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#4801617 - 06/30/18 05:00 PM Torque Limits
vavavroom Offline


Registered: 10/31/17
Posts: 181
Loc: California
What are the approximate torque limits for high quality sockets and ratchets in 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2"?

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#4801627 - 06/30/18 05:13 PM Re: Torque Limits [Re: vavavroom]
andyd Offline


Registered: 09/25/04
Posts: 7297
Loc: Marshfield , MA
The limiting factor isn't the socket. It is the diameter ,grade and pitch of th bolt. If you split a socket, you were abusing it.
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#4801632 - 06/30/18 05:17 PM Re: Torque Limits [Re: vavavroom]
spasm3 Online   content


Registered: 05/30/10
Posts: 8791
Loc: North Carolina
I always use the biggest ratchet/socket combo that will fit.


Edited by spasm3 (06/30/18 05:22 PM)
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#4801652 - 06/30/18 05:49 PM Re: Torque Limits [Re: vavavroom]
maxdustington Offline


Registered: 01/21/17
Posts: 899
Loc: Toronna
I think if you take 3/8 ratchet over 100ft/lbs regularly you will either break it or wear it out quickly unless it is snappy or hazet level.

1/4 50 ft/lbs?

I wouldn't go near those figures with say a SK round head or Craftsman RP. Certainly not with a cheap imported ratchet.
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#4801667 - 06/30/18 06:03 PM Re: Torque Limits [Re: vavavroom]
JLTD Offline


Registered: 12/15/17
Posts: 837
Loc: US
None listed that I know of. But my brother has stood on a 3/8" ratchet when working on suspension parts...with a 4' breaker bar so the answer is "more than you can supply with your hands"
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#4801673 - 06/30/18 06:12 PM Re: Torque Limits [Re: vavavroom]
Trav Offline


Registered: 11/20/06
Posts: 19354
Loc: MA, Mittelfranken.de
The weakest point is the square drive on the ratchet. You wont break a brand name tool using it by hand as intended, cheap tools can be another story.
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#4801687 - 06/30/18 06:33 PM Re: Torque Limits [Re: maxdustington]
willbur Offline


Registered: 06/06/13
Posts: 289
Loc: sw ohio
Originally Posted By: maxdustington
I think if you take 3/8 ratchet over 100ft/lbs regularly you will either break it or wear it out quickly unless it is snappy or hazet level.

1/4 50 ft/lbs?

I wouldn't go near those figures with say a SK round head or Craftsman RP. Certainly not with a cheap imported ratchet.


There's some guy on YouTube that tested ratchets, including the cheap (you know the one)and top tier stuff to failure under high loads. The cheap ones were just about as good as the best. Go figure. The cheap ones are probably heavier, thicker and can't get into the tight spaces the top tier ones can. Can mean the difference between getting the job done and not. Its not just about ultimate strength.

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#4801770 - 06/30/18 08:37 PM Re: Torque Limits [Re: vavavroom]
NYEngineer Offline


Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 1621
Loc: NY, NY
I know my 3/8 drive Snap on torque wrench goes from 10-100 lbs ft. My 1/2" goes from 40-250. I can't remember what the 1/4 and the 3/4 go to but I'd guess the 1/4 is probably up to 30 lb ft and the 3/4 is 600??

I use those ratings as a guideline.

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#4801772 - 06/30/18 08:39 PM Re: Torque Limits [Re: Trav]
Ducked Offline


Registered: 10/25/12
Posts: 4432
Loc: Taiwan
Originally Posted By: Trav
The weakest point is the square drive on the ratchet. You wont break a brand name tool using it by hand as intended, cheap tools can be another story.


My ex-GF's father bust my HILKA ratchet NO BOTHER, and HILKA were a pretty good brand then. It failed in the mechanism and flew apart. Square drive was OK IIRC.

I don't understand this talk of "standing" on a ratchet. Suggests you're using a ratchet when you shouldn't be to me, which seems to be general practice on here.

When I don't need a ratchet I don't use one. I THINK a T-bar is a lot stronger.

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#4801781 - 06/30/18 08:46 PM Re: Torque Limits [Re: vavavroom]
NYEngineer Offline


Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 1621
Loc: NY, NY
That's true. I usually don't break stuff loose with a ratchet. I have breaker bars in all drive sizes. I have ratchets that I've had for forty years and have only opened them up for service. The sealed Snap ons never need anything. I oil them for something to do sometimes.

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#4801793 - 06/30/18 08:54 PM Re: Torque Limits [Re: vavavroom]
eljefino Online   content


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32776
Loc: ME
If you stand on a ratchet you can orient it perfectly horizontal for best effect. I've put a pipe onine. A half inch square could easily do 600-700 ft lbs and that's harbor freight grade stuff.

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#4801824 - 06/30/18 09:24 PM Re: Torque Limits [Re: vavavroom]
spasm3 Online   content


Registered: 05/30/10
Posts: 8791
Loc: North Carolina
I use a breaker bar, or the 30 some tooth craftsman ratchet. I have blackhawk ( 1/2 and 3/8) 72 tooth ratchets, that i use for stuff thats already broken free.



Edited by spasm3 (06/30/18 09:24 PM)
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#4801892 - 06/30/18 10:51 PM Re: Torque Limits [Re: vavavroom]
thescreensavers Offline


Registered: 12/21/09
Posts: 434
Loc: Jupiter, FL
You'll find in most shops tools from snap on to HF they all work great until you use them inappropriately then they break.
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#4801916 - 06/30/18 11:18 PM Re: Torque Limits [Re: vavavroom]
Silk Offline


Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 4623
Loc: New Zealand
I've broken sockets, ratchets and powerbars at times - in the real world of everyday repair sometimes you need to step over the limits of what you have. With my Tipco 3/4 set, you can remove the ratchet head and fit the T bar...which is bent because at times I've fitted 2 metres on pipe to it. Without the bar, the ratchet is short to work like a flexhead.
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#4802041 - 07/01/18 07:36 AM Re: Torque Limits [Re: Ducked]
Trav Offline


Registered: 11/20/06
Posts: 19354
Loc: MA, Mittelfranken.de
Originally Posted By: Ducked
Originally Posted By: Trav
The weakest point is the square drive on the ratchet. You wont break a brand name tool using it by hand as intended, cheap tools can be another story.


My ex-GF's father bust my HILKA ratchet NO BOTHER, and HILKA were a pretty good brand then. It failed in the mechanism and flew apart. Square drive was OK IIRC.

I don't understand this talk of "standing" on a ratchet. Suggests you're using a ratchet when you shouldn't be to me, which seems to be general practice on here.

When I don't need a ratchet I don't use one. I THINK a T-bar is a lot stronger.


I use a ratchet as a ratchet not a breaker bar, if it needs a breaker bar that's what I use. Most of the time I use impact guns and air ratchets. Most people dont have the tool selection I have so they use what they have to get the job done which is okay too.



Edit: This is a worthwhile video but this guy uses some crude language (not for me) but if you easily offended don't watch this. Mods please remove if inappropriate but please link to it as it is informational.


Edited by Trav (07/01/18 07:41 AM)
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