15 thoughts on “Screw That Gimmick, Hand Me The Cheater Bar

    • Well put. The length of wrenches, ratchets, etc are set by the
      size of fastener or range of fasteners they were designed to
      tighten. If you have a good feel, you can get within a gnat’s ass
      above or below the fasteners recommended torque and achieve
      uniform tension between fasteners by hand.

      I’ve seen guys blow something as simple as a pipe flange. If
      you don’t know the technique, it is going to leak. In order
      to achieve proper gasket compression, you have to work the
      pattern and go around the clock a dozen or more times until
      all the fasteners have uniform tension. It is all done by feel.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What happened to a torque wrench? Better to set a proper torque then a Go/NoGo guide. I wonder how weak that fastener is with the color crap in the middle? Must only be calibrated in Inch-Pounds.


  2. Actually, that happens to be a pretty good idea, especially when you don’t have a torque wrench handy and/or you can’t get one in there. Or you don’t know the proper torque and can’t look it up.

    They were developed for the Space Program, by the way…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve seen stuff like that at the plant. When you have a contract construction crew that looks like it came from the Home Depot parking lot and can’t speak a word of English, it’s nice to have visual verification that all 200 bolts are properly torqued on the reactor cooler head flange for a vessel that runs at 500 psig and has a 12 ft diameter gasket. We use a special hydraulic assembly to torque, total bolt-up time typically runs 12 to 18 hrs, depending on the crew. So you don’t have just one person out there watching, easy to miss things.

    Also structural bolting when using galvanized material can be tough to properly torque. Even thought the wrench registers the “correct” torque, it’s really measuring resistance to twisting the nut and not the actual tension on the bolt. I learned this one on a recent project. They use something called a “crush washer” that indicates the bolt tension at proper torque.

    Of course this is overkill on smaller stuff, such as engine head bolts or wheel lug nuts. I wouldn’t think you would need anything like this unless the wrench you’re using is marked 4″ or larger.


  4. In the course of my career, I have seen it all. One dipshit did not properly
    tighten some bolts on a paper mill pulper, resulting in an all hands on deck
    situation that took the better part of a day to repair. Then there are the
    gorillas who overtighten the shit out fasteners.

    Double acting air and gas compressors were one type of machine that
    required the gorilla approach. A thing called a crosshead (a sort of piston)
    that translates to a straight-line motion of the actual rod and piston.

    The threaded and precision ground piston rod has a big ass threaded nut
    7 or 8+ inches across the flats. Using a striker wrench and a 20-pound
    sledgehammer, we had to hit those fuckers hard at least 25 times. Someone
    A company invented something called a super nut that allowed us to use
    a 3/8″ torque wrench to do the same job:


    • Nice video. We have those super-bolts on a polymer extruder and die-plate. I’ve been told how they work, but the video really explains it better. Last outage, about half the smaller bolts broke off and we ended up drilling them out and then had to replace the entire super-bolt assembly. But I can see where the tensioning is much more controlled.


    • Technology gentlemen, learn it, embrace it, and love it!
      There are dozens of applications for this Smartbolt. I’ll like it if it passes muster, time saver, easy inspection, all leads to peace of mind.


  5. How stupid you got to be to not know how tight to screw a nut down?
    This stupid:

    I usually do my own, but got too busy welding to put all 4 brakes on my TDI, so I took it to a newly minted “certified” mechanic.
    After six hours, I stopped in to see how it was going.
    The kid was sitting there trying to figure out how to put the caliper with pads back on the rotor without pushing the plunger back in, DUH.
    I should have stopped him right there, but………I didn’t.
    After a full day he calls me up to say that one of the new calipers was defective.
    I go to look at it, and the idiot had tightened the hydraulic fitting so tight that it stripped and was leaking.
    I got another caliper and finally drove away.
    Within 100 miles, one rear caliper started rattling because the bolts had loosened up.
    I took it back and told him to get a torque wrench and tighten it up to specs and to also check the other side.
    All seemed fine until after about 500 miles, I was taking a high speed exit at about 50 MPH when a bolt in the opposite side caliper fell out allowing the caliper to spin and lock up the wheel.
    Lucky it wasn’t the other half that was driving, because there would probably have been some bad shit go down.
    I bungied the caliper so that it wouldn’t drag on the ground, and limped home.
    He lasted at that shop about another 6 months, and finally left, I hope, to pursue another trade.
    BTW, that brake job ended up costing me $675 just for labor plus another $100 for the two calipers he fucked up, not to mention that I provided all the original new parts, so probably about $1300 all together.
    Live and learn, I guess.


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