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Old 04-18-2009, 08:56 PM   #1
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Wobbly lug nuts

A couple of weeks ago I had new valve stems put on the Safari and installed new Centramatics. I watched the guy tighten the lug nuts and he did it right and with a torque wrench. I drove 35 miles and parked it at home.

Today I was checking the nuts with my torque wrench and about 3 tires into it, I noticed I could move the lug nuts slightly in either direction—about 1/8" or less. So I loosened one to see if the torque wrench was working. It was quite difficult to loosen. Then I tightened it and wrench worked. Still wobbly, but not really wobbly, but just moved left or right slightly.

I used the 4 way and tightened some of them—some got tight, some still moved a little. They are not loose because it's difficult to turn them counter clockwise. Not all of them do this—around half of them and there's no pattern to it—they can be anywhere on the wheel.

This is new to me. I never have bothered to torque them before, just making sure they are tight.

Anyone have this happen to them? I suppose it could mean the Centramatics didn't fit right, but they went right over the brake drum easily.

Gene
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:10 PM   #2
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Lugnut covers?

Sure they don't have covers? Mine do. Scared the bejabbers out of me on an early trip when I was 500 miles from home ... put my hand on a lugnut to get a feel for wheel temp . .. and the lugnut moved a little! Holy smokes! Grabbed my torque wrench, and it checked out fine. But still moved just a little. I got to imagining all sorts of horrible scenarios, such as that the lugnuts got slightly loose, the wheel wobbled a little and tore up the studs, with the result that the lugnuts were sort of stuck in place but wobbly. But then I pulled one all the way off and looked at it ... it has a chrome plated cover. They all do on my trailer, and the covers all can be wobbled a little bit.

So: this might be the answer, but you do need to check this out carefully ... if they're really failing, obviously this could be life threatening. Do let us know what you find.

Ryanh
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:19 PM   #3
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Genene, I don't get it. How can the lugs be wobbly when the nuts are on tight? I mean, the nuts being tight means to me that they are under tension, the tension holding the wheel on.

If they are what could make them wobbly? Are you saying that the lugs are loose in the drums? Now THAT is scarey!
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:19 PM   #4
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Gene, as TT axles do not have differentials, they are subject to quite a bit more stress than automobiles. It is essential to check seating torque periodicaly, especialy after having them removed/serviced/etc.
This is one of the items I check prior to every trip. Eventually they should seat and stay there.
Never use any lubricant, grease, etc on lug nuts.

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Old 04-18-2009, 10:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirsDream View Post
Sure they don't have covers? Mine do. Scared the bejabbers out of me on an early trip when I was 500 miles from home ... put my hand on a lugnut to get a feel for wheel temp . .. and the lugnut moved a little! Holy smokes! Grabbed my torque wrench, and it checked out fine. But still moved just a little. I got to imagining all sorts of horrible scenarios, such as that the lugnuts got slightly loose, the wheel wobbled a little and tore up the studs, with the result that the lugnuts were sort of stuck in place but wobbly. But then I pulled one all the way off and looked at it ... it has a chrome plated cover. They all do on my trailer, and the covers all can be wobbled a little bit.

So: this might be the answer, but you do need to check this out carefully ... if they're really failing, obviously this could be life threatening. Do let us know what you find.

Ryanh
I had exactly the same experience on my 2006 CCD. Airstream dealer assured me that it was not a problem. Still, as Ryanh said: check it out carefully.
Dennis
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Old 04-18-2009, 10:31 PM   #6
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sounds like loose covers to me.

any time your wheels are removed for any reason recheck the torque after 50 to 100 miles.

check your owner's manual.

john
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Old 04-18-2009, 10:32 PM   #7
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Lug nut covers? I Googled those 3 words and got more than 300,000 hits. They come in all sorts of shapes and colors. Amaze your friends! Put 6 different colors on and have a rainbow!

Another way to drive me crazy courtesy of the Airstream Co.

I'll take one off and inspect it and how it's made. Seems like this started as early as 1999 and the two who have posted who never heard of any such thing have older trailers. Thanks to the Forum I don't have to freak out about this, wondering if the studs are loose or imagining other horrors.

Now I'll wonder how long they last and whether they'll fall off and I'll have to replace them.

Gene
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Old 04-19-2009, 12:15 AM   #8
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This really started circa 1969 or so, with some General Motors 2 piece lug nuts. The outer chrome sheet metal shell will loosen, and sometimes even fall off, when tightening or loosening lug nuts. Then try getting the remainder off with a lug wrench that doesn't quite fit.
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Old 04-19-2009, 12:28 AM   #9
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Lug nut covers.

Hi, lug nut covers, as they are being called, are usually stainless steel sleeves or covers pressed in place over the real/steel lug nuts. A few of mine have loosened up because of a shop, who's name I won't mention, used an impact gun on them while doing a bearing service. Useing a loose, warn, or poor fitting socket on an impact gun will do this in one shot. In my case it was obvious the the person not only used an impact gun with a poor fitting socket, but used a short socket instead of a proper fitting lug nut semi-deep socket. [yes they actually make lug nut sockets] Now it is difficult to use the correct socket on a few of mine because of this careless action.
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:26 PM   #10
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I recently had to remove a wheel/tire to repair a slow leak and found that I could not remove the lug nuts. I had a 1/2 breaker bar and then used a 24" cheater on it to finally loosen the nuts. Previous owner had new tires put on last year and they must have tightened the bejusus out of them. (90 ft-lbs is spec.) The lug nuts are ruined and will not spin on freely now. Overtorqued and streached out of shape I think. I am going to replace all (24) of them and could care less about the lug nut covers. A plated lug nut will look as good as those worthless covers.

Don
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Old 05-06-2009, 04:07 PM   #11
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Lug Nut Covers

Attached is a picture showing cracked lug nut covers on my 2007 Safari.
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Old 05-06-2009, 04:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cantrade View Post
I recently had to remove a wheel/tire to repair a slow leak and found that I could not remove the lug nuts. I had a 1/2 breaker bar and then used a 24" cheater on it to finally loosen the nuts. Previous owner had new tires put on last year and they must have tightened the bejusus out of them. (90 ft-lbs is spec.) The lug nuts are ruined and will not spin on freely now. Overtorqued and streached out of shape I think. I am going to replace all (24) of them and could care less about the lug nut covers. A plated lug nut will look as good as those worthless covers.

Don
Cantrade....Make sure that you check the wheel studs to make sure they were not damaged by the over torquing of the nuts. The over torquing of the wheel nuts must be a problem in the tire industry as the tire dealer I was having my truck tires rotated at checked the my truck's factory specs in his computer and then used a torquewrench to tighten all the lug nuts.
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Old 05-07-2009, 10:51 AM   #13
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I found that if I flip the lug nut and put in on the stud backwards it will spin down easily until it hits the last two outer threads. They have been distorted due to the over-torque and are acting like a "self-locking" nut. You can visually see the distortion and the ruined part of the nut. When the nuts are threaded on in the correct orientation, the are difficult to screw on since the bad threads contact the stud first. The studs appear to be o.k. all the way to the drum surface. I think the bottom few threads are forced strongly into the wheel seat and get distorted. Some are worse than others but it looks like an air wrench with the improper setting was used to mount the wheels and most of the nuts suffered distortion.

I always use a torque wrench when I fit wheels on any of my vehicles. Uneven sequencing or over tightening of wheel lug nuts can cause brake rotor distortion as well as the ruined lug nut problem. Every nut/bolt combination has a proper torque and "It can't be too tight" is wrong.
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:39 PM   #14
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When I brought the Safari to JC and told them the lug nut covers were getting loose, I was told that was normal. They generally did a good job with everything, but that wasn't the answer I wanted. I'll get real lug nuts when we get home.

Gene
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