Torque Multipliers and Wheel Braces
What Is a Wheel Brace?
Wheel braces are a very simple tool that is designed to remove and install the nut or bolt that holds the wheel on the vehicle. Each wheel may have 4, 5 or 6 of these nuts or bolts that need to be removed or installed. The brace is made up of 2 metal rods crossed at 90 degrees to each other with a different size socket on all 4 ends. These sockets will be popular wheel nut/bolt sizes. The shape lend itself well to sitting the socket squarely on the fastener and then allowing both hands or arms to exert force to either tighten or loosen it.
Wheel fasteners have long threads which is where the brace come into its own. When loose, the fastener spins easily on the threads. With one socket attached to the fastener and lightly holding the socket on the opposite end, you can easily spin the brace. Not as fast as an air or electric tool, though with practice it is done quite quickly and looks impressive.
What is a Torque Multiplier?
With the standard family car now becoming a crew cab light truck, maintaining things like diff, gearboxes, suspension and even changing a tyre has become more physical. By that I mean everything is stronger, larger and heavier. Look at the difference between a Holden Commodore wheel and one on your Holden Colorado.
This means the nuts and bolts that are used to hold them together have gotten larger and the correct torque settings to tighten and loosen them is greater. You have to use a bigger socket and to get the correct leverage a rather long handle on your ratchet. This is where the torque multiplier comes in. It basically puts a gearbox between an input and out shaft so you may need to turn the input 3 times to get one turn of the output.
What so good about that? It makes it easy to tighten and loosen high torque nuts or bolts. Say I had to torque the wheel nuts on my 2019 Ford F350. They are 224 N-m. (165 ft-lbs). I would need a big torque wrench with a rather long handle. Then I would probably need to stand on it. If I use a 3:1 ratio torque multiplier then instead of have to put in 224 N-m on the input I only need about 85 N-m on the input to get 224 N-m on the output. Being a gearbox there are losses in the multiplier so it might be 3:1 ratio with a 15% loss. You need to factor all that in when setting the torque specs on the input.