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1/2" Vs 3/8" Click Torque Wrench.

Discussion in 'The Tool Shed' started by Bigdaddy13, Nov 25, 2020.

  1. Nov 25, 2020
    Bigdaddy13

    Bigdaddy13 Member

    So.Cal
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    I currently only have a 1/2" deflection bar(beam style) torque wrench which is great for wheels and such.

    Does anyone prefer a 3/8's for engine compartment work? I'm thinking about just grabbing (Christmas list item) a 3/8's for size/space constraints, unless there's a big downside.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2020
  2. Nov 25, 2020
    PeteL

    PeteL If it wasn't for physics, and law enforcement... 2024 Sponsor 2023 Sponsor 2022 Sponsor

    Hills of NH
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    I think you'd want to primarily consider the range of torque values. Both min and max, depending on what you'd be using it for.
     
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  3. Nov 25, 2020
    Bigdaddy13

    Bigdaddy13 Member

    So.Cal
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    That’s a good point. I’m seeing that 3/8’s are usually good from 25-100ft-lbs, and my 1/2” goes all the way up about 160, i think.
     
  4. Nov 26, 2020
    aallison

    aallison 74 cj6, 76 cj5. Has anyone seen my screwdriver?

    Green Cove...
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    I have all three drives and I use the 1\4 fairly often. Mostly use the 3/8 but the size of it is often difficult to use in an engine compartment. I have a Husky, older Craftsman and a Kobalt. I like the Kobalt best. I like the way it feels and it is easy to use.
     
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  5. Nov 27, 2020
    OnlyOneDR

    OnlyOneDR Member 2023 Sponsor

    R
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    I have Craftsman 3/8 and 1/2 for standard torque wrenches. For really light work I used an Armstrong dial type 3/8 or a deflection bar 3/8. I want to add a 1/4 drive but it will see very limited use.
     
  6. Nov 27, 2020
    PeteL

    PeteL If it wasn't for physics, and law enforcement... 2024 Sponsor 2023 Sponsor 2022 Sponsor

    Hills of NH
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    OTH, those really small torque values may be the most critical ones.
     
  7. Nov 27, 2020
    Twin2

    Twin2 not him 2024 Sponsor 2023 Sponsor 2022 Sponsor

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    hummm
    my 3/8 is inch pounds
    my 1/2 is foot pounds
    and my biggest pet peeve is (click type )
    last guy that took it from tool room . didn't turn it back to lowest setting before returning it to tool room
    mine at home I always do this
     
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  8. Nov 27, 2020
    CHUGALUG

    CHUGALUG Member

    Silverton, OR
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    May 11, 2019
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    I have a Craftsman 3/8" its the version where you twist the handle to set the Torque it runs 5-85 ft lbs The only thing on my Willys it can't do is the Yokes on the Axles and Transfer case and for those I just go to Autozone and get one of their big loaners. I also have an almost 50 year old 1/2" Beam style that was dads. 0-150lbs Its what I will carry in the tool box of the Jeep. As its near indestructible and is certainly accurate enough to get me home should the need arise.
     
  9. Nov 27, 2020
    Twin2

    Twin2 not him 2024 Sponsor 2023 Sponsor 2022 Sponsor

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    my very first . still hangs on garage wall :D
     
  10. Nov 27, 2020
    Admiral Cray

    Admiral Cray I want to do this again.. Staff Member

    Bainbridge...
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    I have a Craftsman 1/2" and a 3/8" beam style that are 50 years old too. I use clicker type mostly...
     
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  11. Nov 27, 2020
    PeteL

    PeteL If it wasn't for physics, and law enforcement... 2024 Sponsor 2023 Sponsor 2022 Sponsor

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    Me too. Started out with a beam, but the ratchet is a big convenience in many situations.
     
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  12. Nov 29, 2020
    OnlyOneDR

    OnlyOneDR Member 2023 Sponsor

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    My dial-type is an inch-pound wrench for use on differentials and the like. Very low torque values for when I need something like that.
     
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  13. Nov 30, 2020
    timgr

    timgr We stand on the shoulders of giants. 2022 Sponsor

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    My VW requires a torque wrench on nearly everything. Except for the lug bolts, it's all 3/8" territory. Most of your nuts and bolts on American cars don't have a spec, and you just get them good and tight, but not Charles Atlas tight. Some things like oil pans and valve covers you should use the spec (much , if you don't already.

    Most shadetree mechanics own a torque wrench specifically to tighten head bolts. IME either a 3/8" or 1/2" works fine for that.

    I own a 3/8" and 1/2" clicker, and a 1/4" beam type.
     
  14. Nov 30, 2020
    PeteL

    PeteL If it wasn't for physics, and law enforcement... 2024 Sponsor 2023 Sponsor 2022 Sponsor

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    "Stop just before it breaks."
     
  15. Dec 2, 2020
    teletech

    teletech Member

    Santa Cruz, CA
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    I'll just mention that most if not all torque wrenches have very poor sensitivity/accuracy down at 10-20% of their max values, so you want to have a couple options depending on what ranges you are operating in.
     
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  16. Dec 3, 2020
    Downs

    Downs Rattlecan All The Things!

    Hunt County Texas
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    The Harbor Freight torque wrenches are actually half way decent and you can buy 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inch drive versions for less than 100 dollars. I come from an aircraft maintenance background and when I was in high school worked at an engine/machine shop, so out of habit I try to torque nearly everything I can. The only beam type torque wrench I have is a 1/4 inch drive inch lb unit that I use for pinion preload checks.

    IMO you need more than one torque wrench for the reason mentioned by @teletech .
     
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  17. Dec 3, 2020
    Oldriginal86

    Oldriginal86 Member

    Pasadena, Md.
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    Whether the wrench came from Snap On, Harbor Freight or uncle Joe, send it out to have the calibration checked. Using an inaccurate one is worse then not using one at all. At work we send them out yearly.
     
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  18. Dec 11, 2020
    OnlyOneDR

    OnlyOneDR Member 2023 Sponsor

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    Agreed. When I was in field services the company paid to calibrate all my wrenches annually. The Craftsman ones (back 15 years ago) were actually pretty accurate. I had a cheaper no-name one and it would not hold calibration for a range so I had them calibrate it for just one commonly used torque value and I never moved the dial.
     
  19. Dec 11, 2020
    Bigdaddy13

    Bigdaddy13 Member

    So.Cal
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    Ok, understood. Who does this calibration?
     
  20. Dec 11, 2020
    Downs

    Downs Rattlecan All The Things!

    Hunt County Texas
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