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Old 12-16-2016, 12:33 PM   #1
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3/8" vs. 1/2" Torque Wrench (all things equal)

Hi.

YES another TW thread.....

For purposes of doing the oil change and brake work, which size is a better bet given:

Both wrenches are a similar quality
Both wrenches cover a similar useful range
Both wrenches are a similar cost
Both wrenches are a similar size

My assumption is the 1/2" would require the use of more reducers and would be a bit more stout. Conversely, the 3/8" will be more easily compatible with attachments and be somewhat more accessible.

Given this, does one lend itself better to the task?

These are the two wrenches I'm considering:
AC Delco ARM601-4 1/2" Digital Torque Wrench, 4-99 ft-lbs
CDI 3/8-Inch, 10 to 100 ft/lbs

It seems to me the AC Delco is the better option overall in that it can do most everything I will need to do in 1/2" format, including lug nuts (96 ft./lbs?? on a "97 Box). The CDI sacrifices a little at the low end but may be a bit more accessible.

I cannot believe how complicated researching a stupid torque wrench has become!!!!!

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Old 12-16-2016, 01:27 PM   #2
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Suggest you check the YouTube test of the HF T wrenches. Cheap enough to buy both 1/2 and 3/8 and get a set of special lug nut sockets. Whatever you buy ,remember to unwind the torque setting to 0 before storing it and don't get it wet.
Digital wrenches are not convenient on lug nuts unless they have a 'beep' like the S.O. One with a crisp 'click' is perfect.
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Old 12-16-2016, 02:10 PM   #3
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You have to consider what torque range you're going to need the most and go with that. For me I have 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch drives and I use the 1/2 inch drive the most.
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Old 12-16-2016, 02:26 PM   #4
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Only use your torque wrench in the 20% to 80% of its range. Anything over or under has a tendancy to be too much out of spec.

There is no real way to make a "one size fits all" TW. You need 2-3 oops for this. I personally do not use a TW for oil changes. I have a good feel for the work there. Wheels I always torque.
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Old 12-16-2016, 02:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cas951 View Post
You have to consider what torque range you're going to need the most and go with that. For me I have 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch drives and I use the 1/2 inch drive the most.
This.

Although my 1/4" is in-lbs and I use it mostly for my firearms.

I've never used a torque wrench when changing an oil filter.
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Old 12-16-2016, 02:50 PM   #6
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For automotive work most of the torque settings are between 30-150 ft/lbs. I want 1/2" drive with a range of 25-250 or so like this one.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C5ZL1NS/ref=s9_top_hd_bw_b2Lfk_g469_i3?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0D ER&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-3&pf_rd_r=FF74WNSZPWTVPK2CDNW0&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=365b646d-0ab5-53c3-9063-fe500e13a356&pf_rd_i=559968

Firearms and delicate work require a different tool.
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Old 12-16-2016, 03:54 PM   #7
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First off...to all who have responded THANK YOU for your comments.

I want to address a few of your comments now....

"Digital wrenches are not convenient on lug nuts unless they have a 'beep' like the S.O. One with a crisp 'click' is perfect." The AC Delco does have this feature. It beeps and vibrates.

"You have to consider what torque range you're going to need the most and go with that. For me I have 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch drives and I use the 1/2 inch drive the most." Exactly. That's why I'm asking you guys based on the work I'd like to do. In your experience, is 20-80 (usable range) good for me?

"Only use your torque wrench in the 20% to 80% of its range." I totally agree. This is why I was thinking the 4-99 ft/lbs was an adequate range (minus the lug nuts)

"For automotive work most of the torque settings are between 30-150 ft/lbs. I want 1/2" drive with a range of 25-250 or so like this one." So, in this case you would not use a torque wrench on the oil filter housing (19 ft./lbs)? Also, the oil drain plug calls for 39 ft/lbs and this fall into the unable range of the 30-150 you mentioned.


Also, I have read the reviews and asked owners of that Tekton model and they say its not very accurate in the lower range. But if your personal experience says otherwise...

I don't know if I'm over thinking this, but everyone has good advice on usable range, storage, quality, repeatability.....but when its all said and done, there sure do seem to be a large contingent of happy users of TW that don't fall into the criteria of a good tool.

So I'm confused.
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Old 12-16-2016, 04:52 PM   #8
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I own 4 torque wrenches. All mechanical ones.
1-5 Nm 1/4"
5-20 Nm 1/2"
10-100 Nm 1/2"
25-250 Nm 1/2"
and two breaker bars 1/2" and 3/4".

If i need a bigger one like for the central axle nuts (460 Nm), i lend one.

10-100 Nm and 25-250 Nm are mostly used on my cars / 986.

All of them can be calibrated. And i recommend only to buy the ones that can be recalibrated and also let them recalibrate from time to time.

Never, and i mean never use a torque wrench to open nuts and bolts.

Digital ones. Nice idea but i don't like them. They won't survive long if i throw them in my tool case.

Digital torque adapters. Nice idea, but not sturdy enough for my personal use. Also sometimes needs to much space.

If i need 3/8" or 1/4" i use an 1/2" to 3/8" or 1/2" to 1/4" adapter.

Regards, Markus

Last edited by Smallblock454; 12-16-2016 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 12-16-2016, 05:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
10-100 Nm and 25-250 Nm are mostly used on my cars
The ones I use the most too, 10-100 for oil changes and most small mechanical job, and 25 - 250 for wheels and subframes.

I like the digital ones... but I won't buy one, it's more a gadget than else, and they aren't as tough either.

I have a craftsman bought from sears online, good enough, a lot of guys at work have them. for the price, you can get both 3/8" and 1/2"!
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Old 12-16-2016, 05:37 PM   #10
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I do sometimes use a torque wrench on oil drain plug, but never for the filter. "Hand tight plus a little snug to seat the o-ring." Has worked for a long time.

I also have an aversion to most digital tools. It seems they all require fairly unique batteries and when I need the wrench the battery is invariably dead and the stores are closed... or I am out at the track 80 miles from nowhere. I prefer the tried and true click style. I also like and use most Craftsman tools but never liked their torque wrench. It's not their best effort.
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Old 12-16-2016, 05:50 PM   #11
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Get the Harbor Freight ones, they work fine for what you need. I personally use my 1/2" the most but I also have ones that go up to 1300 lbs of torque as well as torque multipliers (I own a trucking company, semi trucks use big bolts, example would be the main caps on our engines require between 450-600 lbs of torque)
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Old 12-16-2016, 07:52 PM   #12
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I like the info and reviews on Amazon for the Tekton 150ft lb wrench. Comes calibrated to 4%.

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