How to Use a Beam Style Torque Wrench

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A beam style torque wrench is considered a must-have tool by automobile enthusiasts. This device allows users to fasten nuts and bolts to the exact "tightness" specification, called "torque", recommended by manufacturers. Torque is simply the amount of direct force required to rotate a nut or bolt around its axis. In addition to automotive uses, torque wrenches are excellent tools for properly maintaining all other mechanical devices that rely on nuts or bolts for their assembly. Beam type torque wrenches are easy to operate, and will last a lifetime if given proper care and maintenance.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean rag
  • Light machine oil
  • Socket set (SAE or metric)
  • Locate a socket that fits the nut or bolt that you wish to torque. On smaller fasteners, sockets with a 3/8-inch drive are most common. On larger sockets, 1/2-inch drive is the norm. Torque wrenches may be converted from 3/8-inch drive to 1/2-inch drive with an inexpensive adapter available at all hardware stores.

  • Attach the socket to your torque wrench by pressing the square end of the socket onto the "drive" of the torque wrench. The drive is the square metal peg located on one end of the torque wrench. Set the wrench aside, and hand tighten the nut or bolt that will be torqued as much as possible.

  • Place the socket onto the fastener to be tightened. Hold the tool so that the handle's pivot is the only part of the handle to touch the center beam. Remember to keep the handle centered as you apply pressure to the tool so that the handle does not touch the beam, except at it's pivot point

  • Apply turning force (torque) by pulling the tool toward you in a clockwise manner. As you pull tighter, you will notice the handle bend slightly. This calibrated bending is the result of applied torque. Watch the end of the needle located just above the handle. As the beam bends, the needle points to the amount of torque being applied. Most tools have torque measurements embossed on the handle in foot-pounds, the nomenclature used in the United States.

  • Continue to turn the fastener, and allow the handle to rotate so that the pivot is the only thing contacting the beam. Pull evenly, and apply enough force to bend the beam until the correct amount of torque is indicated on the handle.

  • Slowly release pressure from the torque wrench when the specified torque has been attained. Remove the socket from the fastener, and wipe off any grease that may have gotten on the torque wrench. Apply a small amount of light machine oil to a rag, and wipe down the tool before placing it in storage.

Tips & Warnings

  • Beam style torque wrenches contain a floating handle, with allows the handle to pivot as you turn the wrench. When held properly, the handle exerts pressure on the extreme end of the tool, thereby allowing precise torque application.

References

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