Nissan Patrol Wheel Studs

Submitted: Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 00:14
ThreadID: 95969 Views:8608 Replies:11 FollowUps:11
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Whilst this was a first for me it seems that a GU patrol losing a wheel is not such a rare occurrence. I'm trying to determine if the wheel nuts were overtightened causing two of the studs to shear, or if this may be part of a wider problem.

I have 17" factory alloys and the wheels came off at the local mechanics for a brake and bearing service only about 500ks before starting a trip north. When queried, they (not unexpectedly) said that although they use a rattle gun, they are cautious about not overtightening. I will certainly be using a torque wrench myself from now on, and am wondering if a change to steel rims may be worthwhile.

Certainly not interested in ending up like this agian, very lucky not to have caused major damage or worse.

I'd be interested in hearing of any recent similar experiences.
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Reply By: Member - Serendipity(WA) - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 07:00

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 07:00
I am not sure about GU patrols but having wheels come off is more common occurrence than you would think with larger diameter wheels. I have had a 4x4 trailer wheel come off - with snapped studs. I was the last person to do them up so no-one to blame.

As for tightening - tyre shops all have changed their practice of 10 years ago of smashing rims on with air ratchet drivers. They will run the nuts off and on with the air guns but the final tighten is with a hand wrench. This is for two reasons - firstly not to overtighten the nut and secondly so as to not damage the stud. There where lots of incidents where customers could not undo their wheel nuts and other incidents where the studs were sheered off from being too tight.

Steel rims have the advantage of the counter sunk nut holes that are also spring loaded in that where the nuts go on is elevated off the hub by millimetres so when tightened it is spring loaded. Alloy rims have the advantage of running truer, looking better and not rusting. Unfortunately the wheel nuts need to be of a different configuration relying on tensile force of the studs to create the spring load. The later cars are upsizing their wheel studs to allow for this force.

I would like to add I am no expert and this is only my opinion from street learning.



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Follow Up By: Kimba10 - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 08:54

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 08:54
Hi there Serendipity, ""As for tightening - tyre shops all have changed their practice of 10 years ago of smashing rims on with air ratchet drivers. They will run the nuts off and on with the air guns but the final tighten is with a hand wrench."" They may have in WA but certainly not here in NSW. One lot of tyres I had fitted they still rammed the nuts home with the rattle gun using a so called spacer/bar looking thing which supposidly is like a torque bit to stop them from over tightening, load of crap. Now Im certainly not weak and be buggered if I could undo it in front of them so told him to have a go using my wheel brace supplied with my vehicle. He couldnt undo it either, then told me I needed a proper cross brace. Now I know the ones that come with the vehicle arnt that good in design but still got you out of trouble if the wheel nuts are not over tightened and besides also over tightening can also warp discs. Told him to rattle them off and tighten with brace only, he then decided to stand on the brace to tighten them up. I said mate if you want to do it correctly instead of been an arse, then go and get a torque wrench and do as per vehicle specs. Paid my $$ told them to jam it and have never been back to them since and never will, 3 vehicles he just lost in tyre sales for been a tool..........
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Reply By: Joker - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 07:42

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 07:42
I have a 2010 ST that has nut indicators on it. If the wheel nuts are not seated properly and undertentioned you may lose a wheel. Nissan are aware of this problem that's why the nut indicators are a genuine Nissan part.

AnswerID: 487424

Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 14:36

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 14:36
Those indicators are a joke! Nissan are clever, they now have put the problem in your hands. Its up to you to check if they have loosened, not Nissan and it seems , not their problem! Michael
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 08:00

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 08:00
Nissan have certainly had the bad press but seen it happen commonly on 6 stud toyotas too. All the tyre dealers I've dealt with in recent years use torque wrenches to tension the nuts. I also think the 12mm studs are too small - my wife's VW uses 14mm nuts as do the more recent Landcruisers.

I carry a torque wrench and check the nut tension before I leave and every few days when I'm away. Also retension the nuts a few hundred kms after the wheels have been taken off for any reason.

It also helps if your wheels are hub centric - the centre of the wheel is a tight fit on the hub. Most factory wheels are good in this respect - many aftermarket wheels are not - not sure about Patrol mags.
AnswerID: 487426

Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 15:08

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 15:08
Phil, the early standard mags (GU2003) have an inadequate centre location and apparently the wheels can be bolted on and tightened without being located properly.
Some time down the track, the wheel jumps onto the location, usually within a few hundred kilimetres and then the wheel nuts are loose and then failure occurs shortly after. When i got a recall notice to have the indicators fitted, I decided to sell my factory mags and bought Nissan steel wheels.
I use a torque wrench with the steels so I feel I have done the best i can do to avoid failure. I carry in the GU, a set of front and rear studs and nuts, hopefully that has covered all bases!! Michael

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Reply By: GT Campers - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 08:04

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 08:04
Wheels fall off 4WDs all the time - it's not a 'Nissan' or a 'Toyota' or a 'D-Max' thing. It is not part of a 'wider problem'. Something went wrong with your vehicle, in your situation. But it's not fun, is it?!?

A loose steel wheel will fall off just like a loose alloy wheel - however some alloy wheels (partcularkly aftermarket) tend to have studs come loose more often as there is no 'spring' or 'give' in teh alloy, plus they may lack the steel insert the nuts' taper should bear against

Did the studs break? or come loose?

As mentioned by others, over-torquing of the wheel studs is often the culprit but that could have happened at *any* time during the vehicle's life with the fatigue factor only cathcing up with it now
AnswerID: 487427

Reply By: Cravenhaven - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 09:03

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 09:03
As mentioned by others, Nissan became aware of this problem and now make available the wheel nut indicators. It is essential that the nuts are done up to the correct torque with alloy wheels, else they will come off.

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Reply By: olcoolone - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 09:09

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 09:09
It's not common for any wheel to fall and I have only ever heard of a few occasions when 4x4 rims have come adrift....... except the Nissan Patrol wheel nut issue/recall.

Most wheel issues can be traced back to poor installation and people not tightening wheel nuts correctly and to the right torque.

In most cases there is a big difference in torque between an alloy and a steel rim..... up to 50 foot pounds.

When we do wheels in the workshop we use a rattle gun to take them off and to put them back on we use a rattle gun with a torque tube that is ratted 20% less then the final torque setting...... the final stage is with the torque wrench and a white marker pen.

Some steel rims like the ones on our 200 series has a torque setting of just over 150 foot pounds, my wife struggles to do them up so for out on the road we use a 1/2 inch drive breaker bar that's 700mm long to get the leverage.

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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 09:13

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 09:13
Back when we still lived down on the Diamantina River Road, had a phone call about 4.30am, to assist a bloke heading back to Winton. He had a mob of roos on board his GU ute, and had lost the rear passenger side wheel.

Found some old HJ45 studs & nuts in the store, and took them up to him. They fitted perfectly, and he was on his way in under an hour. The brake line had been damaged, so he blanked that off, and was in Winton(about 220 kms away) before the 'roos started to go "off".

Had a wheel come off a borrowd horse float once......never ever found the wheel.


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Reply By: Rangiephil - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 17:24

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 17:24
All Classic Range Rovers ,Discovery1 , and up to current Defender have 16MM 5 stud wheels with 6.5 inch PCD.
I have never ever seen a wheel come off any of these models or a stud break.

Except maybe mine when a specialist who shall remain nameless left the nuts hand tight. I was alerted by the clunking.

It appears that the Japs etc just under specify these things.
I haven't heard of a Range rover 38A D2 or D3 losing wheels or breaking studs either.
Maybe it's the difference between a dedicated 4WD manufacturer and one which makes 4WDs as well as all sorts of other cars.

Regards Philip A
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Follow Up By: Member - Roy E (QLD) - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 18:48

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 18:48
Its a long time since Range Rover were a dedicated 4WD manufacturer, I wouldn't class BMW or Ford in either camp LOL, mind you its a push to put the old Rover company in there as well :)

The Range Rover may not loose its wheels but that's probably because it never gets to do any hard work because of all the other problems such as Failures of the Air Suspension, Steering Column Issues, Problems with Auto Gearbox, Transmission Problems, Stalling Problems, and as for the electrics/electronics, well...

To be fair Land Rovers have been solid in military and commercial guise and I would still kill for a 101 with true PTO trailer :)

Mind you we did used to laugh a lot back in the 70's when watching the plod in their Range Rover traffic cars take chase after the scrobs in a stolen Cortina or Escort in Manchester, every time they took a corner the door handles scraped on the tarmac there was that much body roll. Needless to say they never caught anybody unless it was a straight line dash down the M62, even then Worsley interchange at 90Mph in a Range Rover was like a dodgem ride at Blackpool, but not as safe.

Spent many an hour pulling weekend warrior Range Rovers out of bogs on the Pennines with my trusty old 350 Chevy Blazer. And before anybody says anything I apologise for global warming and the fuel crisis which, I think I started back then with the Chevy doing 3mpg off road. I used to collect a lot of greenshield stamps and smoke glass table glasses which I used to sell on the markets I had so many :)
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 09:40

Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 09:40
Wheel stud diameter between the Landrover and the others would have little impact on the strength, shear loadings and clamping force....... even with the smaller studs they would far exceed the maximum loadings.

If this wasn't the fact you would expect every non Landrover 4x4 to have wheels falling of left right and centre..... this is not the case and I'm sure a wheel or two would of come of a Landrover before!

Oh that's right they are bullet proof aren't they?

There are many reasons why a manufacture may run smaller wheel studs....... less unsprung weight, cost and no need to go larger.

Engineering data doesn't lie.

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Follow Up By: Axle - Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 12:19

Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 12:19
Olcoolone, Have had a Defender for fifteen yrs and never had a broken wheel stud, far as wheel nuts comming loose, its the opposite with them! you can't get them off, i carry a 3mtr length of pipe to help out, and all sockets and bars have to be 3/4 drive,my original wheel brace looks like a cork screw!...LOL.

Cheers Axle.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 11:12

Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 11:12
Might have something to do with those big burly soldiers not realising there strength.

Don't know why Landrover didn't give them a shorter wheel brace...... maybe 6 inches long...LOL

Our Landcruiser steel wheel torque specs are 155 foot pounds, wife can do them up to about 135 foot pounds.... we also carry a long breaker bar to undo them.

There must be thousands of vehicles on the road with under stressed nuts :)
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Reply By: Ron N - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 22:19

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 22:19
Wheel studs are either Grade 8 (SAE) or Grade 10.9 (the metric equivalent of Grade 8 in SAE). Fasteners manufactured to Grade 8 or Grade 10.9 are made from low alloy medium carbon steel (commonly Nickel/Chrome/Molybdenum alloy), and they are heat treated to increase their strength and toughness.

Grade 8 and Grade 10.9 are classed as high grade fasteners, substantially stronger than regular "high tensile" Grade 5 (SAE) or Grade 8.8 (metric) - with the tensile strength of Grade 8/10.9 fasteners, up around 150,000 psi or 1034 Mpa.

When torqueing Grade 8/10.9 fasteners, the amount of torque applied is critical. The torque figures given, are usually for dry threads. If you lube the threads in any manner (anti-seize or oil or grease), then you need to reduce the torque figure by at least 10%.

A Grade 8/10.9 fastener is designed to be placed under tension that actually stretches the fastener a little, when proper torque is applied. This is known by engineers as "plastic deformation" - and the slight stretching of the fastener shank is what assists in keeping the tension on the item being retained.

If a Grade 8/10.9 bolt or stud is overtightened, this over-tightening seriously stretches the bolt/stud shank, until it can no longer apply tension under the plastic deformation principle. The shank actually becomes slightly thinner, if this happens.

You can pick this damage up by placing the jaws of a vernier caliper along the bolt /stud shank, in-line with the shank, and check to see if you can see daylight between the tops of any of the threads, and the vernier caliper jaws.
If you find that one or more threads isn't touching the caliper jaws, then the bolt/stud has been over-tensioned, and has been seriously damaged - and should be replaced immediately.

An over-tensioned Grade 8/10.9 fastener will invariably fail when an extreme load is applied. Quite often, if one wheel stud has been over-tensioned, all the studs on that wheel have been over-tensioned.

Alll wheels and hubs should be wire-brushed on the mating areas before re-installation. Dirt, rust and debris caught between the mating surfaces will crush when the wheel is in use, and this will release the tension on the wheel studs.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 10:05

Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 10:05
We said but not one tensile strength is ideal for all applications depending on clamp forced, loading and shear strength plus what material it is clamping to.

As for wheel studs, if your clamping an alloy wheel the torque may only be 115 foot pound but if you clamping a steel rim the the torque may be 155 foot pounds.

As torque is determined by the bolt stretch, in an alloy wheel the bolt stretch would be less as compared to a steel rim.

So in theory if you only used alloy rims only you would be better of with a lower tensile strength bolt then what you would use on a steel rim to introduce the correct stretch and clamping force.

As for shear strength of the stud, once the rim has been secured properly; the clamping force of the rim to the hub would decrease the shear loading on the stud.

Wheel studs are a compromise and I think the mating surface of the bolt or nut has a greater part to play regarding contact surface over torque.

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Follow Up By: Member - Chris & Debbie (QLD) - Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 11:42

Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 11:42
olcoolone, you are correct in that torque is determined by bolt stretch as this is how some studs are torqued, by measuring how much they stretch and not actual torque applied.
But I would question you reason for lower torque applied to alloy wheels. The normal reason for bolts retaining anything alloy having a lower torque is that alloy expands a lot more when hot compaired to steel, this expansion adds tension to the bolts/studs. This also explains why alloy head bolts have a lower torque than cast iron head bolts

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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 09:44

Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 09:44
We torque wheels up in our workshop when we have to remove them and we always check the vehicle manufactures specifications as to torque settings.

Nearly all manufactures have a different torque setting for alloy and steel rims.

Our 200 series Landcruiser alloy rims are 131Nm and the steel rims are 209Nm .... that's 50 foot pounds difference.

Most people don't think there is a difference..... alloy compressors more and has a greater chance of fracturing if placed under extreme force.

On some heavy vehicle stuff we do the the torque is calculated with degrees.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 09:55

Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 09:55
On metal expansion, alloy's don't expand that much and much less then one is lead to believe under normal conditions.

As the temp increases so does the expansion.

Alloy heads on vehicle expand very little between 0 Deg. C and 130 Deg C., but go over that and they expend to a noticeable level.

The ideal temp for a combustion engine is around the 105 Deg.C mark and as an example my motor bike runs between 85 Deg. C and 107 Deg. C.

Material temp in an engine that over heats to a point of causing damage will exceed 170 Deg. C

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Reply By: Robin Miller - Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 09:53

Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 09:53
Hi Unners

It is incorrect (under or over) tensioning normally and using a torque wrench is way to go , and then re-checking a bit later.

I use both steel and factory alloys and factory alloys are more critical.

There is a little bit of wrong info above - the normal late model factory alloys use a chamferred nut which goes straight onto alloy surface of wheel.

This is unlike some aftermarket ones which use a flat surface and steel insert.

You can use the same wheel nuts for both factory alloy and steel wheels.

The amount of alloy thickness in the wheel nut hole is not as much as the steel wheel considering the different material strengths and it is simply easier to crush it.

Robin Miller

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Reply By: Member - unners - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 16:59

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 16:59
Thanks everyone for all the comments. I don't think I'll ever really know what happenned although I now think that the two that sheared were most likely over tightened.

From now on whenever I have any work done I'll be getting my torque wrench out myself to check.
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