Best Torque Wrench for Dirt Bike Maintenance
If you want to maintain your own bike, make sure you have proper tools. A friend of mine tried to save money on tools and broke off the bolt that was covering the oil filter. Even the trip to Home Depot didn’t help, so he eventually had to spend almost $100, also wasting a lot of time because he wanted to maintain the bike himself without the proper tools.
Torque wrenches are key tools when it comes to dirt bike maintenance. Make sure that you own a high-quality torque wrench if you want to conduct your dirt bike maintenance yourself. A high-end torque wrench that I recommend is the Park Tool Ratcheting Torque Wrench – TW-5.2. It is ideal for the common and finer jobs involving seat-posts and handlebars, perfectly tailored for dirt bikes. You will have to spend a bit of extra money, but it will make your dirt bike maintenance that bit easier, inspiring confidence and getting the job done. Don’t waste money or other high-end torque wrenches; they usually aren’t designed for dirt bikes. This will be worth the money you spend on it.
A good mid-range torque wrench that I recommend is the Bikehand Bicycle Bike Torque Wrench Allen Key Tool Socket Set Kit. When the wrench is new or hasn’t been used in a long time, it needs to be used in order to lubricate it internally, making it work like it should. This will solve any problems you might have with it. It is extremely useful for the small jobs you need to do on your bike.
What to look for in a dirt bike torque wrench
All torque wrenches are not the same. Some torque wrenches generate a number of different complaints, the most common of which revolve around accuracy. So, you have to know what to look for if you want your torque wrench to do the job for you.
The first thing to look for in a torque wrench is that is covers between 3 and 15 pounds of torque, the commonest range for bolts when it comes to dirt bikes. Be careful not to purchase a torque wrench starting at 20-foot pounds, in the manner of a normal torque wrench. Such a torque wrench will be useless when it comes to your dirt bike. What you need is a torque wrench that measures the lower torque settings required by dirt bikes. Even though there isn’t a bolt in dirt bikes that needs tightening only 2-foot pounds, it is handy to have a torque wrench starting low, since torque wrenches reach their highest levels of accuracy when in the middle of their range.
You will also have to choose between analogue torque wrenches and digital ones. Some analogue torque wrenches produce great accuracy in the scale’s middle but lose accuracy and the scale’s start and end. Therefore, you may prefer a torque wrench with a digital readout, enabling you to achieve higher levels of accuracy. However, bear in mind that digital torque wrenches are considerably more expensive than their analogue counterparts.
Choosing between ½” 3/8” and ¼” drives can be difficult. I recommend a ¼” one, since it will work well for those bolts on a dirt bike which are of the greatest importance. If you have the budget and the desire to have an additional torque wrench, go for the ¾”.
Look for a torque wrench which has a readout that is backlit, enabling you to gauge the measurement easily in poorly lit garage environments.
Buy torque wrenches that can provide measurements to the tenth of a pound, if not better. The manual will most likely provide instruction such as, “tighten the bolt to 5.1ft/lbs.” Therefore, your torque wrench should be able to do that. There are a lot of torque wrenches on the market that are made to cater to heavy machinery such as truck tires. These won’t provide accurate measurements for dirt bike purposes. Be careful to avoid them.
You want a torque wrench capable of staying calibrated for long periods of time, ensuring continued accuracy. Cheaper torque wrenches, in the style of ‘beam and pointer,’ are easily bent or broken.
You will also want to ensure that the torque wrench you purchase is the right size, that it can work well with those bolts that you will find yourself working with most commonly on your dirt bike. The bolts on dirt bikes are considerably smaller than the bolts on, for instance, truck engines.
Different Types of Torque Wrenches
You will find a wide variety of different torque wrenches on the market, each possessing its own advantages and disadvantages. Here is a look at a few of them.
This is a very useful wrench, permitting users to achieve the proper torque setting. Once the right setting is reaches, the wrench starts slipping, preventing the overtightening of bolts.
Beam and Pointer Torque Wrenches
These torque wrenches are the cheapest available on the market. They possess a tiny scale along with a pointer, resembling one of those old bathroom scales. They are cheap for a reason, being susceptible to getting bent easily, and often showing readings that are inaccurate. Their inaccuracy is prevalent even in torque settings that are lighter.
This is similar to the click wrench, in that it slips upon reaching the optimal torque setting. However, it comes with a handle that is T-shaped.
Hydraulic Torque Wrench
This is a torque wrench that is motorized, most often used for automotive. It’s commonly seen in racing pits.
Deflecting Beam Wrench
These torque wrenches don’t apply torque to a coil spring, applying it instead to a deflecting beam.
How To Use It
Tips and Tricks to Maintaining Your Wrench
The first step to maintaining your torque wrench is checking it from time to time for defective parts and wear and tear. If you don’t do this, your wrench’s accuracy will be compromised. As long as you structure your maintenance program efficiently, preventing damage before it occurs, your tool will perform to optimum capacity, reducing unexpected downtime, saving you both time as well as money.
A torque wrench goes out of calibration with use, the more frequent the use, the quicker it will go out of calibration and wear. Therefore, you must monitor the number of times you use your torque wrench in a day, or the total number of hours you use it for, keeping your wrench accurate, ensuring that you conduct maintenance work on it at regular intervals. Consult your manufacturer’s recommendations to determine how often you should service your wrench, or service it after every 100,000 cycles, or when you inspect it visually to find dry or old grease, components that are unstable and loose and parts displaying signs of wear that is excessive.
Inspect the ratchet of your wrench for wear, making sure it is clean and lubricated. From time to time inspect its screws, making sure that they are right, and that the ratchet is spinning freely upon being turned. Make sure that the wrench’s handle is not loose, is free of lubricants and corrosion every time it is made use of. Should you fail to inspect these aspects, fail to replace the parts that are worn, you risk the premature failure of your wrench.
The wrench needs to be protected from chemicals, grime, dust as well as other hazards by being stored properly inside a case or in a storage device that is clean and dry. The wrench needs to be cleaned from the outside using a dry cloth. Don’t use chemical solvents or external cleaning fluids, as these cause corrosion in the internal lubrication of your wrench, resulting in premature failure. If, for some reason, the wrench needs to be disassembled, make sure that you follow the instructions provided to you in documents by its manufacturers. If you’re unsure how to follow those instructions, send the wrench to technicians who are competent and know what they’re doing.
The majority of click wrenches are constructed to possess a spring mechanism inside them, a spring mechanism compressed against a lever. Wrenches that are adjustable employ springs which have to pass a linear capability test. Click wrenches that are externally adjustable must be restored to their minimum scale value after they have been used, helping the preservation of the spring’s linearity and the wrench’s calibration. Make sure that you restore them to their minimum settings when you store any calibrated wrenches. If you leave a calibrated wrench lying around at one particular setting, it loses its accuracy at other settings. This doesn’t happen each time but can occur over time. This is why you should restore a calibrated wrench to its minimum setting when it is not being used.
Torque wrenches are precision tools and ought to be maintained and treated like measuring instruments. You need to be careful and make sure you don’t drop your torque wrench upon things. This can make them inaccurate.
Do not use your torque wrench for the purpose of untightening bolts; use them only for the purpose of tightening bolts, and that too when accurate torque settings are required. For other purposes, use regular wrenches.
Don’t Go Cheap
Don’t go cheap unless you really want to test your luck. In the event that your torque wrench doesn’t work properly, you may end up shearing off a bolt on your dirt bike, resulting in more wastage of time and money. If you want to make your own luck, go with the Bikemaster 1/4″ digital torque wrench.
What Does a Torque Wrench do Anyway?
The basic purpose of torque wrenches is to help the user to determine the exact pressure that is being applied in turning a bolt. People are often surprised to discover exactly how lightly some bolts on a dirt bike should be turned. Users often apply too much pressure or force when turning bolts, resulting in strict parts as well as the breaking off of bolts. Dirt bike manuals inform users of exactly what poundage is required for the bike’s different specific bolts. Different pressure is required for different bolts. It is a job that cannot be left to guess-work but has to be undertaken with precision and research beforehand. The dirt bike manual is the one and only place where users can discover what the exact numbers are. If you happen to not have a manual of your own, you can always easily access manuals online.
Calibration of the Torque Wrench
A torque wrench is a tool requiring extra care and attention, with adjustments needing to be periodically adjusted. A torque wrench should be calibrated by a professional once or so every year. But you can do it at home as well. Here’s how.
Make a mark on the torque wrench’s drive, in the center, on the back. Take a measurement starting at the mark you have made, to the area on which you would place your hand in the process of using the wrench, making another mark there, the second mark. Calculate the distance between these two marks. Fix the square head within a bench vise, ensuring that no other of the wrench’s parts makes contact with the vise. Then adjust the handle, positioning it horizontally. Match the torque value to the setting of the distance obtained between the two marks. Hang weights of the same value as the torque value from the marks you drew. If you hear a click coming from the wrench, then raise the weight, slowly moving it up towards the wrench’s head right until you stop hearing the clicking. Mark the place roughly, repeating the process to ensure that you have the right spot. In case you don’t hear a clicking in the beginning, take the weight away from the wrench’s head until the clicking starts. Mark it and repeat to ensure you get the right spot. Your mark will be more accurate once you obtain the same spot after checking two or more times of checking.
Make a measurement of the space lying between the square head and the click mark, deriving a number you will need to put into the calibration equation. In order to discover the real amount of torque, multiply the distance you’ve acquired by 20 pounds.
Apply the following formula: Ta=Ts×(D1/D2), where Ta stands for torque applied, and Ts stands for torque setting, and D1 for the distance between the first two marks you made and finally D2 stands for the distance you last discovered.
Make sure that there are no errors in your math, and then adjust the torque wrench accordingly.
Torque Wrench Repair
A torque wrench can be repaired in many ways, restoring its accuracy, preventing you from having to waste money on a new one, or have it repaired by a professional. Several things can go wrong with a torque wrench, including the clicker not working properly. If you open up a torque wrench you can figure out how its various mechanisms work. This can enable you to fix minor problems with the torque wrench yourself. Here are a few ways you can employ to repair your torque wrench.
The first way to repair a wrench is by reassembling it. What this involves, essentially, is disassembling the torque wrench and then putting it back together again, making careful note of calibration errors. If the wrench was off in its accuracy, or its parts were not functioning properly, you will find that reassembling it in a tightly, securely and precisely will suffice to restore its accuracy. However, you don’t want to do this unless you are really knowledgeable when it comes to the various parts of the torque wrench. Go ahead if you’re confident in your abilities.
Cleaning It Out
You will notice that your torque wrench will, over time, start to contain buildups of oil in its crevices as you use it to maintain your dirt bike. The way to deal with this is to disassemble it, wiping out the parts using a damp cloth, applying the same procedure to the outer part of the wrench. Keeping your wrench clean is very important. It sustains accuracy and prevents the parts from getting worn.
Checking for Breaks or Cracks
The metal of your torque wrench can occasionally break or crack. Therefore, inspect your torque wrench closely and frequently for any physical damage that it may have sustained. Should you discover such damage, you will want to buy a replacement wrench. This is the only safe solution. Breaks and cracks are not something that you can fix at home. It is vitally important to know what kinds of problems can be repaired, and what kinds cannot.
If you employ the practices given above, your torque wrench will remain in top notch condition for a long time. Make sure that you clean your wrench often, storing it in a dry place. Don’t lend it out to people who may not treat it with the care it needs. Treat your tools with love and care, ensuring that whatever projects you undertake will be successful.