A Torque Multiplier Saves The Day When Your Impact Wrench Can't Do The Job

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Image: Jalopnik / YouTube

Over the past few weeks we’ve looked at a cheap jump-start battery pack that actually works, a brake fluid tester pen that can help you maintain your car’s braking system and a cordless ratchet that can save wrenching time. This week’s cool tool is a torque multiplier that can bust loose a lug nut when your impact wrench won’t do the job.

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This suggestion comes from a reader and fellow HooptieX racer, and it’s another tool that I’m adding to my collection.

I spend a lot of time traveling around the country off-roading in Gambler 500 events and sometimes racing in the HooptieX off-road time trials, a Gambler spin-off. Sometimes these events can be absolute torture to a vehicle. Someone always has a broken-down car that needs fixing. Fortunately, lots of competitors carry tools with them.

But break your car bad enough and your power tools will run out of juice before you can get it back together again. These events are held in areas that don’t have real restrooms, let alone places to charge tools. So you’re left breaking out the manual tools.

One tool I’ve seen used by so many participants over the years is a torque multiplier. This device always comes out when the power tools have died or couldn’t provide enough torque.

Image for article titled A Torque Multiplier Saves The Day When Your Impact Wrench Can't Do The Job
Screenshot: YouTube (Other)

The torque multipliers are typically used to remove lug nuts, axle nuts and other fasteners that require a lot of torque.

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I know what you’re thinking: A breaker bar does that! But unlike a breaker bar, a torque multiplier busts nuts with ease. No jumping on the breaker bar, like I’ve seen some people do in desperation. A torque multiplier also lays waste to fasteners used in heavy-duty applications like the lug nuts of big trucks, RVs and school buses. But how? How can this tool deliver so much power?

Breaker bars take advantage of a long lever to achieve the torque needed to bust loose a nut. Torque multipliers achieve high torque through gear reduction. The torque that you put in is multiplied through a set of gears inside of the tool. It’s a device that produces more than you put in (because the gear reduction slows down the action). Some of these tools can achieve 3,500 foot-pounds of twisting force, which is more than some air tools!

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Check out this video by YouTube channel 1D10CRACY to see how these work in action on an RV. They show how easy a torque multiplier makes busting nuts, even on a large vehicle.

This tool isn’t going to replace other tools, but can be handy if you own a large RV or spend lots of time off-grid.

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These tools come in a wide variety of designs and torque outputs. One similar to the tool featured in the above video costs about $60 on a site like Amazon.

Do you know of a weird or unique but must-have tool that every wrencher should have? Do you want to see us put a type of tool to the test and see how it performs? Shoot me an email or drop it down in the comments!

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Do you know of a weird or unique but must-have tool that every wrencher should have?

One of your coworkers who shall remain nameless could use a fire extinguisher.