Anyone who has worked on a car’s brake lines has confronted the problem of needing a tight, reliable seal between the fittings that tie the line to the rest of the brake system. These need to hold fluid through the stresses of daily driving. After all, a leak that lets air into the line means brake failure. One of the most common ways for shadetree mechanics to make this seal is to use thread sealant to essentially glue the fittings together or to use thread seal tape. This is, of course, not a correct repair and will irritate the next mechanic who has to work on the system because it makes their job harder. The proper repair method is to tighten these fittings to their torque specification to make a reliable seal. However, thread sealant still frequently shows up in repairs to hydraulic and air lines and even on some equipment direct from niche manufacturers.
The issue may be a lack of an open end torque wrench at the manufacturer or repair shop. While socket driver type click torque wrenches and cam-over torque wrenches are well-known, they cannot be fitted to many hydraulic or air line fittings because the line goes through the space where the socket would normally fit. Break-over open end torque wrenches, though, can work around these fittings, ensuring a tight seal without the need for thread seals or tape.
The Disadvantages of Socket Torque Wrenches
When most people hear “torque wrench,” they tend to think of torque wrenches with ratcheting heads because these tools are easy to use and versatile. The ratchet mechanism in the head means that tightening a fastener is easier and much quicker. A socket set available at any hardware or big box store can fasten nearly any type of fastener to a torque specification that it is within its range. However, some disadvantages that come from this set up.
For instance, the socket cannot go over the line fitting to tighten them, as the line gets in the way. Also, components can slide over mounting bolts and nuts that are tightened down to anchor. The mounting bolts extend out too far for most sockets to reach the nut. In complex mechanism where many components mount together, fasteners can be in positions where there isn’t enough space for the socket and ratchet head to fit. The great advantage of an open head torque wrench is that it can be used in these situations. Indeed, open end torque wrenches can be used with nearly any joint.
An Open End Torque Wrench Tightens Hard-to-Reach Joints
Open end wrenches are a vital part of every tool kit—even if only in the form of a crescent wrench—for the simple reason that, at some point, there will be a fastener where a socket wrench just won’t work. An open end torque wrench should also be a standard in tool kits and on the assembly line for the same reason. In fact, torque control is absolutely critical for the safety and reliability of many of the joints where the use of an open end wrench is necessary.
Hydraulic and pneumatic lines and fittings are rendered nonfunctional and unsafe by a loose fitting, stripped threads, or stress and damage to the line. Often, these systems are made from softer non-ferrous metals like aluminum or even plastics that are more vulnerable to damage from improper torquing. Stripping the threads, cross-threading, and rounding off fittings are very common when working on hydraulic and pneumatic lines without an open end torque wrench. Due to the nature of the lines, properly fixing the damage is time-consuming and difficult. It requires cutting back the line, prepping it with specialized tools, and replacing the fitting. In a manufacturing environment where finished products must meet specific design specs, this type of out of spec modification isn’t an option. The whole line will need to be replaced, costing a significant amount of time and money. This is the reason why open end torque wrenches are so important on the assembly line
Break-over torque wrenches are the type of open end torque wrenches that repair shops and assembly lines need. These wrenches function in the same manner as a regular open end wrench, but when they reach their set torque value, the head disengages from the shaft to prevent over-torquing. A break-over wrench is a true open end torque wrench that prevents damage to fasteners. They are also ergonomic torque wrenches for tight spaces or line fittings that help ensure quality repairs and products that are built exactly to spec. Break-over torque wrenches can be fitted with interchangeable torque wrench heads, and this extends their utility to all types of fasteners and manufacturing environments.
Quality repairs and products depend on accuracy and precision during every step of the process, and that means having the correct tools for the job. That’s why it’s a smart idea to have an open end torque wrench on hand.
Mountz, Inc. makes quality torque tools for every fastener and fastening strategy, including open ended torque wrenches. To see our full range of products, shop our store. Contact us anytime to ask a question. To inquire about price, request a quote. If you’d like to see our equipment in person, schedule an appointment. To get the latest torque-related news, follow us on LinkedIn.