How to Use a Torque Angle Gauge

January 27, 2012

A torque angle gauge is used to ensure that each component of a fastener has an equal amount of tightness. Torque is a unit of measurement that relates how much energy or force it takes to overcome resistance and turn or rotate an object.

Automobile assembly lines need to measure this torque to make sure fasteners or other components are tightened to a specific point, to ensure safety and not damage the fasteners or components. Torque is important for many fasteners, bolts screws and cylinders. Torque angle gauges are used in conjunction with torque wrenches.

The Torque Value
Figure out the proper torque value needed for the fastener or bolt being replaced. The measurements are done in Newton Meters or foot pounds. Each fastener should also come with specifications for the torque angle. The torque angle is measured in degrees. Normally the correct torque is reached with the wrench and then the proper torque angle is corrected.

Tighten the Bolt
Use a torque wrench and tighten the bolt to its specified torque. To do this, place the angle meter over the head of the bolt and then put the wrench on top of the angle meter. Turn the torque wrench the specified distance. As you start to turn the wrench, watch the torque meter. Stop when the necessary value is reached. A torque angle gauge can be used with a dial torque wrench, click torque wrench or beam torque wrench. In each case, the angle provides the more accurate measurement. Even if you have reached the set torque reading on the torque wrench, always go by the torque angle setting.

Adjust Multiple Fasteners Equally
If several of the same fasteners need to be tightened on the same piece, make sure they are all tightened to the same torque angle and torque value. If the bolts and fasteners are not tightened to the same torque then the mechanical parts will not work properly, and it is possible to irreparably damage them. It is recommended that the bolts be tightened not in a straight line, but every other bolt or alternating bolts.

Use Degrees rather than Pounds
Tightening fasteners by the torque angle instead of the torque wrench provides for a much more accurate fastening. Torque wrenches have a measurement that uses pounds per foot. However, there is inherently some error in this measurement as it does not take into account any friction. Friction affects bolts differently as the difference between old and new bolts as well as the material of the bolt all will create friction. This causes measurements to be altered. This friction error is removed when measuring by the torque angle.

Common Issues with Torque Angle Gauge

  • Tightening sequence. One of the main torque angle gauge issues is if bolts or screws are tightened out of sequence. It is rare for a series of bolts to be tightened in order. Normally a pattern must be followed. If the bolts are tightened out of sequence then it is likely that the actual torque of the bolts is wrong
  • No directions. Most gauges come with instructions, and these will need to be followed. Most issues can occur when the gauge is not used properly. The gauge will be placed over the head of the bolt and then the wrench attached. Turn the wrench until the specified torque, and then make adjustments until the correct angle is reached
  • Calibration. When a torque tool is used frequently, dropped or banged around, it will go out of calibration much faster. Calibration can take some time and if the calibration is off, incorrect torque will be applied to the bolt. An electronic torque meter is needed to calibrate the torque angle

Are Torque Meters Reliable?
It does not take a lot for the meter to lose its calibration. Torque meters should not be abused, dropped or knocked about, as this can cause the calibration to go out. Treating your meter well and properly maintaining it will mean that you can feel confident in the torque measurements.

Go Electronic
Electronic meters contain sensors that use pressure transducers to measure the torque. These transducers are highly sensitive and are used in factories to calibrate torque wrenches. These electronic meters are up to eight times more accurate than the more traditional wrenches and meters. If you need to measure torque a lot, an electronic tool is highly recommended and will be worth the investment.