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Motorcycle Tools

I am wondering if that Microtork will suit my needs? I have a GSX-R600. Also, do you think that Craftsman 154 pc. Mechanics Tool Set (not sure if this link will be allowed: http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00935154000P?mv=rr) is a good toolset to get? Also, this will show what an ignorant newbie I am, but some bolts are tightened by what looks like an allen-wrench, but if so, is there some kind of attachment that will enable me to use the Microtork to tighten these bolts to correct settings?
 

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which would cover torgue specs for metric bikes?
You need a small one like 0-200 Inch pounds for cam cap and cover bolts. I also have a 0-50 ft-lb and 0-150 ft-lb. I have both beam type and clickers.

The most importamt thing is that the desired torque setting has to be at least maybe one third of the full scale range or it won't be very accurate.

There is no SINGLE wrench that will do a good job on all the bolts you need to torque.
 

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Two things to consider are how often you plan to use it and how much you want to spend.

I don't use one too often and about 30 years ago I bought a beam style wrench that, when tested, was as good as the high buck ones the Snap On guy sold. We tested it when he stopped by the shop one day.

I point this out because of a key element in the simple design - the metalurgical properties of steel do not vary over time and are pretty impervious to any tool droppage. In other words the beam style has no actual moving parts and holds accuracy because there is nothing to go out of spec - unless for some reason you leave the thing in the open flame of a torch for some foolish reason, fouling up the heat treatment of the steel.

With the beam style wrench it is kind of impervious to being knocked off the bench or any other rough general treatment. If it doesn't damage the dial plate it doesn't damage the wrench. Not that you want to bounce them...

If you are making a living using them a click style is great, you set it and crank it. But it ain't cheap and you don't want to drop it. They can go out of adjustment and it will not be readily apparent as say a needle on a beam style that shows something is bent.

The plus to the click style is that you simply turn until it clicks. The minus is if you are turning it too quickly the fastener can be overloaded slightly by the force you have on the wrench when it clicks. Thus, final torque values should be set with a slow constant pressure turn, not a yank.

The disadvantage with both dial indicator and beam style wrenches is that you have to see the dial. For the beam style, if the price is right, that isn't a big deal. I had one guy tip me off to the trick of marking the edge of the indicator dial plate with a sharpie, that way it didn't matter if you could see the reading, you had a reference.

My point? You don't need to buy a high dollar click wrench to get an accurate tool that you will use sparingly. You can buy a good beam style in both 3/8 (inch/pound) and 1/2 (foot/pound) drive for about the same money you might pay for one good click type, just check out Sears here. You don't need to be concerned with them going out of calibration, because the properties of the flexing of the steel is permanent provided it isn't driven over with the car or is rusting in half. Bouncing it around in a tool box or dropping it is no big deal as long as the pointer indicates zero, it's good to go.

The thing with the scales mentioned in the previous noet is true, but I understand it to be more like about the first 20% rather than a full 33% at each end of the scale. The one thing to look for is the tolerance zone the manufacturer claims. Most are like 5%, but this article from Stock Car Racing magazine has good information and a home method to check accuracy. Toward the end there is a really interesting chart based on the author's own wrenches he tested. Kind of backs up my comments on the beam type.
 

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On a beam wrench it's also a matter of viewing accuracy: If you have a full scale wrench of 100 ft-lbs, an error of even 5 ft-lbs is very small in terms of visibility while using. Hence not wanting to use one for a torque value that is a small percentage of the full range.
 

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OK, this information provided by bountyhunter and markk53 is just phenomonal. I had read about torque wrench calibration, and it seemed like such a hassle for just a weekend attempt to do some minor work on my bike; I thought that there was only the click-type of torque wrench. I think I will purchase a beam-type torque wrench because if I read things right, I won't need to have it calibrated, and I can also get 2 wrenches, a 3/8 and 1/2 inch drive for the price of just one click-type.

That makes sense about the desired torque setting to be at around 1/3 of the full scale range or 20%, so if I have a torque setting of 16.5, I should buy one with around 50 ft-lb max. That one Microtork goes to 75, so it's kinda' outta' range, but it seems to be the smallest scale available (in terms of Craftsman lineup; maybe I'll have to look at other brands).

The first thing I have to do is remove/reattach an engine mount bolt (to install an engine cage), which requires 16.5 lb-ft of torque. To be honest, I'm kinda' scared to remove it (for fear of my bike falling apart, LOL), but I'm thinking that if I buy the right tool, read all the instructions, use the tool correctly, trust the tool, then it should be alright.

I sure hope this works out, or else my bike is going to fall apart. :)
 

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He said the desired torque should be no less than 1/3 of full scale, so if you're going for 16 lb-ft, your wrench should have a maximum scale of 50 lb-ft, or less; a 20 lb-ft wrench would be better.
 

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On a beam wrench it's also a matter of viewing accuracy: If you have a full scale wrench of 100 ft-lbs, an error of even 5 ft-lbs is very small in terms of visibility while using. Hence not wanting to use one for a torque value that is a small percentage of the full range.
And the reason to use an inch/pound torque wrench for all but the biggest fasteners. The torque for everything from 4 mm up to 12 mm fasteners falls right in the good range of a 3/8 drive inch/pound torque wrench. All else falls in the range of a 1/2 drive foot/pound torque wrench.

Viewing accuracy isn't much of an issue in most cases and is easily within whatever range the manufacturer might have for the tolerance range for the fastener. Since they don't give a +/- value if you're within a range of 5 units you'd be good. For instance tightening handle bar fasteners was usually about 10 ft/lb, which is 120 in/lb and it is easy to get within +/-5 on the in/lb, which would be less than 1/2 ft/lb if using a large wrench and that's good.

As mentioned, when in awkward positions, there is the marker method. One can mark where the indicator must reach using a Sharpie either on tape or on the metal which can be cleaned off with alcohol or the like.

So for the average guy only using the tools a few times a year, the beam style are just plain good buys. They're robust, have extremely low chances of being damaged and/or going out of calibration. They can easily work within the desired ranges and are stone axe simple to understand and use... the pointer points at the value reached, you turn until the pointer points at the value you want. Pull it out of the box, stick a socket on it, put it on the fastener, turn and look. No real special treatment or storage beyond putting it in a drawer, in the tool box, or hang it on the wall.

Now if someone is making a living using the tool over and over and over, or just wants the other type, the click wrench is good. If extreme accuracy is required, the dial indicator wrench is the trick. I'd love to walk into my garage and have it look like the inside of the Snap-On truck... but that ain't gonna happen soon, so I present the economical, yet accurate, tool for the job... for guys like me.
 

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The first thing I have to do is remove/reattach an engine mount bolt (to install an engine cage), which requires 16.5 lb-ft of torque. To be honest, I'm kinda' scared to remove it (for fear of my bike falling apart, LOL), but I'm thinking that if I buy the right tool, read all the instructions, use the tool correctly, trust the tool, then it should be alright.

I sure hope this works out, or else my bike is going to fall apart. :)
16.5 ft/lb is 198 in/lb (16.5 ft/lb x 12 in/ft = 198 in/lb). Most in/lb 3/8 drive wrenches are up to 300 in/lb, so you see the reason for the in/lb wrench for most fasteners on a bike.

The axles and some larger fasteners call for torques that exceed the range of the smaller wrench, so the large ft/lb comes into use there and you can use it on your car wheels. Most car wheels are around 100 ft/lb, most bike axles range around 40 or so. Both too high for the smaller wrench.

What you're going to do is fairly easy, all told.

I knew of a dealer who had problems with set up guys snapping handlebar bolts and fork cap studs. The service manager got them torque wrenches and made them use them. When I started doing set up for a bike shop I pulled out my torque wrench and used it on virtually every fastener short of body screws. I figure if it was known that I always torqued fasteners to the mfr recommended, if anything went wrong I was covered as much as possible. Used the trusty old beam wrench, couldn't afford a clicker. No snapped fasteners in all the bikes I did.
 

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I would recommend to stay from Harbor Freight. Some of their stuff is okay, but I have had several of their torque wrenches out right not work.
 

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Torque Wrench Nightmare

Thank you for the clarification on the scale range. This torque wrench business is rather intense because there so many things to consider, but as always, it comes down to cost.

I've read dozens of reviews of torque wrenches and reading people's experiences with them. I've come to the conclusion that if I spend 20-30 bucks on a click-type torque wrench, if I'm lucky, I may fair well, but the chances of that seem fairly low. I've read so many reviews where, "the thing never clicks", or "broke off head due to over torque", "destroyed ratchet mechanism". I won't mention names of the places, but one in particular rhymes with Farbor Hate.

I thought a beam type would be suitable, but I hear that it takes some good amount of skill to read it right. Also, the ones I found did increments of 2.5 ft-lbs, and I'm wondering if I'd be able to accurately use it, since I'm in no way a professional mechanic with years of experience.

Snap-on and Matco names keep popping up as the best to get, but to get one, I'd need to spend at least $260.00 for something I may use once or twice per year. For each use over say, 5 years, it's like spending 50 bucks per usage. I can't justify that cost.

Then I thought about renting one, but I've heard nightmares about that too where the calibration is way off. That's understanable because it passes so many hands, and who knows if its been dropped.

So then I got really dismayed, but some guy wrote how crappy his 20 dollar torque wrench he bought was, and he commented on a little gadget. I found the Alltrade 940759 Powerbuilt Digital Torque Adaptor for 1/2-Inch Driver. I'm strictly a home garage wanna-be mechanic, and this looks like it's the answer to my prayers. Almost all reviews on Amazon are positive, so it looks like a winner for me.
 

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If a beam style torque wrench seems difficult to use either an optometrist need be consulted or there is a question of skills needed to work on a bike. How hard is it to look at a needle on a scale? Pull with steady pressure until the indicator point is at the desired reading.

Now the Altrade unit looks promising in general, but remember there is still the fragility of the unit if dropped or banged around, not to mention that it is electrical and now you're talking batteries. You may find them dead or worse yet, corroded if you don't use the component for a length of time. Then the question of calibration, when it might be needed and how do you know it is still right. Then of course there is the electronic circuitry that will hold up fine, unless it doesn't. It may last for ever or it may not work in an instant. Sweet trick tool, but not the simplest and most durable.

Those are the reasons I always mention the beam style inch/pound and foot/pound wrenches. Simple to use. Durability in rough handling or storage. No going out of calibration since the properties of the steel will not change over time and that is exactly what is used to create the torque reading, the deflection of steel over a given range. And finally there are no electronic or moving mechanical parts to fail.

It is just plain the simplest design possible with reliability beyond compare. It can lay in a box for fifty years and still be right as long as the tool is not significantly rusted or otherwise corroded. If the steel is intact it's going to work just fine, no loss of calibration since steel is extremely stable and the properties will not change without some drastic measures (aka I wouldn't want to use a torque wrench that was in a fire or the beam is bent).

Skip surfing the net and go to a store. Go to Sears, Ace Hardware, automotive parts stores, Home Depot, and any other place. Take a look. See what can be had. I stumbled across my Powercraft inch pound torque wrench around 1978 for $8.95 back then. Anyone who may recogize the name will realize it came from Montgomery Wards, a precursor chain store to the box stores of today. They didn't have the reputation of Craftsman at Sears, but the price was right and the tools were good. I actually had it tested by the Snap-On guy once when at the shop. It was as accurate as the mechanics' click style wrenches, no problem. Great for me since I only use it a few times a year.
 

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If a beam style torque wrench seems difficult to use either an optometrist need be consulted or there is a question of skills needed to work on a bike. How hard is it to look at a needle on a scale? .
It depends on where the bolt is. Some are at a funny angle which puts the scale where you can't see it easily. I have both types of torque wrenches.
 

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As I said earlier I got a tip on this. You can simply put a mark on the back side of the dial with a sharpie (wipes off with some alcohol or brake cleaner) or a small bit of masking tape with a mark on the edge of it. That allows reading of a beam style wrench from virtually any angle. Got the tip from another rider in another forum. So I saved a minimum of about $30 or more not buying a click style wrench.

You have to figure these beam type wrenches were used for decades before there was a click style wrench. It likely was the original.

You know, in a side note, this kind of reminds me of an article I read on tools to consider having. I think it was Kevin Cameron from Cycle World who wrote it. He mentioned having the old hand crank manual drill in a tool box. His reasoning was it worked without electricity or batteries. Not that it substituted for an electric drill or anything, just that it could be used in emergencies should one find themselves without electricity or a charged battery at some race.

I wouldn't want to try to drill some hole through 1/4" steel with one of those "egg beaters", but if it had to be done it could be done... with a lot of sweat.
 

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Marking the back of the scale is an outstanding idea! (And much cheaper then torque adapters...)

For daily and frequent use I have an electronic torque wrench. Just hit the up or down button to adjust the torque, and it makes a tone and dosplays LEDs when you're getting close to the torque value. But I also have a few beam wrenches and one dial wrench. As was said, they'll always work and don't need batteries, and in the case of the dial wrench, it's dead on accurate over a 25 inch-pound range and is useful for one particular task.
 

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Torque Wrench Accessory

Motion Pro adapter allows you to attach end wrench or Allen wrench to your torque wrench.
If used at 90 Degrees there is no correction for length. Just set torque wrench as usual.
[/IMG]
 

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Harbor Freight sells clicker models, both in.-lbs., and ft.-lbs., for around $20 a piece. The maker claims 5% accuracy. For me, and my v-e-r-y occasional use, they work fine. I primarily use them on the oil drain bolts, and the filter bolt. Been using them for almost 6 years, no issues yet. The instructions did say to slowly apply pressure until it clicks, then apply pressure again, until it clicks a second time, to ensure proper torque. YMMV. Cheers!
:coffee:
 

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I wouldnt take a HF torque wrench for free! i have gone through 2 of their inch pounds torque wrenches and they will just keep stripping and stripping . Went to use it on my spark plugs one day and.....yup , stripped it. Just kept turning, and it was on the right setting. I finally learned to do stuff by feel. Some may disagree, but....You shouldnt be using a torque wrench for light torque applications like oil drain plugs or spark plugs anyway, unless a)you are not good at knowing your own strength (like me :) ), or b)have a good brand wrench (snap on, etc). I bougth a 1/2 home depot husky piece of garbage that has a range of 50-? ft.lbs. That stopped working just after a year. Took it back and they told me they couldnt do anything cause the 1 yr warranty ran out. Bought a kobalt from lowes (lifetime warranty) and havent had a problem yet. Seems better but im sure not as good as snap ons. I have used it several times for wheels and bigger bolts/nuts. The sears ones are only 1 year warranty also.

Harbor Freight sells clicker models, both in.-lbs., and ft.-lbs., for around $20 a piece. The maker claims 5% accuracy. For me, and my v-e-r-y occasional use, they work fine. I primarily use them on the oil drain bolts, and the filter bolt. Been using them for almost 6 years, no issues yet. The instructions did say to slowly apply pressure until it clicks, then apply pressure again, until it clicks a second time, to ensure proper torque. YMMV. Cheers!
:coffee:
 

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My bike's underside (oil pan) is aluminum. If I over-torque the bolts, they will strip out. The drain bolts require 14.5 ft.-lbs., and the filter bolt calls for 26 ft.-lbs. I can't "feel" either torque with any degree of accuracy, so I use my torque wrench. So far, they seem to work properly, clicking when I achieve what seems to be the proper torque (no oil leaks yet; no stripping of anything, either). If they were drastically out of spec, I would have destroyed my oil pan (drain bolts), or the engine block, by now (the filter bolt screws into the block, not the pan...).

I've used my HF torque wrench on three different bikes, and four cars/trucks, for over six years. No issues yet. The maker of their torque wrenches offers a lifetime warranty on them, if that really matters. Like I said, they have worked properly, so far. [Knocks on wood...] Cheers!
:coffee:
 
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