Checking Wheel Nuts?

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 04, 2017 at 20:22
ThreadID: 135205 Views:6480 Replies:14 FollowUps:24
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I recently posted about the loss of a wheel on my Australian Off Road Quantum & the subsequent dramas after work done at the factory.
I'll point out at this stage that I live in Victoria & AORC are near Caloundra, also prior to leaving home I had a service & new brakes fitted. I then had an uneventful 2200 kilometre trip to Caloundra.
The work was a recall on the suspension to have strengthening plates fitted to the wishbones following several failures.
The work was performed in the suggested time period & when I picked it up I couldn't be happier as they were very professional in the way they conducted themselves.
However, approximately 420kms afternoon leaving the factory the near side wheel fell off at around 100kph & the opposite,wheel was found to be very loose.
To their credit AORC, after saying that they must have forgotten to hand torque the nuts after rattling them on, sent parts to a repairer & paid for the repairs.
When I got home I contacted them about further out of pocket expenses that I had incurred, which involved buying wheel studs, nuts & a weeks accommodation whilst waiting for the Quantum to be repaired.
At this point they said that I had contributed to the problem by not checking the wheel nuts myself, I did ask if I should check all the rest of their work as I had managed the trip North without incident along with many years & 100s of thousands of kilometres towing trailers, campers, caravans & boats!
Had I just purchased the camper new, I would have checked the nuts after 100km & every 200 kms after that for 1000kms.
My question is, how often do people check their wheel nuts?

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Reply By: 508 - Tuesday, Jul 04, 2017 at 21:13

Tuesday, Jul 04, 2017 at 21:13
Strange question! From the replies, you will get some that do, and some that don't. You will not get an answer from anybody that hasn't read your question, which will be most of the population on the planet. What do you hope to deduce from your replies . I have found that the wheel nuts were over tightened after getting tyres rotated . Heck of a job to change wheel with brace supplied by vehicle tool kit
AnswerID: 612338

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, Jul 04, 2017 at 21:40

Tuesday, Jul 04, 2017 at 21:40
I recheck wheel nut torque before every trip and after the first days drive. Carry a torque wrench with 22mm socket and extension in the back of the car.
Pretty much what is suggested here:Mullins wheels wheel nut torque.

In 1992 I nearly lost a wheel on the troopie with the family on board. Was 5000k into a Kimberley trip and had replaced a punctured tyre a week earlier.
AnswerID: 612340

Reply By: MUZBRY- Life member(Vic) - Tuesday, Jul 04, 2017 at 21:47

Tuesday, Jul 04, 2017 at 21:47
Gday Shaker
I do a visual check and if there are any rust lines i get out my wheel brace and give them a check. I have done checks like that for all my driving life .
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AnswerID: 612341

Reply By: 865 - Tuesday, Jul 04, 2017 at 22:28

Tuesday, Jul 04, 2017 at 22:28
Hi Shaker
I don't think you would have expected replies from anyone that hasn't read your post.
As Retired Vehicle inspector having inspected Vehicles for approximately 50 yrs,my advice is check and inspect everything after repairs that's within your capabilities . Only last week ,a friend got hisPrado back from a $2500 service at a Toyota Main Dealer,his Driveway was covered with Engine oil the next morning due to the Filter not been fitted properly
AnswerID: 612343

Reply By: Mick O - Tuesday, Jul 04, 2017 at 23:20

Tuesday, Jul 04, 2017 at 23:20
Usually daily when outback, particularly if towing. Then I am a bit gunshy :-)

(I must confess, this little mishap was as a result of using rear wheel spacers though)

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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AnswerID: 612344

Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 05:55

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 05:55
I,ve read where they are not legal for road use. Can see why now. Quick repair time though. Good thinking carrying spare studs.
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 22:02

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 22:02
Never leave home without them. Yes you are totally right BF, they are a non endorsed accessory. This was why I pestered Multidrive in Geelong to consider an axle extension for the 79 series. I fitted their first prototype in 2012 and then their billet axle prototype in 2014. All legal, engineered and certified.


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trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 04, 2017 at 23:39

Tuesday, Jul 04, 2017 at 23:39
When preparing for a blacktop trip I changed my outback steel wheels (genuine Toyota) on the Prado over to my OEM alloys.

After I did the first wheel, I realised the contact pattern offered by the alloy wheels on the hubs was a little different to that of the steelies.

With the other three, I wire brushed the contact area on the hubs and on the wheels. I didn't go back to the first and remove it to do the same - too lazy.

All wheel nuts were torqued to spec with a torque wrench.

After 50km I checked them - ok. After another 100, checked again - ok.

About 600km later the wheel I didn't brush came off.

I put it down to grit between the wheel and the hub due to the different contact pattern not being removed and allowing everything to loosen up.

I now carry a small wire brush in my tyre changing kit and use it every time a wheel comes off. My tyre place does my work while I wait and allows me in the work area to brush hubs and wheels. They use my torque wrench, not a rattle gun and I am religious about checking wheel nuts regularly.

One little episode is enough.


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Follow Up By: Ron N - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 08:29

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 08:29
Frank - Dirt, and even paint, between working, mating surfaces, that are under heavy pressure, is a big No-No.

The dirt or paint compresses after a few hours of working/rotating, and the mating components become loose as the fasteners lose their retention pressure.

Learnt that little trick, many many decades ago with bulldozer track shoes.
If you fit new track shoes to new track chains, you burn the paint off and wire brush the mating surfaces clean.

Failure to do so, results in track shoes coming loose within a week or two, and then you end up with worn mating sufaces that will never mate up snugly again - and then you can never keep those track shoe bolts tight, ever again.

High tensile fasteners such as wheel studs, rely on a certain degree of stretch of the fastener shank, to hold mating surfaces together tightly.
This is why torque figures are important with all high tensile fasteners.

If that level of calculated fastener shank stretch is reduced by paint or dirt between components, being compressed, then the torque loading on the fastener is reduced to the point where they effectively return to "finger tight" levels of tightness.

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 02:20

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 02:20
I actually check my wheels virtually everytime I stop for a break, when traveling.
I do it as part of a general walk around, I give each wheel a shove with my foot to see if there is any movement or rattle in wheel or hub and give them a real eyeball.
I also feel the tyre and hub with my hand to acertain heat buildup.

If towing I check the tow hitch plus trailer hatches, steps etc to make sure nothing has come loose and check the trailer wheels like I described above.

I carry a wheel brace behind the drivers seat and every few days whilst at camp I pull it out and test the tightness of the wheel nuts.

I do my own tyre rotations and service work as I don't trust dealers to touch my cars.

So far, fingers crossed after 35 years of driving and towing I've never had an issue.
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Follow Up By: Dusty D - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 07:34

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 07:34
I'm the same, John. A bit of a walk around the whole rig and a visual inspection of those things that may need tightening or an adjustment and depending on the type of road I have been travelling on, I check all the wheel nuts with a torque wrench.

After doing it for so many years on numerous journeys, it becomes standard procedure.

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Reply By: Ron N - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 08:54

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 08:54
Despite being very careful and fastidious with many things, wheel studs are not something I check regularly.

I do check them after wheel and tyre shops have worked on them (straight after, and again, after about 50-100kms).

However, if the wheel and hub mating surfaces are clean, or have been cleaned, upon assembly - and the nuts torqued properly (and just using an air impact wrench is not "torqued properly" - they should be finished off by hand) - then the wheelnuts should never move again, and should not need re-checking.

The simple problem with most loose-wheel-nut dramas is they are nearly always initiated by failure to tighten properly, and sometimes, failure to clean the hub and wheel mating surfaces.

It's quite rare to loose a wheel due to fractured wheel studs, usually only one fractures, although others may be cracked or stretched due to over-tightening.

If you have one broken wheel stud - and suspect damage to others via over-tightening - you can check damage to the other studs by placing a pair of vernier caliper jaws over the threads lengthwise, and check to see if the jaws touch the top of every thread.

If the vernier caliper jaws are touching some threads, but you can see daylight between other threads and the caliper jaws, then the wheel stud has been stretched, and is badly damaged, and needs to be replaced.

As regards Shakers attempted claim at out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of poor servicing or a failure on the part of a service company - then one has little hope of success with such a claim - because virtually every business has terms and conditions on their invoice, that limits their liability to just replacement of the damaged/failed items, that they provided or repaired.

If you suffer out-of-pocket or consequential losses as a result of unsatisfactory repair work or repaired components, then your travel insurance should be your source of recompense in such cases.

I never travel anywhere without basic travel insurance, because even simple road-tripping within Australia can turn into a disaster entirely through no fault of your own.

I have come across people who have had their caravan or camper or travelling vehicle destroyed, due to no real fault of their own, and it is a disaster of major magnitude that effectively means they have lost their entire home, and ability to move about, until other arrangements can be made.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 612349

Reply By: AlanTH - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 09:28

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 09:28
Like others I do a walk round every time we stop. All nuts including vehicle are checked before and occasionally during a trip.
We did have one bad incident and luckily it was during my walk round of our then camper trailer I smelt the heat first and on checking one wheel was just hanging onto the threads. Other was very loose. I took the wheels off and bunged some more grease in and retightened and completed the trip without further incident.
But the boss of the company which did the "complimentary bearing grease and brake check" did have the decency to apologise and fit new bearings just in case.
But his excuse was "We have to take what we can get as all the good workers have gone to the mines".......

PS. A friend has just had his extra tough (no names) camper break the chassis behind the tool box and the manufacturer denies all it's out of warranty.
AnswerID: 612351

Follow Up By: Ron N - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 10:25

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 10:25
Alan - Consumer Law states that the strict end of a warranty period is not necessarily the end of any manufacturer liability.

If the product is not long out of warranty, and it can be shown the item has not been abused or misused - but it has still failed - then the product can still be deemed to be of unsatisfactory quality for the intended purpose, and the manufacturer is still liable.

If I was your friend, and the above applies, I reckon I would be indulging in a lawyers letter to the offending manufacturer/supplier, pointing out that Consumer Law outlines very clearly, the circumstances surrounding unsatisfactory quality of goods, and that liability for the product quality does not end precisely on a set day - but is extended to a reasonable period that any reasonable person would expect to be the products satisfactory life.

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 882577

Follow Up By: AlanTH - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 12:02

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 12:02
Thnx. Ron. Yes my friend understands the options but it's now about 5 years old but has been well looked after with just gravel road trips. Certainly nothing you'd expect to break a chassis.
His insurance company came to the party and arranged a flat bed to Adelaide I believe and generally helped them out.
But as it wasn't an accident I think that's about as far as you can reasonably expect them to go generally.
I don't know if they did fully compensated them for the loss of the camper (could be repaired I suppose) but if they did they then have subrogation rights up to the amount they paid out.
I'll have to follow this up as I don't know what else has happened.
FollowupID: 882580

Follow Up By: Tim F3 - Sunday, Jul 09, 2017 at 08:23

Sunday, Jul 09, 2017 at 08:23
Alan ,in my case i had a very cheap chinese copy of a hard floor camper about 5 yrs old. The A frame broke away from the box section .

I enquired with the insurer re the possibility of a welding repair and was advised welding of a chassis is illegal .

They simply declared it a write off and paid out the full insured value no problems..
FollowupID: 882657

Follow Up By: AlanTH - Sunday, Jul 09, 2017 at 10:30

Sunday, Jul 09, 2017 at 10:30
Mate involved told me last night that the insurer paid out on his camper and he brought another one but not of the same model.
He drove it home,36.1 kay, did a walk round his new toy and saw one of the wheels was laying over.....phoned the dealer and the manager immediately accused him of mistreating it!
The warranty section people decided to check the bearings although this put their jobs at risk as it was outside what they were allowed to do..... apparently a bit of sealant or tightening nuts is OK, but management must give authority for anything which may involve dollars.
It appears the makers men bunged the bearing and axle chock full of grease and didn't tighten the bearings right down then back off and retighten causing the things to slacken off during the short run home.
So much for attention to detail of the caravan industry.
But the attitude of the yard (about the biggest in WA) hasn't changed one bit from when we took action against them through consumer affairs and small claims court not long ago for shocking workmanship/material and bad attitude and won. :-))
I won't name them although it's all documented and a matter of record as I've done it all many times before.
Threats of legal action from them never eventuated as it's hard to argue against the truth.
FollowupID: 882658

Reply By: Athol W1 - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 10:49

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 10:49
All mating surfaces should be cleaned prior to any assembly, all threads also should be cleaned AND OILED prior to assembly, if this is done and the bolts correctly torqued (stretched) then there should not be any need to recheck after any amount of use unless overloaded.

No bolt is correctly tightened if the threads are dry, as a torque wrench only measures the turning effort required to turn the bolt/nut, and all recommended torque wrench settings are for LUBRICATED threads.

Having said that I always check my wheel nuts after anyone else has disturbed them, and every time we stop I always check the heat of all tyres and hubs, and also a visual check of the entire rig.

AnswerID: 612355

Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 11:20

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 11:20
Agree with Athol.

I remove all wheel nuts after a service or tyre change and check that they are clean, oiled and at correct tension.

All checked again before a trip. I also use a removable ink pen (white board marker) and each wheel nut position against rim (this allows a visual reference during daily checks).

Daily walk around vehicle and trailer prior to setting off each day. Visually check everything, tug and pull straps, check locks etc.

Walk around vehicle when stopped for fatigue breaks - hubs, tyres, hitch, straps etc. (bending to check is like a mini Aerobics work out).

On longer trips, torque wrench is used weekly and nuts remarked. If conditions warrant (extreme corrugations) I check daily.

A bit pedantic? Yes! But I've never lost a load, wheel and only one tyre (not including low speed stakings).



FollowupID: 882578

Follow Up By: Shaker - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 15:57

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 15:57
I was always taught to never lubricate wheel studs or nuts, just make sure that they are clean & running freely.
The below is a reply from an American bolt company to a query about to lube or not to lube:-

"When you have a bolted joint you put a specified load on the bolt,
say 96000 pounds load. Then you take same bolt and apply a lubricant to
it, on the threads and the nut face (very important) and apply the same load
the torque can be as little as 1/5 the dry torque value. If you like I can
send you a sheet comparing the two conditions. One dry and one with our 503
lubricant which has a coef of .067 (very slick). If you load the bolt to
35-50% of yield and then use a lubricant yes you can and will over stress
the bolt and probably reach a failure. We at Sweeney have developed a
program that calculates what the torque will be using different lubricants.
If you want to call me and discuss this further please do. 1-888-792-5962
ext 6024. If you would like hard copies of a sample that's ok to, please
send me your fax number.
Your sample below would be as follows:
A .75-10 UNC stud and nut lubricated with oil on the threads and the nut
face torqued to 100 lbs. ft would apply a load of 8,180.881 pounds to the
A .75-10 UNC stud and nut that has been cleaned and has no lubricant at all,
with 8,180.881 lbs. load applied would take 248.6 lbs. ft.
A .75-16 UNF stud and nut lubricated with oil on the threads and the nut
face with the load of 8,180.881 pounds applied would take only 97.4 lbs. ft
of torque. (Not much real difference)
Now to show the effects of a good quality lubricant:
The same .75-10 UNC nut lubricated with Sweeney 503 lubricant to the threads
only would produce 8,180.881 lbs. load at 77.6 lbs. ft.
A .75-10 UNC nut lubricated with Sweeney 503 lubricant to the head of the
nut only would produce the 8,180.881 lbs. load at 73.05 lbs. ft
Now lets put the lubricant on both threads and nut face.
A .75-10 nut lubricated with Sweeney 503 lubricant to the head of the nut
and to the threads also would produce the 8,180.881 lbs. load at 50.7 lbs.

As you can see lubricant make all the difference in the world.
248.6/50.7=4.9 time the torque
Applications Specialist
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 1999 6:39 AM
Subject: FW: Anti-sieze on bolts

The reason the studs were snapping on the 4x4's was that the studs were over-tightened by at least a factor of 5 from simply using Anti-Sieze on the threads and nuts and this put the studs at their maximum load just below the yield point. When the wheel hit a bump in the road, the shock load took the stud (or studs) above their ultimate strength and they snapped. The shear strength of a bolt is half that of the same bolt in tension.
If you tighten your nuts up with an air powered gun or torque wrench after applying Anti-Sieze, you can and will, stress the studs beyond their yield point. The result is broken studs, lost wheel/s and possible injury to all concerned.
Hope this helps you to understand the danger of using Anti-Sieze. :eek:"

FollowupID: 882583

Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 16:08

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 16:08
That's an interesting read Shaker.

I was always taught to oil (not overly). This was the norm on all our machines.

Will look into this more closely now - might have to change my thinking.


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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 16:22

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 16:22
That IS an interesting read, Shaker.

FWIW I read somewhere that if a nut or bolt runs dry it should be torqued dry.
If it runs in a lubricant is should be torqued with that lubricant applied.

I don't do major DIY mechanical stuff any more, just simple stuff, including wheels and brakes.

I torque the wheel nuts clean and dry to owner handbook spec..

Right or wrong?


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FollowupID: 882585

Follow Up By: Athol W1 - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 17:57

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 17:57
The wheel studs/bolts/nuts only provide the clamp load that is required to prevent relative movement between the wheel and their respective hub, they do not carry any of the load from the wheels but do locate the wheel correctly.

When the studs/bolts are expected to carry the load, due to insufficient clamp load, then due to them being in shear they can and will break (as mentioned by Shaker). Any bolt/stud that breaks as a result of over tightening will break at the time of that overtightening, if they have been weakened but not broken with previous over tension then they can/will break the next time that the correct tension is placed on them. ALL bolts/studs stretch when correctly tensioned, but normally return to original length when released. THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO TORQUE TO YEILD BOLTS that are now commonly used in the modern engines.

All bolts (or other fastenings) are designed/specified so that the clamp load that is applied when correctly tightened exceeds the greatest load that the fastener will ever experience when in service, so any bolt/fastener that fails in service was either under specified, or under tensioned. In the case of the Nissan Patrols loosing (usually, but not always, the left rear) wheels the cure was to INCREASE the torque wrench settings, so their problem was related to INSUFFICIENT CLAMP LOAD, and not to insufficient stud size.

You will be lucky to find any operator of heavy transport who does not lubricate all wheel studs.

FollowupID: 882593

Follow Up By: Ron N - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 23:48

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 23:48
Interestingly enough, Toyota state in their manuals to never lubricate wheel studs.

I've always used a sniff of anti-seize on them, because high-tensile studs or bolts (particularly fine thread ones) have a tendency to "pick up" (metal galling) threads - and thereby, completely ruin the thread - if they become overly dry or slightly corroded.

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 882609

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 at 10:46

Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 at 10:46
There is theory and practice.

Then there is postulation and justification without real relevent unbiased information or reason.

A lot of us use some sort of lubricant on wheel studs, because wear, corrosion and galling are common issues.

Quoting and discussing "dry torque" figures may be all fine and beaut ..... but they are only valid on new, clean, uncorroded and unworn fasteners.

Consider also that the vast majority of wheel studs are never accurately torqued their whole life.

Most tyre shops and mechanics just use a rattle gun ..... no ratlle gun has an accurate torque setting ..... yes I know about torque bars for rattle guns ..... never seen one in a tyre shop.

Most people who tighten wheel nuts by hand, use some sort of wheel brace NOT a torque wrench ...thus have no idea how tight their wheel nuts are.

SO blaming breakage of wheel studs on lubricant is just a bit of a stretch.

After working for a trucking company for a short period and having fitted and rotated wheels on a heavy combinations ..... AND used a torque wrench on every single wheel nut .... after the rattle gun would not get them tight enough.

I started to torque my own wheel nuts with an accurate torque wrench ...... well ... that was an eye opener.

After many times getting vehicles back from a tyre shop with the wheel nuts massively over tightend ...... and having tightened wheel nuts by hand with a wheel brace for over 30 years.

I realised that most tyre shops overtighten wheel studs to a rediculous amount ( but that most of us knew) ..... but most of us particularly if we are using the factory brace or a standard cross arm brace, probably are not tightening up to specified torque.

That said .... in 30 years I have never lost a wheel or had a wheel come loose ... not even close.

I have however encountered siezed, snapped, galled, cross threaded, worn and corroded wheel nuts.

In my view and in my experience ....... the predominating risk for wheel stud failure is gross overtightening, and undertightening. ..... OR not being tightened ...... followed quite some distance back by corrosion and galling.

IF you make any sort of effort to measure tightening torque regardless of the use of lubricant ..... the tension will be in a safe range.

On the trucks, I was instructed to lubricate every stud every time ..... this was from an experienced mechanic that had managed large fleets over many decades.

these days I lubricate all my wheel studs with anti-seeze and am happier with the way the nuts come off and go back on ...... in the past I have experienced dry studs & nuts that don't spin on or off smoothly and show obvious signs of roughness.

NOW .... has anybody (first hand information, you lubed it, you tightened it, you used the torque wrench to the specified figure) that lubricates their wheel studs AND uses a torque wrench had studs snap or come loose ..... anybody.

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Follow Up By: Shaker - Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 at 12:59

Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 at 12:59
What would a bolt manufacturer know?

FollowupID: 882612

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 at 13:15

Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 at 13:15
Actually rather a lot of bolts that are torqued in vehicles are specified with lubricant. ..... more usually the case than the exception

as for the bolt manufacturer and the vehicle manufacturer ..... they may be writing specifications with little or no regard for the in field applications or the long term service of the product.

As many of us are well aware, much of what is recommended by car manufacturers has nothing to do with the long term reliability of the product
None of that takes away from observations in real applications.
I'll ask the question again

NOW .... has anybody (first hand information, you lubed it, you tightened it, you used the torque wrench to the specified figure) that lubricates their wheel studs AND uses a torque wrench had studs snap or come loose ..... anybody.

FollowupID: 882613

Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 at 14:06

Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 at 14:06
When applying rotational force (torque) to a nut, the whole object is clearly to convert that rotational force, via the thread, to impose a tensile (linear) force on the stud and on the interface between the two contact faces. That force is stretching the stud and it should be controlled between critical upper and lower limits.

The actual torque required to achieve this will be the desired tensile force on the stud plus the frictional forces of the thread, plus the rotational frictional force between the nut and the wheel face. Of these three forces, only the one applying to the elongation of the stud is important. So it makes good sense to reduce the frictional forces as much as possible. Unpredictable variations in those frictional forces will significantly affect the desired outcome for a given applied torque and should therefore be reduced as much as possible.

These frictional forces will vary with the surface condition of the mating faces and applying a lubricant does provide significant reduction to these unwanted forces.
One published study provides typical figures to produce 3 tons force required 120ft/lbs for a dry thread, 60 ft/lbs for a oil lubricated thread, and 30 ft/lbs for a thread lubricated with moly grease. Clearly, more accuracy of the stud force will be obtained if the frictional forces are minimised.

In the natural gas industry, pipeline flanges are designed to operate at pressures up to 2,000psi and I can assure you that the bolts securing those flanges are always lubricated before assembly. Apart from desiring repeatable results, there is a real potential for galled threads if not lubed.

The big problem with specified torque ratings for any particular applications is that, more often than not, there is no expression as to whether those torque figures are for a dry or a lubricated thread. As can be seen from the examples I provided above, the absence or presence of lubrication can have as very large effect on the tensile force applied to the bolt or stud.
My manual (Ellery's) for the Troopy abounds with torque specifications but provides no indication if these are for dry or lubed threads.

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FollowupID: 882614

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 at 16:31

Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 at 16:31
Following from what Alan B has posted.

THE biggest danger to wheel studs remains the rattle gun and those who apply them.

Consider that most tyre jockies don't read tyre plackards ( though every car should have one), don't consult the tyre standards manual ( though every tyre shop should have one) and pretty much inflate all light truck tyres to 55PSI regardless. and routinely over inflate all car tyres 5 to 10 psi, because they know better

Does anybody think they adjust their rattle guns to the specified torque for the vehicle or use the appropriate toruqe bar between the rattle gun and the socket.

No don't kid ya self ..... they will set their rattle guns to 95 or 100 Ft/Lb (OR more if they set it to other than flat out)...... and keep rattling till it stops moving........ on pretty much every wheel on every vehicle.

I've had to use a 3 foot breaker bar and about half my body weight to crack nuts after the tyre shop has been at them ...... I recon that is close to 300Ft/Lb
To confirm that, I have stood with both feet on a standard factory wheel brace a little over a foot long and had to jump quite vigorously to crack the nut ...yeh about 300Ft/Lb

now consider that the specified torque could be anywhere between 75Ft/Lb and 150Ft/Lb for a passenger car or light commercial.

consider after that treatment ..... the damage, the gauling, the flattening of thread profiles ...... how accurate do ya think a dry tourking is going to be.

Yeh if ya have those capped nuts that come on some toyotas ....... if ya wheel studs are dry ...after the rattle gun boys have been at em... tap em out on a clean surface and see if you get metal swarf comming out.

yeh ... think about it.

FollowupID: 882617

Follow Up By: Ron N - Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 at 21:36

Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 at 21:36
Have to agree that rattle guns and tyre shop gorillas are a pretty bad combination - however, this combination is really only common in the "big" tyre shops, where anybody who can figure out how to use a rattle gun gets the job.

In the smaller owner-operator tyre shops, I've seen plenty of work that gives me confidence the operator is taking the necessary care.
I have a good mate who owns a country tyre shop and he uses a rattle gun to snug up the nuts, then finishes them off by hand - always.

The belief that a tyre shop has over-tightened wheel nuts because they take a 3 foot breaker bar to crack them undone, is not valid.
Nuts take vastly more torque to undo than to tighten - even when anti-seize is used.

I've torqued up many an old Caterpillar head to say 150 ft/lbs (203Nm) with a standard Warren & Brown 200 ft/lb torque wrench - and when unscrewing them, I've often had to apply around 250 ft/lb with the associated length of pipe on the breaker bar, to make them crack!
Then they often let go with a bang, that will send you Rsup, if you aren't braced against the expectation of a sudden letting go!

I have a friend in the oil & gas industry who sends tools out on jobs, and he says when repairs are on, he always specifies the supply of a tool that is capable of twice the torque of the original tightening torque!

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 882626

Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 at 23:09

Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 at 23:09
AND, adding to the Bantam re rattle guns..... I have a confession,,,,,,,,,,

Despite my attention to wheel-nut torque matters, a couple of months back I had new tyres fitted to my Toyota Aurion at a dealer I thought of good practices.

After half an hour in the waiting room (God, those motoring magazines are crap) the manager approached with what I thought were my keys. But no, he apologetically handed me half a stud with the nut on it. SO MUCH FOR RATTLE GUNS.


Perhaps I may also add to my comment above about flange nuts in the natural gas industry.

They are not tightened using a torque wrench. They run the nut up firm then rotate it further by a prescribed number of degrees using a slogging Spanner and a very heavy hammer. The first time I saw a fitter beating hell out of a flange nut I was horrified until I learned of the good practice of the technique. This method of course ensures that the bolt will be set to a quite accurate tensile force.
For those who do not know a Flogging Spanner I attach a photo below.


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FollowupID: 882631

Reply By: Member - Rowdy6032 (WA) - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 16:13

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 16:13

I have the wheel nut indicators fitted.

Read about them somewhere and saw them on plenty of trucks.

Have used them for a couple of years now with no problems.

Makes things a bit easier when doing my regular checks while travelling.

AnswerID: 612361

Follow Up By: Dean K3 - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 16:42

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 16:42
Same here mandatory on all site vehicles I have the dome over cap - confess bit of PITA to fit and remove at times but sure better than running around with torque wrench every 2nd day or daily depending on road conditions.

in fact some sites won't even allow a semi (owner driver contractor) pass security gate until they are fitted some might say OHS gone mad like the BHP handbrake alarm interface with door - but this one is a sensible one to have

FollowupID: 882588

Reply By: Member - Michael O (NSW) - Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 at 05:27

Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 at 05:27
Ask Patrol owners like me.
We check our nuts regularly!!

The rear left is prone to part company with the car.
Happened to me in 2009...

Nissan said it was my fault then promptly issued a recall notice to fit stud indicators not unlike Rowdy's
AnswerID: 612373

Reply By: Iza B - Friday, Jul 07, 2017 at 18:47

Friday, Jul 07, 2017 at 18:47
If anyone else has touched my nuts, like the tyre repair place people, I loosen one turn, jack the wheel, clean and anti seize, then torque using a calibrated wrench. Apart from the occasional tyre kick once a week, nothing else.

BTW, the repair manual for the engines in 911 Porsche specifies lubricated threads. All the jet engines I have worked on specify lubricated and sometimes the lubrication is copper based anti seize. If lubrication or not is not specified, a bit of experience goes a long way after looking at the size of the stud and the material used.
AnswerID: 612404

Follow Up By: splits - Saturday, Jul 08, 2017 at 21:11

Saturday, Jul 08, 2017 at 21:11
"BTW, the repair manual for the engines in 911 Porsche specifies lubricated threads."

What does the manual say for the wheels?

Lubricating internal engine bolts is common but manufacturers specifying lubricated wheel nuts are rare. The handbook for my 4x4 ute says don't lubricate them. A member of my family has a near new hatchback from a different manufacturer. Its book also says no lubrication. I looked at a lot of handbooks and workshop manuals during my many years in the motor industry and I have yet to find one that says to lubricate them. If they did the service specifications would list what type to use just like they do with oils and grease. Has anyone ever seen a wheel nut lubricant listed in the handbook or workshop manual?

A few years ago someone on another forum said the manufacturer of the OKA said to lubricate them. I don't know if that is true or not but the man who wrote this article owned an OKA years ago and he says the nuts and studs should be clean and dry. Wheels Falling Off

Wheel nuts and studs can, as the others have said , become rusted, galled and stretched. The solution is simple: replace them. I doubt if manufacturers expect them to last the life of the car yet many owners seem to think they should. They would have to be one of, or maybe they are, the most critical bolts and nuts on the car so never hesitate to replace them if they ever look a little dodgy.

FollowupID: 882656

Follow Up By: AlanTH - Sunday, Jul 09, 2017 at 10:36

Sunday, Jul 09, 2017 at 10:36
Don't know what the manual says on any of the vehicles I've had over the last 55 years but I've lubricated every stud on them and never had a wheel fall off, or had one slacken off.
It's only in the last few years I've even bothered with a torque wrench always just relying on my skills learned as a mechanical fitter years ago.
Just clean mating surfaces, lube thread with copper coat or whatever you fancy, then tighten but not go mad doing that like a huge mate of mine does.:-)) How the hell he doesn't break everything he touches I don't know!
FollowupID: 882659

Reply By: Ron N - Friday, Jul 14, 2017 at 00:05

Friday, Jul 14, 2017 at 00:05
It looks like Shaker is no orphan. On the way from Perth to Broome this week, came across a bloke with a Prado and tandem axle 'van, about 50kms South of the Fortescue roadhouse, parked at a lopsided angle on the road shoulder.

A quick look as we zipped past, showed a big road scar, and his 'van missing a left rear wheel!
He waved us on, indicating he was O.K. and that help was on the way.

About then, we started to look for scars in the bluemetal, showing where axles and hubs had been dragged.
It was quite eye-opening between Fortescue and Broome, to see the number of scars that indicated a fair number of wheel/axle/bearing disasters!

Then, this morning, we came across the remains of a tandem axle van being scooped up by a Bobcat and tip truck, about 150kms South of Broome.
The vicious sway and skid marks on the road indicated a loss of control event, that has totally destroyed someones caravan holiday!

Be safe and sure out there, make sure you check out everything that could cause trouble, before you leave - from wheels and hubs and bearings, through to proper loading distribution - because it doesn't take much to totally wreck your big holiday, and cause you a lot of loss and inconvenience!

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 612496

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