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Digital Torque Wrench Adapters?

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Servicing' started by QuarterWit, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. Heyho!

    So I need to (finally) get a torque wrench, after years of doing it by feel. Which hasn't gone that badly, but hey, I could probably use one anyway.

    While hunting around I've seen loads of ads for the digital torque wrench adapters - where you put your socket on one end of the unit and the ratchet on the other.

    Does anyone have any experience with these, and can they be trusted?


  2. My ex works for Stanley, I also looked at them, when I question her bout them, they are apartently shit. I ended up getting a 3/8 drive 5 - 100Nm. Cost me 130ish from memory. Then got a 3/8 to 1/2 adaptor for the bigger sockets
    • Like Like x 1
  3. theres norhing like a nice solid click
    pfft digital
  4. Whilst I haven't used one, I can offer an engineer's opinion.

    Calibration is likely to be suspect. Probably no worse than the average modestly priced torque wrench though, particularly after rattling around in a toolbox for 10 years and never being unwound after use. With a little ingenuity, though, it's not that hard to build a calibration rig using an accurately known weight (handy that 1 litre of water weighs spot on 9.8 Newtons) and a beam of known length. Although for many purposes it doesn't matter that much because of..........

    Repeatability. For many applications, most notably head bolts, the absolute number isn't all that important (screams of "HERETIC" from the cheap seats). What counts is that they're all the same. This is where we cheapskates and tool abusers score because even cheapo and neglected torque measuring devices offer quite good repeatability. Certainly good enough for the majority of engines we monkeys are likely to ever work on. I've pulled down enough fragile 70s Jap heads using five quid waggly wand torque wrenches and not had them leak or blow gaskets to be pretty confident of that. I see no reason why a digital device, presumably using load cell technology, shouldn't offer equally good repeatability and hence equal usefulness.

    That said, I tend to agree with Phil that the physical "click" of the traditional type is a nice, positive aid to getting it right. Also useful when struggling in inaccessible spaces or poor light where you can't read a digital gauge.

    No amount of expense or technology, however, will prevent you from either forgetting to reset the thing after torquing your sprocket nut to a zillion ft-lbs and then attempting to apply the same torque to your spark plugs or from confusing ft-lbs with in-lbs or Nm and ballsing up your fasteners all by yourself because you thought your expensive technology was infallible.
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  5. Thanks guys!

    I'm usually not a fan of torque wrenches for the reasons you mentioned, PatB, but you're right, the repeatability of it is the most important thing. I wouldn't bother but I've got to take off the camshaft retaining caps on the Bonnie and would like to get them right/consistent.

    In the end I've contacted my old man who has a brand new kincrome one in the box that he won at a racing event years ago. Hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on Motorsport and that's pretty much the extent of his spoils. (Small plastic trophies aside.)
  6. #6 PatB, Jul 14, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
    Definitely an area where I would want some means of achieving consistency. Any fastener which crosses some kind of split bearing which depends on the accuracy of machining and the properties of the metal to maintain circularity and suitable clearances is a place where it's avisable to do it by the book. Old tech cast iron components holding removeable shell bearings with some capacity for fitting and adjustment are one thing but the spidery aluminium bits inside a modern engine, machined to micron tolerances so that they don't need fitting and adjustment, are a whole lot less forgiving.

    That said, I had a mate whose GS550 lived a long and happy life with half the studs missing from its cam caps so maybe there's more room for error than we tend to think :D.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. I generally don't trust transducers like this unless they are kept like a holy relic and calibrated as per recommendations. One type of torque wrench you don't see around much any more, is the deflecting beam type. Abuse proof IMHO. For those who don't know, it's a solid breaker bar handle with a scale at the handle end and a long needle attached at the driving end reaching down to the scale. As you load up the handle it bends by a few mm, the needle stays straight and points to the torque applied on the scale. Not adjustable, but I *believe* the accuracy is quite good for such a crude device. Feel free to do your own research.

    Calibration is just zeroing (straightening) the needle if it gets a bit bent.

    If you see one at a swapmeet or something, and it's a good price, pick one up
    • Like Like x 1
  8. That's what I meant by a "waggly wand" type. The accuracy is dependent on how the factory calibrated it but the repeatability (which, as I've noted, is, IMHO, more important) should be near enough perfect.
  9. Ah whoops, missed the reference. Agreed.