Story of my lost wheel

Submitted: Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:08
ThreadID: 34261 Views:2706 Replies:19 FollowUps:24
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I'm still recovering and now on my second scotch but thought this might entertain a few of you.

Driving in my GU Patrol west on the Westgate Freeway just past the tunnel in Melbourne about 12.40 today and I felt a shake in the rear and then saw the right hand rear wheel passing me. Came to a sudden halt to find all wheel bolts sheared off. The Patrol is now with FTG Nissan and investigations start tomorrow.

I'm still amazed and relieved this didn't happen Monday/Tuesday when we were towing the Ultimate home from Batemans Bay.

Can't wait to find out what caused the failure and will let you know. I guess the moral is - check your nuts guys. I had and mine were all fine last time I looked.

Peter
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Reply By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:19

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:19
Oh my.......... bet you said, "someone's going to be worried when they find their wheel missing". Oh goodness!
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Reply By: Member - DOZER- Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:32

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:32
You picked a fine time t leave me loose-wheel :@)
Hey, last time you looked, did they look tight or feel tight???
Had that happen to my van.....around balambi crfeek corner of all places....tried to figure it out for weeks till i spoke to the van shop, he was quite forward, and said it must have been loose...orit wouldnt have fallen off.....
Hope they can fix it without too much folding stuff needed...
Andrew
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Reply By: Brew69(SA) - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:32

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:32
When was the rim last off the 4by?
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Follow Up By: Peter McG (Member, Melbourne) - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:18

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:18
JUne last year and done about 25,000k since then

Peter
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 23:17

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 23:17
you dont rotate your tires?
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Follow Up By: RosscoH - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 09:45

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 09:45
Yeah Truckster they rotate every time you drive it.
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Follow Up By: Member - Pezza (QLD) - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 10:51

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 10:51
LMAO
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Reply By: ZUKSCOOTERX90(QLD-MEMBER) - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:33

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:33
Peter, you have just reminded me for what i have not done for quite some time now.I wash them ,i dry them, then dress them, but alway's forget to feel them. A must do on the weekend if they last 'til then, Bob.
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Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:34

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:34
You're a shocker Bob. I worry about you sometimes LOL.
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Follow Up By: Bros 1 - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 22:01

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 22:01
My Doc says that after you wash, dry and dress them, you MUST feel them every day. LOL. Apologies to the originator of the thread.
Cheers,
Bros
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Reply By: Patrol_Driver - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:36

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:36
I read a similar incident on the patrol4wd forum in yahoo. Same description of the wheel overtaking the vehicle!

They mentioned that the cause may be overtightening of the wheel nuts, then the bolts shear off. I assume this is caused by the use of incorrectly set ratchet gun.
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Follow Up By: Peter McG (Member, Melbourne) - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:06

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:06
Wheel last changed about 10 months ago - tyres rotated. Last service at FTG Nissan about 3 months ago. Always serviced by them. Sounds like a problem with the stud bolts to me.

Peter
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Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:38

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:38
Strewth mate,

Leave you alone for 5 minutes and look what happens...!!!! ;-))

Sorry to read of your dilemma mate. As you said, lucky you didn't have the Ulti on the drawbar at the time. Hope all went well with the rest of your venture into NSW a few weeks ago. It was great to catch up with you, but Annette and I are now "stuck" on warmed-up Stone's Green Ginger...hahahahaha

I recently bought a spare set of front and rear wheel studs for the Patrol, but I'd have to put my thinking cap on in order to work out how to install them. Wouldn't like to be trying to do it on the side of the freeway though!!!

All the best.

Roachie
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Follow Up By: Peter McG (Member, Melbourne) - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:04

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:04
Had a great couple of days on the way back, camped at our favourite spot near Eden. New seats have come up really well. Got the awning too.

Still amazed at the studs failing - at least that's what it looks like to me. Will be replacing all round now. It looks to me as though Nissan may well have a recall issue here.

Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - bushfix - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 10:58

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 10:58
he he, that stones is good value. if someone has left some light beer at your place you can add some stones to make it acceptable. but a dash on some super in winter is also acceptable in my house.
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Reply By: Exploder - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:39

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:39
Yeah this happed to a Work mate the other day sheared one bolt bent another and the other nuts just parted way’s, Last time I let somebody else tighten my wheel nuts up he says.

He just put the rim back on with 3 nuts and is still driving around with it LOL, Fixing it on the weekend.

It was making funny sounds the day before it fell off, but since he had just installed an LSD a few days before just figured he had not shimmed it up right.

The best one I have done was we were driving throe the paddock at a mates farm with the trailer full of firewood, and we looked out the window to see the trailer overtaking us LOL. Must have been having a slow brain day, because I remember thinking that’s funny we don’t have 2 trailers hear, and why is the trailer not attached to a car bleep ! As it crashes into a fence.
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Reply By: Member - Matt M (ACT) - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:39

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:39
Peter,

Glad that you or anyone else was not hurt. Same happened to a work colleague several weeks ago, although it was the rear left on his GU. His investigation seemed to indicate that, for some reason, the correct torque on GU wheel nuts was pretty critical.

Most forumites thought this was BS though, but will be interested to hear the results of your investigation.

Glad you're OK.

Matt.
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Reply By: Member - Kingsley N (SA) - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:41

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:41
We didn't actually lose a wheel, but had two studs shear and the remaining four damaged. I have a GU Patrol Sept 03 plate. Alloy wheels. Wheel was changed about 300KM previously due to a flat. The offending wheel had been hanging on the back as a spare since new (about 12 months). Nissan mechanic had no particular advice for me. It was the first one he had dealt with at the time.

Experts on this forum have advised me to:
1. Only tighten nuts with a torque wrench (96 ftlbs)
2. Check the nuts again after driving 20-30 KM

I agree that we were both lucky. Others will report the same problem I am sure. I doubt that Nissan will admit to a problem.

Oh by the way, if your alloy wheel holes are damaged, you can have steel sleeves put in. A new wheel costs over $900.

Kings
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Follow Up By: Peter McG (Member, Melbourne) - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:10

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:10
The wheel is not damaged - it ended up about 800m down the freeway. We will be changing all stud bolts though and this will be an annual job from now on. As I said above - the wheels were last rotated last June before our 2005 trip and I have regularly checked nuts - the last time this wekeend when checking the camper wheels which were off to do bearings.

Peter
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Reply By: jon p qld - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:42

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:42
This appears to be a common problem with patrol rear wheel studs shearing off. I've seen two examples and I know other people have talked about it on the forum in the past. I'm not sure what causes it, some have suggested over tightening, but I've only heard about it and seen it on the rear of Y61 Patrols so it makes me think it may be something to do with the stud material. Keep us posted if you find out any more.
Regards Jon
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Follow Up By: Peter - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:10

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:10
Exactly right. I was one of those people. 2003 Patrol, had 5 studs shear off clean with the hub, 1 bolt held (but cracked in 2 places) which allowed me to pull over.
Drivers side rear. Had all sorts of advice, too loose, too tight etc. but from all reports appears to be more of a Patrol fault than something owners are doing. Never had it happen on any other vehicle in nearly 35 years of driving and haven't done anything different with the Patrol
Peter
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Follow Up By: Peter McG (Member, Melbourne) - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:17

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:17
Thanks Peter. MIne is a November 2002 model. Could you please send me more info on your experience by email. I'll be taking this up this with Nissan. As I mentioned above, I think there is just cause for a recall and check on the stud bolts. I was lucky this time - it could have been a major incident. I am absolutely amazed - even after two scotches!

Peter
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Follow Up By: Peter - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 19:29

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 19:29
Peter McG - drop me an email at peter@130defender.com - I still have the sheared off wheel nuts so will attach a photo for you. When I lost the wheel I had only just left home (had been to Rainbow Beach the previous day). Had driven about 300m from home when I noticed the problem. After I replaced the wheel nuts (about 2 hours), I walked back along the route I had just travelled to try and locate the broken studs and nuts, couldn't find a single one!
There are plenty of expected replies about overtightening etc but the common thread is that all the wheels that have been lost are the rear drivers side. Why only this wheel if overtightening is the problem? I had a Pajero for 5 years with alloy rims, the tyres were rotated every 10,000km from the same mob who now do the Patrol. Never had a single problem with any wheel on the Pajero.
I firmly believe it is a specific problem with the drivers side rear wheel on the Patrol, may even have something to do the LSD, who knows.
Let me know how you get on with Nissan, but I won't hold my breath waiting for a positive response from them.
Peter
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Reply By: brd - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:57

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 20:57
We were also overtaken by our rear wheel in an old FJ45 about 26 years ago in North Qld. The axle broke at the flange (semi floating type), so it took the brake drum with it. The brake pedal went to the floor of course.

I'm to this day amazed that it just came to a stop on the side of the road, being dragged to a stop by the rear end dragging.

In those days I used to resurrect old cheapie 4x4s for a bit of a hobby, and she was a pretty tired old thing. When I inspected the damage. I noticed a spot weld at the break, where the flange was attached to the axle shaft. Never figured our why that was done, certainly wouldn't have been factory job.

Brid
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Follow Up By: joc45 - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:58

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:58
I used to drive FJ55s back in the late 60's, early 70's. We had a few lose rear wheels thru studs shearing off. The govt dept we worked for weren't particularly interested except to advise us to check wheel nuts daily. Did that, and several sheared just hand-tightening. No representation with Toyota, as far as we could ascertain.
Gerry
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Reply By: cokeaddict - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:23

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:23
Peter,
Sorry to hear what happened mate,
It wont be a recall im affraid mate. I am pretty sure from expierence that the problem was caused by workshop rattle guns on alloy wheels. Rattle guns and alloy rims are a bad combination for any modern vehicle. They can over tighten the nuts to the point where the nut starts to cut into the allow where it sits flush on the taper of the rim...it will be tight at that point, but over time...it will cut loose.
Then gets worse as it rotates. Can take months for it to snap too.
So im trying to say, someone....somewhere, used a rattle gun on your rims. Could have been an apprectice or even a qualified mechanic, or a tyre place. Lots still do it to save time and save them having to get up and grab a breaker bar from their tool box.
P.S. The above can also happen to steel rims. I was assuming yours has alloy ones.
Ange
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Follow Up By: Peter McG (Member, Melbourne) - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:40

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 21:40
Factory alloys. FTG Nissan tell me they have seen stud bolts fail from overtightening but always soon after wheel changes - not after 11 months. And they would have had the wheels off for brake checks as well in the meantime.

Peter
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Follow Up By: Gerhardp1 - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 22:19

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 22:19
Am I missing something?

You say the wheels haven't been off for 11 months, but in the next breath you say they have been off in the meantime for pad checks.

So that means they have been off recently, surely?

So maybe they rattled them up too hard?
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 23:41

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 23:41
I had the same wheel (drivers rear) come off doing 100k's on the Row highway in my widetrack rocky a few years ago. It also had alloy's on it.

My father in law is a tyre fitter in the mines and has been for a LONG time. Upon inspection of the damage the concensus was that the tyre place had put the nuts on WAY too tight.

It's a real strange feeling when that wheel passes you!

Glad to hear you're ok, it was a close call for me as I was on a major semi route at the time! I went accorss three lanes of traffic before going up the curb and diggin the rear drum into the road and stopping.

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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 02:12

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 02:12
Mention of workshop rattleguns and problems they may cause has prompted me to recall my observations at the local Bridgestone tire shop a couple of days ago.

Bought two new Duelers to replace one "exploded" tire and another passed its "use-by" date and not only did the workshop guys balance the wheels using the "lug-centric adapter" method where the wheel is centred on the machine via the lug holes (same as how the wheel is attached to the car) but the rattle gun was only used for speedy assembly of the wheels.

The job was completed using a torque wrench to tighten the wheel nuts.

I left with a confident feeling the job had been done properly.
Bill


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Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 10:00

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 10:00
Yeah Sand Man I've found Bridgestone tyre fitters to be very good. When having tyres fitted and balances done(Falcon alloys) at Bridgestone in Kilsyth, they do the initial locating of the wheels with a rattle gun and torque them with a torque wrench. They guy asked first if I minded him using the gun to locate the locknut which I declined and he was more than happy to do the locknuts up completely by hand. Widetread in Ferntree Gully are also very happy to comply with customer wishes when refitting wheels.
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Reply By: Member - Kingsley N (SA) - Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 23:44

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 23:44
Peter,

When you checked the nuts how did you do it? I'm thinking that if you gave them a a good swing with a wheel brace just before your failure, you may have overtightened them. I carry a torsion wrench and extended socket just for the wheel nuts these days. The only thing to be aware of is that the torsion wrench will still click off if the nuts have been overtightened, so I guess if someone else has had their hands on your nuts you need to slacken them off and then tighten to spec. The 96 setting is surprisingly "light" to the feel when using the torsion bar. (Admitedly the bar is longer than the supplied Nissan lever so it is easier to use).

I reckon that when I changed the wheel before my failure I really leaned into the brace, partly because of its funny shape and partly because I thought that the harder I did them up the better.

Are you sure that the rogue wheel does not now have distorted holes? At least three of mine were egg shaped. The wheel made clunking noises causing me to pull up. Apparently once one nut comes loose it only takes a short while before the movement that sets in loosens the others. I had lost one nut/stud by the time I pulled up. All the others were loose. I tightened the remaining five and drove 20KM to a garage. By the time I arrived I had lost the second stud/nut. A few more KM and the wheel would have fallen off.
K
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Follow Up By: Peter McG (Member, Melbourne) - Monday, May 29, 2006 at 12:15

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 12:15
Kingsley,

Which was the offending wheel in your case? As you can see from the thread we have two cases of right rear wheels. Yet to hear form FTG Nissan. I'll let you know as soon as I do. Oh! and what year is your GU?

Thanks

Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - Kingsley N (SA) - Monday, May 29, 2006 at 13:45

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 13:45
Peter,

Mine was the LHS rear. Sept 2003 build ST-L GUIII 3.0 auto first registered December 2003. The wheel that came loose had never been on the road. It was the unused spare. Road wheels had been rotated front to rear at least once.

Some people have said that the spare can accumulate dirt on the mating surface. Mine was pretty dusty at the time, but I bounced it a few times before installing it.

A possible common thread could be the time factor. IE how long after a wheel change or tightening of the nuts did the studs fail. As I explained earlier mine was not a sudden shearing of all studs but rather one disappeared followed shortly by another.

I reported it to the Nissan service manager, but he and the country Nissan repairer said they were unaware of a common problem.

Kings
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Reply By: Eric M - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 00:18

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 00:18
I know Nissan vets this site. It would be interesting for their comments. If they've got the balls (or should that be nuts?), to comment.
Ericm WA.
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 00:44

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 00:44
"I know Nissan vets this site"
Ummm!!!! what planet do you live on thinking that they give a $hit about what we say on here?
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Reply By: Member - MUZBRY VIC) - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 08:30

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 08:30
Gday
A couple of weeks back there was a Nissan Patrol Ute tray top in Gladston rd Nth Dandenong with the right hand back wheel off and the nuts were not undone to get it off. Is there something going on? Is this a conspiricy against Patrol Utes?
I hope that we get to the bottom of this .
I must be off to check my back wheels as i am off to Castlemain on Saturday for a coffee or two mixed with red wine and fine food.
Muzbry
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Reply By: Bobdate - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 09:50

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 09:50
Peter:
I am a mechanical engineer (not a mechanic) and can offer a possible cause of your problem. Overtightening of the wheel nuts could cause overstressing of the alloy around the nuts. This would then cause creep which, over a period of time would cause the wheel nuts to become loose. Once loose, the studs are subjected to all sorts of fatigue loading, causing ultimate failure.

The theory of tightening nuts - any nuts - is to take the tension in the bolt to a point which exceeds the fluctuating loads on the bolt. Although the bolt is at a higher load than the fluctuating loads being applied, it only gets the higher loading once and therefore does not fatigue. This is why a minimum tightening torque is specified. The secret is to get it to a point above the applied loads, but not to the point where it causes permanent deformation of the clamped part. This is where steel wheels would be better than alloys - steel is stronger. Steel also exhibits a 'yield' phenomenon whereas alloys do not - the material creeps slowly under load. Moral of the story is to regularly check the tension in your wheel nuts - which is exactly what I am about to go and do. I had not thought of this problem before, so thank you Peter for alerting me to the potential danger.
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Follow Up By: Leroy - Monday, May 29, 2006 at 13:28

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 13:28
I know of personally one steel wheel that did the same thing so it's not confined to alloy wheels.

Leroy
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Reply By: Shaker - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 09:57

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 09:57
Tyre services have a lot to answer for!
They tighten wheel nuts to what seems like about 500 ft lbs. There is absolutely no way that they can be loosened with a standard vehicle wheel wrench.
Just ask Truckster!
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Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 10:07

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 10:07
Shaker, when I do my nuts up on the Triton with a torque wrench, I can't get them off with the factory wheel brace. I've never lost a wheel so I feel the torque wrench(Snap-on ½" drive) is doing an accurate job of tightening. It's just that the factory wheel brace is only 2" long(slight exageration). A cross brace is the solution but it can bring you undone when doing them up again(over tightening due to leverage).
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Reply By: Member - Axle - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 20:42

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 20:42
HI
Not bagging any make or model, have a look at a landy defender wheel studs and you may see what the problem might be!.

Cheers axle.
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Reply By: Jugs - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 21:41

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 21:41
Peter thanks to you for starting everyone for there comments on a provoking thread. Its got me thinking. I’ll be checking the Wheel Nuts on the Patrol tomorrow Alloy Wheels on a 91 Ti. Think I’ll get the torque wrench out too, Coming from the old steel wheel and cross brace school, may be its time to go back and check up on old habits.

Jugs
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