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Swollen Lug Nuts

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by evs1, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. evs1
    Joined: Oct 3, 2010
    Posts: 160


    Ok, here's a wierd one for you, but I figure with all the accumulated years of experience on this board, I can get a correct answer.
    Another board I go to has a thread about guys unable to get their wheels off and having to replace the lug nuts afterward. Someone got the idea that the problem was swollen lug nuts. This makes absolutely no sense to me. How can lug nuts swell up? If they did, wouldn't they actually be looser, like heating a nut to get it off? I told them that there is no way this can happen, that the problem is either nuts that were run down too far with an impact, or the threads were damaged while the wheel was off.
    Am I going in the right direction on this or are they on to something?
    Thanks for the help.
  2. I had swollen nuts once. $50 and a hot towel and I was good to go.
  3. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,080


    A local tire shop that belongs to family friends and former neighbors is famous for tightening up lug nuts so tight that it warps the rotor and you can't get them off with a regular lug wrench. I broke a good cross bar lug wrench taking one of them off in the school shop for a student.

    There was a lot of local opinion that they did it to sell brake jobs when your brakes shook after you got new tires.
  4. I call BS,, HRP

  5. Lone Star Mopar
    Joined: Nov 2, 2005
    Posts: 3,077

    Lone Star Mopar


    It's probably those overzealous with the impact guys over tightening. I've watched a guy here actaully use a torque wrench but he kept on going after it "clicked" several times. I Told him he wasn't using it right, he told me I didnt know what I was talking about.... Go figure
  6. millersgarage
    Joined: Jun 23, 2009
    Posts: 2,086


    it happens to a lug nut that has a steel covering. Like am OEM chrome lug nut.

    Dodge Chargers, Chrysler 300 has a problem with them. The nut corrodes inside the outer case, causing it to expand. The lug wrench to no longer fit.
  7. pinkynoegg
    Joined: Dec 11, 2011
    Posts: 1,135


    simillar to this?
  8. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,153


    Most new OEM lug nuts are stainlesss steel covers over steel nuts. Here in the rust belt the steel rusts swelling the stainless covers. You lug wrench no longer fits, Twist the cover off and the nut underneath is not a size in my tool box. You have to beat a socket on and hope the nut isn't rusted fast to the stud and wheel. Happens most on low usage vehicles.
    Just like the guy above shows.
  9. evs1
    Joined: Oct 3, 2010
    Posts: 160


    But once you got a wrench on the nut, it should come off, right?
  10. Yes and no. Chevy trucks have used them on the ralley wheels for years. Sometimes the outer cap twists off and leaves you with a smaller nut underneath. sometimes you have to hammer a socket on - some I pulled last week, one it then took me 10 mintues to get the lug nut back out of the socket. When I take them off, I usually throw them as hard and as far away as I can into the trees or whatever.
  11. I ran into this situation with a Dodge Ram.
  12. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,248


    I watched a MECHANIC tighten up lugs with an impact gun...then use a torque wrench to make sure they were "set" to 100ft/lbs.

    Of course the wrench clicked at 100ft/lbs, you idiot. It would have clicked at any setting up to around 150 ft/lbs!!!!

    It was on a car I was doing collision repairs too...he did the mechanical.
    I complained...he defended...once he left I loosened the lugs and reset them properly.

    Some people just can't seem to grab onto the "point" of what you're SUPPOSED to be doing.
  13. Black Panther
    Joined: Jan 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,735

    Black Panther
    from SoCal

    Sometimes on a mag style lug nut the lug nut goes too far through the wheel, contacts the hub and slightly mushrooms as you tighten it...I have had that happen...
  14. Bad Eye Bill
    Joined: Sep 1, 2010
    Posts: 841

    Bad Eye Bill
    from NB Canada

    If the original nut was 3/4" and the cap comes off or is taken off, the solid nut underneath will be 18mm. 13/16" becomes 3/4"
  15. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 48,689


    My air cleaner nuts are huge, but I've never seen a swollen lug nut.
  16. Scumdog
    Joined: Mar 3, 2010
    Posts: 627


    Haven't read the whole post BUT:
    If the shank of the lug nut is too long (ie longer than the hole through the rim) and bottoms out on the shoulder of the stud (at the brake-drum/rotor) it can 'flare' and be pretty dang hard to wind back out through the hole in the rim.

    I can't for steel rims but have had it happen with alloy custom wheels.

    Shortening the shank fixed it..
  17. Most shops now have those "torque sticks" that are designed to limit the amount of torque being applied to a lug nut. They come in a variety of sizes and torques.

  18. The OP would have to have his buddy's swollen nuts in his hand to show us... but I'm not lookin' when he does.

  19. Yes, but often when the cap comes off the bolt itself gets mangled in the process, unless you're smart enough to try and pull the cap off before trying to remove the nut. Either way, much more satisfying to throw them than even to take them in for scrap.

    Here's a good one, I was trying to swap out some that look pretty good on my current beater and one of them I put some pressure on my breaker bar )because the impact wasn't moving them). Instead of turning, it bent down, cracked the socket in two places and the damn cover came off with it. Looks like I need a 20mm on the nut, a 19 wouldn't fit.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  20. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,248


    I know...I own two!!!
    He ran the lugs in direct with the gun and a color coded extension in sight!!! :eek:

    As for the swelling lugs, I have one on my van going bad. As stated the outer shell is being swelled by corrosion of the inner core.

    Scumdog makes a good point about long shanks. Didn't realize that could happen but it makes sense!
  21. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 20,107

    from Michigan

    It's called "having a bad case of blue balls"... And DON'T ask me how I know...:(
  22. LSR 2909
    Joined: May 10, 2012
    Posts: 606

    LSR 2909
    from Colorado

    They don't want to be sued for your tire falling off.
  23. It's very common for oem style nuts to swell up as they are a steel nut with a chrome or s.s cover.

    Torque sticks are great BUT they need to be used on a calibrated gun and with the specified air pressure or you will over torque them anyways

    I run them on snug with my gun and use my torque wrench to tighten then properly
  24. Some Mopars use Left Hand threads and Right Hand threads. Are you sure you're turning the proper way?
  25. A quality professional tire shop will use a torque wrench PROPERLY on all lugs and torque them in proper order which is equally as important.

    I would not use any shop who can't master the use of a modern torque wrench! Proper torque should be 70-80 ft/lbs depending on the size.
  26. Francisco Plumbero
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 2,531

    Francisco Plumbero
    from il.

    Poor guy can't get his nuts off.
  27. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 20,107

    from Michigan

    That's how you get "blue balls"....
    I wonder if it's something to do with too much coffee??..:confused:
  28. On older vehicles, where the original lug nuts may have been replaced, be sure the seat angles agree with the rim angles. Just because they thread onto the studs doesn't make them correct.

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