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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
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.
 

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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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Discussion Starter #8
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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^ 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. Can’t justify those fancy stuff.
 

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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: [ame]https://www.amazon.com/Astro-9020-Wire-Brush-20-Piece/dp/B0045CUMJ8/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8[/ame]

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: [ame]https://www.amazon.com/Astro-Pneumatic-Tool-65SL-Rechargeable/dp/B01JBJVC1Q/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8[/ame]

...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).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
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-Wire-Brush-20-Piece/dp/B0045CUMJ8/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_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-Pneumatic-Tool-65SL-Rechargeable/dp/B01JBJVC1Q/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_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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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
 

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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
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
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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A good place to begin might be to look over patent applications via Google Patents -- search on patents torque wrench.

You sometimes have to look pretty hard for the drawings / graphics on a given patent search result, but most of them have drawings somewhere.

If you're not familiar with engineering drawings -- there are lots of view and notation conventions that are sometimes not intuitive -- try this video:
 
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