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Old 04-14-2012, 10:45 AM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1975 25' Tradewind
Central , California
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 74
Over tighten lug nuts

We recently had all 6 lugs sheer off while driving straight and true on a smooth highway. 1992 25' Excella. I had trouble finding replacements. Had to settle for missmatch lenght to get home. I'd like to replace all 24 now and really having a problem finding the right ones... Napa and trailer repair shops no help as yet...

Very, Very lucky nobody got hurt and only minor damage to the trailer. Glad my fate to loose a tire didn't cause anybody else a worse fate of their own.

That is my story. BUT, I did research broken wheel studs and all the evidence is pointing back to the same conclusion. NOT loose studs, but over torqued studs. It is true they may loosen and should be checked. I was religiously having the lugs and brakes checked at Les Schwab Tires before a trip. After conducting my research I inquired what the air pressure (torque) was being applied to the lugs by the guys at the shop. The reply was that the air tools they use apply anywhere from 200 to 225 foot pounds of torque. They then back the nuts off and reapply the proper torque to the nut or bolt.

I let them know that may be a problem. Just a friendly heads up. They were not too concerned as speed is time and time is money...

Just food for thought. Don't let anybody over tighten your lug nuts.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:09 AM   #2
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:33 AM   #3
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1955 22' Flying Cloud
mapleton , Utah
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 464
Be very careful about letting ANYONE run your lugnuts on using an air wrench and normal torque sockets- especially if they let-er-run for a second or two at the end. This is not a case of "may damage" but of "will damage" especially with comercial quality tools which can generate in excess of 400 ft lbs of torque if not carefully regulated. In my shop we used these to shear off lugs which had been overtightened previously, essentially welding on the lugnuts. If the lugs have been overturqued and stretched their integrity is questionable and changing them all is the only acceptable fix.
This is not to condemn all use of air wrenches, use of "torque sticks" special regulated sockets, to initially tighten the lugnuts to less than the final torque specs then properly hand tightening to final specs is perfectly acceptable IMHO. Also remember that if you have alloy wheels you should always stop after 50 miles or so and retorque. Takes almost no time at all.
Overtightened lugnuts can shear off or weld on immmoveably, neither is a good or safe option.
Get a good quality torque wrench and learn to use it properly and it will relieve a lot of worry.
Safe travels
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:47 AM   #4
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1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 6,142
Some tire places now use torque wrenches to do the final torque. This is necessary to keep from damaging alloy rims. Tire monkees can really screw up your lug bolts and nuts if they don't know what they are doing. I usually take loose wheels to the tire store and put them on myself. I don't install them with a torque wrench but then I know how to use an air wrench. There are settings that control torque and the tightening is actually done by the hammering. The key is to not let it keep hammering. These things can put upward of 400ft-lbs of torque if you just let it sit there hammering away. It is always best to use a torque wrench. I prefer the beam type because they are less likely to get out of calibration. They work off of basic physics. X amount of load produces X amount of deflection. Make them use a torque wrench.

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