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Discussion Starter #1
I need to change my front sprocket for the first time but I CAN'T get it loose. I've opened up the washer bend, had my wife sit on the bike with the rear brake on, used a long breaker bar but it won't give.

My Bonneville was not near as tight.

Should I buy an impact wrench, and if so, to what ft lbs to get it loose? Lowes has a Kobalt 500 ft lb air impact wrench for $70 and it has good reviews.

How is everyone else getting it loose?
 

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I haven't done my Versys, but i did change my front sprocket on my Gixxer. You just need more Cow-bell. Hop down on the breaker bar and it will come loose (as long as the Mrs. is putting max force on the rear brake).
 

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I've heard people say it was hard to get off, but most managed with a pry bar. I put my "Earthquake" 625 ft lb impact wrench from Harbor Freight on it...pulled the trigger in two short blasts just to see what it would do and the nut fell off before I realized it. So if you do some mechanic work and have ever considered an impact wrench, now would probably be as good a time as any.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you. I think it's impact wrench time.

Torque is a very un-exact science in the real world. A nut torqued on a flange even with a very good torque wrench could vary by +/-50% and your regular bolt or screw is +/-25%. So I think I got one on the higher scale of things.

Here's a good study on torque:
http://www.surebolt.com/surebolt.htm
 

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Both Torque Wrenches

The one I have is a 1/2" :

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=2623

IMHO, I would buy based on the rated torque rather than drive size...this 1/2" one is rated 625 ft lbs, while the above 3/4" is rated at only 350.
I also have th 1/2" model but for some reason it will not break loose a lot of nuts I have encountered. For some reason the 3/4" seems to have more "umph" and I've yet to run across anything it won't break loose. The 3/4" I have is rated at 500 ft lbs.

Go figure.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well I wimped out. I have so many things to do that I just had the shop change it.

Still, I will look at this issue more. I hate being dependent on others when I could just do a job myself.

I've read that a breaker bar is much easier on nuts and that you should never tighten a nut with a impact wrench like tire places do. It should always be done with a torque wrench.

Have any of you found that nuts get worn from impact wrenches?

When you use an impact wrench for the front sprocket, do you have to have someone sit on the bike and put pressure on the front brake?

Does the socket have to be rated for an impact wrench?
 

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I've read that a breaker bar is much easier on nuts and that you should never tighten a nut with a impact wrench like tire places do. It should always be done with a torque wrench.
I've probably snaggled more nuts with a breaker bar...there is always some twisting component with the breaker bar...by that, I mean a force at a right angle to the applied torque. This is exaggerated with deep well sockets, or if you have to use an extension. But an impact wrench is true torque.

I wouldn't tighten a nut with an impact gun...you have no idea how much torque it's really putting out. I suppose if you have adjustable setting on the impact wrench to limit the torque (mine has 6 levels) and you start the thread by hand so you're sure it's not cross threaded - then it should be OK to run the nut down with the impact and use a torque wrench for final tightening.

Have any of you found that nuts get worn from impact wrenches?
Seems just the opposite. Nuts come out in good shape with the impact and get boogered up using the breaker bar. Now sockets on the other hand...so far, I 've had one Wal-mart socket split down the side after 7 years of home garage work.

When you use an impact wrench for the front sprocket, do you have to have someone sit on the bike and put pressure on the front brake?
I didn't...with an impact, the torque is high, but the duration is so short that it doesn't transfer much overall torque to the wheel...plus, the nut busted loose so fast I don't think the wheel even had a chance to turn.

But impact wrenches work the same for things like flywheels, harmonic balancers, etc. Things you would have to block up to keep from spinning while using a breaker bar, you can just pull the trigger on the impact wrench and let the high impact force do the work.

Does the socket have to be rated for an impact wrench?
That would be ideal although even seemingly cheap tools (wal mart) have lifetime warranties now. If you do use a "regular" socket, there is always a chance of it splitting or breaking...sometimes with flying pieces. So if you don't feel like investing in a complete set of impact sockets, it may at least be good to get a pair of safety glasses.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Corey, U-da-man!! You should be an impact wrench salesman because you've got me sold. Really, thanks for the great answers.

I see what Dallasdon is saying about the 3/4" but I've read great things about HF Earthquake 1/2". Not the cheapest but certainly reasonable. It will be in my tool box soon.

You guys are great.
 

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Harbor Freight has them on sale and then there is a 15% off one item coupon in the ad too.

http://www.harborfreightusa.com/usa/tabviewer/startBrowseBook.do?bookid=214&preview=&type=RET&simple=

Looks like I'll be there this morning.
Don't know which wrench that link is pointing to, but I'd highly recommend sticking with something in the "Earthquake" series These are all double hammer designs and have 2-3x the torque and nearly double the freewheeling RPM as most other wrenches they have.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Got the 1/2 drive Earthquake for about $70 with all the discounts. I tried it on the rear wheel nut, which is darn tight, and it took it off in a jiffy. Amazing with the IW you don't have to support the opposite nut to prevent spinning.

Should have bought an impact wrench years ago.

buster123 my 1/2 inch electric impact is low power at best and it got the job done. in gear no rear brake.

Buster, I thought it was bad for the engine to leave it in gear when loosening that nut.
 

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I'd rather do it as specified in repair manual using a 1/2" breaker bar to avoid hammering the transmission gears and distorting some shafts. If you insist on the impact wrench, leave it in neutral to isolate engine components. It's torqued to 92 ft-lbs. The rear brake is not quite strong enough, so I blocked the rear wheel with a lenght of 2" X 3" wood in the swingarm, towel wrapped and carefully positioned to avoid denting the swingarm's thin aluminum... I also lean on the deep socket's driving end while pulling on the breaker bar to limit twisting torque, as mentioned by corey873.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If it is torqued to 92 lbs, and studies prove that could be off by 25% (more with a flange included), if you have a nut at the higher end of the scale, one could hurt themself getting that kind of leverage to loosen it.

For me, next time, I will leave it in neutral as I always do and then use an impact wrench like my Kawasaki dealer does. They don't mess with breaker bars and those that wrote the manual won't pay my medical bills from an injury using a breaker bar at such a high torque to get loose.

No way would I do it in first gear for reasons you mentioned.
 

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Don't be silly. There's nothing to fear with the breaker bar, atgatt. It's made for it. If you feel confident handling an impact wrench, you'd be fine with a 1/2" breaker bar. With the rear wheel well secured, the nut is VERY easy to loosen.
The highly powerful rotational impact force delivered by the impact wrench easily loosens the nut, and also excessively over-torqus the nut back on. Expect to need a larger, stronger impact wrench next time you need to loosen the nut. Distorting the countershaft will also be more likely, even if left in neutral... Locking the rear wheel to use a breaker bar allows you to re-torque the nut to specified 92 FT-LBS with a proper torque wrench.
 

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atgatt, I'm a big fan of Harborfreight and impact sockets et al. I was trying to get the front brake caliper off yesterday and was rounding off the bolts with my crap chrome sockets.

Went to HF and got a set of metric 6 sided impact sockets of $8.50, came back and the bolts came straight off.

When alvis and I put the 16tooth on, we had to crank up his large impact wrench to get it to shift, but it makes life sooo easy.

Machog
 

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Discussion Starter #19
invader, why was it not VERY easy for me? How do you know for sure what the nut was torqued to when they can vary by so much? I agree with you not to use the impact wrench to tighten the nut but I can't see the harm to loosen it when the bike is in neutral. Let tools do the work.

And yes, I have pulled muscles before when a breaker bar let loose on a very tight nut.

Machog, interesting input. I ordered a complete set of HF impact wrenches.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=34683
 

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atgatt this is the set I got from HF;

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=3655

I already had some of the bigger ones, plus the one I wanted for my brake caliper bolts is a 12mm, the only one your set doesn't come with!

Don't why its taken me so long to get good sockets, I love tools and HF is so reasonable.

Plus I also picked up a laser thermometer-no I don't need one, but its a great toy. Tire temps, checking if both cylinder heads are the same, exhaust, radiator temp etc, cost all of $19.99 so couldn't resist.

Machog
 
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