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Old 03-31-2012, 11:06 AM   #1
pseudodigm
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Default Torque Wrench for Spark Plugs?

Can anyone recommend a decent (ie: doesn't have to be professional grade, this will only be used a few times a year, you know?) torque wrench that will: a.) Fit in the tight area you're in while changing sparkplugs, and b.) adjust down to 15-19 lbs?

I have a big 1/2 one that only goes down to like 30 and wouldn't even begin to fit so I've been trying to find a solution. Last time I did the plugs i did what the manifesto recommended (hand tight, then a 1/4 turn) but I'd like to be sure because I need to do a compression test soon and I hate to just guess...

The ones I've seen at Harbor Freight and Amazon are either like...NASA approved and really expensive, will do the right torque but look too big, or are small enough but go down to 20 or 30 and not 15.

Is there one that people tend to use or do people do 20 because it's close enough to 15-19 or does everyone just do it by feel?

THanks!
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Old 04-01-2012, 03:00 PM   #2
happs subi
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Ace hardware has some small cheap ones. Honestly though, it would be a real bear to try and fit a torque wrench down there unless you plan on lifting the motor a few inches.
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:56 PM   #3
pseudodigm
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So most people just do it by feel then?
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:18 PM   #4
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I just do it by feel, you feel the gasket smashing then it starts to get harder to turn when its all the way tight. That way they are probably over torqued but that's not such a horrible thing if you put anti-seize on them.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jts749 View Post
That way they are probably over torqued but that's not such a horrible thing if you put anti-seize on them.
until you strip the threads out of the aluminum head
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:32 AM   #6
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i usually get them to the crush ring then another 1/4 - 1/2 turn. never used a tq wrench on them. now that i think of it, the only time i use a tq wrench is wheels and when building engines, all elese goes by feel.
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vision.dynamix View Post
until you strip the threads out of the aluminum head
There's always someone like you in these types of threads
"ZOMG u put lug nuts on without a torque wrench?!"

Cross threading the heads is a more common problem than stripping them out. Most of those spark plug boxes have instructions too for people who don't have torque wrenches like tighten until snug + 180* or something along those lines.

It's always better to use a torque wrench, but how much better? If good-n-tighten is good enough then settle for that. I'm not going to unbolt my motor mounts and lift the engine so I can fit a torque wrench on the side of the motor. Simply not necessary. If the motor is out of the car on the stand, it's another story.

-Dave

Last edited by lavid2002; 04-02-2012 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:14 AM   #8
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I always torque the spark plugs by hand and always have an all my cars. Had some bad locations with some cars I've seen in the past...

However... Have you guys seen how many of the heads that people are selling get the "harmless" nice little cracks around the spark plug holes?

I know mine got them on the EJ205 engine that I sold.

I would like to avoid reducing the resale value of my heads and avoid forming these cracks..

I don't know if you guys noticed, but 90% of the heads that come up for sale have them and 90% of the people (rougly) torque plugs by hand.

I'll say this: the heads that come up for sale with no cracks sell for a nice premium.

For this reason alone, I'd like to calibrate my "handtorque" by using a wrench on at least one of the plugs.
I'm going to look at what the factory says to use for the plugs.
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Old 04-19-2012, 11:21 AM   #9
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What kind of enormous torque wrenches do you guys have. I have no problem fitting my old snap-on fixed 3/8th torque wrench in next to the engine on my EJ205. The head is actually the exact same size as my 3/8th ratchet.

You guys think a Subaru is hard to torque plugs on try doing it on a GM minivan or Pontiac Aztec.

Pretty much any 3/8 torque wrench should fit with the right extension size on the end.
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Old 04-19-2012, 11:55 AM   #10
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I was able to fit my Sears 3/8" drive torque wrench on 3 of the 4 plugs. The 4th was done by hand. IIRC, it goes to 10 ft/lbs.

Just FYI, before I had the 3/8 wrench, I used my 1/2" Sears to torque strut top studs to 15 ft/lbs even though the scale stopped at 20. I just turned it down 5 more lbs using the scale graduations and then checked using a 15 lb weight, a ruler, and bench vise. It was still acurrate at 15 ft/lbs.
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Old 04-21-2012, 02:13 AM   #11
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You need 3/8" drive spark plug socket to small extension to universal swivel joint to long extension to long extension to any 3/8 drive torque wrench. All four. No problem.
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Old 04-21-2012, 05:41 AM   #12
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I have been using a harbor freight 1/4" drive, 20 - 200in-lb torque wrench for years on subaru sparkplugs.

it does take the right combination of spark plug socket and extension and 1/4" - 3/8" adapter to fit just right....but it DOES fit just right
I dont use any universal swivel....

180 - 190in-lbs is just right


and per the real honest to god spark plug engineer d00000d from ngk that posts over in the maint forum all the time ....you should NOT use ANY anti-seize products with their spark plugs as they are already anti seize plated from the factory and adding anti seize causes more and more serious issues than it solves or is supposed to prevent
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Old 04-21-2012, 05:42 AM   #13
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I have been using a harbor freight 1/4" drive, 20 - 200in-lb torque wrench for years on subaru sparkplugs.

it does take the right combination of spark plug socket and extension and 1/4" - 3/8" adapter to fit just right....but it DOES fit just right
I dont use any universal swivel....

180 - 190in-lbs is just right


and per the real honest to god spark plug engineer d00000d from ngk that posts over in the maint forum all the time ....you should NOT use ANY anti-seize products with their spark plugs as they are already anti seize plated from the factory and adding anti seize causes more and more serious issues than it solves or is supposed to prevent
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Old 04-21-2012, 02:15 PM   #14
RedStar101
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I never use a torque wrench for spark plugs, but a Harbor freight would do the job fine.
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:15 AM   #15
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ya i dont use a torque wrench either. A bendy on your wrench extentions sure does the trick for changing plugs though.
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Old 11-03-2012, 03:21 AM   #16
CalvinT
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NGK says to go 1/4 turn past finger tight.

Not a good idea to use any kind of swivel, they can throw your torque readings off.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:23 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalvinT View Post
NGK says to go 1/4 turn past finger tight.

Not a good idea to use any kind of swivel, they can throw your torque readings off.
Not can, do. Why use a precision tool at all, if your only going to make it imprecise.

extensions throw off your torque readings too, but at such a low ft-lb its negligible.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:44 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProdriveDreams View Post
Not can, do. Why use a precision tool at all, if your only going to make it imprecise.
Because you feel super pro with a $300 Snap-On torque wrench in your hands, even if you're using it as a pry bar.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:44 AM   #19
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Not gonna lie... it is a nice torque wrench...
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:31 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Scotty View Post
per the real honest to god spark plug engineer d00000d from ngk that posts over in the maint forum all the time ....you should NOT use ANY anti-seize products with their spark plugs as they are already anti seize plated from the factory and adding anti seize causes more and more serious issues than it solves or is supposed to prevent
Good to know Uncle Scotty. Been using a 3/8" torque wrench for the last 9 years with no issues. The spark plugs in the DOHC heads are tricky but you definitely have enough room to get the wrench in there.
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