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Old 12-03-2003, 09:14 PM
chazola's Avatar
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Location: Dorset, United Kingdom
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Correct Torque Wrench Procedure?

I bought a Torque Wrench after reading how important it is to use one with wheel lug nuts.
As my budget didn't stretch to getting a fancy high-end one, I just got one of the old-skool 'pointer style' ones.
My question is: what's the correct way to set your torque- so far i'm tightening the nuts by hand using the regular wrench, then when i have them tight use the torque wrench to finish them off- the correct torque for my car is 81lbs/ft, and i'm noticing when i tighten to that amount i'll hear a couple of clicks from the bolt and the pointer will bounce then settle to 81. is this correct or am i over tightening when i hear those clicks? the wrench is supposed to be accurate to +/- 3%.
1993 320TE M104

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1972 280se 3.5 W108 M116
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Old 12-03-2003, 10:31 PM
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Posts: 883
Sounds like you are doing it about right. A pointer style torque wrench is a bit more difficult to use than a click type because you have to observe the needle while you are tightening.

I expect the clicks you are hearing are just the lug bolts tightening the last bit. The best technique is to hand tighten the lug bolts using whatever socket you are using - I use a deep socket which gives me plenty to hang on to - as much as you can, do all 5 by hand, then just snug them a bit with a regular socket wrench or your torque wrench.

Then I let the car down and use the torque wrench. Just smoothly tighten the bolt until your pointer reads 81, and do your star pattern. You may hear clicks as you say, but it's just the bolt tightening. I let the car down because for the fronts, you can't prevent the wheel from turning otherwise, and for the rears, it saves wear and tear on the differential gears if you aren't trying to torque against them.

With hub centric wheels like MB's and BMW's have, in my opinion it is no problem to have the wheel only hand snugged when you let it down - it's not going to get "cocked" or anything.

A click type torque wrench is nice because you just tighten until it clicks, no need to observe anything.

The big mistake made by some torque wrench rookies, including some bozos at tire shops who should know better, is to zap the lug bolts tight with the air wrench (torque stick or not) then put the torque wrench on and use as if to tighten, and they hear the click and say ok, the wheel is torqued. The bloody air wrench probably torqued the lugs to 250 lb-ft, and of course if the torque wrench is set at 81 lb-ft it is going to click!

Save up for a click type, you'll never go back

Chris W.
Snap On 3/8" drive flex head "torque instrument"
Snap On 1/2" drive flex head "torque instrument"
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Old 12-03-2003, 10:48 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 236
I suggest that you use just a little anti-seize grease on the cone portion of the wheel. Also, just let the car down until the wheel touches the ground and then use a block to prevent the wheel from turning as you tighten. This will make sure your wheels are torqued properly.
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Old 12-04-2003, 12:39 PM
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"Pointer" style torque wrenches are perfect for the casual shade-tree machanic. I would argue that they're better than the "click" style, because they never need to be re-calibrated.

Jeff Pierce
Jeff Pierce

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Old 12-04-2003, 01:54 PM
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Location: Vernon, CT
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Should always re checheck the torque of the wheel after few hundred miles, or sooner if you like. I use a "click" type torque wrench and there have been times where I have found that few a hundred mile later the heels need retorquing.
As far as the pointer type not needing calibration, you are right, however those wrenches rely on sping tension, which over time will wear. You then have to buy a new wrench all together.
1994 MB E320 Coupe (199,500 mi)
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Old 12-04-2003, 06:16 PM
glenmore's Avatar
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Los Angeles
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It is almost impossible to buy a nice Snap On torque wrench from ebay on the cheap. From the truck they are around 250-300, and the ones on ebay run 100-150. I got a new one at a swap meet for $130.

My conclusion is get a nice one on ebay, enjoy using it, take good care of it and if you ever need to sell it, you'll get almost all your money out of it.

1991 300CE
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