Topic: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?  (Read 13037 times)

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Offline Bonk

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How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« on: January 20, 2011, 05:27:02 am »
I've got this awesome old Volvo 240 to work on, but I can't move it, not even a few feet. The tires can't handle the snow, so I need to change them where it sits. However... a pneumatic impact wrench (90 psi, 3/8" drive, 250 ft-lbs torque) won't even budge them (yes I checked the direction ;)).

So I put the WD-40 to them, waited a bit, and I put the standard wheel wrench on one and used a 6 foot iron pipe for a lever... started applying weight (probably about 600 ft-lbs in total) ... the darn wrench snapped - clean.  :o Wow - I expected the studs to snap first...

Now the spec is 85 ft-lbs for the 240 alloy wheels. I want to find whoever put these on and apply some torque to their head!  :knuppel2:

So, any hot tips guys?  (actually heat might be one idea, but I don't want to use a torch for fear of igniting the rims)

Offline manitoba1073

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2011, 08:13:39 am »
Oven cleaner  or  liquid wrench works.  WD-40 only works for non rusted lugs lol. If you use oven cleaner let it set for about 5-10 minutes but be careful as it will eat ur paint on the car.



Offline Bonk

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2011, 08:42:27 am »
Good one. I had meant to get and try some liquid wrench, but I've never heard of the oven cleaner trick. Thanks!

Offline FRA.E.Kehakoul_XC

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2011, 10:28:47 am »
A Dead buddy of mine ,many years ago was doing mechanics stuff on my car >We were trying to replace the front shock absorbers. the one on the left side was  total jammed shut in the cross steering bar  socket.

I was already seeing me walking at home when he said that there is one last resort trick to get it free ,and that was to heat the questionable object with a blow torch.

And it worked.

But be care full as it can change the metal alloys property's proly don't need to tell you that,best to replace the bolts afterward s.
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Offline Bonk

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2011, 10:48:23 am »
Yeah, I had considered that. The big question on that is exactly how much magnesium and aluminium are in these alloy wheels? (I don't have the specs.) ... an old Prof of mine had told me vandalism stories of he and his gurrier buddies burning rims in Belfast ... ;)


Offline FRA.E.Kehakoul_XC

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2011, 11:02:29 am »
Ow wow that's what i feared ,non steel wheels.I don't know Bonk but ,that combo Aluminium and Magnesium does sound like something  no blow torch should ever touch.
Signal fires and termite and burning planes spring into my mind...:)
MAybe if you try to only explicit to heat  the caps,the heat transfer should stay limited , but still its a risk i assume.
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Offline The Postman

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2011, 11:52:55 am »
a 1/2" breaker bar, a 6 point socket and the mentioned 6' pipe.  Stand on it, unless you are a light weight, then 2 of you stand on it.

or a 6' pipe wrench

or borrow some 3/4" tools from some good friend

No heat though, if those are the type to light up, you don't have ability to put them out.



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Offline The Postman

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2011, 12:01:06 pm »
Also don't be afraid to hit the rim with a sledge hammer and to actually tighten the nuts a bit. There isn't a wheel (passenger car) stud out there that you should not be able to twist and break with a 1/2" breaker bar.



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Offline marstone

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2011, 01:42:02 pm »
I have had luck switching between tighten and loosen with an impact.  It probably  wasn't over tightened, it is amazing what alittle rust can do over time.  And if all goes bad, get a good breaker bar, and snap the lugs and replace them.
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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2011, 01:58:50 pm »
Have you tried a nut splitter?  They are not very expensive and it is likely better to break the nut than the stud.
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Offline KBF-Kurok

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2011, 02:22:12 pm »
OMG i just had that happen to me. I However was able to break the lugs with a cross lug wrench. I just put it on there and stood on it until they snapped off. I wouldnt recomend that tho one twisted a little when it snapped and caused more problems. GL Bonk.

Offline Javora

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2011, 04:11:12 pm »
My dad was a Mechanic for over 40 years, he used to have that problem on occasion and he would end up trying all of the above except he would use a 10~12 foot breaker bar.  If that doesn't work then I would cut the lug nuts off as well.  Good luck.

Offline manitoba1073

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2011, 06:06:36 pm »
Im telling you, use the oven cleaner and let it set 5-10 minutes.



Offline Sirgod

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2011, 08:31:54 pm »
C-4 in a shaped charge, set just right, will remove the tire from the car. Trust me on this.

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Offline Kreeargh

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2011, 12:34:14 am »
Got heat? Torch it propane or whatever. Get ready to work fast Get it hot BUT not red hot or it may weld the threads. Just a little heat can break up the rust and frozen stuff.
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Offline marstone

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2011, 01:13:11 am »
If using heat, heat the nut not the stud. The expansion of the nut can help break the rust as said.
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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2011, 12:51:08 pm »
I don't see why an impact wrench can't get them off or is this air rachet or gun?I would do what Mani is suggesting if that doesn't work just cut them off and get new ones.Don't ever put on lug nuts with an air tool always use a tire iron.

Offline RazalYllib

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2011, 04:40:42 pm »
I ask my mech buddy who used to work in a salvage yard...he stated use a small diameter steel penetrating drill bit and "carefully" drill a series of close spaced holes from the inside/outside of nut...2 series 180 degrees apart then use steel penetrating chisle..it will separate the lug in two....couple wacks on each series...he says guarenteed to work even on things rusted for 40 years in a yard...YMMV naturally
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Offline Bonk

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2011, 07:39:26 am »
Thanks for all the excellent tips guys. I knew this was exactly the right place to ask. (and it's on page two on a google search for "stuck wheel lug nuts" already - that is most cool - so I probably won't be the only one to benefit!) I'll let you know how it turns out when I take another crack at it. It is just too cold this weekend. (-19C before wind chill).

Oh yeah, it is actually a 1/2" drive pneumatic wrench I've been using. (There's a 1/2" drive breaker bar on sale at Princess Auto I was considering...) But a wise old friend made some good recommendations too. One of which was interesting, in analogy to the oven cleaner, he suggested Coca-Cola to dissolve rust. (though I think that is more of an on-the-spot field solution... for summertime too, I think coke might freeze at -20)

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2011, 12:46:53 pm »
he suggested Coca-Cola to dissolve rust.

The phosphoric acid in Coke is a decent rust remover.  I've used a 75% phos acid solution for removing rust before (my old job gave me access to such chemicals).
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Offline Bonk

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2011, 08:52:44 pm »
Well after all that I broke down and shoveled and shoveled and shoveled... then pulled it out onto the road with the tractor. The nuts came right off with the drive they had at the tire shop. Just like that. Here I was and couldn't even budge them.

Thanks for all the input though guys, some good tips there. :thumbsup:

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2011, 08:58:20 pm »

For future reference .......

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Offline Bonk

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2011, 10:40:11 am »
Cool. I'll keep an eye out for that at Princess Auto. Might come in handy for carriage maintenance too...

Now the starter is shot. Full charge on the battery and nothing. Nada.  >:(  I hate cars. That's it. I'm gonna get me a pair of winter hardy horses eventually. Till then, it's two feet and a heartbeat.  :)

Offline Capt. Mike

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2011, 07:48:50 pm »
Know what you mean old man...fuel pump went in my truck, it's sub-zero, and there is no longer bus service to the base where I work because of terrorist concerns..so the wife get's up at 0500 with me, so we can both get to work..
Hopefully it will warm up enough this weekend

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Offline Bonk

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Re: How to free stuck wheel lug nuts?
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2011, 04:29:34 am »
Horses, I'm tellin ya. (would they let you ride onto the base, and would they have a place to leave him for the day with water? - I've often thought about the mechanics of a horse in the modern world... I don't know if I'd use those poop bags (looks uncomfortable for horsie, carrying a fold up spade would be better and just stop and scoop when needed)

I am definitely getting some horses if I can ever afford it. Canadian or Yakut breed, though Canadian makes more sense. Acclimatise them early on to a Great Samoyed for additional protection.

I wonder what the MPG equivalent is on a Canadian Breed horse? I bet it is pretty good.  ;D