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  1. #1
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    Default Impact and Torque Wrenches

    I am extremely tool-challenged and would appreciate a brief explanation of these kinds of wrenches, which I know nothing about.

    My primary interest is having wrench of sufficient power to quickly get the blades off my 72" belly mower and brush cutter, and the wheel bolts off my tractor and cars. The wrench would get little other use.

    Are torque wrenches the same as impact wrenches? Are all impact wrenches pneumatic or are some electric? If pneumatic, do I have to get a separate air compressor or is that part of the tool?

    Any recommendations on an inexpensive wrench that would do the limited jobs listed above. I would be taking the mower blades off with the tractor up on car ramps, so there is not much room to maneuver a large tool or get much leverage.

    Thanks.


  2. #2
    Super Member RobS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Impact and Torque Wrenches

    Glenn, Bird is the one to provide the details but I can offer some help...

    Impact wrenches are used to loosen and tighten nuts/bolts as well as spin them up and down the threads. You see them in the NASCAR pits for tire changes. They come in electric and, more commonly, air powered. With air, you will need a seperate compressor. Impact wrenches work with some sort of internal hammer arrangement which can provide a lot of "oomph".

    A torque wrench is used to put the final torque on a fastener to some known value. There are various types but all are hand operated. Kind of like a ratchet with a readout dial for the torque. Various drive sizes and torque capacities available.

    One other tool to be aware of is an air ratchet. Works like a regular ratchet except has an air motor to power the fastener down the threads. Then you put the final tightening on using the tool like a ratchet (hand force).

    As I mentioned, I think Bird will have a lot more wisdom on this subject [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]


  3. #3
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Impact and Torque Wrenches

    Glennmac, RobS has given good answers. A torque wrench is a manual tool for measuring a precise amount of tightness or tension when putting nuts and/or bolts on. They come in different sizes and ranges and are pretty expensive. They are actually used relatively infrequently, even by most mechanics, but can be important when it's necessary to get something tight enough but not too tight.

    All the impact wrenches with which I'm familiar are either air or electric powered. Nothing wrong with electric impact wrenches (I've owned the biggest ones made or sold by Black & Decker and by Craftsman in the past), except for the fact that I don't know of any that are as strong as the air wrenches. The strongest electric ones I've known of were a maximum of 250 ft./lbs. (and there may well be some more powerful ones that I've never seen), while 250 ft./lbs. is considered pretty weak in half inch drive air impacts. My personal preference (and what I'm using) is an Ingersoll Rand IR231 at about 425 ft./lbs. (IR244 is almost identical with an air motor that's about an eighth of an inch longer and goes to 500 ft./lbs), but an awful lot of diesel mechanics like the IR2131, light weight high speed composite body that will go up to 450 forward and 600 in reverse (keeps them from having to go to those heavy awkward 3/4" drive models). And the only trouble with the air powered ones is that you must have a separate air compressor that will maintain 90 psi and put out a volume of at least 4 to 5 cfm (cubic feet per minute), preferably more.

    But everyone has an air compressor, don't they?[img]/w3tcompact/icons/wink.gif[/img] I don't know how anyone can do without one. Besides my 1/2" impact, 3/8" impact, 3/8" ratchet, air drill, air powered grease gun, paint spray rig, sand blaster, Cyclone Blaster, 3 blow guns, liquid siphon gun, hydro blast pressure washer, air powered reciprocating saw, air hammer (chisel), I even have to air up a tire occasionally.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/laugh.gif[/img]

    And you can go to Northern Tool's web site http://www.northerntool.com and see a lot of different wrenches of both types, and Ingersoll Rand http://www.irtools.com, and Chicago Pneumatic (I've forgotten their URL right now) to see a wide variety of them.

    Bird

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Impact and Torque Wrenches

    Bird,

    I seem to remember you repair air compressors? What's a good recommendation for a reasonable one? I have one on my short list but am still having sticker-shock from the Ingersoll-Rand models.

    Patrick



  5. #5
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    Default Re: Impact and Torque Wrenches



    Patrick,

    Lots of value for the dollar, especially closeouts...




  6. #6
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    Default Re: Impact and Torque Wrenches

    Well, when you're ignorant one question leads to many more.

    What is the reference to 1/2" and 3/8" for the wrenches? How do I know what I need.

    So an air wrench needs a compressor. What's powering that compressor John is showing--gas engine?

    Pressure washer. That interests me. What do I add to an air compressor to create a pressure washer?




  7. #7
    Super Member
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    New Holland TC40D

    Default Re: Impact and Torque Wrenches

    John, is this oil-less? I discussed with Bird, unfortunately after, I had bought a 6hp/60gal Devilbiss oil-less.

    While they(oil-less) are less expensive, they are LOUD, and can not be run for long periods of time. They have these little teflon ringed pistons which can not sustain heat, like when you're doing a lot of sanding.

    Mine has worked well, but it is loud. My wife has done some intense sanding with it, and I imagine wore the pistons. They are simple to replace.

    If I ever replace this one, it will be with the seperate motor and cast iron pump style. Longer lasting, and quieter. They are more expensive though.

    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif

  8. #8
    Epic Contributor
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    jinman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Impact and Torque Wrenches

    The compressor is electric and very noisy; so are impact wrenches. Get you some hearing protection...



    The 1/2" and 3/8" (and also 3/4" and 1") refers to the square part from the wrench or drive motor which fits into the socket when it is mounted on the tool. When working with air compressors and hoses and fittings, you also have to worry about various sizes of adapters and hoses. Typical adapters are the 1/4" inside diameter type, but the 3/8" are better because they allow more airflow. Sorry Glenn. Nothing is as easy as it seems.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/frown.gif[/img] Maybe you need to go "hang out" some day at the local garage for some OJT. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/cool.gif[/img]

    JimI

  9. #9
    Veteran Member mikim's Avatar
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    NH TC45

    Default Re: Impact and Torque Wrenches

    My wife and I will be married 10 years in Nov and I told her I wanted to get her a new ring because we couldn't afford much back 10 years ago when we combined households and 5 kids (my 3 and her 2). She said that would be fine but what she'd really like is a pressure washer and a portable generator. I knew there was a reason I married this woman [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img] ... anyway ... does that hydro blaster you mention put out more than 1500 psi? We're looking at spending about $450 or more unless I can find something that will put out ~2000 psi for less.
    mike


  10. #10
    Super Member RobS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Impact and Torque Wrenches

    Don't forget 1/4" drive Jim [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    And to further complicate matters, compressors can be gas driven but most are electric, 110V. Bigger ones are 220V and up. Conventional piston type, oiless (now I know why my neighbors is so noisey) and rotary screw (industrial strength). You've got your regulators, filters, water seperators, tank drains and a whole host of other considerations. Pretty soon it's like buying a tractor all over again, eh Glenn [img]/w3tcompact/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    Seriously, for just rotating tires etc. you can get by with about anything Sears, Lowes, Menards etc. sells. Stay away from the real small ones geared towards nail gun users. Do invest in a decent impact wrench though if you plan on doing tractor work. The cheapies don't have the guts of a good one, no matter what the box may say.

    Jim's idea for OJT is a good one. You could also offer a case of beer to a friend who has the equipment in exchange for him walking you through an oil change and tire rotation on your car. In fact, I'd do that for you for a case of beer [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]


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