Tool For Tough Truck Lug Nuts
Jan 04, 2018
Farm equipment keeps getting bigger and bigger, as do the tools required to work on those bigger machines. Many farms now have 3/4-inch or 1-inch-drive pneumatic air guns to remove and tighten lug nuts on semi trucks and other mega-fasteners. Removing is no big problem--just hammer away. But I'm always concerned about installing big nuts and bolts to the proper torque.
Hand-torquing a nut or bolt to 500- to 1,000 lb./ft. of torque with even a 3/4-inch or 1-inch drive torque wrench is a LOT of work. If a lug nut is deep inside an offset wheel, it's a two-man job. In factories, the workers use hydraulic torque wrenches. They're powered by hydraulics, so they're not the most efficient thing on a farm or in the field.
Recently I was talking to a mechanic who works on HUGE construction and pit mine equipment, and he told me he has been very satisfied with pneumatic-powered torque wrenches. They look like a traditional air-powered impact wrench, but have a gear-reduction drive that is adjustable. The user sets the gun to the desired lb./ft. of torque, puts the gun on a nut or bolt, hits the trigger, and the gun spins until it reaches the desired torque setting then "stalls out."
My friend uses RAD-brand pneumatic torque wrenches. I see on the internet there are several brands, including Hy-Torque and others. From what I can tell, the smaller guns are capable of torquing up to 350 lb./ft. The biggest RAD single-speed pneumatic torque gun has a range of 4,000 to 11,000 lb./ft. Like I said, I don't have one of these myself, and they aren't cheap--we're talking thousands of dollars for each gun. But if I get in a situation where I have to precisely torque a LOT of nuts and bolts, common sense says it might be worth investigating this option.
If you're interested, check out "pneumatic torque guns" or "RAD torque guns" on the internet.