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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Just bought a torque wrench and I have some concerns. I've never used a torque wrench before and it feels kind of strange when I tighten bolts with it. I'm sure that part of the problem is that all my life when I tighten a bolt I tighten it almost as tight as it will go. Now that I am using a torque wrench it seems like I'm not tightening enough. For example the caliper mounting bolts call for 24 ft-lb of torque. The feel of this is like it's just past snug. The wrench I bought was fairly cheap. How do I know if it is giving me a correct reading? It's the type where you set the ft-lb on the shaft and when you turn it there is a pivot point just down the shaft from the head of the tool and it bends when you get the desired torque. The axle caliper nuts call for 14.5 ft-lb of torque so it is less pressure than the other. My question is, how tight should 24 ft-lbs feel? Really tight or just past snug? The bolts were a lot tighter when getting them off than they are when putting them on. Maybe the last person over tightened? Maybe the wrench is giving me a bad reading?
 

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Most people way overtighten bolts/screws and the ones you take off have usually been there for years and are seized on, But if your still concerned take it to a garage and ask someone to test it for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Jethro. I think one of my friends has a torque wrench. I'll get together with him and compare them.
 

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I have two torque wrenches and really never use them. As far as "feeling" what, say 24 ft/lbs feels like....I don't think there's a way to give a adequate description. How longs your wrench? A 18" long torque wrench will feel different than a 7" socket wrench, as it's all about leverage.
If you doubt the readings on your TW, you can have it checked, I've checked mine just by comparing the two, and both seem to give the same reading...but I have no idea if they are really correct.
I've worked on bikes most of my life, and it's possible I've over tightened or under tightened something, but nothing broke or fell off. Most cases of stripping threads seem to involve someone saying, "I'll give it just one last little turn" ;)

If you google "how to test a torque wrench" , there are several videos to show how to do it yourself. Like this one:
 

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1. Don't use the torque wrench to initially tighten or loosen bolts. That will put unnecessary wear on the spring and throw it out of calibration.

2. Use a standard socket or wrench to hand tighten the bolt (tighten until the bolt is completely threaded stops), then use the torque wrench to set the bolt to the correct torque specs.

3. Never drop the torque wrench or use it as a hammer! That will throw it out of calibration.

4. Always set the torque wrench to 0 when not in use to release tension on the spring.

5. Have the torque wrench professionally calibrated every 5000 cycles or 12 months, if this is a tool you use for your job or on safety equipment. Plenty of DIY calibration videos on YouTube if this is a once-a-year personally usage tool.

6. If you 'distrust' the readings on your torque wrench, then rent a professional model from the auto parts store and validate or invalidate your wrench's reading. Most major auto parts stores will 'rent' torque wrenches (they put a charge on your credit card and reverse it when the tool is returned). They are usually high quality tools and you can ask when it was last calibrated.
 

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Now that you're using a torque wrench, be aware of torque specs given in inch/pounds versus foot/pounds. You'll see this most often on smaller bolts and motorcycles. I've seen people confuse the two and use a ft/lb wrench to snap off the bolts. You can convert the in/lbs to ft/lbs with some simple math or use google where you just plug in the numbers.

As KM said, you're getting a lot more leverage with the long handle, so 24 ft/lbs will feel like nothing. But it will feel pretty tight with a 3/8 ratchet or t-handle. When you do a set of heads at 120 ft/lbs or axle nuts at 180, you'll know you've been working.

For some reason, a lot of people think extreme tightening of brake parts will make the brakes better. #1 pet peeve of mine is bleeder screws that get torqued to the squeak. Caliper bolts are #2.

About the only time I break out a tq wrench is for head gaskets, rod & main bolts, or any clamping situation that has a tightening sequence. Some adjustments are also done by tq wrench.

For most of the bolts with 8-10mm heads on the bike, I'll use a t-handle held with the center in my palm, and tighten with just my wrist. It takes a number of years snapping bolts off to get the wrist calibrated.
 

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FREEBIRDS MC CENTRAL NY
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I have lots of practice calibrating my wrist.lol

Sent from my LGL34C using Tapatalk
 
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Spockster, when I bought the TW I also got one in inch/pounds.
Ahh, good. Last time I did inch/lbs with a ft/lbs wrench, I was thinkin', "man is that enough?". A relative insisted his spark plugs be torqued to spec. 12 inch/lbs is equal to 1 ft/lbs, so it feels like nothing on a long bar.
 
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