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Using a Torque Wrench

If the stretch method cannot be used in a particular installation, and the fasteners must be installed by torque alone, there are certain factors that should be taken into account. ARP research has verified the following rules" pertaining to use of a torque wrench:

The friction factor changes from one application to the next. That is, the friction is at its highest value when the fastener is first tightened. Each additional time the fastener is torqued and loosened his value gets smaller. Eventually the friction levels out and becomes constant for all following repetitions. Therefore, new fasteners should be tightened and loosened through several cycles before applying final torque. The number of times depends on the lubricant. For all situations where ARP lubricants are used, five cycles are required before final torquing.

The lubricant used is the main factor in determining friction, and therefore, the torque for a particular installation. Motor oil is a commonly used lubricant because of its ready availability. If less friction is desired in order to install the fasteners with less torque, special low friction lubricants are available. With special lubes, the required torque can be reduced as much as 20 to 30 percent. It is important to keep in mind that the reverse is also true. If the torque value has been specified for a particular fastener on the basis of low friction lube, installing the fastener with motor oil will result in insufficient preload; the torque has to be increased to compensate for the extra friction caused by the motor oil.

Surface finish is also important. For example, black oxide behaves differently than polished fasteners. It is therefore important to observe the torque recommendations supplied with each fastener.

NOTE: It is possible for even the most expensive of torque wrenches to lose accuracy. ARP has seen Fluctuations of as much as ten (10) foot pounds of torque from wrench to wrench. Please have your torque wrench checked periodically for accuracy.