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Old 05-17-2014, 09:43 PM   #1
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Wheel snapped off in the Keys

We were driving down the road in the FL keys today, and made a stop at a store, whereupon some terrific citizen let me know that my wheel (curb side front) had come off the trailer several miles back.

I was incredulous, and a bit skeptical, until I saw with my own eyes my wheel was missing. The lugs had literally sheered off, and there is a little damage around the wheel well. I will take pictures tomorrow. I was able to retrieve the tire and wheel, and no apparent damage to the tire or wheel. The brake drum does spin freely. And there was no apparent or known "events" that would explain why the wheel came off. But the lugs are completely sheered off.

We limped a few miles into our campground so we are safe and the Airstream is parked safe at our site. On Monday, I will reach out some mechanics, but any counsel or ideas before then greatly appreciated!

"Stuck" in the Keys...
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:18 PM   #2
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Lug nuts over tightened. Best bet, anyway.

There is a difference between what is needed for steel wheels and the mags. I literally keep the correct torque value with my torque wrench. If you've had new tires mounted recently, the tire "technician" probably just loaded his air wrench up to the max and stretched the threads. One good bump and the overtorqued lugs could have popped like zits.

The rim should be checked carefully - if the threads stretched or crossed when the bolts/nuts let go, the rim may need to be replaced.
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:19 PM   #3
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Hi, who was the last person or place to remove and re-install your wheels? At about a torque rating of 120 lbs and an impact wrench cranking out about 300 lbs will cause this. You may need to replace all of your lug studs at this point.
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:37 PM   #4
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To tight maybe, but more likely the lugs broke from being loose.
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:53 PM   #5
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Pull the drum

I don't know what the brakes on your trailer are like, but if you have drum brakes like mine, find a boat trailer repair shop that stocks replacement studs. Pull the drum (remove the bearing cap, pull the cotter pin out of the castellated nut, unscrew the nut and pull the drum off the spindle.) The outside bearing and retaining washer will be loose. Take them out and put them in a Baggie to keep dirt out. A good trailer repair place should be able to press out the studs and replace them. Measure the length of a good stud on another wheel so the shop will know what length studs to install.

I just went through a similar exercise with my trailer and a cross-threaded stud. I banged it out with a hammer and drift, chamfered the end, chased the threads with a die, and reinstalled the stud. My local Autozone store had tons of studs but no way to determine from my stud which one was correct without knowing the part number. There are many variables, including the diameter and threads (1/2-20), thread length, splined area diameter, number of splines, length of splined area, and head diameter. A good trailer repair place should be able to look at the butts of your studs, and knowing the length of the threads (which you will tell him) find and install replacement studs.

Good luck.

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Old 05-17-2014, 10:54 PM   #6
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To tight maybe, but more likely the lugs broke from being loose.
That is what I was going to say. I have seen many, many lug nuts over tightened, by a LOT over the years that did not fail.
Too loose makes it start wobbling slightly, that effectively starts rapidly and repeatably applying a bending force to the studs....and then then they fail.
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:57 PM   #7
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Sorry, if the lug nuts were too loose, the wheel would have had damage where the nuts worked loose, and the wheel wallowed around on the studs.
Also, the studs would not have simply sheered off, they would mostly have been there, but with the threads severely damaged. The studs would also probably be discolored if they flexed enough to break them, and they would not all be sheered at the same point.
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Old 05-17-2014, 11:00 PM   #8
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Hi, who was the last person or place to remove and re-install your wheels? At about a torque rating of 120 lbs and an impact wrench cranking out about 300 lbs will cause this. You may need to replace all of your lug studs at this point.
Hi, use a torque wrench to remove a few of the other lug nuts to see how high they were torqued.
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Old 05-17-2014, 11:02 PM   #9
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I don't know for sure on your AS, but most always wheel studs can be replaced without removing the hub. Drive the old ones out, and draw the new ones in with the lug nuts.

If the lugs were loose the holes may be wallowed out some, so watch for that
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Old 05-17-2014, 11:04 PM   #10
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Are you running stock stock wheels? If not studs can break from having improperly piloted wheels.
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Old 05-17-2014, 11:07 PM   #11
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J Morgan: He said the drum turned freely, so I assumed he had drum brakes. If he has disc brakes, he may be able to do as you suggests, but may need repair help on site to get the old studs out of the hub.
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Old 05-17-2014, 11:20 PM   #12
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To the OP, I would be VERY suspicious of the wheel now. You say there is no apparent damage, but close inspection of the tapered part of the hole may show damage.
I stand by my statement the wheel came off and sheared the lugs due to being too loose, not too tight.
Check the other three also carefully for correct torque.
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Old 05-17-2014, 11:35 PM   #13
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Wheel snapped off in the Keys

GMW, I am with you, in my experience sheared wheel studs has always been a result of a loose wheel, or more infrequently wheels that were not properly piloted on the hub. (Which meant it worked loose and sheared the studs.)
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Old 05-17-2014, 11:42 PM   #14
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I have replaced lots of wheel studs. They most always will come off with the hub on the axle, sometimes just barely, but there is usually always room....

Someone on this thread said they removed a stud with a drift and hammer.....
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