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Old May 26th, 2009, 12:14   #1
silverstick
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Default Bigger torque wrench

Anyone had experience with Sears Craftsman Microtork torque wrenches?

I have only one torque wrench, an SK that I'm happy with. But at 10-100 ft-lbs, it's obviously too light for some jobs.

I have a coupon to get the Sears 25-250 ft-lb Microtork (link below) for $60, instead of the usual retail of $80. It's a 3/8 drive, and I have a 1/2-inch coupler. What do you think?

Thanks.

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...criptionAnchor
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Old May 26th, 2009, 13:31   #2
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I've had a couple of these. They work fine for awhile, you have to remember to set them back to the lowest setting or else they become inaccurate quickly. If you drop em, the plastic dial will break easily. If you're using it often, fork over the money for the next one up, or a nice digital unit from Matco or Strap-on. I haven't tried the new Crapsman digital one but it looks sweet. If you have a friend who is in tech school or college, they can get you a killer discount on Matco tools, up to 50% off. That's how I got my last torque wrench -

-Cheers
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Old May 26th, 2009, 13:34   #3
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My Sears torque wrench is 1/2 inch drive. I reduce down to 3/8 when needed. No problems in the 10~15 years I've had it EXCEPT, I broke a ratchet head and got a lifetime replacement.
The torque guts in the handle are NOT part of the Craftsman lifetime warranty, but because my break was in the ratchet head I was given a replacement head kit free.
The accuracy is apparently OK as I'll occasionally check it and my other two (3/8 click and 3/8 bending beam) against each other at some value within the range of all three. Each are still within a fraction of each other. Unless all three are out of accuracy, and by the same amount, and in the same direction, I think they are all good.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 14:56   #4
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The best are Stahlwille, which are sold through both the VW and Mercedes special tools programs.

No requirement to zero every time
No problem removing nuts with this wrench
Turn the head over to torque for right-hand threads

Life is too short to own cheap tools.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 15:03   #5
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Be advised, the one you're looking at is rated in INCH Lbs... not FOOT Lbs. Your whopping 250 now becomes 20.8 ft/lbs.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 20:17   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkchris
The best are Stahlwille, which are sold through both the VW and Mercedes special tools programs.

No requirement to zero every time
No problem removing nuts with this wrench
Turn the head over to torque for right-hand threads

Life is too short to own cheap tools.

Isn't the store-at-zero requirement due to the physics of spring fatigue, independent of the quality of the torque wrench?

Dan
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Old May 26th, 2009, 22:27   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyTDI Guy
Be advised, the one you're looking at is rated in INCH Lbs... not FOOT Lbs. Your whopping 250 now becomes 20.8 ft/lbs.
LOL, yeah, I was gonna say that 3/8 drive and 250 FOOT-lbs don't seem to go together. I just recently picked up a nice used K-D model 2952, 1/2 drive 25-250 ft-lbs for about $40 on ebay ... I needed it to torque the front axle nut and other things that were at or above the limit of my cheapo one. I like it -- easy to set, fine-tooth ratchet, well built.

(Edited: K-D, not S-K )

Last edited by Number6; May 27th, 2009 at 09:28.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 22:55   #8
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Harborfreight sells an SK 1/2" drive torque wrench, 25-250 ftlbs, for $109.99. That seems decent enough.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 02:30   #9
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Mine is the old 1/2" drive Sears Craftsman turn the dial handle mechanical locking type torque wrench with 250 Lb.Ft max. torque capacity. Unless you're a professional mechanic by profession there's no need to have the best of everything. Remember though, mechanics get to write off their business expenses.

Torque is always measured in Pound Foot, since Torque=(Force)(distance)= F x d = Lb.Ft not Foot Pound

International unit (SI) for Torque is Nm (Newton meter) not mN

If you have a piece of steel tubing lying around you can use this as an extension tube to increase the torque capacity. Mine is a 6 & 12 ft piece of shiny chrome tubings from a swing set. This tubing fits nicely inside the handle. Each tubing, I marked 1' apart for the torque multiplication. So there's no need to get another set of torque wrench with higher torque capacity. If I were you I would keep the money. What you have is sufficient enough.

Here's how it works. Suppose that you need to torque a bolt to 300 lb.ft. Your torque wrench max. capacity is 250 lb.ft.
So, set the the torque wrench at 150 lb.ft mark and lock it. Insert the tubing, and grab at the 2 ft mark. As the handle is turned, this will give 300 lb.ft of torque.

You can, always do a bolt torque testing. Set the torque wrench to 50 lb.ft. Then grab the extension tube at the 2 ft mark. This should torque the bolt to 100 lb.ft. Now, the reverse should be true, set the torque wrench to 100 lb.ft., you should be able to torque the bolt by the same amount of torque value.

Last edited by T_D_I_POWER; May 27th, 2009 at 03:33.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 04:42   #10
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I'm confused.
You fit the tubing "nicely inside the handle."?

If you mean that you use the tubing on the outside of the wrench handle as a handle extender, then you haven't increased the torque, you've decreased the number of pounds by which your hand has to pull by the same factor as the handle is 'lengthened'.
i.e. 250 lb at 1 foot is exactly the same as 125 lb at 2 feet. The wrench setting of 250 will click when the fastener reaches 250 regardless of how long the handle is.

On the other hand, increasing the wrench HEAD distance from the fastener WILL change the setting to obtain some torque value. Using a ficticious 12 inch offset or 'crow's foot' attachment on the torque wrench will permit dialing down the setting number because the lateral distance of the torque wrench head to the fastener will compensate for the lower set value.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 05:06   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverstick
Anyone had experience with Sears Craftsman Microtork torque wrenches?

I have only one torque wrench, an SK that I'm happy with. But at 10-100 ft-lbs, it's obviously too light for some jobs.

I have a coupon to get the Sears 25-250 ft-lb Microtork (link below) for $60, instead of the usual retail of $80. It's a 3/8 drive, and I have a 1/2-inch coupler. What do you think?

Thanks.

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...criptionAnchor
Those are the ones I have. I have three different Microtorques to cover all of the ranges I need for automotive work. They seem fine for general purpose auto repair. They see occassional use. If I was a professional mechanic, I probally would use a professional grade (SK maybe). Two of the Microtorques I have had since about 1985 -1990, and have been trouble free but I think they should be recalibrated. I think one of them applies too much torque. Sears is absolutely no help in this area.

The third I bought a couple of years ago and its range is right in between the first two I bought. It has an issue with having a real rough ratchety feel on its torque adjuster on the handle, and its difficult to turn. That way from day 1, but since it gets so little use I never returned it. It seems to work fine torque-wise, though.

I would review all of the online ratings for the Microtorque.

But otherwise, for the price I think its a good deal. Just remember to turn the torque setting to the lowest setting when finished using the wrench.

--Nate
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Last edited by PDJetta; May 27th, 2009 at 05:10.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 05:31   #12
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If I have to do high torque like axle nuts on a 66 Beetle I do some math. I weigh 130 pounds. (weight 30 years ago) I get a 3/4" ratchet or breaker bar. I support the ratchet head with a floor jack. I add a 3' extension tube to the ratchet and I stand on the end of the pipe. Trying to apply a lot of torque using an extension pipe is a recipe for blowing up the ratchet head. That is why I start with a heavy duty 3/4" ratchet. If I were big and strong I could probably could apply as much torque as I can by standing on the ratchet with a cheater pipe.

Just sticking an extension on a torque wrench does not give it a measurable increase in torque. Yes you can apply more torque, break the adjustment handle if it is plastic, break the head. If you insert a pipe inside the wrench and have not stuck it in too far to screw up the clicking or beam all you are doing is applying 50lb/ft at the end of your persuader to get the clicker to react to 100lb/ft. I guess I would have to see a video of your extensions but it defies my limited understanding of physics.

They also make torque multipliers so when you have to do big numbers like 400-600 pound/feet on your tractor you use your little 150 lb/ft torque wrench and 4x torque multiplier.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 05:40   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyTDI Guy
Be advised, the one you're looking at is rated in INCH Lbs... not FOOT Lbs. Your whopping 250 now becomes 20.8 ft/lbs.
OMG! I guess it would be great for tightening down the screw on, say, an eyeglass frame. Thanks.

Chittychittybangbang signaled me about his FAQ on torque wrenches (below), which is very thorough. Many thanks to all, and to Chitty especially.

http://www.myturbodiesel.com/1000q/torquewrenchFAQ.htm
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Old May 27th, 2009, 05:48   #14
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For really heavy torque values, such as axle nuts, you can get a 1/2" drive unit from Autozone or Harbor Freight that isn't terribly expensive and will get the job done. IMO, for something like that, if it is off 5% and you are going for 120 ft-lbs, that much error won't amount to anything.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 07:06   #15
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I have a craftsman torque wrench (up to 250 ft lb) that has the little plastic magnifying window in the handle that picks up the torque numbers off the scroll. The handle moves on the shaft, which makes the window maginify some OTHER number. Not good. I have to cross check it with a beam type each time I use it. Some engines I work on have I think 28 head bolts. So it gets used.
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