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Torque wrench for bottom brackets

Old 07-16-22, 05:15 PM
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alexk_il
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Torque wrench for bottom brackets

Bought this Calibrated torque wrench to install a BB into my bike. Turned out it measures the torque only when the pressure is applied clockwise. If I select the opposite direction the wrench ignores the torque preset. Not good for the drive side BB cup.

Did I get a wrong tool? Did I miss some clever trick to reverse the torque direction?
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Old 07-16-22, 05:35 PM
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Just crank it down really tight. Nobody really uses a torque wrench on a bottom bracket.
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Old 07-16-22, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by alexk_il View Post
Did I get a wrong tool? Did I miss some clever trick to reverse the torque direction?
Based on the pictures on the linked page, there's a little lever on the top of the head at the base. Flip it over to work in the opposite direction.
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Old 07-16-22, 05:38 PM
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I don't know if there is a way to get a reverse torque reading with that wrench but some of the other ones on that Amazon page say "dual directional" so you may want to return it for a more suitable one. However, beam-type torque wrenches are all dual directional, less expensive for similar quality and won't go out of calibration unless you bend something.
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Old 07-16-22, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Based on the pictures on the linked page, there's a little lever on the top of the head at the base. Flip it over to work in the opposite direction.
That lever just reverses the ratchet, not the torque reading ability.
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Old 07-16-22, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
That lever just reverses the ratchet, not the torque reading ability.
It's a click-type wrench. It doesn't read torque; it only gives an audible click and tactile release when the set torque is reached. On every reversible torque wrench I've used, it releases at the set torque in both directions.
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Old 07-16-22, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
That lever just reverses the ratchet, not the torque reading ability.
Exactly. 👍

No torque related clicks if switch the lever. Great for unscrewing things but not good for controlling the torque with inversed threads.
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Old 07-16-22, 06:05 PM
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You got the wrong tool - Draper's website shows this one measures clockwise only. You need one that works in both directions.
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Old 07-16-22, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
Just crank it down really tight. Nobody really uses a torque wrench on a bottom bracket.
Pfft. I do.
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Old 07-17-22, 03:11 AM
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The BB cups/shell are probably one of the less torque critical joints on a bike. Id be much more worried about the fasteners securing the crank arm. That said, using the proper tool and process certainly never hurts.
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Old 07-17-22, 08:05 AM
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The OP can just get an Italian threaded frame.
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Old 07-17-22, 02:50 PM
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Get a beam-type torque wrench. Those work in both directions and don't go out of calibration as easily as the pre-set type.

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Old 07-18-22, 03:34 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Get a beam-type torque wrench. Those work in both directions and don't go out of calibration as easily as the pre-set type.
They don't have enough torque (40-50Nm) for bottom brackets. So it's either by hand for me or to get a more expensive one with the reversible torque.
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Old 07-18-22, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by alexk_il View Post
They don't have enough torque (40-50Nm) for bottom brackets. So it's either by hand for me or to get a more expensive one with the reversible torque.
Beam-type torque wrenches are available in a variety of torque ranges, some well beyond 40-50Nm, eg:

https://www.amazon.com/GearWrench-29.../dp/B01CDJEAJW
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Old 07-18-22, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Pfft. I do.
Ditto. And the 18-24" beam type torque wrench makes it reasonably easy.
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Old 07-18-22, 09:27 AM
  #16  
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Another who's never used a torque wrench on a fixed cup. For the left hand thread ones, why? As long as your bearings are in reasonably good shape and you pedal, not coast all the time, your pedaling and the bearings mean you are constantly tightening the cup. I'm not super strong. I can get the cup tight enough with a 12" crescent. And too tight? Well I suppose you could break the base of the cup threads at the flange. Or rip out the steel threads. I'd love to have that kind of strength but my bikes might not be safe! Or, more likely, make it very difficult for you or someone else to unscrew it later.

Now right hand threaded fixed cups? Again, I've never had the torque wrench but I used to hang my Peugeot over my dad's bench vise, grab the cup with the jaws, then use the bike frame as my two-handed wrench handle. Avoided French BBs every since. Haven't killed a BB yet so I've never needed Italian.
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Old 07-18-22, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
I don't know if there is a way to get a reverse torque reading with that wrench but some of the other ones on that Amazon page say "dual directional" so you may want to return it for a more suitable one. However, beam-type torque wrenches are all dual directional, less expensive for similar quality and won't go out of calibration unless you bend something.
Yeah, that was my problem. I left my beam-style torque wrench in the closet where I store my bike stuff instead of in my workbench for some reason and some boxes shifted and bent it. Now, it's just a 1/2" drive wrench with a long cheater bar. Fortunately, it wasn't very expensive on amazon.
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Old 07-18-22, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
Yeah, that was my problem. I left my beam-style torque wrench in the closet where I store my bike stuff instead of in my workbench for some reason and some boxes shifted and bent it. Now, it's just a 1/2" drive wrench with a long cheater bar. Fortunately, it wasn't very expensive on amazon.
I hesitate to say this given the tool we're talking about, but I suspect if you move the scale or bend the pointer arm so that it's points to zero again that it would work as well as the day it was new.
Obviously this depends on how bent it is, but beam style torque wrenches are remarkably simple devices.
One the lab experiments early in engineering school was taking a cylinder of unknown steel set up as a cantilever beam and predicting deflection at different force values. Basically making a beam style torque wrench. Even with the abused steel rods we had and not knowing the alloy we were well within what would be acceptable for error on common fastener applications.

Follow on notes for those curious as to why I say this:
There are only a few things that matter on a beam style torque wrench:
1. Length of the beam being bent. This won't change.
2. Stiffness of the being being bent. As long as the cross section hasn't been reduced the stiffness won't change either.
3. Where the pointing beam is pointing/where the scale is. Those two items are just static objects, they don't do anything when the tool is used. There isn't enough axial movement in the scale to get very far off, and you can determine where the side to side position should be based on the reading at zero.

The only thing that's likely to cause an issue is the joint at the head getting broken such that there is lash or play in the joint. This would result in an inconsistent zero position, which would be an issue.
The other thing of note is that it's important to put a point load, not a moment, on the handle. This is why the better ones have a handle that pivots on a pin. You need to make sure the handle does not touch the beam anywhere other than the pin when using the tool.

Last edited by jccaclimber; 07-18-22 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 07-18-22, 11:26 AM
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Well, you can torque the DS and get a good feel for how much effort it takes. Then using the same wrench and reversing it, tighten the NDS.

John
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Old 07-18-22, 11:29 AM
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Good point. The pointer was bent in to touch the scale as well as sideways, so I just figured it was toast as far as accuracy without testing (it does have a pivoting handle). I bought it to use for BB's but, like many people here, I just crank them really hard and call it a day most of the time (though 3 of the last 4 I've replaced have all been Italian-threaded, so this style is the only style that would give me an accurate reading).
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Old 07-18-22, 12:58 PM
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I agree that the accuracy and precision of the amount of torque applied to fixed cup isn’t critical. Wang it down and that should be good enough!
I have both beam and click type torque wrenchs for the times that are more critical. In the case of the beam type, one’s line of sight must (should) be perpendicular to the scale to be both accurate and precise. The click type doesn’t require this. The click types that I have are from Harbor Freight. Perhaps not the highest quality nor most accurate or precise but for Joe/Josie Home Mechanic, prolly close enough. I have a 1/2” drive & 1/4” drive that covers nearly all of my needs.
Or one could use Sheldon Brown’s Tork-Grip https://www.sheldonbrown.com/tork-grip.html

Last edited by sovende; 07-18-22 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 07-19-22, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
That lever just reverses the ratchet, not the torque reading ability.
Bingo! The click style I've got does the same. I can use it for removing bolts or nuts but it only clicks at the preset in the tightening direction.

You torqued the other side right? So just get a feel for what it takes to make it click and do the other side by feel. It'll be close enough.
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Old 07-20-22, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
Just crank it down really tight. Nobody really uses a torque wrench on a bottom bracket.
I do and have for 30 years.
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Old 07-20-22, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by alexk_il View Post
Bought this Calibrated torque wrench to install a BB into my bike. Turned out it measures the torque only when the pressure is applied clockwise. If I select the opposite direction the wrench ignores the torque preset. Not good for the drive side BB cup.

Did I get a wrong tool? Did I miss some clever trick to reverse the torque direction?
Get a better wrench.
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