Torque Values and Tapered Threads – Do They Go Together?

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Over the past few weeks, I have been working on various cars in the garage with some good friends. We generally get together and help each other out to make the jobs go easier as well as help each other learn more about keeping our family’s vehicles safe and even helping out some others that don’t have the means to work on their own vehicles. Throughout these repairs, we always end up in some type of discussion over something fairly technical. Sometimes it is the proper installation of a part such as take the bolts to snug, back them out, then torque to half the total torque value, back off again, then finally tighten to the complete torque.

We also share different ways of doing the jobs, such as how to lessen the amount of hot oil you are about to pour all over your hand, or how to get that rusted bolt out without a torch and without breaking it. One discussion that comes up quite frequently is torque specs and then the torque spec for a tapered thread.

In case you were not aware, the NPT or BSPT (male) inlets on EXAIR products are both a tapered thread. Tapered threads are generally used on pipe fittings under pressure to seal better and provide a secure engagement. When comparing this to a standard bolt, or straight thread, one is generally accustomed to receiving a torque spec on just how tight to get the fitting or threaded product. For example, the 1/4-20 bolts used in our Super Air Knives are torqued to 7.5 ft-lbs. in order to properly seal the cap, shim, and body together. These are straight threads and thus a torque spec is often driven by the material, size, and thread of the bolt. Torque on tapered threads such as NPT or BSPT fittings is not as easy to find, and not really reliable.

For tapered threads, the engagement of the thread is not always at the same point due to differing tolerances on thread dimensions. These differences create different points of thread engagement with the corresponding thread it is tightening into. For these scenarios, the torque specification is not always best suited as a numeric value. If you search hard enough you can find a table like the one shown below, but again, not the best value to use when installing a tapered thread.

Size in-lbs N-m
1/16″ 5 0.57
1/8″ 7 0.79
1/4″ 16 1.81
3/8″ 23 2.6
1/2″ 30 3.39
3/4″ 54 6.1
1″ 78 8.81

I personally would not use a straight numeric torque when tightening something with stainless steel thread into a brass fitting, or other dissimilar materials together. For this scenario, I would recommend using something like the table below. The TPFT value is, turns past finger tight. This means you would snug the super air nozzle, vortex tube, or other fittings by hand to finger tight. Then using a wrench or two if needed, turn the fitting to the correct number of revolutions for the given thread size. By utilizing this method and the correct amount of thread sealant, see John Ball’s video blog below, you can ensure there will not be a concern on whether or not the joint will leak and also if the fitting is tight enough.

NPT Size TPFT
1/8″ 2-3
1/4″ 2-3
3/8″ 2-3
1/2″ 2-3
3/4″ 2-3
1″ 1.5-2.5

If you would like to discuss torque settings, installation of your engineered compressed air solution, or even what might be wrong with your minivan, contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer/Garage Mechanic Extraordinaire
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

A Special Build

machining

The number of calls and emails that come in every week always seem to have something new.  Looking through my emails this afternoon I saw an product integration walk-through for a Line Vac, but with a twist.  This particular application had been mimicked in another facility and in looking at the specs, the requested model didn’t seem to fit quite right.  After a few emails and a sketch of the installation, everything was worked out with a safety margin to ensure proper application performance.

I also noticed the telltale signs of summer, which was an abundance of Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide assistance forms.  There were a number of others dealing with Cabinet Cooler Side Mount Kits, Air Nozzles, Air Knives, Reversible Drum Vacs, etc.  In short, there hasn’t been a shortage of fresh applications to keep me on my toes and asking questions.

One of the questions that stood out to me this past week was whether we are able to offer our Threaded Line Vac products with BSPP threads, and the answer is yes.  Unsurprisingly the request came from an overseas source, and also unsurprisingly we are stepping up to fill the need.  We pride ourselves on building reliable products and having them in stock, but we also pride ourselves in being able to step out of the production manufacturing zone and modify our designs when you need a custom solution.

If you’re involved with our product and see the need for a BSPP thread, or another modification to suit the market, drop me an email and I’ll see what we can do.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE