If you are a DIYer or a wannabe DIYer, a beam torque wrench is a must-have tool for you. Why so? Because there will be a lot of times when you will need to tighten a screw at the perfect level.
‘Too much’ can ruin the bolt, and ‘not enough’ can leave it unsecured. A beam torque wrench is a perfect tool to reach the sweet spot. But how does a beam torque wrench work?
Tightening a bolt properly at the right level is a good practice in general, but it is almost crucial in the automobile sector.
Especially when you will be tinkering with the engine parts, you have to strictly follow the levels the manufacturers provided. Those bolts work under extreme situations anyway. But in any case, it is a good practice in general.
Before entering the steps of using it –
What Is A Beam Torque Wrench?
A torque wrench is a kind of mechanical wrench that can measure the amount of torque being applied on a bolt or nut at the moment. A beam torque wrench is a torque wrench that displays the amount of torque, with a beam on top of a measuring scale. It is useful when you have a bolt that needs to be tightened at a specific torque.
There are other kinds of torque wrenches available, like a spring-loaded one or an electrical one. But a beam torque wrench is better than your other options because, unlike the other types, with a beam wrench, you do not need to cross your fingers and hope that your tool is calibrated properly.
Another plus point of a beam wrench is that you do not have as many limitations with a beam torque wrench as you would with, let’s say, a spring-loaded one.
What I mean is that with a spring-loaded torque wrench, you cannot go beyond the threshold of the spring; neither higher torque nor lower than the spring will allow you. But with a beam torque wrench, you have much more freedom. So –
How To Use A Beam Torque Wrench?
The using method of a beam torque wrench is different from that of electrical torque wrench or spring-loaded torque wrench as the working mechanism of different type of torque wrench varies.
Using a beam torque wrench is just as simple as using a mechanical tool goes. It is a pretty basic tool, and with a few simple steps, anyone can use a beam torque wrench like a pro. Here is how it goes-
Step 1 (Assessments)
At first, you will need to check your beam saw to make sure that it is in the perfect working state. No signs of damage, or excessive grease, or collected dust is a good point to start from. Then you need to get the right socket for your bolt.
There are several types of sockets available in the market. Sockets come in all shapes and sizes. You can easily find a socket for the bolt you are handling whether it be a hex head bolt, or a square, or a countersunk hex bolt, or something else (size options included). You will need to get the right type of socket.
Place the socket on the wrench head and gently push it in. You should hear a smooth “click” when it is installed properly and ready to use.
Step 2 (Arrangement)
With your Assessments handled, it is time to get to the arrangement, which is preparing the beam torque wrench to work. To do so, place the wrench on the bolt and secure it properly. Hold the wrench with one hand while guiding the wrench head/socket to sit properly on the bolt with the other.
Turn the wrench in either direction gently or see how much it fluctuates. In an ideal situation, it should not be moving. But in reality, some small movement is fine as long as the socket sits on top of the bolt head steadily. Or rather, the socket should hold the bolt head firmly.
Make sure that nothing is touching the “beam.” The “beam” is the second-long bar that goes from the head of the wrench all the way up to the display measuring scale. If something touches the beam, the reading on the scale can change.
Step 3 (Assignments)
Now it is time to get to work; I mean tightening the bolt. With the socket secured on the bolt head and the beam being as free as it gets, you need to apply pressure on the handle of the torque wrench. Now, you can either sit behind the torque wrench and push the tool, or you can sit in front and pull.
Generally, either pushing or pulling is fine. But in my opinion, pulling is better than pushing. You can apply more pressure when your hand is stretched out compared to when they are bent closer to your body. Thus, it will feel slightly easier to work that way. However, it is just my personal opinion.
What is not my personal opinion, though, is that you pull (or push) parallel to the surface on which the bolt is getting locked.
I mean, you should always be pushing or pulling perpendicular to the direction you are bolting (no idea if “bolting” is a valid term) and try to avoid any sideways movement. Because the measuring beam touches the fence, you won’t be getting an accurate result.
Step 4 (Attentive-ments)
Keep a close look at the scale and see the reader beam shifting slowly as the pressure goes on. At zero pressure, the beam should be at the resting spot, which is right at the center. With the increasing pressure, the beam should be shifting to a side, depending on the direction you are turning.
All the beam torque wrench works in both the clockwise and the counterclockwise directions. Also, most of the beam torque wrenches have both an ft-pound and an N-m scale. When the pointy end of the beam reaches the desired number on the right scale, you will have reached the torque you intended to.
What sets a beam torque wrench apart from other torque wrench variants is that you can go further and beyond the designated amount. In case you prefer to go slightly higher, you can simply do so without any effort.
Step 5 (A-finish-ments)
Once the desired torque is reached, that means the bolt is secured in place just as it was intended to be. So, gently remove the torque wrench from it, and you are officially done. You can either move on to bolt the next one or put the torque wrench back into storage.
In case this was your last bolt, and you are about to wrap things up, there are a few things I personally like to do. I always (try to) remove the socket from the beam torque wrench and put the socket in the box with my other sockets and similar bits and store the torque wrench in the drawer.
This helps to keep things organized and easy-to-find. Keep in mind to periodically apply some oil on the joints and the drive of the torque wrench. “Drive” is the bit you attach the socket on. Also, you should gently wipe the excess oil from the tool. And with that, your tool will be ready for the next time you will need it.
If you followed the steps mentioned above properly, using a beam torque wrench is as simple as cutting through butter. And with time, you can manage to do it like a pro.
The process is not tedious, but you will need to be careful that the reader beam does not touch anything at any point. This is a thing you will need to be watchful about all the time. It will not get easier over time. Be sure to take care of your beam torque wrench just as much as your car or other tools because it is also a tool, after all.
Even though it may look and feel too simple to care about, it relies on the condition of the tool in terms of accuracy. A defective or neglected tool will lose its preciseness fast.