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post #1 of 16 Old 07-11-2019, 09:09 AM Thread Starter
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Torque Wrenches...

How careful do you need to be when looking at buying used torque wrenches? I am looking to stick with a high end brand like Snap On or CDI? I have seen some that can be bid on through government auctions because I don't want to pay retail price for them.... I am looking for one in each drive size 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch and 1/2 inch but don't have $2200 to spend on 3 torque wrenches.

I want to stay away from Northern Tools, and the like that are cheap throw away tools.
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post #2 of 16 Old 07-11-2019, 09:15 AM
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Don't. Even a Harbor Freight torque wrench is OK for anything beside aircraft or precision work.


Once dropped, even once, a torque wrench is garbage... which is why lots of them get sold off afterwards.

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post #3 of 16 Old 07-11-2019, 09:22 AM
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I've seen government mechanics at work. I spent a summer on the crew of a maintenance detail.

You don't want government surplus torque wrenches, unless they have been re-certified at the time of sale. Or you can pick up and check out the actual wrench you're buying.

Fine, expensive torque wrenches drive nails. They achieve super torque with 4 foot cheater bars. They are hammered onto rounded bolts/nuts.

They describe a beautiful arc when thrown by a guy in the truck, from the toolbox to the concrete at the feet of a mechanic.

The key reward when they break or don't work right is an unscheduled coffee break, so they are used such that they break or no longer work right.

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post #4 of 16 Old 07-11-2019, 09:54 AM
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Snap-On torque wrenches, at least last I checked, are rebranded SK with a 100% markup. New SK are about $250/ea from online retailers, so $1000 for a set of new w/calibration certs (1/2", 3/8" ft-lb, 3/8" in-lb, 1/4"). Far superior to any of the non-pro brands. I went through at least five sets of Craftsman and Tekton before I shelled out for the SK's.

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post #5 of 16 Old 07-11-2019, 10:09 AM
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To me, it is all about how often I (will) use the tool and how accurate it needs to be that will determine how much $$$ I will spend on it.

E.g. if it is a lug nut wrench that I use twice a year for tire rotations (winter/summer), for that one I spent $50 on MasterCraft (=Craftsman) wrench. If it is AT, engine work block, head, etc. bolts that I am working on once a week, then I'd shell out for an accurate and reliable high quality tool like Snap-On or Mac...

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post #6 of 16 Old 07-11-2019, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by insightbrewery View Post
Snap-On torque wrenches, at least last I checked, are rebranded SK with a 100% markup. New SK are about $250/ea from online retailers, so $1000 for a set of new w/calibration certs (1/2", 3/8" ft-lb, 3/8" in-lb, 1/4"). Far superior to any of the non-pro brands. I went through at least five sets of Craftsman and Tekton before I shelled out for the SK's.
I have never heard of SK, I thought Snap on made them and then CDI was the industrial division of Snap On. I found their website but there are no digital torque wrenches, just manual ones.

Last edited by XLE2011; 07-11-2019 at 02:40 PM.
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post #7 of 16 Old 07-11-2019, 03:20 PM
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I have a spare Snap ON 1/2 inch drive click torque wrench, calibrated against the backup the guy bought new in the box. He died at least a decade ago and I got the tools from his widow. I can probably ship it to you for $40 total. It ain't pretty. Not much use for a 38ths but I have a HF one I got a while back and never used. I also have a Snap ON 1/4 inch, but again I find that the 1/2 inch covers most of the stuff I do that requires torque. The guy worked at the local city garage and he provided his own tools. I got the new one for $100. They are probably close to 30 years od. Nothing digital.
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post #8 of 16 Old 07-11-2019, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Old Mechanic View Post
I have a spare Snap ON 1/2 inch drive click torque wrench, calibrated against the backup the guy bought new in the box. He died at least a decade ago and I got the tools from his widow. I can probably ship it to you for $40 total. It ain't pretty. Not much use for a 38ths but I have a HF one I got a while back and never used. I also have a Snap ON 1/4 inch, but again I find that the 1/2 inch covers most of the stuff I do that requires torque. The guy worked at the local city garage and he provided his own tools. I got the new one for $100. They are probably close to 30 years od. Nothing digital.
Hi Mechanic,

I appreciate it, I was looking at the digital ones, I guess they will cost an arm and a leg. Only way to guarantee I have a good one is to go new.
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post #9 of 16 Old 07-11-2019, 08:52 PM
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^ right, go new and make sure you can get it calibrated later. Most if not all places calibrated only US made torque wrenches.

For my purposes HFT $10 on sale Taiwan made ones with lifetime warranty are good enough. My Danaher made ones have better mechanisms as far as the ratchet head and loud, clear clicks but I use HFT mostly. Canít justify those fancy stuff.
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post #10 of 16 Old 07-12-2019, 02:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XLE2011 View Post
I have never heard of SK, I thought Snap on made them and then CDI was the industrial division of Snap On. I found their website but there are no digital torque wrenches, just manual ones.
Snap-On hasn't made their own stuff (for the vast majority of their catalog) in years. For example, I have a Snap-On butane torch/soldering iron somebody gave me. I've always used the gold standard: Portasol. I bought Portasol's top-of-the-line 125W model; Snap-On was exactly the same, save for the colors and Snap-On logo. I bought it to replace my missing Weller, which itself was a rebranded Portasol (no capitalist shame there haha, literally called "Weller Portasol." Also, never lend tools you like to people).

Similarly, my local Matco rep sells a hex-shank slim wire brush kit for cleaning small, straight bores for $150. It's this, rebranded:
Amazon Amazon

I run/use/import a lot of Hazet tools as well: https://www.hazet.de/en/

...German pro-tool brand. Their tools make me very happy, and they still manufacture a lot of their own stuff. However, they rebrand as well; they have a very good LED worklight in their catalog. It's a rebranded version of this:
Amazon Amazon

...I have the Astro Pneumatic version, and anybody who's been around tools for a while knows that name. That is the best worklight I have ever used. If somebody wanted the Hazet version, yes, they could totally pay the 100% markup.

All the pro tool companies do this nowadays, and for about the past 25 years: they're basically big testing and research companies, looking for solid tools made by companies they can strike a branding deal with and sell at a hefty markup. The cult of Snap-On/Matco/Mac Tools exists; note that you've all heard of Snap-On, but you haven't heard of SK. I guarantee that the four SK torque wrenches I bought 7 months ago are identical (save for the logo laser-etched onto the handle) to the ones my buddy down the street paid double for from the Snap-On truck. SK: https://sktools.com/

I'm a professional mechanic nowadays, and I need tools that won't break under heavy use, torque wrenches that will stay accurate after so many hundreds and thousands of clicks (yes, I'm a stickler and put a torque wrench on everything that has a value in the FSM. Yes, I send my torque wrenches out every 6 months for calibration). Doesn't mean I want to pay $500 for a Snap-On torque wrench from the rep when I can get the SK for $250. Of course, most of the mechanics down the street will pay for the name. I call them the Gucci mechanics. But I'm the same way, I like my brands. As in, no "Braun" worklights from Harbor Freight, because the Astro Pneumatic I mentioned above comes from a brand I've come to trust over many years. We know and trust the Snap-On reputation, and they trust the brands I've mentioned to make a product that they can capitalize on (some more).

00 Camry 5S-FE 184k smoooth
01 ES300 147k NEEDS TRANS WORK
01 Insight 137k BROKEN CAMSHAFT
02 Insight 178k DC-DC BELLY-UP

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post #11 of 16 Old 07-12-2019, 09:44 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by insightbrewery View Post
Snap-On hasn't made their own stuff (for the vast majority of their catalog) in years. For example, I have a Snap-On butane torch/soldering iron somebody gave me. I've always used the gold standard: Portasol. I bought Portasol's top-of-the-line 125W model; Snap-On was exactly the same, save for the colors and Snap-On logo. I bought it to replace my missing Weller, which itself was a rebranded Portasol (no capitalist shame there haha, literally called "Weller Portasol." Also, never lend tools you like to people).

Similarly, my local Matco rep sells a hex-shank slim wire brush kit for cleaning small, straight bores for $150. It's this, rebranded: https://www.amazon.com/Astro-9020-Wi...ct_top?ie=UTF8

I run/use/import a lot of Hazet tools as well: https://www.hazet.de/en/

...German pro-tool brand. Their tools make me very happy, and they still manufacture a lot of their own stuff. However, they rebrand as well; they have a very good LED worklight in their catalog. It's a rebranded version of this: https://www.amazon.com/Astro-Pneumat...ct_top?ie=UTF8

...I have the Astro Pneumatic version, and anybody who's been around tools for a while knows that name. That is the best worklight I have ever used. If somebody wanted the Hazet version, yes, they could totally pay the 100% markup.

All the pro tool companies do this nowadays, and for about the past 25 years: they're basically big testing and research companies, looking for solid tools made by companies they can strike a branding deal with and sell at a hefty markup. The cult of Snap-On/Matco/Mac Tools exists; note that you've all heard of Snap-On, but you haven't heard of SK. I guarantee that the four SK torque wrenches I bought 7 months ago are identical (save for the logo laser-etched onto the handle) to the ones my buddy down the street paid double for from the Snap-On truck. SK: https://sktools.com/

I'm a professional mechanic nowadays, and I need tools that won't break under heavy use, torque wrenches that will stay accurate after so many hundreds and thousands of clicks (yes, I'm a stickler and put a torque wrench on everything that has a value in the FSM. Yes, I send my torque wrenches out every 6 months for calibration). Doesn't mean I want to pay $500 for a Snap-On torque wrench from the rep when I can get the SK for $250. Of course, most of the mechanics down the street will pay for the name. I call them the Gucci mechanics. But I'm the same way, I like my brands. As in, no "Braun" worklights from Harbor Freight, because the Astro Pneumatic I mentioned above comes from a brand I've come to trust over many years. We know and trust the Snap-On reputation, and they trust the brands I've mentioned to make a product that they can capitalize on (some more).

Thank you, this helps allot. So, when I go to the SK website, they are all traditional torque wrenches. Who makes the digital/ electronic torque wrenches, or are they somewhere else on the SK website?
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post #12 of 16 Old 07-12-2019, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by XLE2011 View Post
Thank you, this helps allot. So, when I go to the SK website, they are all traditional torque wrenches. Who makes the digital/ electronic torque wrenches, or are they somewhere else on the SK website?
Yep, no electronics from SK. I can recommend two electronic torque wrenches:

- lot of people I know use the ACDelco offering, not too expensive and works well. I think the main complaint was that it auto-shuts off too soon, and that's not adjustable. Might be wrong though, I don't have one

- I got the Hazet offering. It's excellent, I rarely use it because I prefer mechanical, and it was a gift: I wouldn't buy it because $2500 is not worth it to me

00 Camry 5S-FE 184k smoooth
01 ES300 147k NEEDS TRANS WORK
01 Insight 137k BROKEN CAMSHAFT
02 Insight 178k DC-DC BELLY-UP

08 STS-V 67k 570 RWHP!
01 Viggen 112k 400 FWHP
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post #13 of 16 Old 07-12-2019, 06:44 PM
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I bought SK tools in April 1969 instead of going in debt to the tool truck for life. Borrowed $600 from the bank and established my credit and filled my tool box with those tools, some of which were still there when I retired 30 years later.

The Snap on tools I have now were bought recently and most are 30+ years old.

For some history of tools check out the alloy artifacts website. I have a Billings and Spencer wrench that was patented in 1878

http://alloy-artifacts.org/about.html

Here is some SK history.

http://alloy-artifacts.org/sherman-klove.html#history

Last edited by Old Mechanic; 07-12-2019 at 06:50 PM.
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post #14 of 16 Old 07-12-2019, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K_Watson View Post
Don't. Even a Harbor Freight torque wrench is OK for anything beside aircraft or precision work.
+10,000
And improper usage and storage can ruin them as well.
Many people crank them to where they normally use them (like 80-85 for lug nuts) and leave them there.
Over time, that 80-85 will become 70-75.... ALWAYS loosen a torque wrench after use.
And yes... a Harbor Freight POS is more accurate and useful than a Snap-On that has been abused.
A torque wrench is not a breaker bar and should never be used to break the stiction on a fastener. Use a breaker bar for that.
They ratchet merely for convenience.
Use a breaker bar or ratchet to remove and install the fastener. Use the torque wrench to bring it to full torque.

-- Rich

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post #15 of 16 Old 07-13-2019, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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So I want to ask something different then.... I mean $2500 for a torque wrench. So I understand that there are some uses like Freight Trains, 18 wheelers, Tanks, Airplanes, etc that might require some insane torque specs and the tools or torque wrenches to achieve those loads/ torque specs will be more expensive.

But does anyone have diagrams of the insides of a torque wrench? I mean, since torque wrenches were invented to now, they have had to have innovation research and development ..... meaning design improvements over the many years right? I would expect in 2019 they should be able to make a torque wrench that does not get trashed if it gets dropped and would need re calibration rarely right?

Because I keep hearing that abused torque wrenches cannot be fixed? I mean someone put the tool together, it can be taken apart, have the internals replaced and be re calibrated again and it would have to be cheaper than buying a new tool.... especially these "luxury" models that are $600-$2500 per tool. To have to junk a $2500 if it drops is just not acceptable.

So how does a torque wrench work, how is it put together and can it be done better?
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