Blog 08: by Shane Conley

Video Lesson: Torque Wrenches- Extensions and Crowfeet Adaptors

Video Series: How to use “Torque Wrenches” 


Every fall I start the technician training program with a safety class and then dive into an in-depth curriculum on fasteners. Sounds pretty basic for gearheads wanting to learn how to wrench on motorcycles right? Would you expect I get those blank faces and boredom sinking in?  You could have bet the bank on it for the first few years I taught. What a struggle it was to get these students willing to check their own understanding against possible new information! I’ve told you many times teaching isn’t easy!

You see the desire of a passionate teacher (coach) is to help you avoid those costly mistakes we learned the hard way. When you think you know it all about a subject or that the information is to “simple a child gets it”, you will most likely shut off your learning door in the brain and tune it out, waiting for the time to pass. What to do?

Make it fun! Make it impactful, entertaining, and prove it. Ok, now we are getting somewhere. In 2007 I started by collecting broken, stretched, and damaged fasteners. In 2010 I added a lab where we actually stretch bolts by over torquing them, measuring and recording each step until failure. The results were all over the board which drove home how many fasteners are being previously over-torqued by techs. Many students find that the fasteners would fail extremely close to the required spec for torque. For example; a bolt with a tq spec of 12 ft-lbs would stretch at 13 and break at 16! This was an opportunity to teach thread repair and helicoils, taps, and die usage. The students did not all agree this was an opportunity. What? You get to break and repair on something that doesn’t matter for free and you can’t see the gift? UGGGGG….they would then say, “well I’m never going to torque to full torque again”. OH NO, WE ARE GOING BACKWARDS NOW! This is the critical understanding piece here. LISTEN, PAY ATTENTION…STAY FOCUSED>>>>>>>>YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THIS! When working on ANY installed fastener, you’re following the last tech, calibrated (or not) tools, untrained tech, DIY tech, and craftsman.

Enter 2012 and we now have this SnapOn torque wrench testing tool. You can bet Coach Conley was already planning new labs and methods of proving them! This tool simply revolutionized the ability to speed the learning curve and drive home the best practices when dealing with fasteners! After 10 years of teaching and I’m finally feeling like I have this curriculum dialed in. If I was training under a SnapOn Torque Certification Program instructor, you could bet the bank on me learning something new. If only I could talk SnapOn to sponsoring me to train under them in this program! Hint Hint Mr SnapOn…

In summary, no matter how much you think you “know”, don’t turn that “listening” part of your brain off. You may just be surprised and what you’ve never thought of. And when dealing with fasteners, you have no control except to practice and use these demonstrated skill-sets.

  • Use a service manual for your year/make/model your working on
  • Use quality tools and have them calibrated over time
  • Protect the tool from being dropped or damaged by chemicals
  • Inspect the fasteners you remove
  • Clean fasteners, threads and PREPARE for installation
  • Uses required oil or thread locking agents as specified
  • Here’s the big one…PRACTICE your FEEL for what bolt stretch is
    • Tip: practice on something junk not the customer’s vehicle

Watch these videos for some alignment with your understanding of fasteners, torque wrench usage and solid craftsmanship in your work. A few minutes of training yourself well spent.

Will extensions change your torque wrench reading? Proof and the answer: 3:22 min Click here!

Proof what your manual says about torque extensions is true: 5:58 min Click here!

Close-up example of a stretched bolt: 2:47 min  Click here!

Entire How to Use Torque Wrench Playlist: Click here! 

Feel free to share and use as desired.

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Keep Wrenching,
Shane Conley

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Shane Conley


20 + years in the motorcycle industry have awarded me a life of powersports adventures, travels, and experiences I could have never dreamed of.  Former racer, shop owner, riding coach and championship bike builder. I’ve also been in management, fundraising and partnership building positions. Currently employed as an educator in the study of motorcycle mechanics. Avid mechanic, bike builder, author, traveler and studier of life. I’m a visionary with proven results.

One thought on “Blog 08 Tips….SCRATCH THAT….MANDATORY Torque Wrench Understanding

  1. Christian Morales 3 years ago

    Calibrating torque tools is not easy. We need to understand the little details of calibration and torque tool. One mistake of calibrating torque tool can lead to broken the internal parts. Always listen from trainer and research about the calibration of torque tool.