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garrim

Wrench/allen/torx/socket sizes needed?

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garrim
My father has a collection of tools that he's amassed over his life that I've always been able to go over and use, but I really want to have my own set at least for my bike.
 
What are the wrench, socket and allen/hex/torx sizes that I should be shooting for? Would I be better off just buying a set of each or would it be cheaper to just buy the few specific sizes? For example a set of quality wrenches could cost ~$60+, but if I only need 4 wrenches and only get those individually it could be less than $20 (just as an example).
 
Anything major would be done by a shop but I am looking for the tools/sizes needed for: oil changes (17mm socket), brake pad changes/bleeding (????), chain adjustment/lubing (27mm socket, 12mm wrench), removing the wheels (27mm for rear axle, front?, anything else?), allen key sizes under seats, hex screws around the gas tank covers, stock bar ends, etc. Basically all the common stuff I suppose. 
 
What ratchet and torque wrench drive size or does it matter? 3/8, 1/2?
 
Any brands particularly known for their quality:price? I just assumed I would buy Craftsman simply because of their lifetime warranty (that's all my father owns), though I'm sure they aren't the only tool company that has that. 
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bmwpowere36m3
Are you planning on wrenching on anything else? Around cars, other bikes, house, etc... The basic sizes would be 8, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19 and 27 mm. For wrenches I'd get 8 mm (2x for adjust throttle tension), 10 mm, 12 mm (2x, for clutch tension at engine and chain slack), 14 mm, and 17 mm. For sockets: 8, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19 and 27 mm. For hex/allens: a metric set (like 2-8/10 mm). Also some flat and Phillips head screwdrivers.
 
 
3/8" drive would be good for most hardware. For the axles you'd probably want 1/2" and for some of the smaller 8-12 mm hardware 1/4" will work better. Craftsman is fine. I size torque wrench also won't cover all hardware... remember its only accurate in the middle of its scale. A 1/2" torque wrench will only be good for rear axle and maybe the front sprocket nut. 3/8" will cover a lot, but you'll also "need" a 1/4" for the smaller hardware. I'd forgo the torque wrenches, unless you plan on doing more wrenching.
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garrim
Wow, killer response! Thanks.
 
I don't own a car right now, I borrow one when needed for groceries and such. The long-term goal is to have a complete set of tools for anything, but to start out I'm just focusing on bike specific sizes since I can always borrow anything else.
 
So for a set of wrenches, 3/8" sockets, 3/8" ratchet and allen keys w/ ball end in the sizes you quoted (everything except keys are Craftsman) it comes to about $75. Not really as pricey as I thought it would be. Tried to place the order for everything but PayPal freaked out, will try again later today. I'll probably go with a 1/2" torque wrench, still need to order that and a 27mm socket for the rear axle.

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No Hater
I would just add that if you go with the 1/2" torque, you will limit the things you will accurately be able to torque at the lower end of the spectrum. Being that many usually have an error or +/-4 %.I think the 3/8"s is used more often in your everyday tinkering.
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garrim
So should I just get 3/8" torque to start with then? The only things I'll be using it for at first is just rear axle for chain adjustments and the oil drain plug. I believe the axle nut needs around 70 ft-lbs and the drain plug around 30, not exactly but around those marks.

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No Hater
3/8" usually go from 20-100, its what I have.
 
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garrim
Sounds good, thanks for the information, seems like that will suit my needs just fine.

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databyter
I have a bunch of Craftsman for bread n butter tools, and some more premium sockets and special tools for special jobs.
 
The reason I am posting is to implore you, and anybody else reading to not economize on torque wrenches. Get CDI (the brand Snap-On uses for torque), or something else good.
 
A Craftsman lifetime warranty covers the wrench, not the engine or frame you just buggered up with a sloppy torque wrench. Other brands that are cheaper probably don't have a warranty and are just as bad or worse.
 
I have heard that over-tightening is the most common damage incurred by do it yourselfers, and quite a few ignorant mechanics as well. And under-torquing can be dangerous on the road.
 
Go with the smaller 3/8 drive and the smallest useful range of torques, or ideally two torque wrenches as they are only super accurate for the upper part of their range.
 
I realize those are expensive, but they are lifetime quality tools. Buy from Amazon not Snap-On to save money.
 
Craftsmens regular ratchets suck too, but are good enough. I'm thinking of buying a William's (also makes for Snap-On). They are solid and will hold up longer and more consistantly.
 
I only had my bike serviced once and they used pliers not wrenches and chewed up my nuts, sprayed lube on my rear tire and brakes, overtightened my chain and misaligned my rear wheel.
 
Good for you to do your own work. We may be slower than the shops or dealers, but we do it right and with TLC.
 
Databyter
 
 
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garrim
Great info. I would be livid with the shop that did all that horrible stuff to your bike! I grew up in a house with a father that restored old muscle cars, hell my first car was a '65 Mustang, so I learned from an early age how to use a wrench haha. Every vehicle I have owned I did all the oil changes and most everything else except alignments and putting new tires on, anything critical that required very expensive tools and experience. I'm not a mechanic by any means but all the routine stuff is a breeze and there's a lot of things that sound or seem harder than they really are and I'm not afraid to get dirty. Why spend $100/hour for a shop to do something you can easily do yourself is how I look at it. Plus it's something to do and what better way to understand your bike/car than to get hands-on with it?

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databyter
Great info. I would be livid with the shop that did all that horrible stuff to your bike! I grew up in a house with a father that restored old muscle cars, hell my first car was a '65 Mustang, so I learned from an early age how to use a wrench haha. Every vehicle I have owned I did all the oil changes and most everything else except alignments and putting new tires on, anything critical that required very expensive tools and experience. I'm not a mechanic by any means but all the routine stuff is a breeze and there's a lot of things that sound or seem harder than they really are and I'm not afraid to get dirty. Why spend $100/hour for a shop to do something you can easily do yourself is how I look at it. Plus it's something to do and what better way to understand your bike/car than to get hands-on with it?
To be fair, I am not SURE The shop did all those things, but to me it appears that they were half assed, and my cycle that I was used to felt very unstable for the first few days after they "tuned" it. I actually pulled over several times on the way home to make sure my rear tire wasn't coming off because the bike felt totally different to me. 
I think it was a combination of overtightening my chain, which likely will shorten it's life, and not equally adjusting left and right which means my rear tire is not tracking like it should. WHen I am on a tight cloverleaf and I feel that the rear tire is slipping, it's not really slipping, it's just POINTED that way, which is why it feels so wierd. At least that's what I think.
 
I haven't had a day off in like 3-4 months, (long story) but will very soon and I plan to re-adjust the chain, align the rear tire, and re-do the throttle body sync myself with a manometer I will make myself from guides on this forum. Also have engine guards and frame sliders to install, and need to get handlebar sliders and axle sliders as well, since I do plan to do some mountain adventuring and while I don't plan to be knee dragging, I do plan to get very good at it, which means I should protect my bike from potential low side damage.
 
I bought a rear stand and plan to get a front one as well, and I have added a crapload of tool investment the last few month to replace lost, stolen, or rusted ancestors, and to fill in the gaps, especially gaps needed to rebuild my Subaru and work on my bike.
 
Now if I could just get my landlord to clean some of the crap out of the garage so I could work in there and store my tool boxes in there.

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