How to Use a Beam Torque Wrench
How to Use a Beam Torque Wrench
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A torque wrench is a specific tool to tighten bolts and nuts of various units, constructions, and mechanisms with the required torque value. This force is normally measured in Newton-meters and foot-pounds.

To ensure reliable, accurate, and smooth operation, most modern mechanisms must be assembled with maximum precision. Deviation of the dosed tightening force can adversely affect both the quality of the unit, construction or mechanism, and the duration of its useful life.

There are a lot of varieties of this tool from ratchet adapters, to beam and electronic devices. Bolt tightening technology differs depending on the specific kind of tool. 

A beam type torque wrench is a must-have for car users

It fastens nuts and bolts to the definite torque parameter, which manufacturers recommend for their products. The device is inexpensive and simple in use. If maintained and used properly, such tools will serve you forever and ever. 

Beam torque wrenches contain a floating handle, which allows the handle to pivot as you turn the wrench. If you hold it properly the handle exerts pressure on the extreme end of the tool, thereby allowing precise torque application.

In general, the tool is a rod with a handle at one end and an indicator mechanism at the other. At the working end of the handle a socket head or a connecting socket are installed. They can be provided with indicator and adjusting mechanisms, with a safety lock against overtightening or without.

Such tools have a characteristic feature – large overall dimensions. On the handle there is a scale, which provides the necessary measurements. This tool cannot be pre-configured, which is one of its drawbacks. So, the tightening result is achieved in the process of work.

It is recommended to use only in machines and mechanisms where an average level of tightening accuracy is needed. When you use a beam style tool the handle moves in the direction of the application of the torque relative to the scale. The arrow remains stationary.

To make the measurement as accurately as possible, you must perform the following steps:

Step 1

Find a socket, fitting the nut or bolt, you are planning to fasten. For different sizes you can transform the wrench fast with non-expensive adapters.

Step 2

Put the socket to the tool – the square socket end to the square metal pin of the torque wrench, which is referred to as the drive. Then fasten the nut or bolt manually to the limit.

Step 3

In advance find the place on the scale, the arrow should reach, at the moment of applying maximum effort. Experienced users advise sticking a stripe of tape next to the desired torque value. That way you will see the target easily.

Step 4

Install the socket on the fastener. Remember that only the pivot of the handle can touch the beam and the handle must stay in the center.

Step 5

Pull the wrench clockwise. Tighten smoothly and consistently, reaching the specified position on the scale. When you pull, the handle bends a bit. This movement of the arrow is affected by the torque, applied to the fastener. The pointer, which is bending, shows the torque value, which you are applying. The torque gauging is most often printed in foot-pounds and Newton-meters. 

Step 6

Keep turning the fastener, and rotate the handle carefully to ensure that only the pivot is touching the beam. With even moves put enough effort for the beam to bend up to the proper required indication of the applied torque. If additional force is required, the tool is set aside; the piece is tightened with a conventional wrench and then re-checked using a beam torque wrench.

Step 7

Stop pressing the wrench slowly as you reach your targeted torque value. Take off the socket from the fastener. If you notice some grease on the socket, it must be wiped off. Clean the tool using a rag with several drops of light machine oil for better storage.

A few useful tips and tricks when working with a beam torque wrench

  • The pointer measuring device has a minimum cost, but the level of measurement deviation is quite high, up to 8%. It is not recommended when you install cylinder head and wheel bearings. In a car service, they usually have different types of tools and choose them depending on the instructions, the connection point, and the requirements for the accuracy of the tightening torque.
  • To ensure the accuracy of the required value, it is necessary to keep the tool in a warm room for at least 3 hours before starting work. This is important because the spring or electronic mechanism must adapt to the external environmental conditions.
  • To achieve maximum accuracy of the tightening torque of the connection, the use of adapters between the mounting square of the wrench and the working head must be avoided.
  • When you finish the work, it is necessary to set the initial, zero value on the tool. This will relieve the mechanism and prevent errors during subsequent measurements.

Beam torque wrench versus other popular types

Micrometer torque wrench

Drivers often purchase such a tool because of the high measurement accuracy, strength, and the presence of a convenient scale with adjustment. It is impossible to overtighten the thread with such a device since a fuse is provided.

The main thing is to know the desired value of the maximum force (tightening torque) and to set it in advance. The usual tightening of the connection (bolt or nut) is carried out until a well-audible click appears. This sound signals the achievement of the required parameter. It is convenient that after the click, the device will switch to the “slip” mode and it will be impossible to overtighten the connection.

Electronic instrument

The use of this tool is justified when you assemble the equipment that requires high tightening accuracy. Information is displayed on the LCD. The advantage of the models is the ability to save settings during operation.

The data settings are carried out according to the instructions with special buttons. They are convenient and simple in use, and the time savings are huge. You can benefit a lot if you use such devices on a conveyor assembly when it is necessary to perform a repetitive operation many times.

It signals when the specified tightening torque is reached with high accuracy. There are also special electronic adapters to install on the ratchet wrench.

Conclusion

A beam torque wrench is an essential tool that must be included with your vehicle and is considered the best option in terms of price and quality.


I’m a Matthew Johnson, and I’m a motor mechanic. I like my profession and every day I use many tools, but a torque wrench is most useful of them. I’m going to write about my experience of using different torque wrenches and share with you.

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