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Digital Torque Wrench

Discussion in 'RD's Lounge' started by ArizonaKevin, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. ArizonaKevin

    ArizonaKevin Well-Known Member

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    What does everything think about digital torque wrenches? After spinning the head off of a few bolts with my HF click wrench I want to look into something more idiot proof. The nature of my day job means I don't get to work on stuff nearly as often as I'd like so I definitely don't get enough "practice" with feeling the torque on a bolt through the wrench.

    I am liking the GearWrench digital ones, they seem to be affordable for the features they offer.
     
  2. wsuwrhr

    wsuwrhr The Masheenest

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    Sorry...

    Laughs at "hf" anything...

    Especially a torque wrench.....
     
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  3. LargeOrangeFont

    LargeOrangeFont Steers With Throttle

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    You using a 3/8 or 1/4 HF torque wrench? You gotta be very slow and careful with those (and most) smaller torque wrenches. You'll blow right through the set torque if it is set low, like for a spark plug, or small bolt.
     
  4. lakemadness

    lakemadness Grobe Bruste Bitte

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    You're going to trust the accuracy/quality of a HF torque wrench?

    I'm not a tool snob, I have some Snap-On stuff but mostly a mix of Husky, Craftsmen non professional stuff etc. But I did spend the coin on a few Snap-On torque wrenches. No, they're not digital.
     
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  5. LargeOrangeFont

    LargeOrangeFont Steers With Throttle

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    Sometimes I 2nd guess myself with the smaller torque wrenches. When I do, set up a small bolt/nut setup on the bench and get a feel for your torque setting on a similar sized bolt/nut.

    I have Husky 1/2 in torque wrenches and they have been pretty good, non digital.
     
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  6. ArizonaKevin

    ArizonaKevin Well-Known Member

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    The HF wrenches were a gift, I have better luck with the 1/2 drive one than the 3/8 drive one. After spinning heads off I do the same thing and set something up in a vice to get a feel for the spec before actually using it.
     
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  7. Racey

    Racey Maxwell Smart-Ass

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    If you need something nice, buy something nice.

    Wera, Snap-On, Etc....

    I haven't seen the Gear Wrench ones, but their combination wrenches are middle of the road decent and priced accordingly (a good deal for what they are).
     
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  8. Your ad here

    Your ad here Well-Known Member

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    You know the difference between in.lbs. and ft.lbs., right?
     
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  9. wsuwrhr

    wsuwrhr The Masheenest

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    The cost to remove a couple overtorqued bolts prolly exceeds the cost buying said nice torque wrench in the first place. ;)
     
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  10. ArizonaKevin

    ArizonaKevin Well-Known Member

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    This is the one I had in mind. I have the gearwrench ratchets and really like them.

    https://www.amazon.com/GearWrench-8...ocphy=9030073&hvtargid=pla-570676420775&psc=1
     
  11. Racey

    Racey Maxwell Smart-Ass

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    Bingo.
     
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  12. wsuwrhr

    wsuwrhr The Masheenest

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    Oh damn........course there is that, too.

     
  13. ArizonaKevin

    ArizonaKevin Well-Known Member

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    come on you gotta give me more credit than that
     
  14. Racey

    Racey Maxwell Smart-Ass

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    The first thing i always do is read the negative reviews, they will either a) take the time to spell out exactly what they didn't like about the product. or b) Sound like a baffled idiot that has no place using whatever the product was in the first place.

    Ignore all reviews that are extremely short and say things like "Great Product", these are most likely bot accounts posting fake reviews to bump the ratings.
     
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  15. LargeOrangeFont

    LargeOrangeFont Steers With Throttle

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    Solid advice for filtering reviews for all products and businesses.
     
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  16. Your ad here

    Your ad here Well-Known Member

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    One thing you have to do is always set the torque wrench to the lowest setting before putting it away. Don't keep pressure on the device. When you pull one out of the case and it's set to 150ft.lb. and has a starting setting of 50ft.lb. think twice about using it.
     
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  17. lbhsbz

    lbhsbz Well-Known Member

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    harbor freight torque wrenches are fine for the home gamer...I've tested some in the past and they were as accurate as anything else. For how long though, remains to be seen.

    One thing with micrometer type torque wrenches is that they're not really accurate at the extremes. You want to be in the middle of the range. Example: if the wrench goes 10-100 foot lbs, I would use it on 30-80ft.lb applications. It will likely snap off a bolt at 15ft.lbs. For lower numbers, I use a dial type torque wrench when I need to be very accurate

    Also, for home use, I'd avoid anything digital. The batteries will be dead half the times you need to use it.
     
  18. TPC

    TPC Wrenching Dad

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    I had the $600 Strap On (stolen) and it was just as accurate as my $69 Husky (on sale price) conventional.
     
  19. LargeOrangeFont

    LargeOrangeFont Steers With Throttle

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    Honestly, I think the 1/2 HF stuff is great for wheels, and larger stuff, it has been proven that generally those HF wrenches are accurate enough for general work.

    I have a 1/4 inch one here in Havasu and haven’t had any issues, but am super careful with it. It is fine for spark plugs, beadlock rings, things like that.

    I would not build an engine or do something super precise with HF torque wrenches though.
     
  20. ArizonaKevin

    ArizonaKevin Well-Known Member

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    Funny you say build an engine, the prompting for this search is that I just finished tearing down the engine in my dads motorcycle.
     
  21. ramos45

    ramos45 Well-Known Member

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    This. I looked at digital but for the purpose of the tool for a weekend warrior it seemed like a gimmick for the sake of convenience which goes out the window when the batteries are dead. I ended up with a 1/2 inch split beam clicker from precision instruments 50-250ftlbs.
     
  22. MohavValley

    MohavValley Well-Known Member

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    I have "Craftsman" ( I'm sure made in China) click wrenches, seem to work good for the last 7 years. Got them on sale at Sears over x mas, fairly inexpensive or search Craigslist for higher end brands.
     
  23. monkeyswrench

    monkeyswrench Well-Known Member

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    The advantage to having a digital is really nice when working on any of the modern stuff. Torque to yield crap. It makes it nice when you're doing heads and can see the visual, or have an audible pitch change as you creep up on 90-180 degrees, or target torque. I have an older clicker for assembly of most older stuff, but have a rape van wrench for more technical crap. All really depends on what you do, or plan to do. Buy what you'll use, and probably spend more than you want. You won't regret buying nice tools.
     
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  24. Your ad here

    Your ad here Well-Known Member

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    Craigslist can be good for many tools but buying a tool like a TW is a big risk. You wouldn't know if it was stored properly (spring tension), how many times it's been dropped, or how often it was used to loosen bolts. All factors that play into calibration.
     
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  25. Q4mtxUS

    Q4mtxUS Well-Known Member

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    Stick with the good ol' tried and true beam type torque wrench. Easy to calibrate, just bend til it zero's out...hahaha
     
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  26. LargeOrangeFont

    LargeOrangeFont Steers With Throttle

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    Knowing you do that stuff is what prompted my comment. Messing with TTY bolts and other specialty fasteners requiring specifc torque values requires you to be well versed in precision.
     
  27. LargeOrangeFont

    LargeOrangeFont Steers With Throttle

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    They can be recertified/recalibrated though.
     
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  28. pwerwagn

    pwerwagn Inmate #4800

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    I have an extremely extensive torque wrench game here at work. We use them daily, everything from our lowest tq of 2 in-lbs to our highest tq of 175 ft-lbs and everywhere in between. I require our guys to check each wrench against a calibrated CDI torque tester every morning. If it gets dropped, it gets tested. They have to sign off daily that they found the wrench stored at its lowest setting, and that they put it back that way. Then once yearly, each wrench goes thru a calibration at our primary standards lab and I get a report back with that particular wrench's numbers at the test points, along with the std deviation of that particular model of wrench over the inventory of all of them we have over the years we have tested them. We mostly use CDI for our run of the mill tq wrenches but we have many specialty wrenches that are preset for one purpose (like an 8.85in-lb SMA wrench, etc). We guard band all of our torque values based on the deviation. We also have a hand full of Snap On clicker/beam/dial style, and CDI digital. In all, on a daily basis, we use about 8 different models each day, and we have 6 complete sets for redundancy, plus we have numerous one-off's for odd items.

    Long story short, I had a buddy give me 2 HF tq wrenches (3/8 and 1/2) about 6-8 years ago. I threw them in my motorhome just in case. They have been dropped, kicked around, used as ratchets/breaker bars, gotten wet, etc...but always stored at their low value. The other day I thought heck, I'm curious how wrong these suckers are. I have never used one to actually torque anything. I brought them in and put them on the tq tester, low and behold they pass my torque testers's pass/fail criteria at 2 of the 3 settings each (+/- 5% in the lower 1/3rd, +/-3.5% in the middle and +/- 5 % in the upper 3rd, bottom and top 10% we don't test or use in that range). They both failed at the lower end of the range, but just barely. I could change my acceptance to 5% and they would have passed, which is pretty dang impressive. The Snap On's I have fail ~25% of the time too, I have to repeat until they pass 3 in a row. I still wont use them ever probably...just because they are HF. But at least I know in a pinch, they should be really close.

    FWIW, all of my critical torques are accomplished with a beam or dial wrench. Its not because they are more accurate, its because with a trained user they are more consistent. With an untrained user, not the case.

    Anyways, a little off topic, but interesting info nonetheless.
     
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  29. outboard_256

    outboard_256 Well-Known Member

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    I have a tohnichi, imada, and proto digital torque wrenches. Love them all. I cringe at using HF tools with anything critical like torque wrenches, hell I have even seen people build stuff like chassis and trailers with 110v HF flux core welders :eek:
     
  30. Jetboatjosh

    Jetboatjosh Active Member

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    The only digital one I have is my 3/8 snap on. Had it for 6 months or so now, I really like it. IMG_20190612_143007690.jpg
     
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  31. RitcheyRch

    RitcheyRch Currently Boat-Less

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    I have the 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch drive Snap-On Digital Torque Wrenches and have been happy with them.
     
  32. HydroSkreamin

    HydroSkreamin Well-Known Member

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    Our company is ISO compliant, and our torque wrenches get serialized and sent to an accredited gauging company for compliance verification. I've been told by one of the techs there that on most of the digital torque wrenches, the actual torque arm and electronics converting the value to a visible value are from the same supplier, so the differentiation between product is the ratchet head and the badging. I've found this to be true so far, as I've checked Matco, Craftsman, Snap-On, and Mac wrenches against our master, and keep Excel spreadsheets on all of my personal torque wrenches, clickers, beam, and digital.

    The nice thing on a digital torque wrench is it is accurate over the entire span, as it is a load cell, whereas the clickers are only accurate over the middle 80%, as previously mentioned. My clickers go way out on the low end, not good if you are trying to torque small engine cylinder heads and related bolts on. The digitals can be used right at the bottom and the top, but I'd warn not to go over the top, I overranged one of my digital 3/8" and ruined it. It was rated for 100 and I don't remember exactly what the value was that put it into never never land, but it was at least 10% over. Not recommended...

    Another nice thing on the digitals is if you take your time torqueing, it is like using a beam wrench, as you can watch the values climb and creep up on the torque value without overshooting if you are paying attention. It's easy to overtorque with both digital and clicker wrenches if you are in a hurry and trying to get the desired sound instead of concentrating on actually torqueing the fastener you're working on.

    Agreed that the digitals are battery eaters; some are worse than others. I've got Craftsman and Snap-Ons, and the Craftsman seem to eat the batteries worse, but I keep AAA's or AA's around to not end up in a bind.

    One of my co-workers uses digital torque adapters, and they check out against the master just fine as well. His is an AC-Delco, but this was one I just found on Amazon. This can adapt to any of your existing ratchets then, as well.

    https://www.amazon.com/Neiko-20741A...=hi&sprefix=torque+measuring,tools,167&sr=1-3

    Hope you get what you need!
     
  33. ToMorrow44

    ToMorrow44 27 Advantage TCM 800efi

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  34. Headless hula

    Headless hula Well-Known Member

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    I happened to purchase one today as a matter of fact. 15603848885898621722775337644956.jpg


    When those shitbags broke into my shop they took every torque wrench I had.

    This replaces one of 3.:mad::mad::mad:
     
  35. Headless hula

    Headless hula Well-Known Member

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    Sourced it from these folks in oshkosh. 15603850470968887233994815491111.jpg
     
  36. CoolCruzin

    CoolCruzin Well-Known Member

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    2CDEC820-1D73-4EFB-81A3-160435726979.jpeg These work for ever
     
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  37. W.O.T. Marine

    W.O.T. Marine Well-Known Member

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    The snap on digital torque wrench is well
    Worth the money. I have 1/4 & 3/8.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  38. Scapegoat

    Scapegoat Well-Known Member

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  39. 530RL

    530RL Well-Known Member

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    In the aircraft world, torque wrenches and other tools that require calibration must be calibrated at a minimum of once a year, when dropped, abused or any other situation that may undermine accuracy.

    This is the minimum, a typical repair station manual will have both a time frame and procedure for calibration and if a tool’s manufacturer recommends recalibration more frequently, it must be done more frequently. Snap On torque wrenches state to recalibrate every 6 months. We required it every 3 months.

    Point being, my experience is that a HF torque wrench does not require, nor does it fall out of calibration any quicker or by a greater amount than any other type or brand of torque wrench.

    So in the case of these tools, if you are truly concerned about torque values, frequent calibration is more important than is the brand, type or price.
     
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  40. pwerwagn

    pwerwagn Inmate #4800

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    Interesting...and pretty much what I see with our snap on's at work.

     
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  41. CobraDave

    CobraDave Well-Known Member

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    That is a Huge slam to snap on. $400 for that thing is ridiculous.



    CobraDave with a Shockwave
     
  42. Ouderkirk

    Ouderkirk Well-Known Member

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    THe HF ones are only as accurate as the calibration. Same goes for Snap-on and any other brand.

    The tool should be calibrated per ISO standards once yearly. You should also leave the wrench set to zero when you're done using it.

    Obviously the annual calibration is not for the DIY'er, but it is good practice to have a new tool like that calibrated at the beginning and then at some point during it's life depending on usage. This will keep you from breaking/ruining things by overtightening them. It's worth the coin to have it done every 3-5 years.
     
  43. SBMech

    SBMech Fixes Broken Stuff

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    I use the shit out of my 1/2" and 3/8" digital Snap-On torque wrenches. Anything modern has a value for literally every fastener. It's so important now, you can twist a block by torqueing an intake to the wrong specs...not even joking.

    I have click types that I calibrate yearly to do wheels etc, and a 3/4" 600Ftlbs big boy for modern axles, yep, you should know some new stuff has 475Ftlbs specs for axle nuts...

    Your work is only as good as the effort that goes into it, just one part of doing things right.
     
  44. 530RL

    530RL Well-Known Member

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    Although I agree with your general thoughts, I just wanted to point out that if one reads the Snap On documentation with their torque wrenches, it states calibration should be undertaken every six months.
     
  45. Hullbilly

    Hullbilly Well-Known Member

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    All mine are CDI, I understand they make Snap-ons torque wrenches or vice versa. And I agree, everything has a torque spec now so I take extra special care of my fleet of tq wrenches
     
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  46. mjc

    mjc Nosy Neighbor

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    Where do you take them to get calibrating done?
     
  47. HavaToon

    HavaToon Well-Known Member

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    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  48. 530RL

    530RL Well-Known Member

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    If you are buying from a MAC or Snap On dealer, most of them have a calibration tool in their truck where they can calibrate. If it requires repair, they typically have to take it with them.

    You can find a local shop online that will calibrate. Most places charge 25 bucks for calibration and 45 for repair plus parts for small tools 1/2 inch and smaller.

    Or you can send them out. These guys have a good reputation but I suspect given all the aerospace in California, there has to be a good local shop.

    https://anglerepair.com/repair-calibration-charges/
     
  49. Your ad here

    Your ad here Well-Known Member

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    Whatever you decide on getting never ever loan it out!
     
  50. Ouderkirk

    Ouderkirk Well-Known Member

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    That is sage advice.

    I generally don't loan tools but will make exceptions in certain cases. Torque wrenches are NEVER loaned...ever.
     

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