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Craftsman Torque Wrenches.

Discussion in 'The Tool Shed' started by Mudbone, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. Mudbone

    Mudbone Registered Member

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    I need to buy another torque wrench. My current one, a Snap-on, is a 3/8 drive and only goes to 100 ftlbs. So I am looking at a 1/2 drive that goes to 250 ftlbs. All the rest of my tools are Craftsman. I don't earn a living with my tools. They are for weekend warrior work only and Craftsman is all I can afford for most of my tools. (BTW I do not want to start another Craftsman vs Snap-on vs Matco debate here) I decided to buy the Snap-on Torque wrench because at the time, maybe ten years ago, the Craftsman versions were really crappy. I looked at Craftsman again because this new wrench is gonna be over $300 from Snap-on. Craftsman's current torque wrenches appear to be different than the ones that I remember were junk. Their wrench in the same range is nearly half the price. Are they still junk or are they ok for my level of use, wrenching on my own trucks?
     
  2. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    The stuff I've put together using mine still works. ;)

    If you aren't in a hurry, watch the ads in the Sunday papers. They sometimes go on sale for $10-20 off. :)
     
  3. wayne

    wayne 3/4 ton status

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    I have broken 2 of them. 1 was my fault and the 2nd one just came apart.
     
  4. goldwing2000

    goldwing2000 Guest

    As long as you get the Microtork and not the Digitork, you should be fine.
     
  5. roadnotca

    roadnotca 3/4 ton status

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    I bought one 6 mos. ago (crapman), had to exchange it becuase the grip twisted until you couldn't read it. It also seemed to "sproing". This was installing lifted springs, torqueing the axle bolts. That was 1/2 drive and pulling 150 ft. lbs. So I exchanged it, and now I'm careful not to torque the grip. No, Craftsman is not robust.
     
  6. pauly383

    pauly383 Daddy383 Staff Member Moderator

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    Mine is an older than dirt Craftsman Beam type . I have used it to assemble a few motors , and some head replacements , never let me down . Its one of the few tools that survived the 90's and I still have from my early days :D
     
  7. mciahpv

    mciahpv Registered Member

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    I would not buy a poop-scraper from Craftsman anymore, much less a torque wrench. Even for a weekend warrior, if you care enough to torque it, you should feel comfortable that you're doing it right. Is the money you save worth tearing up your new head/rims/intake/whatever?

    Quality doesn't cost, it pays...
     
  8. divorced

    divorced 3/4 ton status

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  9. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Ha Ha!!

    I am not planning on buying many Craftsman tools anymore either..especially ratchets!:mad: ..I'll take free replacements on my broken stuff I already own,but they lost me as a customer (and many of the mechanics I know) due to disatisfaction with the ratchets..

    I have a torque wrench..its hanging on a pegboard in the garage thats under our house,right where I left it 15 years ago..I used it twice to tourque cylinder head bolts on my GTO in 1986..and maybe one or two other "critical" jobs..its a dime store cheapie that measures by "deflection"--a pointer bends and it points at a scale telling the ft.lbs !..I never had any loose bolts,so I guess it must have been close..

    Actually,I rarely use a torque wrench,unless its a "fussy" job like tranny valve body bolts,etc..usually you cant FIT a torque wrench into 90% of the places you want to use it in..so I've gotten used to "judging" how much torque I'm putting on a wrench after doing this work for many years..

    I must be close,not many things have leaked,cracked,or the bolts fallen out since I have been fixing my own vehicles..once you snap some bolts,you can tell when one is tight enough,and feel the "stretch" in it as you torque on it..


    When specs say over 100 fts lbs,I head for the breaker bar (3/4") and cheater pipe drawer in the toolbox..I had to use a 6' pipe and JUMP on it,to loosen and tighten VW "beetle" rear axle nuts,and flywheel nuts on the motor to 225 ft lbs!..:eek1: ..

    I think a little on the "too tight" side is better than too loose myself..--when I see how often an AIR IMPACT is used to assemble engines,etc,where an anal mechanic would use a torque wrench,and few problems ever arise,I feel its overhyped a bit..the "sequence" you tighten the bolts in is , or more important than the exact torque if you ask me.. :crazy:
     
  10. spearchucker

    spearchucker 1/2 ton status

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    Look in the phone book under calibration, but that might cost some coin. Or you can do it the redneck way. Just hang a known weight (i.e. 100 lbs) 1 foot from the socket end and it should read 100 ft/lbs.
     
  11. roadnotca

    roadnotca 3/4 ton status

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    Exactly, in fastener "science", thats exactly the desired "preload" you're looking for, and thats the word used, "stretch". I'll post it later but I have a standard table of torques that we use for building slings and stands etc. to support and move spacecraft, I'll put it in Tech. article preview. There's also plenty of How-to books out there. There is one book that stands out as a clean reference guide, see the pic. Also usually when you buy premium aftermarket stuff like heads etc., they'll include the torques needed so the thing works the way it supposed to.:D
    Book number ISBN 0-87938-406-9, ~$25.

    nuts.jpg
     
  12. bigjbear

    bigjbear 1 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    The Craftsman one I bought in the early 90's still works and is with in 10% at mid scale, but the plastic locking ring was never wortha crap, and has only gotten worse with time.

    Armstrong makes a nice one with a metal locking collar and handle. It should be cheaper than the "big" brands. If I was buying another click style one I think that is what I would buy.
     
  13. k30bb468

    k30bb468 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Had my Craftsman micro-torque since the mid 80's no problems ever &
    it gets a lot of use
     
  14. theperfectgarage

    theperfectgarage 1/2 ton status

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  15. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Maybe an alternative is to buy a good quality brand (ie Snap-On) but buy it used off eBay or wherever.

    Then, have it calibrated (which I know the Snap-On reps can do) so that you know it's actually good.



    The thing that's unique about torque wrenches (unlike things like sockets, hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches) is that the quality of the part will actually affect it's "function"....which in this case is accurately applying a certain amount of stretch to a bolt. If you don't get your fasteners into the correct range (reliably and consistently) the torque wrench is giving you a false sense of security.

    Good torque wrenches are going to cost some money....there might be ways to mitigate some of that cost by getting a good used one, but I think this might be one of those rare occasions where you really DO need to pony up the dollars to get a high-quality piece. :deal:
     
  16. clstolten

    clstolten 1/2 ton status

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    Even with a high dollar wrench, the torque will vary depending on the person using it. The forces applied to the handle and fastener will be at different angles. If you aren't building a high dollar motor but rather a stock type rebuild, then I would use a cheapie. I have two cheapies, and use both for head bolts and the like. Torque with one, and re torque with the other. Never had a problem, but I also never put more than $1500 into a motor rebuild.
     

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