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"torque angle" vs. torque wrench comparison #5231074 10/05/19 12:18 PM
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NissanMaxima Offline OP
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Hi all:
A few weeks back, all of you were very helpful with tips on spark plug replacement for my 95 Maxima. The job went very well and all 6 plugs are now replaced.

Now to the question... NGK says that in lieu of a torque wrench, the "torque angle" method can be used. For the plug I used, they say 1/2 to 2/3 of a turn will produce their recommended torque of 18-21.6 lb ft of torque. My factory service manual calls for 14-22 lb ft of torque so I decided 18 lb ft would be a good midpoint selection for torque. For this job, because I didn't want to take any chances with my aluminum heads and needed one anyway, I bought a new Precision Tools split beam 8-50 lb ft torque wrench. They are apparently one of the best manufacturers out there - building them from scratch in the USA since 1938!

Since I'm a naturally curious person, I wanted to compare the amount of turn at the point I reached 18 lb ft. It wasn't very straightforward because of obstructions in the engine bay I had to remount the torque wrench/extension-socket upwards of 3-4 times so some of the summations I reached for the rear three plugs probably aren't exact - for instance 3 approximately 1/4 turns plus a bit more. But for the front three, I was able to reach 18 lb ft in one continuous arc. During the turn(s) I was careful to keep the long extension centered in the spark plug hole with my fingers of my left hand so as not to crack the insulator and being mindful not to apply any counter-torque - just keep it centered. I noted that to reach 18 lb ft, it took about 270 to 300 degrees of turn compared to NGK's "torque angle" value of 180 to 240 degrees of turn. And, what makes it even more interesting is if the NGK torque angle method produces between 18 and 21.6 lb ft of torque, one would presume that 18 would be reached at the 180 degree mark, and 21.6 reached at 240 degrees, and I was 270+ for 18 on the torque wrench. Note no antiseize or crow feet extenders were used which would have altered things

I asked NGK, and like I suspected, they said to basically defer to the torque wrench as long as I was confident it was calibrated properly which I would have no reason to doubt as it was brand new. But I'm still left mystified as to how they can tell folks they can rely on their torque angle method when, at least in my case, it didn't seem to jive at all.

Has anyone done a similar experiment? Thoughts on my observations?

Re: "torque angle" vs. torque wrench comparison [Re: NissanMaxima] #5231093 10/05/19 12:39 PM
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JOD Offline
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It's not surprising that it took more torque to get the same amount of bolt tension as angle torque. You're putting plugs in a 25 year old car! There's no way the threads are in the same condition as when the car was new. You would have to remove the head, thoroughly clean the threads with a brush wheel and solvent, then run a tap through them--and then, you'd be able to do an adequate comparison. The reason for the delta between the torque wrench and angle torque is almost certainly related to the fact that the threads have more friction than when new.

Keep in mind, torque values are just a proxy for bolt tension. What really matters is the bolt tension, and for that angle torque is almost always more precise.

Last edited by Kestas; 10/05/19 06:34 PM. Reason: No need to completely quote the first post in the second post.
Re: "torque angle" vs. torque wrench comparison [Re: NissanMaxima] #5231096 10/05/19 12:41 PM
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Practice tightening and measuring fasteners' torque. You'll get a pretty good idea of what # lbs of torque feels like. I never try to use a torque wrench on a (semi-modern, cramped) V engine, just not worth the bother, too convoluted trying to get in there with extensions and swivels, torque wrench way too long, etc.

I'm sure someone will say the sky is falling if I don't, but I'm pretty good at estimating the torque a fastener needs up to ~100 ft lbs.

Last edited by Dave9; 10/05/19 12:45 PM.
Re: "torque angle" vs. torque wrench comparison [Re: NissanMaxima] #5231106 10/05/19 12:57 PM
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brages Offline
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Crank it down til it strips then back it off a quarter turn

Re: "torque angle" vs. torque wrench comparison [Re: JOD] #5231135 10/05/19 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by JOD
[quote=NissanMaxima]Hi all:
Keep in mind, torque values are just a proxy for bolt tension. What really matters is the bolt tension, and for that angle torque is almost always more precise.


THIS - SO MUCH THIS....

Re: "torque angle" vs. torque wrench comparison [Re: NissanMaxima] #5231141 10/05/19 01:59 PM
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Are you positive you had the plugs fully turned down until the crush washer was touching before you started torquing? That's the only reason I can think of your discrepancy. My plugs are the non-gasket taper seat type, so I cannot attempt to duplicate your trial.

Thanks for sharing.

Re: "torque angle" vs. torque wrench comparison [Re: tundraotto] #5231165 10/05/19 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by tundraotto
Originally Posted by JOD
[quote=NissanMaxima]Hi all:
Keep in mind, torque values are just a proxy for bolt tension. What really matters is the bolt tension, and for that angle torque is almost always more precise.


THIS - SO MUCH THIS....


Yes, yes. Turn angle is much more consistent than torque.


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Re: "torque angle" vs. torque wrench comparison [Re: doitmyself] #5231173 10/05/19 02:48 PM
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NissanMaxima Offline OP
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Thanks all. I had not thought of thread condition as a factor here. But if there is essentially some "counter torque" from the thread condition, wouldn't my 18 lb ft be achieved sooner in terms of the amount of rotation ultimately observed? Just like anti-seize would delay the rotation point where any set torque value would be achieved and hence their recommendation to reduce torque by 20% if using anti-seize.

But in any case, what about having torqued to a rotation point of 3/4 to 7/8 of a turn compared to their maximum torque angle of 2/3 of a turn? I even attempted a calculation based on thread pitch and if I'm right, the additional rotation even up to 7/8 of a turn past finger tight would insert them to about 0.26 mm deeper than at 2/3 turn. That's only ten thousands of an inch. I would think there would be enough crush potential in the crush washer gasket to accommodate this.

As for being full turned down, yes. After the first one, I first inserted the socket and extension alone to check finger tight as I had used the rubber hose trick to get them in finger tight. Good point though!

Re: "torque angle" vs. torque wrench comparison [Re: NissanMaxima] #5231188 10/05/19 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by NissanMaxima
Thanks all. I had not thought of thread condition as a factor here. But if there is essentially some "counter torque" from the thread condition, wouldn't my 18 lb ft be achieved sooner in terms of the amount of rotation ultimately observed? Just like anti-seize would delay the rotation point where any set torque value would be achieved and hence their recommendation to reduce torque by 20% if using anti-seize.



Not necessarily. Thread deformation is what's going to alter the reading. Cleaning and running a tap through will help, do a degree. Basically, the threaded part has the potential to become "looser".

There's enough margin in most spark plug assemblies that I don't think it's a huge deal either way, but this is likely why you experienced what you did--and why I much prefer angle torque when suitable.

Re: "torque angle" vs. torque wrench comparison [Re: A_Harman] #5231256 10/05/19 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by A_Harman
Originally Posted by tundraotto
Originally Posted by JOD
[quote=NissanMaxima]Hi all:
Keep in mind, torque values are just a proxy for bolt tension. What really matters is the bolt tension, and for that angle torque is almost always more precise.


THIS - SO MUCH THIS....


Yes, yes. Turn angle is much more consistent than torque.



But how specs will list and publish angle? Compared to torque specs?

Re: "torque angle" vs. torque wrench comparison [Re: user52165] #5231289 10/05/19 04:58 PM
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@user52165:
This is why I followed the torque spec in my 400+ page factory service manual. It said nothing about angle torque and the section was under Maintenance so was clearly intended to instruct for replacing spark plugs at the service interval. I noticed the torque angle was somewhat beyond 2/3 turn but continued to use 18 lb ft on the rest of the plugs putting my faith in my official Nissan FSM and also putting my faith in the fact I had chosen the midpoint of Nissan's maintenance torque specs of 14-22 lb ft.

Re: "torque angle" vs. torque wrench comparison [Re: NissanMaxima] #5231327 10/05/19 05:32 PM
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"torque angle" procedure is often a 2 step process:

1. Torque to a low torque value specified by the manufacturer
2. Turn fastener through the angle specified by the manufacturer.

Re: "torque angle" vs. torque wrench comparison [Re: SubLGT] #5231803 10/06/19 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by SubLGT
"torque angle" procedure is often a 2 step process:

1. Torque to a low torque value specified by the manufacturer
2. Turn fastener through the angle specified by the manufacturer.


Right. Torque angles are a torque followed by an angle. If anyone can link me to an FSM that specifies only an angle, I want to see it.

Re: "torque angle" vs. torque wrench comparison [Re: SubLGT] #5232058 10/06/19 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by SubLGT
"torque angle" procedure is often a 2 step process:

1. Torque to a low torque value specified by the manufacturer
2. Turn fastener through the angle specified by the manufacturer.


Correct, I also have never seen an angle given with no initial torque being set. So even angle specs depend on a standard torque wrench for initial accuracy.
From what I have seen this is usually for stretch bolts or nuts with some sort of hindrance eg nyloc, jet nuts or distorted thread nut, some of these are commonly found on hubs and CV axles. Some bolts that use an OE thread locker tape or thread locker under the flange like on some crank bolts use this x lb.ft + x degree also.


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Re: "torque angle" vs. torque wrench comparison [Re: Trav] #5232149 10/06/19 03:37 PM
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I think the only place I’ve seen an angle given without an initial torque is on spark plug boxes.


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