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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've been working on a suspension upgrade (long overdue for the vehicle), which includes a new UCA from JBA and new coil overs. The JBA UCAs have a bolt style that spins (so you need to grab the end with VISE grips and then tighten with a wrench, not a socket). (You may note that the shock bolt /nut needs to be tightened this way as well). Also, if you've ever tried to torque the long bolt going through the UCA, you know it is very difficult. Same for the three bolts on the top hat for the front shock mount. Being a new driveway mechanic, there's still much to learn. I need to torque all the bolts I've mentioned. I found out about the "Break Over Wrench", which is rather pricey. There's also the "Crowfoot" style wrench end which attaches to a standard ratcheting torque wrench. For example: NEIKO CROWFOOT WRENCH SET ON AMAZON.

Those of you experienced with DIY repairs and torquing in tight spaces, is the Crowfoot style good enough for all the needs I've described? Is there a better option? Just want to make sure I'm not missing something. Thanks.
 

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fka BLACK HAWK
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yup, Crowsfeet are $$$ . i used them a lot in my military days
 

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Skip the vice grips. The only time I've ever used vice grips were at friends garage. Channel locks work better in most cases because they can grip a flat or round with adjustment in their jaws.

Crowsfoot work when space is allowable. Although their application sounds good, fitting ratchet on the end will limit the use. Get a good set of short and long (aviation) combination metric wrenches. Having offset ones can help the job for specific cases but most of the straight combination wrenches (6point if possible) and with ratcheting action (12 point) can help more than crowsfoot sockets IMO.
 

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FJJF,

I'm running JBA UCA's. The spinning bolt you refer to will tighten up (stop spinning) once the ball joint makes contact with itself. No need for vice grips when applying final torque.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Skip the vice grips. The only time I've ever used vice grips were at friends garage. Channel locks work better in most cases because they can grip a flat or round with adjustment in their jaws.

Crowsfoot work when space is allowable. Although their application sounds good, fitting ratchet on the end will limit the use. Get a good set of short and long (aviation) combination metric wrenches. Having offset ones can help the job for specific cases but most of the straight combination wrenches (6point if possible) and with ratcheting action (12 point) can help more than crowsfoot sockets IMO.
Thanks for the channel locks recommendation. I do have some of those combo ratcheting wrenches (with reversible ratchet direction) and they are great, but they don't offer torque. While I was using those this weekend, I thought it would be perfect if they also had a torque option on each. Even torque on an open ended wrench would have given me what I needed. That option would make each wrench much more expensive though. I am finding options like this (Multi Head Torque Wrench Set) but the torque and head options on the sets I'm finding online seem too small or too expensive. That's why I'm still considering the crow's foot option.
 

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Yes, a crows foot on the torque wrench is the solution used in the Toyota shop manual for correctly torquing fasteners which cannot be done with a socket. Take note of the lever arm length change when using one!


Whenever possible, put it on at 90degrees and then the torque value won't have to be re-calculated. The above link provides the steps to deal with angles other than 90.
 

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Yes, a crows foot on the torque wrench is the solution used in the Toyota shop manual for correctly torquing fasteners which cannot be done with a socket. Take note of the lever arm length change when using one!


Whenever possible, put it on at 90degrees and then the torque value won't have to be re-calculated. The above link provides the steps to deal with angles other than 90.
Norm -

What section of the FJ Factory Service Manual recommends the use of a crowfoot wrench?

The only tool I have ever seen in the FJ manual that was even remotely similar to a crowfoot wrench was a tube union wrench for use with brake lines, transmission cooler lines, etc. These are essentially 12-point box-end wrenches with a small section of the 'box' cut away so the wrench can slip over the fluid line and get 6 points of engagement on the fitting nu rathert than the 2 points of contact you could get with an open-end wrench. The typical torque on a fluid coupling nut is quite low, so the tube union wrenches work well without spreading open, even though part of the 'box' is cut away.

I would never recommend the use of a crowfoot wrench on any critical fastener that required a high torque value. With only two points of contact between a crowfoot wrench and the fastener, it's far too easy to round the corners of the nut or bolt head.

Use only a 6-point socket for torqueing critical suspension nuts and bolts.

Rectangle Parallel Font Symmetry Number
 

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So I've been working on a suspension upgrade (long overdue for the vehicle), which includes a new UCA from JBA and new coil overs. The JBA UCAs have a bolt style that spins (so you need to grab the end with VISE grips and then tighten with a wrench, not a socket). (You may note that the shock bolt /nut needs to be tightened this way as well). Also, if you've ever tried to torque the long bolt going through the UCA, you know it is very difficult. Same for the three bolts on the top hat for the front shock mount. Being a new driveway mechanic, there's still much to learn. I need to torque all the bolts I've mentioned. I found out about the "Break Over Wrench", which is rather pricey. There's also the "Crowfoot" style wrench end which attaches to a standard ratcheting torque wrench. For example: NEIKO CROWFOOT WRENCH SET ON AMAZON.

Those of you experienced with DIY repairs and torquing in tight spaces, is the Crowfoot style good enough for all the needs I've described? Is there a better option? Just want to make sure I'm not missing something. Thanks.
Crowfoot wrenches only provide 2 points of contact with a fastener, and are NOT appropriate for critical, high-torque fastening jobs like suspension nuts and bolts.

Use only a 6-point socket that will provide maximum contact with the fastener, and minimize the possibility of 'rounding off' the nut or the bolt head.

Not sure which 'bolt' you are talking about on the JBA control arms, but there should never be a need to use Vise-Grips, pipe wrenches, etc. on any automotive suspension component. If you are talking about the threads on the end of a tapered stud, as soon as the tapers start to engage the stud will 'lock up' against rotation and all you need to do is tighten the nut.

For the strut (or shock) nut, there are a pair of opposed flats on the shaft where you use an open-end wrench to prevent shaft rotation while tightening the nut. The nut is a lock-nut, and is tightened with only enough torque to slightly compress the rubber isolator bushings. Never grip a strut or shock shaft with any type of tool, or you will damage the chrome plating and instantly destroy the shock seal if the shock gets fully compressed.
 

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I was thinking of my '93 Camry that I just finished restoring, it had a couple of places where an SST shaped like a big brake nut wrench was called for. Rather than buy more tools (which sounds weird to say because usually that's not stopping me), I found I could use the crowfoot wrenches that I already had. Totally agree that any time using an open end wrench carries some risk because of only 2 faces of contact (certainly why the SST was "brake nut wrench" shaped, to get at least 4 faces in on the action), but when you need to torque something that can not be reached by a socket, I found it could function as a work around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Crowfoot wrenches only provide 2 points of contact with a fastener, and are NOT appropriate for critical, high-torque fastening jobs like suspension nuts and bolts.

Use only a 6-point socket that will provide maximum contact with the fastener, and minimize the possibility of 'rounding off' the nut or the bolt head.

Not sure which 'bolt' you are talking about on the JBA control arms, but there should never be a need to use Vise-Grips, pipe wrenches, etc. on any automotive suspension component. If you are talking about the threads on the end of a tapered stud, as soon as the tapers start to engage the stud will 'lock up' against rotation and all you need to do is tighten the nut.

For the strut (or shock) nut, there are a pair of opposed flats on the shaft where you use an open-end wrench to prevent shaft rotation while tightening the nut. The nut is a lock-nut, and is tightened with only enough torque to slightly compress the rubber isolator bushings. Never grip a strut or shock shaft with any type of tool, or you will damage the chrome plating and instantly destroy the shock seal if the shock gets fully compressed.
I appreciate the warning. Also, I'm almost completely through the checklist you posted years ago regarding what maintenance to perform when acquiring an older/higher mileage FJ with no service history. Last up (after suspension) is torquing all critical bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Norm -

What section of the FJ Factory Service Manual recommends the use of a crowfoot wrench?

The only tool I have ever seen in the FJ manual that was even remotely similar to a crowfoot wrench was a tube union wrench for use with brake lines, transmission cooler lines, etc. These are essentially 12-point box-end wrenches with a small section of the 'box' cut away so the wrench can slip over the fluid line and get 6 points of engagement on the fitting nu rathert than the 2 points of contact you could get with an open-end wrench. The typical torque on a fluid coupling nut is quite low, so the tube union wrenches work well without spreading open, even though part of the 'box' is cut away.

I would never recommend the use of a crowfoot wrench on any critical fastener that required a high torque value. With only two points of contact between a crowfoot wrench and the fastener, it's far too easy to round the corners of the nut or bolt head.

Use only a 6-point socket for torqueing critical suspension nuts and bolts.

View attachment 1178211
I am able to find ratcheting Crowfoot heads (12 point) in metric that seem like they would be better than standard Crowfoot heads. Snap-on Store
 
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