Airhead Guys: IN/LB Torque Wrench, or FT/LB?

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by Ben Carufel, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    I have a Craftsman FT/LB 1/2" drive torque wrench that's probably 8 years old or so. I might as well get it calibrated, but in any event it only goes down to 20 FT/LB.

    This has been fine for all of my car tinkering over the years (I subscribe to the idea of "Use torque appropriate to the size of the fastener", as well as the idea of using a 1/4" ratchet where appropriate so as not to over-torque the small stuff), but since I'm likely on the verge of tearing my R65 completely apart I thought I might start with a new smaller-drive torque wrench.

    So, in your opinion, would it be better to get an IN/LB model or a FT/LB model that goes down to, say, 5 FT/LB?

    And further, 1/4" or 3/8" drive?

    Thanks!
    #1
  2. crazydrummerdude

    crazydrummerdude Wacky Bongo Boy

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    Why not get a 3/8" with in-lb.. you'll be all versatile n' stuff! :lol3

    BTW, I have both of both (and Nm) and none in 1/4". :huh
    #2
  3. Harry Backer

    Harry Backer Ran when parked!

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    I have the 3/8 craftsman and the 1/4 in inch pounds but dont use the 1/4 much at all.
    #3
  4. fishkens

    fishkens Long timer

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    3/8" Craftsman clicker is my only torque wrench. Covers my airhead needs perfectly well.
    #4
  5. Country Doc

    Country Doc Wanderer

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    There are a few places on an airhead where a small-drive in-lb torque wrench is useful. Necessary? Probably not. But nice to have.

    Oil sump bolts, advance mechanism nut, etc. come to mind. There are others that I can't remember at present.

    If you start working on anything more modern, you'll find more and more need for an in-lb torque wrench, as lots of fasteners on modern bikes in my experience are torqued to less than 10 ft-lbs, which is hard for any ft-lb wrench to nail accurately.

    dc
    #5
  6. Waco

    Waco Renegade Sickle Hound

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    I ride an Oilhead, but I have 2 different sizes of 3/8" drive Craftsman torque wrenches that cover everything I need.
    #6
  7. Jasper ST4

    Jasper ST4 Guest

    What's wrong with a "good grunt" "half a grunt" or a "quarter grunt"?

    Seriously though, I only use mine on the jugs and swingarm. So far I've been lucky on everything else.
    #7
  8. datchew

    datchew Don't buy from Brad

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    click type torque wrenches are only accurate from 15 or 20% from teh bottom of their lower range to the top.
    i.e., a 0 - 100 Ft-Lb tool is only accurate above 15 or 20 Ft-lb.
    This is due to the nature of the internal spring and pawl (i think that's what it's called) mechanism.

    Beams are accurate as they're based on stress over a given length of a solid beam of material, but you have to know how to use them well and have a steady hand.

    whatever torque you're after, get a tool with an acceptable range for it.
    #8
  9. Sniper X

    Sniper X De Oppresso Liber

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    Because most don't have the "feel" for that.
    #9
  10. melville

    melville Long timer

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    Same here. One is 10-75 ft-lbs, one is ??-300 in-lbs. Everything on the motor and most of the chassis is handled by these two, VW or BMW. My 1/2" drive torque wrench is for big chassis stuff like lug nuts, fork top nuts, and swingarm pivot locknuts.
    #10
  11. mykill

    mykill odd

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    You can never have enough tools. 1/2 for big stuff and 3/8 inch lbs for smaller stuff. Always best to use the tools in the middle of the useable range rather than either extreme. Some are lucky enough to have a calibrated wrist, mine varies with mood. I have no interest in doing an airhead oil pan without a torque wrench.
    #11
  12. Houseoffubar

    Houseoffubar HoFmetalworks.com

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    I'm sure some will disagree, but I am a strong proponent for using torque wrenches for rod caps, main bolts, cylinder heads, ETC. however, I pretty much never use them on small bolts. This seems counter intuitive, but try torquing clutch spring bolts on a Japanese bike with a torque wrench (calibrated or not) to the factory spec. I guarantee you will break at least one. or try a Chevy oil pan gasket, before it clicks you will split the gasket! I find "slightly" better results using a beam/pointer type wrench, on small stuff, but still....
    BTW, I have worked most of my life a a mechanic of one sort or another, Motorcycle, Automotive, Bicycle, engine builder (thousands), so I'm not a total noob!

    I'm also really into road bicycles, and started buying a lot of carbon fiber parts. To preserve these expensive parts from damage of over torquing, I bought a new very expensive in. lb. torque wrench. I don't know why, but some things just don't seem able to be properly torqued?!? I could hear the carbon parts making crunching sounds, and they were visibly damaged, before even getting close to the torque spec. I'm talking $300 handlebars here! There are some things I simply will not use a torque wrench on. IMHO
    #12
  13. Jasper ST4

    Jasper ST4 Guest

    That's it in a nutshell. Wrenching is an artform that requires some intuition and feel.
    #13
  14. The Raven

    The Raven Banned

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    I have a Craftsman Ft-lb clicker and a SnapOn NM Torque-o-Meter. I only had one set of driveshaft bolts come loose and they were tightened using a Harbor Freight POS and I have a chunk out of my transmission case output because if it :cry
    #14
  15. wirewrkr

    wirewrkr the thread-killer

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    Interesting. In the 25 years I've been wrenching on BMW bikes, I have never used a torque wrench on the driveshaft bolts.
    Just new stretch bolts and loctite (alcohol to clean the flange threads of oil) and a 10" long SnapOn box wrench.
    Never lost a driveshaft.
    I use a torque in most other places, having 4 different ones that will cover from 1 inch pound to 250 foot pounds.
    #15
  16. The Raven

    The Raven Banned

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    Makes me wonder too. Perhaps when the bolts were installed they were not clean, not really sure. It was done back when we were trying to get her back together for the ride back last march from NM.

    I had lost two completely, one was living in the upper swingarm, the other at the bottom. It seems that when they came out it got jammed between the output flange and the shaft taking a good chunk out.

    The two others were about half out and could be threaded in by hand. I found all this out about 200mi from home and had to tighten them on the side of the road. You think that damn boot is a PITA in the shop...it's even more fun out on the road :lol3

    At least it didn't let go, 4 new bolts and I'll let Anton replace the case end when the time comes. It's expensive, but not so bad as a new trans.
    #16