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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 08-10-2009, 03:44 PM   #1
Hrvat
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Torque wrench on reverse threaded bolts

Getting everything organized to do Vanos seals this weekend and I am very aware that Vanos piston bolts are reverse threaded.

My torque wrench has an arrow on it, and a little note stating that I can only use it to tighten bolts in one direction.

How do I do apply proper torque on reverse threaded bolt?
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Originally Posted by roronoah View Post
so 2004 bmw's dont come with a diff?
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:20 PM   #2
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if its only built for one direction you maybe out of luck, how about you borrow/rent a two direction or ratcheting wrench from a local shop (autozone/pepboys/advanced/etc)?
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Old 08-10-2009, 11:57 PM   #3
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I just did mine and I'll give you some advise. Get replacement vanos bolts, the reverse threaded ones you are referring to and get a torque wrench that goes down to 5 ft lbs. The spec on those is 6 ft lbs and I used my Kobalt wrench that would only go down to 10 ft lbs and broke one of the bolts. When you see the way the bolt is designed it has this odd grove in it that looks like it is designed to break.

Don't worry if you do the broken bolt came out easy even though it was broken off flush. The next day I got two new bolts for the local BMW dealership only $0.86 each and went to Harbor Freight and bought their 3/8 wrench that goes down to 5 ft lbs. They have a cute little 1/4 that ranges from 1.6 - 16 ft lbs which would be perfect for this job as the valve cover nuts are also very low around 7 ft/lbs but they don't stock it in the stores.

otherwise the job is very easy hardest part was cutting off the old seals. Make sure you have an exacto knife as they recommend I went after mine with a steak knife and left a couple tiny nicks but nothing bad.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:33 AM   #4
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My torque wrench goes down to 10 ft/lbs, I believe. I think I am gonna have a hard time finding a torque wrench that goes that low around here.

What about tightening those bolts by feel? With that little torque needing to be applied, don't you just have to stop tighening as soon as you feel the bolt stop moving while tightening?
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so 2004 bmw's dont come with a diff?
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:47 PM   #5
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that's what I was about to do. They are reverse threads so they are supposed to keep themselves tight. I'd still replace them with new and to have a spare on hand.
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:56 PM   #6
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OK, I am gonna do just that, basically as soon as I feel resistance, tighen it couple degrees and that's it. Hopefully damn bolt doesn't snap on me lol
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so 2004 bmw's dont come with a diff?
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:27 PM   #7
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FWIW, it's actually best not to rely on a torque-wrench at the extremes of it calibration range, I would think particularly on the low end as it's accuracy may be suspect and at low levels a little bit can mean a lot. Check out this one from Harbor-Freight http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...temnumber=2696 It's calibrated in inch-pounds so it goes way down to very low torque specs. I got it expressly for the job of doing the VANOS and it worked well. It is reversible. The only wrinkle is that it's a 1/4" drive, but I ordered their adaptor kit ($4) which has a 1/4-3/8 adaptor so there was no problem. I actually purchased the extra bolts as I was concerned they'd break but wound up reusing the old ones just fine.
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:40 PM   #8
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Grafiksguy, HF does not ship to Canada, so I am out of luck. I'll look locally.

Now, lets say I am not able to find wrench locally, how much of actual turning was it to get these bolts tighten to 6-7 ft/lbs? Was it just couple degrees more once you start feeling resistance?

thx
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so 2004 bmw's dont come with a diff?
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:33 AM   #9
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this is actually the one you want.
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=94735

It is going to be a feel thing. What i would do is use and extension in "screwdriver" mode and don't hold on too tight, if I use a 3/8 driver it's hard to control, 6ft/lbs is nothing.

Maybe if you have a 5 year old around let them do it
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Old 08-12-2009, 08:33 PM   #10
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FWIW, my guess is this is the same wrench I recommended but with a ft/lb calibration rather than in/lbs.
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Old 08-12-2009, 10:48 PM   #11
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Wow, a reverse threaded bolt with low breaking strength. I guess that is just a trap waiting to be sprung. I wonder how many guys have gone to "loosen" the bolt and had it break off on them.

Last edited by Cazz; 08-12-2009 at 10:49 PM. Reason: bade spilling
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Old 08-12-2009, 11:05 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by grafiksguy View Post
FWIW, it's actually best not to rely on a torque-wrench at the extremes of it calibration range
Wow. This site has got to be one of the most mis informed posts ever. If you're trying to sound smart, GTFO.

Instead of just writing about how stupid you are, I'm going to expain how I know what I know.

When I was younger I worked at an approved AMO. (aircraft maintenance orginization). This is similar to a FAA approved shop in the states, but we have higher standards. Every tool has certain cal requirements. So, for our 57 torque wrenches, they were due annually. We had a round robin obviously - all tools outthe building in one go was not ideal.

To be IAW (in accordance with) calibration protocol, they could not be more than +/- 5 ft/lbs off for the large range, and 1 IN/lbs for the little ones.

This is the entire range the wrench had marked, so you'd get a cal card with two columns.

Actual | Measured
10 Ft/lbs | 11 ft/lbs
20
30
40
50
etc etc etc

and it'd go on for entire range. 10-110 ~

As for the reverse threaded bolts designed to stay in - that's not true. They can still vibrate out like any other bolt.

If you don't know, say you don't know - don't make **** up. This is why wikipedia is junk.

Last edited by snowcatxx87; 08-12-2009 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 08-13-2009, 12:27 AM   #13
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Ease up.

First off. He wasn't talking about a wrench that has been recently calibrated, he was talking about a wrench laying around the garage. If it is properly calibrated it should be accurate over the whole range. Since most wrenches use springs or stress gauges, when they are out of spec the error is usually largest at the end of the range.

Second. His basic advise was to use a smaller wrench. In your example, the larger wrenches were tested to +/- 5 ft/lbs and the smaller ones to 1 in/lb. Which one is more accurate? I'm thinking the smaller one. So his advise is sound.

Third. Don't be an ass.
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:11 AM   #14
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They were just random cal specs I made up. Every wrench is different. It's like saying, dont drive you car at either limit. 0 and 128mph. Just drive at 64 all the time. Even though your speedo was cal'd since new.

I still stand by my post, but thanks for coming out.
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Old 08-13-2009, 02:33 AM   #15
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sweet deal. that's a good price. i've heard only good things about harbor freight from several car forums
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:54 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowcatxx87 View Post
Wow. This site has got to be one of the most mis informed posts ever. If you're trying to sound smart, GTFO.

Instead of just writing about how stupid you are, I'm going to expain how I know what I know.

When I was younger I worked at an approved AMO. (aircraft maintenance orginization). This is similar to a FAA approved shop in the states, but we have higher standards. Every tool has certain cal requirements. So, for our 57 torque wrenches, they were due annually. We had a round robin obviously - all tools outthe building in one go was not ideal.

To be IAW (in accordance with) calibration protocol, they could not be more than +/- 5 ft/lbs off for the large range, and 1 IN/lbs for the little ones.

This is the entire range the wrench had marked, so you'd get a cal card with two columns.

Actual | Measured
10 Ft/lbs | 11 ft/lbs
20
30
40
50
etc etc etc

and it'd go on for entire range. 10-110 ~

As for the reverse threaded bolts designed to stay in - that's not true. They can still vibrate out like any other bolt.

If you don't know, say you don't know - don't make **** up. This is why wikipedia is junk.
Snowcat...dude why so hostile? If you read the content and tone of my post I wasn't stating this as universal truth, merely suggesting safe practice. I don't know what bit you on the backside, but you need to lighten up or have the doctor increase your meds.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cazz View Post
Ease up.

First off. He wasn't talking about a wrench that has been recently calibrated, he was talking about a wrench laying around the garage. If it is properly calibrated it should be accurate over the whole range. Since most wrenches use springs or stress gauges, when they are out of spec the error is usually largest at the end of the range.

Second. His basic advise was to use a smaller wrench. In your example, the larger wrenches were tested to +/- 5 ft/lbs and the smaller ones to 1 in/lb. Which one is more accurate? I'm thinking the smaller one. So his advise is sound.

Third. Don't be an ass.

Thanks Cazz, you pretty accurately summed up my intent.

My point was that with the really low spec for the fitting being discussed, using a bigger wrench at the low extreme of it's range can be problematic with these fragile fittings. I think this is more than adequately evidenced by the fairly high number of broken ones you hear about and which Beisen counsels about on his DIY.

Additionally I suspect that (like me) many folks aren't engineers using $300 wrenches (which are clearly more accurate) but rather less expensive ones which tend to have a greater margin of error thus further increasing the chances of improper torquing. By using a lower-range tool the margin of error is significantly smaller and hence safer in most situations.
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