When I saw this picture of Nick’s antique torque wrench it brought back a few memories; my dad’s old Craftsman model with a black plastic handle looks almost just like this. They’re very cool –- just don’t use one.
I’m not slamming the wrench, or you for having bought one in the first place. They more or less did their job back in the day. It’s just that after 30-50 years of untold bending and fatigue, these old-timers most likely aren’t reading correctly. Unlike a brace or hammer, when a torque wrench loses its accuracy it deserves to be relegated to the show-and-tell portion of the shop. Correct torque is the whole point here — if “close” was all you needed when putting an engine back together then a normal wrench would work fine.
Without fail you’ll hear stories that prove this theory wrong — but the real question is, Would you like to bet your motor on it? Nick correctly points out that if your only option right now is one of these, it might be worth the money to go get a new one.
A click-type torque wrench will run you around $45 for a low-end one, and you can still get a pointer-type from several sources for about $30.