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Discussion and questions related to the course Engine Building Fundamentals
During the courses, Andre has mentioned the importance of quality tools - which would include torque wrenches. I don't want to spend an arm and a leg on a Snap On torque wrench, but what are other great, reputable torque wrench manufacturers for engine building?
not really sure what brands you have there but Toptul, T&E, Teng, Norbar, are all not bad in pricing for general work on car engines i would be buying 40-200 nm in 1/2 inch
As Ross said, what you have available - and the price structure - will be different for you than us.
That range should do most fasteners, but have a look over the sort of work you will be using it for, you may need a higher range if working on diesels, or for hub nuts, etc. I assume you're going to be working on your domestic vehicles, so a lbs.ft range may be better, JDM and european will need metric - and on that, some seem to use kg.m rather than the SI N.m - if you're doing different vehicles, may be worth paying for one with a dual display?
You may need to consider getting two 'wrenches, a 1/2" and a 3/8" drive to better balance the ranges you're going to need.
Whatever you get, make sure it has a calibration sheet with it - this is the actual test torque Vs the nominal set torque values - keep it safe and refer to it if needed. Even the best 'wrenches will usually have 2 or even 3% variation over their test torques. About the worst things you can do with a 'wrench is to leave it set - ALWAYS back them right off when not actually being used. Other criminal acts are to use them as 'strong bars' for extra leverage ESPECIALLY when backing the fasteners off, or hammers - don't laugh, seen it done.
Give some thought about paying things like ratchet and/or reversable ends - the former can make the process a lot quicker, especially in restricted work areas, like when the engine is in place and a reversable end means it can be changed to operate in a left hand mode for the rare job like some crank bolts, gearbox fasteners, or wheel and hub nuts that some vehicles use on the left side.
My personal view is that a good quality torque wrench is going to be one of your most important purchases as a mechanic and looked after, with calibrations as required - for a professional who uses it many times a day it may be annually, but for the home builder it may only be used a couple of times a year and may never actually need it except for peace of mind - they should last your working life.