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Here’s another of GearWrench’s SEMA releases: a new electronic torque wrench.  Besides the advantages of all electronic torque wrenches — unlike “clickers” they can measure maximum torque applied to install or remove a fastener — GearWrench also brings some of their own “flavor” to the pie in the form of a 60-tooth ratcheting gear and an innovative “traffic-light-like” system to warn you as you approach your target torque.

The 60-tooth ratchet yields a 6′ ratcheting arc — about half that of many competitors.  That’s handy when you’re in tight spaces.  But what really grabbed our attention was the wrench’s alert system.  In a torque wrench, accuracy is everything.  Most electronic torque wrenches just buzz or beep as you’re exceeding the target torque.  Only by applying very smooth, steady, slow torque can you assure any level of accuracy. 

But what if you’re cranking in 150 ft-lbs?  The GearWrench allows you to pull hard until you see the yellow light illuminate — at 85% of your target torque — then pull slow and steady up to your target, where the red light illuminates and the buzzer sounds.

Internally, GearWrench upped the speed of the electronics to take 3,000 torque measurements per second — as opposed to the 300 that’s common in the industry.  They also integrated the digital signal processing and conditioning functionality into the same chip that performs calculations, speeding up the process to further help prevent overtorquing.  A side benefit: the electronics module is a little smaller, too.

Other features include the ability to convert units on the fly (ft-lbs, in-lbs, Nm), a backlight to help you read the LCD when you’re up to your neck in an engine compartment, and a thin-profile ratchet head that’s sealed to help keep dirt out.

Street pricing starts around $200, which is pretty inexpensive for this kind of tool.

Electronic Torque Wrenches [GearWrench]
Street Pricing [Froogle]

 

5 Responses to Preview: GearWrench’s New Electronic Torque Wrenches

  1. PeterP says:

    I’ve been looking for a decent torque wrench for some time. May have to grab one of these, or at least put it on the Christmas list…

  2. Rick Reimundez says:

    Same here! This looks like a bargain compared to most electronic tourqe wrenches. But I’d have to play with it first to see if I like it as much as the “clicker” models.

  3. Rick says:

    Just read this again on my laptop (was on my cell phone before). and saw that you can see how much torque was required to remove a fastener..
    I like that.. Then I can go back and scream at the shop when they over-torque my wheels.

  4. Myself says:

    Except that there’s more than just torque at play there. Obviously after a long time, fasteners can seize, and you wouldn’t blame the installer for overtorquing them. But similar things happen on a much shorter timescale too, depending on the chemicals and crud in the joint. You’d have to test it yourself: torque to the spec and then wait the same amount of time, applying the same thermal cycle, then see how much removal torque is needed. Only if the shop’s work required significantly more than *that* number would you have grounds to complain.

    But yes, sweet tool! I have a flexing-bar wrench and it never occurred to me that the click type couldn’t read removal torque too. If I get back into car work I might have to pick up one of these electronic beasties.

  5. torque wrench calibrator says:

    As someone who calibrates torque wrenches for the US Air Force, I know that the fancy electronics, lights, & buzzers, don’t really make a torque wrench more accurate. The best type is the click type torque wrench. The type were you turn the handle to adjust it to the proper value. Then when you use it the torque wrench clicks & you feel it snap when you get to that value. These are the type I recommend. The dial indicating or flex beam torque wrenches are usually accurate, but they are difficult to use if you can’t see the indicator or needle.

    Most people only need a torque wrench to tighten fasteners to a proper torque spec. Unless you need to know the break away torque, you should stick to a quality manufactures click type torque wrench.

    The other type I recommend is a torque limiter. This is a type that you put between your socket & your ratchet, & it doesn’t allow you to tighten a fastener any tighter than the amount it is set to. These can be used with an impact wrench. Highly recommended for wheel shops & mechanics, but a little overkill for the DIYer.

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