Monday, May 25, 2015

Lifeline Torque Wrench Set review

This is a review of the Lifeline Professional Torque wrench.

Why do I need one
When assembling stuff manufacturers may often quote the maximum tightening torque that should be applied to a bolt 

Here is an example from the Shimano Dura Ace FC-9000 manual   It says between 12.0 to 14.0 Nm  (or 105 - 122 in lbs in old, fuddy duddy Imperial)

Old Skool thoughts
Marcus was always taught the value of knowing /the feel/ of tightening a bolt and nut.  The basic idea is that over time you develop a feeling in your hands of the torque you are using  and don't overtighten.  Because:

- For Steel, you can make it so tight that it's almost impossible to loosen.  Classic example: wheelnuts on a car
- For Aluminium: you can just sheer the bolt off (note in my defence not what happened here!)

Developing this feel is best done in 2015 with the assistance of a torque wrench!  I had to deal with an oops and hard stare or worse, back in the day.

How it Works

- You read your manual and find the tightening torque

- You pull the spring loaded bottom dial out and turn it until the display shows the required torque  (fiddly)

- You attach the correctly sized hex drive

- Set the ratchet to tighten or loosen  (normally ratchet on loosen so it holds when you tighten)

- You tighten bolt and when at the head, it clicks, and gives it means stop tightening you reached the desired torque.

Notes on Lifeline professional
Actually a friend expressed an interest in a Torque wrench.  I already had the Lifeline Essential cheaper version.  What a perfect opportunity to gift them my Essential and upgrade the home toolkit to Professional! ...  So to compare the two

Nice sturdy plastic box but no better than the one of the Essential

 Reasonable bit selection.  Torque display is on body (underneath 5th socket from left in pic)

 Torque setting at the end

Very nicely made, quality feels better of this Professional product feels better than its Essential cousin.

Showing ratchet selection and no eject button

Professional (vs Essential)
+ Slimmer Body better to hold
+ Slimmer body better for tight spaces
- Very fiddly toque adjustment setting
- No push eject bit button (have to pull socket off manually. Essential has it)

The very fiddly nature of the torque setting means that I would more recommend the Essential product, and it's cheaper too!

I'd recommend a torque wrench for tightening fragile bicycle or other components to avoid damage.  Get one!

Lifeline Torque wrench from Wiggle
Lifeline Essential Wrench