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Old 03-06-2009, 05:02 PM   #1
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Wheels Stuck on Rims

Yesterday I watched in amazement while the tire specialist changing tires on my sons '99 Chevy Suburban had to pound the heck out of the tire/wheel with a sledge hammer to free it from the hub. The Burb was elevated on the lift in order to gain access to the inside of the wheel, from beneath, with the sledge hammer. The wheel refused to budge until the hub and wheel nut studs were sprayed with a rust-buster solution! This is the first time I've ever encountered a stuck wheel - and I hate to think how difficult it would have been to change the tire in an emergency situation. For the record, my son's Burb is very well maintained - although it is a New England vehicle and, accordingly, subject to all the chemicals used to de-ice Maine roads. I wonder if there is any "no-sieze" type application that would serve to prevent this problem?
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Old 03-06-2009, 05:17 PM   #2
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Be careful - they go on just as hard! So be sure to tighten all the nuts after you get home. Then check them again in a few days. Don't go for a long trip before you check them.

There is an anti seize compound you can buy at auto supply stores and hardware stores. Basically oil mixed with powdered aluminum or powdered bronze. There is a brush in the lid of the can, brush a little on the hub where it goes in the wheel and on the threads of the studs. Retorque the wheel nuts by hand to the correct torque. You will not have any trouble getting the wheel off later.

By the way if a wheel will not come off even when you kick it. Try leaving the nuts loose and driving slowly for a few yards. They usually come loose.
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Old 03-06-2009, 06:02 PM   #3
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The wheels on my older autos did'nt have any clearance issues. The old wheel used tapered nuts to center the wheel on the hubs. Many newer wheels don't use this old style application. The center bore on my F150 wheels fit snug against the reveal on the hub. Any road salts, or accumulated debris can make them stick very well.

1999 is within the age range I've dealt with with Fords. Not sure about Chevrolet.

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Old 03-06-2009, 06:07 PM   #4
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This "stuck wheel" problem is very common. I see it in my service department almost daily. Generally a shot of rust penetrant around the base of the studs, a brief wait for it to soak and some coaxing with a big hammer is all it takes. I don't like to see any direct pounding on the wheel except as a last resort. I think it's better to pound against the tread of the tire until it is jarred loose.

For years I was told not to use anti-seize on wheel studs. Apparently it was thought that this would/could cause the lug nut to loosen over time. I have never seen this happen. I would put a coat of anti-seize where the wheel contacts the hub or drum and if you put it on the studs, just put a light coating on the threads only. Do not put it on the surface where the lug nut seats to the wheel and if you have "acorn" type lug nuts, don't get the anti-seize between the end of the stud and the cap of the nut - this could cause problems when torquing the nuts.

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Old 03-06-2009, 06:38 PM   #5
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Whenever you remove a wheel the center and hub flange should wire brushed and lubed. Especially on the 3/4 Burb with rear shoes and steel wheels. WD 40 works for me on the studs
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Old 03-06-2009, 06:52 PM   #6
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That's exactly why I carry a short handled sledge at all times . I carry a old rough-cut 4x4 cause I have all aluminum wheels and would not want to damage them. I have had several flats and have had to drive the wheels off the hub. Not fun but ya do what ya have too.
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Old 03-06-2009, 07:50 PM   #7
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Never pound an aluminum rim. Pound on the tire but not the rim.

40 years ago when I started working in garages I was taught to lube the threads of lug bolts when changing tires. I have done so ever since, using chassis grease, or anti seize, or motor oil from an oil can. In all that time I have never seen a wheel nut work loose because it was lubed. But I have seen them break off because they weren't.

It's also a good idea to back off the nuts when you get home and tighten them properly. Most shops tighten them way too hard, using an air wrench. This is on steel wheels. You don't want to find this out when you get a flat one rainy night and the 50 cent wrench that comes with your car won't loosen them.

It is also a good idea to recheck the lug nuts after the wheels have been changed with aluminum wheels. They tend to loosen up where the steel wheels tend to be too tight.
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Old 03-06-2009, 08:16 PM   #8
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You don't want to find this out when you get a flat one rainy night and the 50 cent wrench that comes with your car won't loosen them.
That 50 cent wrench won't loosen them because it broke off in your hand.

A wise investment is a quality 1/2 in drive breaker bar (Snap-On, Cornwell, etc.) and an impact socket to fit your lug nuts. Do this for all of your vehicles. Trailer too. Carry them with you.
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Old 03-06-2009, 08:26 PM   #9
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It's also a good idea to carry a wooden board such as, a piece of 2X6 or a square of good plywood to put your jack on. The gravel on the side of the road is not too stable.
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Old 03-06-2009, 09:14 PM   #10
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This happened to a buddy of mine on his camper. Luckily we ran into him on the interstate and saw his dispair. Thank God I had a can of PB Blast in my truck and my mallet....he had nada. After a good spray and letting it sit we were able to free it up after a 1/2 an hour of pounding.....tire was totally shredded. I LOVE anti sieze & use it one everything.
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Old 03-06-2009, 10:19 PM   #11
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LOL Every Chevy I have and have had does this! LOL (you don't have to worry about the wheels falling off the heavy chevy!!!)
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Old 03-07-2009, 10:00 AM   #12
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The problem is worse with the aluminum wheels, the aluminum will corrode to the hub face. I've really had to wail on the tires of a few of them when I've had to remove them.
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Old 03-07-2009, 08:05 PM   #13
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My thanks to all for the really great replys! When Spring finally rolls around we'll pull the wheels and follow the above suggestions. For the record, the stuck wheels were on the rear axle. The front axle didn't have any problems.
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Old 03-07-2009, 08:32 PM   #14
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My thanks to all for the really great replys! When Spring finally rolls around we'll pull the wheels and follow the above suggestions. For the record, the stuck wheels were on the rear axle. The front axle didn't have any problems.

YEP......1 ton drum's I bet. Learned my lesson with our 95 Burb
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