how important is using a torque wrench - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 07-29-2014, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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how important is using a torque wrench

Hi All,

I did not want to turn everyone off by starting out another oil changing thread. But this does have to do with changing the oil. I watched a utube video on changing the oil on a KLR650. That may seem ridiculous but the fellow that was giving the class gave me insight on things I have never thought of. As an example how to give the O-rings a visual inspection. I have never given o rings much thought. But I will be the first one to admit I have had seeping oil around the oil filter cover on a bike or 3 over the years. The one thing that completely caught my attention is when he broke out the torque wrench to tighten the bolts on the oil filter cover and the oil draining plug. I am ashamed to say that I don't even own a torque wrench and will have to learn how to use one if the opinion here is to get one. But my question here is how critical is it to use a torque wrench when doing an oil change ?
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post #2 of 38 Old 07-29-2014, 10:04 PM
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I will say I have never used a torque wrench during an oil change on the KLR (or any other bike) That said though, I have performed services on vehicles and large gen sets for many many years.
I do have a couple of torque wrenches and after working with an aircraft maintenance engineer (who beat proper bolt torque into my head), I do use them for other applications.
Long story short, they are a good investment and really, a good habit to get into.
As a young lad, I snapped off many a bolt and learned the hardway how to use screw extractors and easy outs.
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post #3 of 38 Old 07-29-2014, 11:00 PM
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Back in the 20s, 30s, and 40s riders hardly ever used a torque wrench when working on their motorcycles. They said they had a 'feel' for the right amount of effort to apply to various size bolts. Apparently, they claimed that this 'feel' was the result of experience and common sense.

They didn't use torque wrenches and now they are all dead.

You've been warned.

Tom

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post #4 of 38 Old 07-29-2014, 11:03 PM
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Wouldn't take much of a search to find out the unhappy results of over tightening a oil drain plug. I use the torque wrench because it cost a lot of money for that tool so it's getting used.

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post #5 of 38 Old 07-30-2014, 05:57 AM
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I don't use one for the oil filter cover bolts, but I do use one for the drain plug since I accepted a long time ago I'm one of those "just a little tighter won't hurt" guys.

I kind of defeat the purpose of the wrench. Although my manual calls for 21 foot-lbs. of torque on the drain plug, I only torque mine to about 18 then lockwire it. My main goal in using the torque wrench on the drain plug is to not strip the threads. It might cause some to wince, but I just use a $20 Harbor Freight torque wrench for the plug. I figure it's still a lot more accurate than my brain and muscles.




Last edited by planalp; 07-30-2014 at 06:00 AM.
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post #6 of 38 Old 07-30-2014, 09:56 AM
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I use them most of the time just so I can remember how to use them...

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post #7 of 38 Old 07-30-2014, 12:18 PM
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A good point brought up above by planalp, is that an inaccurate torque wrench can be more dangerous than a simple wrench.
If and when you do buy a torque wrench, take care of it, don't use it as a bigger lever, and if it's the click type, when you put it away always dial it back to 0.
Mine gets calibrated (thanks to an AME I know) and is good up to 100 ft/lbs. After that I need to refer to the cal sheet.
(Yes, I am ignoring that old dead guy crack!:0)
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post #8 of 38 Old 07-30-2014, 12:29 PM
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I'm old, Canamatt, but I'm not dead yet (much to some folks chagrin)!

I'm the sort that uses the beam type torque wrench because I believe that they tend to remain more accurate. Less precise, perhaps, but more accurate over time.

Bolts that are critical with respect to torque (head bolts, rotor bolt, crank and clutch nuts, cam caps, sprocket bolts and nuts) get set with the torque wrench, but most fasteners are done without one. I do wish that I had a 1/4" drive torque wrench.

My RT has a bazillion 4mm Torx bolts holding all the covers on. I found a small battery operated screw driver that pretty reliably tightens things down to 29 in-pounds. It's been a godsend for assembly and dis-assembly of the RT and the case bolts on the KLR.

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Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 07-30-2014 at 12:44 PM.
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post #9 of 38 Old 07-30-2014, 12:33 PM
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I go by feel on some things. Torque wrench for others. For instance I certainly used a torque wrench when I reinstalled my rotor during the doohickey install.

Oil pan needs to be on there firm. No more than that. If it doesn't leak within 24 hours you are probably okay. All sorts of people out there have nasty over torquing problems. I also don't measure the oil filter cap. Not really critical IMO.

Loctite makes the "by feeling" router safer.

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post #10 of 38 Old 07-30-2014, 12:48 PM
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It's really scary how many threads we see about stripped drain plugs! I think planalp's practice of lockwireing it and using minimal torque is a good one. I've also heard of using a NAPA neoprene washer; I haven't done either but am thinking of going that way.

I'm also not comfortable with how much the head of my bolt sticks out and am thinking of turning it down pretty low to the case.

Tom

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“Some days I feel like playing it smooth. Some days I feel like playing it like a waffle iron.” -Philip Marlowe

“'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte

Sting like a butterfly.
Noli Timere Messorem
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