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Titan Ratcheting Breaker Bar

Thanks to Titan, you no longer must choose between the convenience of a ratchet and the toughness of a breaker bar.  They claim that their 18″ ratcheting breaker bar offers the convenience of both, withstanding up to 376 ft-lbs of pipe-stuck-on-the-end torque.

It’s made from chrome-plated heavy-duty chrome vanadium steel, and Titan coats the head with a black oxide finish to resist corrosion.  The 1/2″ ratchet head swivels 180 degrees, and you can lock the ratcheting action so it functions just like a regular breaker bar.

But it’s not the handle that fails when you overtorque a ratchet — it’s the ratcheting mechanism.  And before we can really get behind these, we need a) to see one handle the claimed torque in person, and b) to understand what they’ve done inside the bar’s head to make this possible.

Of course, Amazon is offering it for $30 right now, so maybe we need to just pony up and find out.

Ratcheting Breaker Bar [Titan]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s this?]

 

15 Responses to Titan’s Ratcheting Breaker Bar

  1. A safety issue I forgot to raise in the post: How much torque can a standard 1/2″ socket bear before it breaks? Maybe you should also use impact sockets, designed for higher torque, when you are applying 376ft-lbs of torque.

  2. Old Donn says:

    They don’t call them breaker bars for nothing.

  3. Craig says:

    Ok, I’m certainly no genius, but 376 ft-lbs seems pretty light duty to me. My Dewalt electric impact is rated to 350 ft-lbs, and decent pneumatic Impacts can be rated much higher. Also, at 250 lbs., I don’t see myself being able to hang off the end of a piece of pipe, like I’ve done countless times (damn tire change places) with my standard breaker bar.

    Having said that, I think this is a great idea, but I think I’ll wait for the heavier duty model.

  4. To put 376 ft/lbs in perspective, if a 250 lb man puts all his weight into an 18″ breaker bar, he can generate 375 ft/lbs of torque. A SAE Grade 5 3/8-16 bolt can take 370 ft/lbs of torque (I’m not sure whether the threads fail or the bolt shears).

    That said, yes there are applications that may require more torque, and yes a pneumatic impact wrench (or electric) can generate much more torque. But sometimes you don’t want to drag out the air hose, or you might be away from your garage.

    • Robert says:

      A SAE Grade 5 3/8-16 bolt can take 370 ft/lbs of torque (I’m not sure whether the threads fail or the bolt shears).

      What do you mean by “take”? Rating or actual test to failure. Normally safety factor will render failure at a much higher (5x) value than “rating”.

      • To be honest I’m not sure where I got that rating from, I can’t find it again. I wish I would have sourced that.

        Looking at this page:(other pages give similar results)
        http://www.dansmc.com/torque_chart.htm

        Since a Grade 5 bolt should be tightened no more than 36 ft-lbs. I’m guessing I meant that the bolt would fail around 370 ft-lbs. Again I’m not sure of the failure mode.

  5. Craig says:

    Interesting, thanks for the perspective Ben.

    Question. What formula (or where did you find the formula) to figure out the 250 lb man 18″ breaker bar rating?

    I’d be extremely interested in playing with some different variables.

    And yes, I agree about dragging out the air hose/extension cord, those always seem to hinder my likelihood of impact wrench use.

  6. Craig,

    T = F * d

    where:
    T is the torque
    F is the force used
    d is the length of the lever arm

    So in the above example the lever arm is 18″ or 1.5′ and the force is 250lbs

    T = F * d
    375ft/lbs = 250lbs * 1.5 ft.

    I could have used a simpler example where the relationship would have been more obvious, like a 2 ft lever with 100lbs of force is 200 ft/lbs, but I was trying to use numbers relevant to the situation.

  7. m4ff3w says:

    375ft/lbs != 250lbs * 1.5ft

    375ft*lbs = 250lbs * 1.5ft

    😉

  8. Craig says:

    Awesome, thanks Ben (and m4ff3w). Wow that’s a simple formula, I’m pretty sure even I could remember that.

  9. Yeah, that’s what I meant….Thanks for the correction m4ff3w

  10. Leo L says:

    Thanks Ben for the great info. I had a question maybe you could help me with. This ratcheting bar has two functions. A regular breaker bar or as a ratchet. The breaker bar is rated to withstand 378ft-lbs, does that mean if it’s in ratchet mode it would click like a torque wrench if it surpassed that torque? what would happen if it was set in breaker bar mode and it surpassed the 378ft-lb rate. In simpler terms, what does the 378ft-lb rating mean when in ratchet or breaker bar function mode? Thanks in advance.

  11. @Leo L:

    Talk about digging up an old article…

    I did a little more research and found that there’s still no real information about the breaker bar other than the specs.

    Having examined claims for thousands of tools since I posted this article and becoming a little wiser in the ways of marketing, I’m betting the maximum torque spec is for when the ratcheting action it locked, not for when it is ratcheting. The maximum torque spec for the ratcheting mechanism is probably lower, conveniently left out.

    Don’t get me wrong I still think this tool is cool — if I already didn’t have a bunch of breaker bars and ratchets I’d still be tempted to pick one up — you just have to be smart about how you use it. For example, use it locked breaker bar mode to loosen the fastener then switch to ratcheting mode to quickly remove it.

    To your specific questions:

    Question 1) The breaker bar is rated to withstand 378ft-lbs, does that mean if it’s in ratchet mode it would click like a torque wrench if it surpassed that torque?

    I really doubt it is built to click like a torque wrench. The ratcheting mechanism probably either slips or breaks at a somewhat lower torque than 378ft-lbs, but I could be wrong.

    Question 2) what would happen if it was set in breaker bar mode and it surpassed the 378ft-lb rate.

    Something probably fails, probably the locking mechanism. I don’t think that’s enough torque to bend the bar.

  12. Leo L says:

    Thanks Ben for your input. I was debating between this and the other Titan jumbo breaker bar, which has a less ft-lb rating. I like the extra convenience of the ratchet and the extra ft-lb rating. I did also consider situations where I need more head room to fit the socket and the head of the breaker bar, where the jumbo BB is shorter by about an inch. I might end up just picking up both. Just curious, do you notice any slight hinderance being that the ratchet/BB has t a inch longer tip for the socket attachment over the Titan jumbo or any regular BB in that matter?

    Thanks

  13. Besides clearance issues, the only problem I see with the longer head is that unless you are supporting it, not all of the torque you are applying goes into turning the fastener; some of it will want to pull the socket from the fastener, but you probably would notice it too much with just an extra inch. An extra 6-12″ sure.

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