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Old 06-24-2021, 08:14 AM   #1
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Recommendations for a torque wrench?

HI all, Love to hear folks's thoughts on what is their go-to torque wrench and why? (I've never owned one before, so I am trying to make sense of all the hype.

For example: do I need half-inch, or three-quarter? What about quality? Is Harbor Freight tools any good for this, or do I need a name brand.

From what I can work out, I should be using it on the RV and the truck.

Thanks in anticipation.

Best
Mark
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Old 06-24-2021, 08:26 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enigma2me View Post
HI all, Love to hear folks's thoughts on what is their go-to torque wrench and why? (I've never owned one before, so I am trying to make sense of all the hype.

For example: do I need half-inch, or three-quarter? What about quality? Is Harbor Freight tools any good for this, or do I need a name brand.

From what I can work out, I should be using it on the RV and the truck.

Thanks in anticipation.

Best
Mark
Never had any luck with HF torque wrenches. The Tekton ones off Amazon are a good bang for the buck, come pretty well calibrated, and won't lose their calibration in short order as long as you store them correctly (the major issue I've had with HF models). I carry a 3/8" and 1/2" models. The need for a 3/4" would come from what you're asking of it. 22.5" wheel lugs are usually above the torque rating on 1/2" wrenches, but I use torque sticks for those.
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Old 06-24-2021, 08:37 AM   #3
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Testing has shown the Harbor Freight to be the best value for the money. They are reasonably accurate (accurate enough for 99% of the work required) and cheap enough not to break the bank. I have 3 of them but I also have a Proto I bought at a hock shop years ago. It only goes to 250 ft lbs so I also carry a torque multiplier.
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Old 06-24-2021, 08:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enigma2me View Post
HI all, Love to hear folks's thoughts on what is their go-to torque wrench and why? (I've never owned one before, so I am trying to make sense of all the hype.

For example: do I need half-inch, or three-quarter? What about quality? Is Harbor Freight tools any good for this, or do I need a name brand.

From what I can work out, I should be using it on the RV and the truck.

Thanks in anticipation.

Best
Mark
Picked mine up at O'Reily's Auto Parts. I purchased a 3/4" with an extension and a set of deep well sockets so I could have a variety of sockets. If you want you could get a set of Kobalt from Lowe's, but these are more costly.
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Old 06-24-2021, 09:18 AM   #5
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I have craftsman torque wrench’s, with the exception of my 3/4”, and that is from harbor freight.
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Old 06-24-2021, 09:56 AM   #6
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I have the half inch Harbor Freight torque wrench, and it works well. Here's a video of a guy that tests it and it shows pretty good accuracy. The second comment down said that he worked in a shop that always tested their units, and his $11 Harbor Freight often tested better than a $300 Snap-on. But in my case, I don't use a torque wrench that often, so I can't justify paying $100 or $200, when the $14 Harbor Freight unit does show good accuracy. As he said in the video, it's based on an old Proto tool design.

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Old 06-24-2021, 10:01 AM   #7
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I just purchased a 3/8" HBF torque wrench set for foot lbs of Torque rather than inch pounds. (Either one will do the job, but I do not remove lug nuts.)

My old HBF wrench of 6 years lost its calibration. No click result.

My reading indicates that to avoid my problem, one must release all tension on the torque spring when storing the wrench. Crank it down to zero and lock it in before returning it to the tool box. (I did not do this.)

However, my new wrench also had no click.

The answer to this was run the setting up to max torque and release it back to zero at least three times before using.

That step appears to have fixed the new non-click wrench, but not the old one.
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Old 06-24-2021, 10:08 AM   #8
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OP,


You will need to tell us what torque range you are interested in.


I, like most others above have more than one torque wrench.


Suggesting a 3/4" drive torque wrench if you are torquing spark plugs won't work any better than a 3/8" drive for torquing lug nuts on a diesel pusher.
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Old 06-24-2021, 10:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deandec View Post
I just purchased a 3/8" HBF torque wrench set for foot lbs of Torque rather than inch pounds. (Either one will do the job, but I do not remove lug nuts.)

My old HBF wrench of 6 years lost its calibration. No click result.

My reading indicates that to avoid my problem, one must release all tension on the torque spring when storing the wrench. Crank it down to zero and lock it in before returning it to the tool box. (I did not do this.)

However, my new wrench also had no click.

The answer to this was run the setting up to max torque and release it back to zero at least three times before using.

That step appears to have fixed the new non-click wrench, but not the old one.
I still have the instructions for mine and it does say to loosen it to the lowest setting, and tighten the set screw after using. The box also says "lifetime warranty," so if you have a bad Pittsburgh torque wrench, I'll bet you could take it back and get a new one. It came with a certificate saying that it was tested before it was sent out, and they recommend testing every 6 months. However that would be more in a professional setting where it's getting used daily.

By the way I own Milwaukee, DeWalt, Craftsman and other brand-name tools as well, but I've had really good luck with Harbor Freight Tools. Have a pressure washer that I've used for many years, it was about 80 bucks, nice tool boxes, angle grinder, diamond cut off wheels, on and on. They have amazing prices on quality stuff, and they back their stated warranties.
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Old 06-24-2021, 02:24 PM   #10
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OP, for basic lug nuts and things like that the HF is fine, just make sure whatever you are checking is somewhere in the middle of the working range. In other words, if you need it to tighten lugs and its upper range is 120 ft-lbs, I'd go the next model up. The less expensive wrenches tend to be a little less accurate at the extremes of the range.

I have three: one from Amazon that reads in inch-lbs for low values, a Craftsman that tops out at 75 ft-lbs, and a Snap-On that costs a kidney but is amazing, smooth, and reads up to 250 ft-lbs that I use for suspension and motor mounts. Always reset the wrench back to zero.
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Old 06-24-2021, 11:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
Testing has shown the Harbor Freight to be the best value for the money. They are reasonably accurate (accurate enough for 99% of the work required) and cheap enough not to break the bank. I have 3 of them but I also have a Proto I bought at a hock shop years ago. It only goes to 250 ft lbs so I also carry a torque multiplier.
I bought a HF 1/2" torque wrench years ago, for the occasional user it's fine. I periodically test mine against my neighbors Snap-On 1/2" torque wrench and mine always is the same as his.
The trick is to completely relax the torque setting between uses.
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Old 06-29-2021, 04:49 AM   #12
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For a TT/5th wheel lug nut tightener, almost any 1/2" drive torque wrench will work (your max torque is only 90 to 120 lb ft), including the inexpensive Harbor Freight. An old design beam style is fine as well since you can easily self calibrate it if the pointer gets bent somehow. A 3/4" is really not needed and size wise takes sockets that are pretty costly as well. If money is no object, look at Snap-on or Wright Tools -
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