll manage Sans torque wrench,
Why not just get a torque wrench and use it? It is useful for everything else as well. I personally own five, all different types for different uses.

Last edited by phughes; 06-13-20 at 02:08 PM.
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