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Old Jan 19th 2016, 07:04 AM   #1
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Question Accuracy of a torque wrench at its limits

So, the rear wheel nut has a torque spec of 171 ft-lbs (230 NM) and my torque wrench tops out at 150 ft-lbs. In addition to the wrench being too small for the job, I was wondering if operating a wrench at its upper limits, 150 ft-lbs in this case, results in increased variation from the specified setting (150 ft-lbs) and what is actually delivered to the nut?

Of course, I am also curious what people are using to torque the rear wheel nut to spec.
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Old Jan 19th 2016, 07:24 AM   #2
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My Torque wrench like yours stops at 150lb. So I tighten it up till it clicks and then just give it a little extra. I add a small dot of yellow paint on nut and wheel just to reference, and its never moved.
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Old Jan 19th 2016, 07:33 AM   #3
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Might sound odd but I use the proper tool for the job. Can't you afford a wrench with appropriate specs?
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Old Jan 19th 2016, 07:43 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Mr C View Post
My Torque wrench like yours stops at 150lb. So I tighten it up till it clicks and then just give it a little extra. I add a small dot of yellow paint on nut and wheel just to reference, and its never moved.
150ftlb would be 203Nm. I alway go for 210Nm, not 230Nm (on both nuts of the rear axle). In my oppinion if you do the little extra it should do the job (but not every torque wrench likes this kind of treatment).
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Old Jan 19th 2016, 07:56 AM   #5
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Torque wrenches are typically 20% accuracy to 100% of scale. A good quality torque wrench will provide a spec showing falloff curve at low and high end of range. If you're not provided one, don't buy it - it's junk. Basic rule of thumb is to use a torque wrench for which desired working torque value is 50%-75% of scale.

For what you're wanting to torque, you need one with a scale of ~50-250
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Old Jan 19th 2016, 08:43 AM   #6
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If you won't get a new torque wrench, consider a 3x torque multiplier. Set it at 57 lbs and you're done.

I had to buy one to do a rotor swap on a Buell 1125 that called for some obscene amount of torque. It's actually come in handy for quite a few applications. Not to mention tightening 57 ft lbs is a hell of a lot easier than 171.
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Old Jan 19th 2016, 08:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rogue View Post
If you won't get a new torque wrench, consider a 3x torque multiplier. .
That would also multiply the accuracy by 3. (and not in the good direction)
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Old Jan 19th 2016, 09:28 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by IdZer0 View Post
That would also multiply the accuracy by 3. (and not in the good direction)
I've used them on multi-million dollar steam and gas turbines. They don't work like that.

ETA: For example:

http://www.norbar.com/en-in/products...egory_multid/2
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Last edited by Rogue; Jan 19th 2016 at 09:31 AM.
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Old Jan 19th 2016, 09:54 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone. When I posted this thread I also emailed my father for some advice. He has responded and this is what he said:

Accuracy is specified as a percentage of the setting. But this is for a calibrated wrench. I think we just get into the ball park with our wrenches that have never been sent away for calibration, assuming it is a decent wrench and was calibrated when new - made in China with quality control for a brand name MAY be OK but forget the Chinese brands.

I recommend one of these:
STURTEVANT Adjustable Torque Wrenches with Ratchet Head. Ranges: 1 - 800 Nm - Automation Aides ($245)
Get a 1/2 drive, 60 to 300 NM, which will compliment the others you have (same make).

Last edited by Styler; Jan 19th 2016 at 01:05 PM.
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Old Jan 19th 2016, 09:58 AM   #10
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A general rule of thumb is most torque wrenches are +/- 10-20% on their inbuilt scale. Cheaper they are the worse they are. Digital ones are far more accurate around +/- 0-10% They also should never be used at the extremes of their range. Most used ones I have found can under read from 0- 45% ish of their range and over read 55- 100%. Being in the aircraft industry every time a one is used it should be checked against a calibrated torque analyser. Although your are then trusting that whoever serviced and calibrated the analyser did his job properly!
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