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Old 01-21-2009, 03:07 AM   #1
back2class
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Default Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

I see tons of posts here about buying torque wrenches. I see lots of pics of tool boxes and almost without fail they have a click style. Even the less fancy tool stashes with budget tools seem to have low end click styles. I understand they are better in tight spots, but with less accuracy and much higher price and falure rate why are they almost the only torque wrench guys here have? Seems like higher price and less accuracy would be a reason for the average joe here not to go the click route.
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Old 01-21-2009, 03:41 AM   #2
nissan_crawler
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

1. Pain in the butt to try and read while you're doing it.

2. Half the time I couldn't see it if I wanted to.

3. Even if I could see it, 90% of the places I couldn't use it due to not ratcheting.

4. Clickers are more idiot proof. Pull on the handle, clicks, you stop. I've seen way too many knuckle draggers take a beam-style to torque, watch it drop, bring it up again, watch it drop, bring it up again, watch it drop, bring it...*SNAP* broken head bolt in the block.

this is the ultimate beam torque wrench, one size fits all:





http://sheldonbrown.com/tork-grip.html
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Old 01-21-2009, 03:41 AM   #3
tatra
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

i don't torque nutin..........i just back it off half turn after the bolt head "clicks" off..................
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Old 01-21-2009, 03:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

I've never even owned one. Don't see a reason to buy a beam style.
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Old 01-21-2009, 06:07 AM   #5
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

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Originally Posted by back2class View Post
I understand they are better in tight spots, but with less accuracy and much higher price and falure rate why are they almost the only torque wrench guys here have?
I'm not sure where you're getting your statistics from. Is a beam style torque wrench that much more accurate than a micrometer or split beam torque wrench? Most quality micrometer or split beam torque wrenches are good to within 4% of their scale. I suppose it is true that you don't have to get a beam type torque wrench calibrated. Used properly, I haven't really seen any significant number of torque wrench failures in my lifetime. For me , it's an issue of set it and forget it. I don't have to look at the scale dead on to ensure I hit the right torque each time.
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Old 01-21-2009, 06:51 AM   #6
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

I am not a pro. I use a clicker most of the time. But for some jobs it is quicker to use my beam type because setting the clicker, and then returning the setting to the lowest setting after use takes more time.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:24 AM   #7
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

I have an inch LB 3/8 beam and I still use it occasionally. I also trust the 1/2" beam I used as a kid. I have no distrust of a good beam torque wrench myself, though usually these days I do use my clickers more.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:36 AM   #8
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

I have two beam style wrenches. One OLD Thorsen and one newer Craftsman. (Newer as in 1985 or so) I also have two clickers. For run of the mill stuff like lugs, I use the clicker. Its a no brainer. Set it and "click". I much prefer the beam when building an engine. I get a visual as well as the "feel" of the bolt in question.

As for the two beams. The Craftsman sucks. It has a swivel handle. The beam also has a fat tip on it. It is a lot more flexible too. It just doesn't give me that touch I like. The Thorsen on the other hand is solid. Nice point on the beam. Easy to read. Excellent feedback. I know it is very old school and other types are much more accurate, but I like using them.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:48 AM   #9
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

the only place i can think of to use a beam style TW is to check rotating torque on a pinion.

IIRC the beam style was always listed as more accurate (by percentage) than a micrometer style but it leaves to much to operator error IMHO. i think i'll stick with my split beams.........
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

Those beam style are tougher to use because of the handle that rocks back and forth to ensure the force is applied at the correct distance from the drive end. More accurate in theory but the real world application can be difficult esp for higher torque applications or awkward positioning.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:53 AM   #11
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

I wonder how many home mechanics calibrate their clicker wrench at the manufacturer's recommended intervals, have never used the tool after dropping it without recalibrating, store it in its own box, etc. ?

In theory they have many advantages over a beam. In practice, if the torque is critical, I'm not so sure
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:07 AM   #12
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

Okay, so I am a complete idiot. Just how do you calibrate a clicker?
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:22 AM   #13
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

I keep about 6 clickers from 1/4 to 1/2, but I still find the beam has its uses. I have found that it gives you confidence when the clicker is set at say 25 lbs and the bolt goes down farther than you expected, you use the beam and it's positive where you are.

I've had great luck with clickers but have had two fail in mid job, causing damage, pulling out the beam to test to see if the clicker is still working saves a lot of skull sweat.
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:23 AM   #14
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

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Originally Posted by T56 Impala View Post
Okay, so I am a complete idiot. Just how do you calibrate a clicker?
It is not something you yourself can do. You send it to someone and pay them for doing it for you. Not something a lot of home shop guys would do unless they routinely build engines or something.

Recalibration is not something you are going to get done for $20 or so, generally costs more than I would be willing to pay for the limited use my torque wrenches see. I just take good care of them from new and call it good.
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:27 AM   #15
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

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Originally Posted by T56 Impala View Post
Okay, so I am a complete idiot. Just how do you calibrate a clicker?
Ideally you use a torque tester, but these are crafted from unicorn horn by elves (at least judging from the prices), so there are a number of homebrewed approaches, of which this is one.

Subsequent adjustment is a job for the professionals, but if you're more prepared to spend time rather than money you can draw up a comparison table for your own wrench.
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:29 AM   #16
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

I'm wanting a 1/4" beam type, mostly for adjusting preload on steering boxes and such that turn continuously. This would replace my 1/4" flex handle and fish scale (which works fine as long as you don't need to be too accurate).
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:32 AM   #17
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jononon View Post
Ideally you use a torque tester, but these are crafted from unicorn horn by elves (at least judging from the prices), so there are a number of homebrewed approaches, of which this is one.

Subsequent adjustment is a job for the professionals, but if you're more prepared to spend time rather than money you can draw up a comparison table for your own wrench.

My thoughts too.

Once you have the calibration data, you can whip up a look-up table in Excel in scant minutes.
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Old 01-21-2009, 11:14 AM   #18
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

I check all my click-style torque wrenches periodically with a digital torque transducer that Craftsman used to sell. None of my torque wrenches has ever been out of calibration more than the specified accuracy percentage.
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Old 01-21-2009, 11:16 AM   #19
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

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Originally Posted by ricleh View Post
I check all my click-style torque wrenches periodically with a digital torque transducer that Craftsman used to sell. None of my torque wrenches has ever been out of calibration more than the specified accuracy percentage.
I have one too, I just failed to mention it because I figured most would not know what the heck I was talking about.
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Old 01-21-2009, 11:35 AM   #20
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Default Re: Why no love for beam style torque wrenches?

I have always used a beam type except when I am on a job (Nuclear) and they have calibrated clicker types that you have to use. Just out of curiosity I asked a friend of mine that is race engine builder who is highly respected locally. He said he never uses anything other than a beam style torque wrench.
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