Phono cartridge torque wrench

Hi Guys & Gals

Do any of you use a torque wrench when tightening your cartridge to your tonearm or do you just use a regular screwdriver or Allen key? 

Thank you
Few things bug me more than guys who tighten everything as if the tighter the better. A tiny bit more than snug and you are done. 
I prefer allen screws, easier to tight. Rega used to have a nice torque wrench.
Do not overly tight ! Especially if you have cartridge body with treated holes, you can damage it forever. Use ONLY small tool provided with cartridge. Use plastic washer under the screw.
When shipping stuff pack it tight.

When finding a proper torque, remember this. Clean all the threads, lube the threads or add your type of thread lock (it's a lube if YOU move it's a lock if your not). OR NOT add the lock and use just torque..

Tighten the securements in an even cross pattern until they bottom out. + nothing. That means its just there no torque all. The screws are only touching with NO space between any surfaces, washer, or nuts (if used) I go around 3 - 4 times. THEN (FOR YOU ONLY) and (if they are an alloy or nylons) + 5 degrees (out of 360). That is not very tight, BUT it will never come loose..

They use to call it Zero + torque. All kinds of ways to torque thing PROPERLY.  MC is pretty close. BE light on the torque.. Hinge points, lube and take out the end play, PLUS ZERO.. It pushes the lube away from surfaces..

Agree with MC and I check it occasionally or at least annually when I lube the bearing.
I do use a torque driver design for cartridge mounting. Albert Porter had some made up a decade or so ago. I think it’s great.
A 4-foot torque lever should be fine for cartridge screws, I would think.  Get a friend to help you tug on it.
lube the threads

What? Mounted over 100 different cartridges over the years, no lube. None magnetic screws, plactic washers, small screw provided by cartridge manufacturer (always manually).

when I lube the bearing.

Not every bearings must be lubricated.

Reading about lubrications some newbies on this forum can be confused, it’s not necessary to lubricate every moving parts in turntable!
I’ve bought a little driver with a range of 0-50Ncm. I think the Rega one is preset for 40Ncm, which seems rather high to me, my usual setting by feels is more in the range of 5-10Ncm. I’ve not tried it on the cartridge bolts yet, I can’t access them without disturbing the alignment but the counterweight grub screw, VTA locking screw and cartridge mounting plate bolt are all accessible and have an audible effect on playback. I’ll get systematic with it once my Royal N comes back from Ortofon. I expect there will be some cartridge dependency as to what is optimum.

i was referring to the platter bearing of a belt driven turntable. I am unaware of any tonearm bearings requiring lube.
Reading about lubrications some newbies on this forum can be confused, it’s not necessary to lubricate every moving parts in turntable!


Yes it is.. Cleaning is a type lube. The parts have impregnated anti wear features. CLEANING put the two surfaces together AFTER removing the wear debris, dust and grime.. 

It's 101 first year apprentice stuff. NOT I didn't do it because its hard to clean, BUT I cleaned it because it WORE and left a mess. Moving parts wear, good lube and cleanliness stop a lot of it..

There is a right way and a wrong way.. CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN, inspect, repair, lube if needed and assemble with care..
The second most critical question you can ever be asked, did you clean it three times? Or only twice?    

The first most critical question?
Few things bug me more than guys who tighten everything as if the tighter the better.
Really? You must lead a charmed life.
A tiny bit more than snug and you are done.
Yesss! That's all that's needed.
Ok MC Wipe, Wipe, Wipe, and if your on a pure fruit and veggie diet add a couple more WIPES to it. How's that.. LOL

Funny part MC the "Bad guy" turned out to be a great actor too.

"Garrick" (Andrew J. Robinson) on Star Trek, Deep Space 9. He's made a reference or two to the Dirty Harry in the DS9 series, with a look over the shoulder and gaze directly into the camera. All the time with that silly "should I go for it look" and the LAST smirk he ever made in DH.

Man was Clint YOUNG then, So was I.

Using a torque wrench on cartridge screws is critical as the screws (T10 torx in my case) have to be tightened to exactly the same torque or unequal stress on the cartridge body can miss-align the coils in a moving magnet cartridge or the magnets in a moving magnet cartridge increasing crosstalk. I use precisely 0.5 nm. 


be sure to get mfr torque settings, especially important on 3d printed arms made by vpi

always make sure to unload the torque setting spring lock before putting it away after use  😆😆😆


Just so you know this is the WRONG way to torque. You NEVER put your hand in the middle of the torque wrench and you pull smoothly. NEVER jerk they way this CLOWN is doing it.. This is worst example of torquing I've EVER seen. Start in the middle and it's a cross pattern from bolt head to bolt head..  moving toward the outside of the torqued piece.. Center out..  I'd show him ONE time.. after that "HIT THE ROAD"

It’s done in 2 or 3 steps. about 100 ft lb of torque per round up to 325-350 FPT. It depends if the block and heads have been machined or not.. This is an 855, 16 bolts per head (If I remember right) Early models were 10 per head and 450-500 fpt.

Try 1600 fpt and 100 or so Bolts with a 8 foot torque multiplier. Spreading track on a trench cutter or big bore machine. A day of "Rowing the Boat" Arnold wished he had a back as broad as mine in my day..
No kidding.. 56" chest. steroids work... :-)

No body else wanted the jobs when they set up in Vegas.. I did the CES show just happen to be there EVERY time.. Go figure.. LOL 1600 fpt or 16 ipt there is still a proper way of TORQUING..

i’m glad I have a 50s British roadster


Me too, I’m glad you have it, NOT ME. Did they EVER have a decent gear (GRIND) box?

Rolls Royce, whole different story.. Chauffer please! Farm Girl works for me..

My back hurts thinking about ANY sports car..
@oldheavy, let'em know, center out in a criss cross pattern.

I still remember how mad I was when I had to buy a 3rd torque wrench just to set the compensatory nut on the primary shaft in H-D's (always Snap-on not cheap as you know) when I first started wrenching proffesionally in the 90's. (Already bought 200 in lb and a 75 ft lb at the time)

It wasn't until I started rebuilding cranks and then when Harley came out with the 1" axles that I felt I got my monies worth as I could use it for more than one job.

But now that I'm older I wouldn't hesitate to buy this if I felt I would hear an audible difference.

Go figure

I can’t believe that Porsche has such a high torque rating on the center lock hub lug nut. That is race car territory. 
Anyways, agree, just tighten the cartridge snug fit to the point when all spurious play or wiggle room is eliminated. Drop needle, enjoy music. 
Porsche has been making these centerlocking hubs for years now. Standard on some models like Turbo they are a no-cost option on others. They are pro and con, the main con being having to carry around this giant torque wrench on trips or risk being stranded because nobody has the socket or wrench to change your wheels. 

Yes Porsche is race car territory. Thought everyone knew that.  

porsche is the only major manufacturer who actually produces road cars that are able to stand the stresses of track use in stock form, specifically their gt series cars

none, and i mean none, others do this

not to say that centerlock hubs are necessary for a road car to be track worthy...
The torque spec for Porsche center lock hubs is 600 nm (440 ft/lb)
You get a special socket with the car located in a plastic tub behind the frunk. It requires a 4 foot 3/4" torque wrench (SnapOn $789.00)
To break the locks you have to have someone in the car standing on the breaks. The hubs actually lock on. They can not unscrew without the special socket which has a plunger in the center which presses in on the lock releasing it. 
I just looked up the Rega torque wrench on Ebay. $245. Wow that’s a lot of money for that. I think the torque would definitely make a difference on a resolving system. I do agree with MC that you just spin the Allen wrench with your fingers and give it a slight turn like 5*. I like the idea of putting a lubricant in the threads to be consistent on all the screws. 
I think the torque would definitely make a difference on a resolving system.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Winner winner, chicken dinner!

Milwaukee power tools makes a very nice impact wrench, and with enough adapters one could apply this to phone a cartridge mounting.
Well one thing for sure, this thread is a lot more fun than the "Put the fun back into" thread!
@miller "  Few things bug me more than guys who tighten everything as if the tighter the better. A tiny bit more than snug and you are done."

Hi Miller.  The purpose of a  torque wrench is not to tighten screws as tightly as possible.  It is to tighten them to a defined extent.

I don't believe it is necessary to have perfect accuracy on cartridge fixings and yes, tightness is easily overdone.  Just use a small Allen key or screwdriver and a fairly gentle touch as Miller advises.

Incidentally, torque wrench accuracy suffers from differential friction on the threads and component faces.  To get accurate results it is essential to clean threads and faces thoroughly and slightly lubricate before assembling.
To break the locks you have to have someone in the car standing on the breaks. The hubs actually lock on. They can not unscrew without the special socket which has a plunger in the center which presses in on the lock releasing it.

there is an adjustable pedal depresser that can be set onto the driver seat bottom cushion front edge, other end to the brake pedal lever -- this applies static pressure on the brake pedal, then you can do the centerlock wheel swap as a one person job
Yes, some mechanics use a spring loaded rod between the steering wheel and the brake pedal. I just have my wife stand on the pedal. Can't stand the thought of marking up the seat or the steering wheel. I balance my own wheels. 
Some manufacturers recommend them but if you use one make sure you do not over tighten the screw because you can strip the threads pretty easy on those types of screws and most cartridge bodies.

i traded in my wife for a 7.2 gt3rs some 10 years ago

very liberal trade in policy at my fave p-car store, i highly recommend that outfit - just make sure the wife has no CEL’s showing when you bring her in
I tried that but the DME showed 5000 Range 6 ignitions at 480 hours. I don't understand. She only has 481 hours and I never took her over redline even once.
Ya millercarbon, but you can't downshift her from 6th to 1st. 

@jjss49, good swap.

I am reviving this thread because I want to buy a torque screwdriver for cartridge mounting

There are a few listed and the one in the link below has options in a few ranges, shown below.

I would appreciate it someone could provide guidance on

1. Whether this would be a good choice

2. Which would be the best range of in-lbs

Thanks for your help with this

  • 0.44-4.42 in-lbs / Digital

    0.88-17.7 in-lbs / Digital

  • 1.5-6 in-lbs / Manual

  • 1.77-35.39 in-lbs / Digital

Comic relief. Gotta love it. No one would actually do this. Right?   

I heard the Tekton speakers and said the same thing. What a crazy coincidence!
 There is a Snap-on product listed in an above post with a better range, and the about the same price.
 Likely, there are dimensioning (crap, what is the actual word that I am looking for here?) returns on the 'right' amount of torque. We are approaching the realm of clock makers in the way of accuracy.

  Makes me wish that there were just a couple of standards of which a TT manufacturer and tonearm manufacturer, and cartridge manufacturer had to reach. Then say a headshell cartridge combo could simply be glued at the exact spot required for optimal playback. No, I am not advocating the P mount here, but the idea was as step in the right direction.
@4krowme--probably "diminishing"--
my issue with this is who supplies the info for optimal torque- the cartridge maker? Is this a spec that is commonly made available for different cartridges/arms? I don't recall seeing that, but apart from a Kuzma 4 Pt. 9, I haven't bought a new tone arm in a while. I tighten "just enough" and have a sense of what that is-- how does one apply this to such precise measured activity without relevant data?
You're torquing a securement. Not a cart. Dose that make better sense?

The torque spec is for the actual nut, bolt and washers. The SIZE, number and grade of bolt determined just how secure the pieces are bound together.. Even torque applied over many small increments STOPS distortion of pieces. 

It also to stop permanent warpage from uneven torque.. A pulsating brake peddle is a great example of improper torque methods. Rotors are out of lateral.  I just went through it on my Camry. The guy warped the heck out of the front rotors, putting on 4 new tires. I was smokin.. So was the manager at Les Swab. He new exactly what happened.

He ordered two new rotors and had them on in 45 minutes. I bought the guys a pizza. HE LEARNED. The new kid.. 

I backed up and felt it pulling forward within 30 feet. The peddle was going up and down.. THAT BAD...

They all got a lesson on how to use a torque wrench. Cross pattern in 3 separate increments. Took all of 1 minute per wheel.. As fast as you can hear the CLICK 4-10 times depends on the number of lugs..

Thanks to all for your responses. It is definitely an everything matters OCD issue. I don’t know if there are any published specifications. I think that it may matter whether the torque is equal, rather than the actual number, as long as it is in the reasonable range.

I just purchased a new cartridge which made me think about the very small differences, and how much they matter, when dealing with highly resolving components.

Thanks again for your comments 

Jim Perry

  This sort of thing is overlooked in all kinds ways in daily life. Just look at the spelling, punctuation online. That's one thing but when it comes to things that matter most like maybe the safety on a gun or the actual trigger pull, then it becomes incredibly different.
 Not that I torque every screw or bolt that I drive but I am cognoscente  when I do, not over driving, yet the force must be sufficient to the job. In some cases, it is just as important that each connector is turned a bit at a time in a pattern that will optimize final result. This was discussed earlier in this thread. This thinking can go on and on depending on the importance of the results.
 BTW, I have a new cartridge coming too, and will be wondering about ALL kinds of things, each on a different axis.