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Old 03-13-2016, 07:42 AM   #1
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Torque wrench for spark plugs

I'm going to change plugs and the torques is 12 ft lbs. I have two torque wrenches both in ft lbs; a beam type and a click type. Click goes to about 80 ft lbs and beam to about 150. I'm concerned about their accuracy at lower torques like 12. Am I safe using one of these or should I get an inch-lb type of torque wrench for more precise accuracy?
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Old 03-13-2016, 09:12 AM   #2
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I've never used a torque wrench for spark plugs but i'm old . Make sure you use one that is accurate and be sure to put a little high temperature anti seize on the spark plug threads. Its usually sold at the check out counter at most auto parts stores in little $1 packets. Its easy to strip the threads on our aluminum motors if your not careful
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Old 03-13-2016, 09:26 AM   #3
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12 ft lbs is basically a little over hand tight. I've never "torqued" mine, but another option is to use an Inch/lb torque wrench that goes to at least 144 inch/lbs.
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Old 03-13-2016, 10:12 AM   #4
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Torque wrenches are generally less accurate near the extremes of their scales. Especially at the low end, as it would be in your case.
You could go through the trouble of checking the accuracy of your torque wrenches by using weights(there are many youtube videos on the subject.)
Or since you have 2 torque wrenches you could check one against the other at 12 ft lbs to see how they compare.
Or you can buy an inexpensive Harbor Freight in lb wrench(+/-4% accuracy).
Or you can estimate your hand tightness based on your wrench handle length. For example exerting a force of about 10 to 12 lbs at a distance of 12"(1 foot) from the end of the wrench. Or 16 lbs at a 9"(3/4 foot) distance.
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Old 03-13-2016, 12:57 PM   #5
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Never used a torque wrench on any of my spark plugs whether it be on my 4 wheelers, motorcycles or cars.
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Old 03-13-2016, 01:46 PM   #6
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I'm older than dirt....have a shirt to prove it....I've only torqued spark plugs on my race cars.....because I want the spark plug to be in the same place every time....called indexing.
With that said I've always gone hand tight and then 1/8th to 1/4 turn more...and always....always use anti-seize.
If you only use your torque wrenches every blue moon.....probably not worth getting them recalibrated. I have had my torque wrenches recalibrated every couple of years....although I've used them a lot for building motors and suspensions........when they come back from recalibration they are within 1 to 2% at both ends of the scale.
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Old 03-13-2016, 01:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
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I'm older than dirt....have a shirt to prove it....I've only torqued spark plugs on my race cars.....because I want the spark plug to be in the same place every time....called indexing.
With that said I've always gone hand tight and then 1/8th to 1/4 turn more...and always....always use anti-seize.
If you only use your torque wrenches every blue moon.....probably not worth getting them recalibrated. I have had my torque wrenches recalibrated every couple of years....although I've used them a lot for building motors and suspensions........when they come back from recalibration they are within 1 to 2% at both ends of the scale.
Where do you send them to get recalibrated?
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Old 03-13-2016, 01:50 PM   #8
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I'm older than dirt....have a shirt to prove it....I've only torqued spark plugs on my race cars.....because I want the spark plug to be in the same place every time....called indexing.
With that said I've always gone hand tight and then 1/8th to 1/4 turn more...and always....always use anti-seize.
If you only use your torque wrenches every blue moon.....probably not worth getting them recalibrated. I have had my torque wrenches recalibrated every couple of years....although I've used them a lot for building motors and suspensions........when they come back from recalibration they are within 1 to 2% at both ends of the scale.
Get that badazz CTS out of here!
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Old 03-13-2016, 01:53 PM   #9
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Never used a torque wrench on any of my spark plugs whether it be on my 4 wheelers, motorcycles or cars.
Me either!
In fact, just started using one on my wheels.
Oh wait, I spoke too soon. I did use one waaay back, when I had a burnt valve on a car I bought and had to remove, replace and torque the heads.
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Old 03-13-2016, 02:02 PM   #10
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Where do you send them to get recalibrated?
Team Torque in Bismark, ND
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Old 03-13-2016, 02:04 PM   #11
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Get that badazz CTS out of here!
If you want I could put the picture up of my old 14GT TrakPak......I switch off and on occasionally.
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Old 03-13-2016, 02:06 PM   #12
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Get that badazz CTS out of here!
It's an ATS-V....although 200hp more would be nice..........464hp is enough for this "ole guy".
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Old 03-13-2016, 02:54 PM   #13
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If you want I could put the picture up of my old 14GT TrakPak......I switch off and on occasionally.
What?!?
Are you ashamed of your Cobra or something?
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Old 03-13-2016, 03:19 PM   #14
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What?!?
Are you ashamed of your Cobra or something?
No...guess I need to change my avatar more often and include more than my current DD.
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Old 03-13-2016, 07:27 PM   #15
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I know of several exotic makers that consider anti-seize a no no for their alloy heads due to poor heat transfer and the effect on changing torque wrench settings. A huge advantage of the taper seat plugs Ford uses for most Mustang applications is you turn them 1/8 turn after finger tight like mentioned above by olerodder. I think this is on the part's box too. The thread plating on any decent plug will resist seizing and really transfer heat as a bonus
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Old 03-13-2016, 07:36 PM   #16
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I know of several exotic makers that consider anti-seize a no no for their alloy heads due to poor heat transfer and the effect on changing torque wrench settings. A huge advantage of the taper seat plugs Ford uses for most Mustang applications is you turn them 1/8 turn after finger tight like mentioned above by voltwings. The thread plating on any decent plug will resist seizing and really transfer heat as a bonus
This is why some manufacturer's say to use silver, or aluminum anti-seize, not the copper stuff
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Old 03-13-2016, 09:00 PM   #17
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Ford spec is 12-15ft lbs WITH anti-seize. I have a 5-80ft lbs torque wrench from HF that I use when I do spark plugs EVERY TIME. Set it to 15 and go. I start them with my fingers and a wobble extension on a magnetic spark plug socket, get them snug and then use the torque wrench to finish. 15 ft lbs is VERY close to finger tight and once you use a torque wrench you will have a better understanding of why so many people experience stripped threads in motors with aluminum heads.
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Old 03-13-2016, 09:15 PM   #18
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Ford spec is 12-15ft lbs WITH anti-seize. I have a 5-80ft lbs torque wrench from HF that I use when I do spark plugs EVERY TIME. Set it to 15 and go. I start them with my fingers and a wobble extension on a magnetic spark plug socket, get them snug and then use the torque wrench to finish. 15 ft lbs is VERY close to finger tight and once you use a torque wrench you will have a better understanding of why so many people experience stripped threads in motors with aluminum heads.
Strikes me funny that 2 of you guys refer to finger tight. To me, finger tight is on something with no mechanical advantage. Like with your fingers directly on the plug or nut or an extension of same. What's finger tight using a wrench with a 6", 8' or 9" handle?
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Old 03-13-2016, 09:42 PM   #19
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Finger tight is snug using your fingers. I have the socket on the plug and an extension and then my fingers on the extension itself. There is no wrench involved until I torque them.
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Old 03-13-2016, 11:01 PM   #20
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If you want I could put the picture up of my old 14GT TrakPak......I switch off and on occasionally.
My two favorite cars!!
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Old 03-13-2016, 11:07 PM   #21
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Strikes me funny that 2 of you guys refer to finger tight. To me, finger tight is on something with no mechanical advantage. Like with your fingers directly on the plug or nut or an extension of same. What's finger tight using a wrench with a 6", 8' or 9" handle?
To me finger tight is exactly what Scotty is referring to...........I think you're kind of hung up on semantics here......on the drag car you had to put the plugs in with your bare fingers...then put the cutaway socket on and tighten the rest of the way with your bare fingers....then put the ratchet on the extension and tighten.

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Finger tight is snug using your fingers. I have the socket on the plug and an extension and then my fingers on the extension itself. There is no wrench involved until I torque them.
I agree 200%!
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Old 03-14-2016, 08:48 AM   #22
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I read never to use a wobble extension with a torque wrench.
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:42 AM   #23
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Finger tight is snug using your fingers. I have the socket on the plug and an extension and then my fingers on the extension itself. There is no wrench involved until I torque them.
So we agree! LOL
I guess what threw me was an earlier statement, which read, "12 ft lbs is basically a little over hand tight".
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:46 AM   #24
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I read never to use a wobble extension with a torque wrench.
That reminds me of the time my car started running rough right after I installed new plugs. Come to find out I had cracked the porcelain on one of the plugs.
And that was without a wobble extension.
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:06 AM   #25
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I read never to use a wobble extension with a torque wrench.
I would not for any serious torque. Actually ANY extension can throw off your torque value at the wrench. However... for 12-15 ft lbs, its so little that there is going to be zero issue with an extension.
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:14 AM   #26
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I read never to use a wobble extension with a torque wrench.
Not sure what you mean about "wobble" extension. If you are talking about a wobbly....then I agree....I've used extensions on torque wrenches for years and it was the only way I could torque the lug nuts on my drag car........not every nut/bolt can be reached with an extended socket.........just go slow and easy, use a thread lube like ARP, and do it in stages...not all at once....Oh....do it more than once.
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:20 AM   #27
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I would not for any serious torque. Actually ANY extension can throw off your torque value at the wrench. However... for 12-15 ft lbs, its so little that there is going to be zero issue with an extension.
I don't understand how a "regular" extension can throw off readings. I imagine a wobble might cause your indicated to read high compared to reality.

trying to learn.
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:20 AM   #28
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I use a wobble for the 2V spark plugs because it makes it SUPER easy to get the plug started since the valve cover plug bore is an awkward angle.
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:40 AM   #29
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quick Google:

Torque wrench + extension + socket ?? - RX8Club.com

entertaining. I'll stick with my original post but amended that a "regular" extension will change delivered torque value but pretty much only change it on paper, not in real world even less at real low torque values.

OP, finger tight which means exactly that + 1/8th turn (or whatever it sez in the plug box).

Torque Wrench? We don't need no stinking Torque Wrenches.
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Old 03-14-2016, 12:58 PM   #30
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quick Google:

Torque wrench + extension + socket ?? - RX8Club.com

entertaining. I'll stick with my original post but amended that a "regular" extension will change delivered torque value but pretty much only change it on paper, not in real world even less at real low torque values.

OP, finger tight which means exactly that + 1/8th turn (or whatever it sez in the plug box).

Torque Wrench? We don't need no stinking Torque Wrenches.
Well, I just grabbed my cheap HF 1/2" drive, 20 to 150 lb torque wrench and compared tightening a large nut and bolt(in a vise) using both a 20" extension on the socket and using no extension.
I guess in theory you would lose enough torque when using the long extension that when you used no extension, the nut would see a bit more torque and would turn.
Didn't happen!
I suspect the difference may be in the fact that the torque wrench has an accuracy of only + or - 4%.
Summary of my findings, at higher torques ranges...Don't worry about it.

Oh...and my torque wrench doesn't stink.
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Old 03-14-2016, 01:13 PM   #31
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you will use some of the energy (torque) twisting the extension shaft....this is why I said on paper. Where you can notice real loss in real world is when you use punches (drift pins) the longer the punch the more force required to (example) remove a broken stud. The punch soaks up the energy.

note my highly technical term "soak up"
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Old 03-14-2016, 04:29 PM   #32
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torque wrenches

harbor freight also sells torque wrench electronic calibrators for cheap if you want more accurate readings. I bought one and it works very good. another thing to remember when using a torque wrench is the loosen the handle adjuster after using or the spring will loose its value over time. torque values also change when you do a dry torque with no lubricant like nickel anti seize or a wet torque with a lubricant like anything. the torque is what is recommend for the safe tightening before the bolt streatch or the aluminum threads stripout.
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:49 PM   #33
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harbor freight also sells torque wrench electronic calibrators for cheap if you want more accurate readings. I bought one and it works very good. another thing to remember when using a torque wrench is the loosen the handle adjuster after using or the spring will loose its value over time. torque values also change when you do a dry torque with no lubricant like nickel anti seize or a wet torque with a lubricant like anything. the torque is what is recommend for the safe tightening before the bolt streatch or the aluminum threads stripout.
I'm glad you mentioned this. I notice a lot of discrepancies if trying to torque rusty or dry stuff.
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:03 PM   #34
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Just FYI the 12-15ft lbs torque value for plugs is WITH anti-seize.
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Old 03-15-2016, 05:13 AM   #35
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I am an old fart, but after the 5.4 and 6.8 stated popping plugs out I started to use a torque wrench. I actually have an inch pound that I use for plugs since my 1/2 inch drive only goes to 20 pounds.
BTW all torque specs are wet numbers, dry is way off. Take a 1/2 nut and bolt with a lock washer and torque to 80 foot pound after cleaning all oil off with starting fluid or some other non oil based cleaner, hit it with something like Kano Aerokroil and come back in a hour and re torque, it normally does move between an 1/8th to 1/4 turn.
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