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Old 09-07-2019, 12:03 PM   #1
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A Tough Lug Nut... to Crack

The big day. Installing replacement 16" wheels and tires on our new 2019.

I do not ever recall breaking any component to my Craftsman socket set in 43 years of handling tools. Mostly 3/8 inch drives and some 1/2" drives.

My second lug nut on the 2019 International and snapped the 1/2" drive to 3/8" socket 'down sizer' flush where it fits into the 13/16" deep socket. First time... ever breaking a socket component.

Well... I purchased a 13/16" Duralast 12 point (Although I asked for a 6 point- they stock none. I needed it now... kind of thing.) Guaranteed NOT to BREAK. An investment of $7.57 including Nevada sales tax.

My 14 inch Craftsman break bar would not budge a lug nut. This trailer has the solid lug nut, not the worthless two piece POS lugs found on the 2006. I borrowed at 45 inch... almost FOUR FEET breaker and even that was a stretch.

I have no idea what torque the factory put on these, but these lug nuts were not going to fall off while cruising I-80.

Years ago an Airstream was pulled over south of Albuquerque, NM. We pulled over to see if they needed any help. They did. They had the POS metal covered lug nuts. Peeled off the POS shiny cover and then SPLIT their socket. Their one and only 13/16 inch deep socket. The crack would expand and then slip off the POS lug nut.

I used my 3/8" to 1/2" breaker and we got the tire off and the spare mounted. A happy ending, of sorts.

MY advice to the smart Airstream owner. Get the best, maybe TWO, 13/16" socket (6 point is best) in the event you ever have to change a flat. Or one impact socket of hardened steel that fits your breaker bar. I would also advise that even if you are BUFF like a mule... a longer breaker bar to get these stubborn lug nuts loose.

After swapping out these tires... I am going to see what it will take to remove a lug nut off the F350. Costco put them on and obviously (? caveat) know what they are doing. If this can happen in my garage... imagine you stuck somewhere with a Tough Lug Nut to Crack.

Oh... the Craftsman adapter is also guaranteed for life... and at my age... I will be at Lowes to get it swapped out. Or where ever Craftsman went to... considering Sears sold the brand.
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Old 09-07-2019, 12:10 PM   #2
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I have a piece of steel pipe that I can slide over the end of my breaker bar if I need more torque. I have never needed that on the trailer, but I have had to use it on home plumbing.

Larry
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Old 09-07-2019, 12:37 PM   #3
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Normally I find single sockets to be over priced. However, the extra for a lug nut application is certainly money well spent. Be sure it fits over the lug nut and inside the wheel lug pocket.

Great subject. Thanks for posting. Pat
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Old 09-07-2019, 02:36 PM   #4
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Extra tight lugnut

Here is what happened. When the "Tech" installed the wheels he/she ran the first lug nut (your extra tight one) all the way down and then proceeded to install the rest of the lug nuts. This puts the first lug in a bind resulting in an over torque situation.

In the future if you come across a lug nut that seems to tight, skip it and remove the rest of them first. That will relieve the bind condition and it should come off easier.

I have worked in the service department of several different dealerships. This happens on a regular basis particularly with aluminum wheels.

A 14" breaker bar is just about useless. Get yourself a quality 24", 1/2 drive breaker bar, quality 3" extension, and a dedicated 6 point thin wall socket.

Sorry you had to have that experience on your new rig. Happy travels.
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:29 AM   #5
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We do this on both our TV and AS after tire/rim, brake and bearing service, loosen the lug nuts (in your driveway) and torque them to factory specs using a click type torque wrench. Impact wrenches can really tighten lug nuts and finding that out on the side of the road can really suck!! We also recheck the torque at fuel stops and before we leave the CS (tire air pressures as well) in the morning. We pack a 24" breaker bar w/a 10" extension (1/2") and use 6pt sockets (Craftsman) plus a 1/2" torque click-type torque wrench (non-Craftsman). The 1/2" to 3/8" adapter is a weak point and have had them break on other projects. Not sure if the newer Craftsman tools are any better than average anymore. We use ones that are 40 years old with few issues. No tire/rim issues in 30+ years of rv'ing, knock on wood!! Good luck and safe travels!!
Jim and Gretchen
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:41 AM   #6
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Let me know if they give you a free replacement on that Craftsman, I have't even bothered lately since our Sears store closed. Ace carries Craftsman (or Crapsman as I prefer to call it now) I wonder if they honor the lifetime warranty?

For wheel nuts I never use regular sockets, even cheap impact sockets from Harbor Freight will not break like the thinner regular sockets will. You can get impact reducers and universals as well. A cordless impact is nice but for really tight lug nuts you would need a good one like the Milwaukee 1/2" 18 volt one. I have ViAir on board so I just carry a small 1/2" drive Earthquake and a torque wrench.
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uraljohn View Post
When the "Tech" installed the wheels he/she ran the first lug nut (your extra tight one) all the way down and then proceeded to install the rest of the lug nuts. This puts the first lug in a bind resulting in an over torque situation.

In the future if you come across a lug nut that seems to tight, skip it and remove the rest of them first. That will relieve the bind condition and it should come off easier.
Wow, thanks, very logical explanation on why it happens, and how to solve the problem. Obviously the way to avoid this is to tighten the nuts in two passes, a lighter pass to set the wheel, and then cross tightening with torque wrench to finish the job.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:16 AM   #8
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Folks,

I've debated replying, but one thing that I feel needs a direct comment.

3/8" drive is not strong enough for lug nut work.

I actually tried a search to see if some tool mfgr offered a maximum torque rating for 3/8 or 1/2 drive no matter the actual socket size it's all going thru that final square drive. Really didn't find one. But my hands on time says no way is anything 3/8 drive the size to choose for any automobile, pick up or Airstream lug nut removal or final tightening.

Want someone else's opinion? Go watch any tire shop R&R the wheels on cars, pickups and such except semi's and it's all 1/2 drive.

Save your 3/8 drive tools for lower torque jobs.

Gary
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:19 AM   #9
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Before our trip to Oregon this year I got new tires. I took the 4 off, took them to a tire shop then put them back on the AS with a torque wrench. We took the 5488 mile round trip, returning 3 weeks later. We went through a lot of rain in the mountains of Idaho and Montana.

The tire dealer had failed to balance the tires and there wasn't time before we left to have it done. I told the dealer he could take care of it when we got back. Once home again, when I went to take off one of the wheels, the lugs, all of them, were nearly frozen on. (POS lugs, by the way) I had to use a breaker bar to get them loose, then slowly ratchet them off. Threads were not stripped and I was going to replace them with new lugs anyway. It was only the one wheel, the other three were fine. I used WD-40 to clean off the studs, wiped them down and put on the new lugs without incident. (I know you're not supposed to lube studs/lug nuts, but they needed to be cleaned.)

I've never had that happen and can only conclude that the rain had caused corrosion of some sort on that lead right wheel. I'm glad I didn't have to do it on the road.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:26 AM   #10
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Agree with all the prior posters.


- Use only 1/2" drive components
- Always fully loosen and re-torque after anyone else touches your wheels
- Torque in stages; I usually torque to 50 ft-lb, then 80 ft-lb, then final - always in a cross pattern

- NEVER use torque wrench to loosen a tight nut



Additionally, if you think you may want to help someone else in the future, also carry a 3/4" socket, as many replacement lug nuts use this size socket.




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Old 09-08-2019, 01:42 PM   #11
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Thumbs up Self Check Is The Best Check

After having the supreme joy of watching my rear drivers side tire and rim pass me and my TV by and roll a quarter of a mile downhill, after dark, on I-5, North of Seattle, in a rainstorm, in evening rush hour traffic, I decided that it was in my best interest to check to see if my lug nuts was torqued properly. I had a tire repair performed earlier in the day by the way. (By someone else). Thank God that the tire hit no other vehicle and caused no other damage other than my bruised pride and ego. The fact that "That won't happen to me" DOES APPLY HERE!!!

My thought would be to break each and every lug nut loose and retighten them so that one knows that they were properly torqued and to insure that you would be capable of removing them should the need arise.

JAT (just a thought)

Happy travels.

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Old 09-08-2019, 03:26 PM   #12
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- NEVER use torque wrench to loosen a tight nut


Greg - what should I use to loosen a tight nut?
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Old 09-08-2019, 03:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
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- NEVER use torque wrench to loosen a tight nut

Greg - what should I use to loosen a tight nut?
You can find my discussion about using a torque wrench to loosen a tight nut here: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f465...ml#post2148341.

As I mentioned there, occasional use of a torque wrench to loosen a tight nut should not hurt a thing.

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Old 09-08-2019, 03:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatLee View Post
- NEVER use torque wrench to loosen a tight nut


Greg - what should I use to loosen a tight nut?
I'm not Greg, so forgive my intrusion. However, the answer is anything you want that's not a torque wrench. I'd suggest this is the perfect use for a breaker bar.

Using a torque wrench to do more than simply measuring the torque setting it is adjusted to can damage it or cause miscalibration, rendering it unusable for its purpose.

Al
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Old 09-08-2019, 04:20 PM   #15
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Hey Ray,

Congratulations on the new wheels and tires!
Should give you an inch or so more clearance underneath as well.


_Dennis
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Old 09-08-2019, 04:41 PM   #16
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Over Torque?... Tight Center Cap... Beware!!!

I did manage to remove the lug nuts off the 2019 27 foot International. I left a lug nut for Nancy to break loose... with the 45 inch iron pipe extension on the 1/2 inch breaker bar and Duralast 13/16 inch socket... she could NOT break it loose. She is no couch potato either.

But a very interesting discovery. I found that the center caps of the wheel would rattle when grabbing them at the dealership. You know, the cap that fits into the center of the wheel. It was snug and did not rattle on the one we purchased.

After backing off the lug nuts... they rattled loose before removing the wheel. When I installed the 16", same brand of wheel but a 16"... torqued to 110 pounds as Airstream says... they rattle. Loose in the center as all of the other trailers.

I have a suspicion, if you want to have the center cap snug... you have to over tighten the lug nuts.

If YOUR center caps are snug and do not rattle... you might immediately check the lug nuts for excessive torque.

If your properly torqued lug nuts leave your Center Cap rattling... some good ideas have been tossed out to try. I think a rubber round gasket could be included between the wheel and the on the inside edge of the cap rim. My center cap had four crimps that should have taken care of the rattle, but... nope.

I will see how long I can take the Shake, RATTLE and Roll. Getting these Michelins and wheels onto the drum lugs... is not something I want to do right away, kind of project.
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Old 09-08-2019, 04:51 PM   #17
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Hey Ray,

Congratulations on the new wheels and tires!
Should give you an inch or so more clearance underneath as well.


_Dennis
******
Adding the 3 inch Dexter Lift Kit did even better. With the 16 inch wheels and the lift... it looks like a 'UN Lifted Airstream' with extra airspace between the road and the bottom of the trailer.

The 3 inch lift and the 16 inch tires did NOT affect the access into the trailer with the folding steps. Some commented that the lift required they add some added step to access the trailer's steps. Not for us.

Maybe a different Lug 'Nut' as an owner.
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Old 09-08-2019, 05:37 PM   #18
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More Torque Wrench Education

Don't store it if set above 0 ft lbs. That affects its calibration over time, according to conventional wisdom.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:14 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al U. Minium View Post
I'm not Greg, so forgive my intrusion. However, the answer is anything you want that's not a torque wrench. I'd suggest this is the perfect use for a breaker bar.

Using a torque wrench to do more than simply measuring the torque setting it is adjusted to can damage it or cause miscalibration, rendering it unusable for its purpose.

Al
Snap-on Tools, the brand mechanics use, has a great guide to the use and care of torque wrench here. Item 11 states “Use a torque wrench to apply a specific torque value during the final assembly process. Do not use a torque wrench as the primary means of tightening or loosening fasteners.”

Much of this topic focuses on the use of a breaker bar, which is the appropriate tool to use to break loose a tight fastener. Especially if additional leverage is needed in the form of a pipe to lengthen the handle.

I also carry a four arm cross wrench and am still strong enough to use it to loosen properly torqued wheel nuts on my trailer and truck. As someone else stated, a cross wrench is great to initially spin the lugnuts down snug before starting the formal tightening with your precision torque wrench. But always start threading the lugnut by hand to make sure it is not cross threaded.


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Old 09-09-2019, 08:45 AM   #20
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First I had an issue with Dexter Brakes not having the small plastic plugs in the back plate. The portals to adjust the NON self adjusting brakes. Also, no doubt to manually adjust the Self Adjusting brakes... but why should I have to purchase them on the Internet? An envelope weighs more than these plastic plugs.

I do carry the adjusting tool from the 2006 23 foot Safari days... still looks new. When you tow thousands of miles... you may use your brakes once off the highway. After 8 years the 2006 had about the same amount of brake pad as it did new.

Dexter has not only One, but Two adjusting portals to plug. Neither come with their new brake plates, fully assembled, less the plugs. My 25 foot International... had no plugs, until I purchased them on the Internet. Self Adjusting brakes with two portals to make... adjustments? Maybe to reduce the over all weight of the trailer? Budget tightening?

This new 2019 International did have the 'portals' plugged. I looked twice. Once on the lot and a second time at home... just in case they move them from one trailer to another... kind of thing.

Now it is rattling center caps. Is it the wheel bearing cover for the Never Lube that is off a little? Never had these rattles in the past. Or am I now... hearing things that others dismiss as 'get over it' issues.

Now I will need to haul my Torque Wrench, possibly a breaker bar and two 13/16" deep sockets.

For those who are just chiming into the world of Airstream roadside repairs... you WILL build up a good variety of specialized sockets, screws, carriage bolts, electrical tape and other things you will not need, until the day you did not bring that 'what is it' tool.

At least this has been a fun experience. Aligning lug with the wheel is a real treat with a heavy wheel and tire attached. I recalled some verbs and adjectives from my two years in the Army. Some repeated... some with just my lips moving but no sound.
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