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What is a good torque wrench for working on dirt bikes?

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I probably should have bought a good torque wrench years ago, but with a new bike, I'm going to get one now!  What's the best "bang for the buck" torque wrench?  If it seems fairly durable, and does what it is designed to do pretty accurately, I'm good with that.  No sense paying 3x as much for a brand name that works the same.

Edited by Ben Sparenberg
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I got the one from northern tool that's $25 3/8" drive something like 5ft-# to 80ft-#.  It seems to work well, but I have no idea if it's accurate.  The range works on just about everything except a rear axle nut.  But I set it to 80 and just muscle through a little bit more - makes me feel better than just completely guessing

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I've heard harbor frieghts torque wrenches are actually pretty good. If I were you I'd scan the local Craigslist and try to find a good name brand one.

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I have a harbor freight one but I've only used it 2 or 3 times in the 3 years I've had it.  I have snap on ones also, I use those because they fit in the tight spaces on a bike with the flex head.  

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Prob craftsman is your best bang for your buck. Some people only go with really high end like Snap-on, Mac, German tools, etc. I would say just do it right the first time and get a Snap-on. Also avoid getting used. Just because its supposed to be a precise measuring tool you have no idea how they treated it( dropped it or not ), stored it, etc.

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2 minutes ago, TheKX500boi said:

Prob craftsman is your best bang for your buck. Some people only go with really high end like Snap-on, Mac, German tools, etc. I would say just do it right the first time and get a Snap-on. Also avoid getting used. Just because its supposed to be a precise measuring tool you have no idea how they treated it( dropped it or not ), stored it, etc.

Thanks, yeah that was kind of my thinking.  I've just read some horrible reviews on some of the cheapies.

 

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10 minutes ago, Benski said:

Thanks, yeah that was kind of my thinking.  I've just read some horrible reviews on some of the cheapies.

 

Yeah some people have good experiences some bad. Essentially comes down to you get what you pay for. Just an FYI when you get one the more you use it the better( not using it for months at a time isn't doing it any good) and make sure to calibrate every once a year or so

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I have 3 Craftsman ratcheting and am satisfied. Had a S-K beam style before that but couldn't always see the pointer easily.

Also a 0-60 inch# beam style that I can't remember the brand, what I bought it for, or even where it's at. :lol:

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5 hours ago, Benski said:

I probably should have bought a good torque wrench years ago, but with a new bike, I'm going to get one now!  What's the best "bang for the buck" torque wrench?  If it seems fairly durable, and does what it is designed to do pretty accurately, I'm good with that.  No sense paying 3x as much for a brand name that works the same.

A lot of reading on the subject has already been posted. This should keep you busy -

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=torque+wrench+site%3Athumpertalk.com

I have a sears 3/8 10-80 FT LBS that covers a lot of the range needed to work on a dirt bike. Is "decent" with a 4% error. The only thing greater than 80 FT LBS is the rear axle and I do that by hand - not likely to strip that one unless King Kong is working on your bike.

$40.00 - http://www.sears.com/craftsman-micro-clicker-torque-wrench-3-8inch-drive/p-00931424000P

IMO,you need a 1/4 Torque wrench as well (at least I do) for the lower range in-lbs. Problem being that quality 1/4 Torque Wrenches are fairly expensive.
To be honest, I use one Harbor Freight. But I check it against my craftsman one from time to time and it seems to be ok. When using this one I under-torque at least 10%. I also do not use the lower or upper end of this torque wrench figuring that is where it is the most inaccurate.

On some of the very small bolts I do only by hand. My method is a decent amount of loctite 242 blue, screw in until bottoms. Then only tighten a few degrees extra, no more. These bolts are way under torqued but I have not lost one yet. Examples where I do this are - bolts holding on the plastic parts, seat bolts, bolts holding the oil filter cover in place.

It's just way to easy to strip threads in aluminum/cast!

Someday I'll get a decent 1/4 torque wrench. 

Always release all tension from the torque wrench each time you are finished with it.

 

Edited by GoneDirtBikeN
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Discussed here a million times before, but here's my input.  The HF torque wrenches work well actually, we have checked them against high end ones and they are pretty much spot on.  The key is to unwind them to zero when done, the springs will fatigue if you don't.  I've had several Craftsman, IMO they are junk.  the only good Craftsman one I've ever owned is a beam style one that is probably 40 years old, I still have it.  Like has been mentioned here before, consistency of torque is what is important, accuracy is important but secondary.

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2 hours ago, cjjeepercreeper said:

Discussed here a million times before, but here's my input. 

The HF torque wrenches work well actually, we have checked them against high end ones and they are pretty much spot on.  The key is to unwind them to zero when done, the springs will fatigue if you don't. 

 

Like has been mentioned here before, consistency of torque is what is important, accuracy is important but secondary.

^^ this ^^.

 

"Being accurate" isn't as important as being repeatable on a pattern of bolts.  The HFT stuff does this just fine.

These wrenches have rebuilt many motorcycles and snowmobiles with zero torque-related problems.

IMG_20150426_163332550-L.jpg

 

My biggest complaint with them is the goofy-ass units they use on the wrench.  Calculate conversions from the standard units or the units on your vehicles to what's used on the wrenches, print a label and stick it to the wrench.  I have a cheat-sheet sticky-note in my garage of the torque conversions for the common ones on my moto (triple tree, axles, clutch and stator covers, etc). 

IMG_20150321_233543926_HDR-L.jpg

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i have been happy with my pittsburgh wrenches.  i got all 3 (1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" drive) through amazon for $60

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I can't really see spending a lot of money on one, the reason being is that a torque wrench is a fairly simple tool (more-so than people tend to think).  It's all based off of the spring constant of the spring they use to build it.   Springs really aren't all that expensive in comparison to all the rest of the cost of the wrench (even springs built for a particular spec), so I figure if you get one that's not super cheap, but a modest cost you're probably getting a good torque wrench.

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I get it, for me as a job doing motors on occasion, it's a matter of reputation on the shop so it's important! As someone said earlier tight is tight! On a 2 stroker I've never worried about specs following tight is tight

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I bought one from Princess Auto for $40. I bench tested it alongside my mechanic buddys Snap On.

I would set the snap on at a pre determined torque, tighten the bolt, then put the cheaper one on. Worked great.

I am a big believe in good tools, im in the trades and for my everyday work tools, I spend big bucks. However, on tools that I use occasionally, I am not as fussy. I dont go bottom of the barrel, but mid pack is fine.

If you were using a torque wrench everyday all day, then buy the best.

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