Metric...or SAE?

I was just interested to hear where forum members stand on this divisive issue. Are you metric guys and gals, or SAE standard?

I’ll go ahead and say I’d wish they’d just chuck SAE stuff entirely! I’ve been around awhile, and I don’t EVER think I’ve owned a vehicle that wasn’t metric, going all the way back to my first 10-speed. Excluding airplanes and Harleys, I’m not sure what consumer goods (foreign or domestic) actually take standard.

[Begin rant]But, go to a hardwarde store, and 90% of what they have is standard! I’m not exactly sure what you’re supposed to do with it, other than assemble other stuff you buy at the store…Wanted to pick up a simple 6mmX1.0 threaded rod; had my choice of #10 or 1/4". Now I’m winding up with a car that takes TWO sets of tools to work on (GRR!)

If we could just get the hardware stores to toss SAE…I’d never have to buy another standard wrench again!

[end rant]

Good Points, Good Rant, Mean Joe 75 Fan.
What? You don’t use Whitworth or Brittish Standard?

I have had cars and motorcycles that use SAE and metric and many that use both, so it’s not as shocking to me. I have tools to cover both and I just roll with it.

It certainly would be better to go one way or the other, but that might be a while off, yet.


Well if I remember correctly,Congress voted to adopt the metric system as our standard measurement system in 1889-now I dont know why its taking so long to adopt,much easier if you can handle exponets and a bit more precise(however centigrade makes little sense to me)-Kevin

CSA, thanks for your kind words. It wasn’t such a big deal, really…I guess it’s more cumulative. Since hardware is mostly home repair-oriented, perahps they’re one of the last holdouts…dunno.

Is it just my imagination, or is the same thing that happened to Radio Shack happening to hardware (i.e. less nuts-n-bolts, more high-ticket)?

kmccune, celsius–>farenheit is too complicated for math, but real easy if you remember this rule-of-thumb:

0C (32F) is "cold"
10C (50F) is "cool"
20C (68F) is "comfortable"
30C (86F) is “hot”.

That way, no math, and if you see a 15C forecast, you know it’ll be on the cool side of comfortable–jacket weather. (59F, BTW.)

By choice, metric; when forced by circumstance SAE.

Metric all the way. When I try a 9mm socket and it’s too small, I’ll move up to a 10mm. In SAE, it’s a pain to mentally do fraction conversions when trying to put my 1/2", 3/8", and 7/16" sockets and wrenches in order.

Now the only people besides those in the medical field who use the metric system are drug dealers (a kilo of coke)…

The SAE tools go in 16ths, so if a 3/8ths (aka a 6/16ths) doesn’t work, you just go up to a 7/16ths. I guess it’s not as relevant for tool sizes, but in general I like fractions better for linear measurement.

I have no preference for SAE vs. Metric so long as they would make up their dang minds and go with one.

Heh… I’m not even a “shade-tree” mechanic, so I don’t worry much. If the 9mm doesn’t work, I take out a .45 cal… just kidding. Seriously, when I work on a car, I don’t care whether it’s metric or SAE. I just try to guesstimate what size I need and work from there. If the 9mm doesn’t fit, I try the next size up or down. If metric seems just a hair loose, I’ll try SAE or vice versa. I know a lot of “real” home mechanics can probably know by sight whether it’s metric or SAE and which size, but I’m not one of them. :slight_smile:

"kmccune, celsius–>farenheit is too complicated for math, but real easy if you remember this rule-of-thumb:

0C (32F) is "cold"
10C (50F) is "cool"
20C (68F) is "comfortable"
30C (86F) is “hot”.

That way, no math, and if you see a 15C forecast, you know it’ll be on the cool side of comfortable–jacket weather. (59F, BTW.)"

Actually it’s very easy.

T© = (T(F)-32)*5/9

And it’s clear you live near Pittsburg by you internal temperature scale.


0C (32F) is "arctic"
10C (50F) is "cold"
20C (68F) is "cool"
30C (86F) is “comfortable”.


0C (32F) is "cool"
10C (50F) is "comfortable"
20C (68F) is "hot"
30C (86F) is “Saharan”.


The problem is too many people are afraid. The fear that if we go metric it will mean someone will be cheating them, or the fear that somehow metric is foreign and will some how cause the downfall of the US if we use it. They are the same people who some how feel getting rid of those pennies will mean paying $!.00 for what cost $0.99 today rather than $0.95 which is far more likely IMO.

The problem with converting is that there are countless quadrillions of dollars worth of heavy machinery in the manufacturing industry, and countless trillions of old designs still in use, that use SAE. Trying to convert by force would bankrupt many industries.

Design drawing packages are complex. Especially if they’re done with geometric tolerancing and dimensioning. Conversions would be cost prohibitive. It just isn’t that simple. And for the bulk of our manufactured products it would have no benefit. Remember tha most of what’s manufactured is not automobiles and planes.

1889? Wow. Who’d have thought.

The metric system… from the people who brought us the guillotine!

you cant go to metric. it would screw everything up. there would be chaos. seriously.

my father works in a machine shop working with 0.00001’s of inches. if he had to write those number’s down in metric, there would be numbers as long as your arm. there is too much room for human error. the shop is already backed up with messed up parts that need to be re-done. hes already fixing mistakes from the customers before they happen, and they dont need any more mistakes then there are now. the northern midwest paper industry would be destroyed if this one shop was forced to switch.

think about the disasterous effects human error could have on any industry, with numbers in to the .0000001s mm.

What? How is a 0.00001 of a MM any harder to work with than a 0.00001 of an inch?

And furthermore, this sort of thing is where the metric system excels-- 0.0000001 MM becomes .1 nanometer, or 100 picometers. Simple!

Thanks guys, thats basically what I was looking for-Kevin

I don’t care which one, I do have trouble with /32 and /64. I would hope for a unified system but so often you need a new torx bit or something that leads me to think that is not in the works. Need whitworth for the triumph, When will the insanity end.

The US is the only country, other than Yemen and Myanmar (Burma), that is not on the metric system yet. We’re in good company! The British are on metric but still use miles per hour in their speed limits.

I own 2 complete sets of wrenches, metric and SAE, and still use the SAE most. Scare mongering is common; the Amercian Rodeo Cowboy Association firmly believes that the metric system is a communist plot to overthrow the USA.

There are upsides to this; my wife wears a size C88 bra in metric!

The US car industry has already VOLUNTARILY changed over, since the subcontractors and their foreign divisions all over were going metric in overseas markets. I owned one of the last part metric part SAE cars, a 1988 Caprice. Designing a car in non-metric units is folly. Over 90% of world trade is aleady conducted in the metric system.

Now THAT confuses me. I never remember which is bigger… .38, .357, or 9mm? Here we go with mixing SAE and metric again!