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Dial Indicator

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72FordGTS View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72FordGTS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Dial Indicator
    Posted: 02-December-2022 at 6:50AM
I am looking at getting a dial indicator, with a base.  Just looking for something for general automotive use, like setting up rear ends, checking valve lift, etc.

I see a few options at Summit. The summit brand one looks okay, but some complaints of a weak magnet.  The Chicago brand one looks decent too, but is a lot more money.

Vince

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72 RS 351 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-December-2022 at 7:14AM
I have a magnetic base and a dial indicator that have worked great since I got them in the early 90's, from Harbor Freight. The generic brands should do fine for most tasks, I would only worry about the accuracy of a caliper for serious work like engine bearing clearances etc. The magnet of my off brand base is very strong, when the lever is turned to engage it, you cannot easily remove it from the metal surface. I checked lifter preload with mine, as well as some valve lifts etc, and ring gear backlash 3-4 times. Mine were about $20 each about 30 years ago.
Don
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eliteman76 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-January-2023 at 3:27PM
My question is, what level of quality would you use for dialing in Bell house runout?

I am pulling my tremec out soon for a re-fresh and need to consider spending time to make sure it's dialed in. Seems the Tremec 5 speeds are not like the Toploaders of olden days.
Andrew:GTS.ORG admin, '72 Q code 5 speed Restomod
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote Camojoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-March-2023 at 2:13PM
If you don't mind used, search ebay for a Federal brand indicator.
I've been in machine work for more than 40 years, and have used various indicator brands over the years,and have several in my home tool box.
In my opinion, Federal will make all other brands run up a tree.
Starrett and Mitutoyo are both fantastic indicators, but don't have the smoothness and feel of Federal.
You can find Federals in any resolution, such as one tenth of a thou (.0001"), which would be a little overkill for setting up ring and pinion backlash.
Probably more than info than you asked for, but there it is.
Regards,
Duck


Edited by Camojoe - 14-March-2023 at 2:18PM
werd tuh yuh momma and dim....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Greg73Oregon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-March-2023 at 3:11PM
Yes.  The Harbor freight one is good.  Used it to rebuild an engine.  Measurement results were always repeatable.  Magnet was fairly strong.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote californiajohnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-March-2023 at 9:21PM
  i dont recall the brand i have seams to me its central presision??? (no its not HF i got this way before HF was thought of) i do have the HF dial indicator and snap gauges. a few starrett mics, and a mitutoyo  digital caliper...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72FordGTS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-March-2023 at 6:03AM
Thanks CamoJoe, great advice!
Vince

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eliteman76 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-April-2023 at 1:48PM
Hey CamoJoe, what one off here would you choose for general automotive use?

For how often I am going to use one, in my case I am checking runout of my bell housing after I send my Tremec 5 speed in for a freshening. 

I am leaning towards possibly a Fowler or SPI, as I don't see myself using this tool at all.

Fowler brand: 

SPI Brand:

Andrew:GTS.ORG admin, '72 Q code 5 speed Restomod
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote DJames Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-April-2023 at 6:54AM
I've always been a big fan of Brown and Sharpe. I have a 1 inch travel dial indicator that I've had since the 80s with no complaints. Starrett is also top shelf stuff. I bought a Starrett Last Word indicator in the mid 70s and it still works great. I also have a Mitutoya version of that Last Word that I got like 20 years ago that I would use if I suspected the potential for getting damaged, but, it never did. But, my first choice is Brown and Sharpe. My B & S dial calipers are like part of the family, and my B & S depth mike set has been a workhorse for many, many moons. I like the wooded cases that the stuff comes in also. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eliteman76 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-January-2024 at 5:08PM
Quick follow up. When I was checking the runout on my factory bell house for my Tremec TKX swap, I wound up grabbing the HF dial indicator and mag base. 

Aside from being years since I had to use it, found when I checked runout, repeated same multiple times, no issues.
I did snap the mag base adjuster lock nut by accident, but that was user error more than anything. HF swapped it out and no issues after that. 

I'd agree with Starrett and Brown and Sharp. Great product. Mitutoyo is another brand that comes to mind as well. Just depends on how much you want to spend. 
Andrew:GTS.ORG admin, '72 Q code 5 speed Restomod
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